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Top tips to avoid boiler breakdown this autumn

Property Reporter
14th October 2021

Ahead of this year's Boiler Switch on Day (yes, it's a thing apparently), Ideal Heating are sharing their advice and top tips on how to prepare for switching your boiler back on ready for the colder months.

The annual event is taking place on Monday 18th October and is recognised as the most popular day for people to switch their boilers on, with calls to the Ideal Heating helpline doubling over the month of September compared to the previous month.

With 78% of boilers breaking down around Boiler Switch on Day and costing up to £500 to repair, Ideal Heating are helping homeowners avoid boiler breakdown by sharing their expert boiler switch on tips.

To help avoid boiler breakdown and save money this winter, here are 5 expert tips from Ideal Heating:

1: Service your boiler

Having a regular boiler service will make sure your boiler is running efficiently and safely. We recommend having your boiler serviced annually, so when the heating engineer is there it’s a good idea to book another service for a years time. During a boiler service, any faults will be brought to the attention of a professional. A heating engineer can service your boiler in around an hour - be prepared that this may leave you without hot water until they are finished.

Boilers have a warranty of around 10 years, but if you have not had regular services the warranty does not stand.

2: Gradually switch the heating on

If you usually don’t use the heating during summer, you should plan to briefly switch it on once or twice a month. This will give you the chance to detect any problems with your boiler before you need to start using it regularly - better to realise your boiler is broken in summer than in winter when you really need it!

This also helps prevent the build-up of grime, dust and other debris which can cause a boiler breakdown. Following this tip can also prevent pipe corrosion - the most common cause of boiler leaks.

3: Don’t turn the heat up too fast

Turn the heat up gradually, having a boiler on too high will only waste money and energy. We recommend turning the heat up 1 degree at a time until you get whatever temperature feels best to you. Most households should be between 18 and 21 degrees, however, it should be slightly higher for the elderly

4: Get a smart thermostat

We strongly recommend investing in a smart thermostat that you can control wherever you are. Being able to control your heating even when you are out of the house takes the unnecessary strain off boilers whilst saving money and energy. Our Halo smart thermostat allows you to control your heating from your phone, meaning you can heat your home more efficiently. A smart thermostat means you can limit heat wastage and increase energy efficiency

5: Bleed radiators

If you notice the heat isn't circulating the whole radiator evenly, it probably means it needs bleeding. Bleeding gets rid of trapped air that could have built up over the period it has been off for. By not bleeding a radiator that needs it, you will be wasting money and energy, whilst not heating your home well. We recommend that you bleed your radiators annually, even if they are working fine

Without taking the above precautions in the run-up to Boiler Switch on Day, you could be facing a number of boiler issues this winter which can leave you wasting money and energy during the colder months.

Boiler problems to look out for:

Low boiler pressure - the pressure should be between 1 - 2 on the pressure gauge, anything below 1 is low pressure and can mean the boiler won’t fire up

Kettling - if your boiler sounds like a kettle when it heats up, this could mean there is a build-up of grime or limescale inside the boiler’s heat exchanger. This means the boiler will not run efficiently and will waste money and energy

Gas leak - corrosion, wear and tear and damage during installation can be a common cause of a gas leak. This can be extremely dangerous and very important to look out for as we are using our boilers more regularly

Carbon Monoxide leak - this is another dangerous element to look out for, carbon monoxide in the home can lead to serious long term health problems and can even be fatal

Water leak - with the boiler being full of water up to 70 degrees, this can be very dangerous if it begins to leak. Even if the water is cold, this could result in a slip hazard on laminate flooring.

Electricity - it’s important that the electrics are checked during a boiler service as a potential spark could ignite the gas and have very serious consequences.

Chris Jessop, Customer Service Director at Ideal Heating said: “We are set for a record cold winter, and with many missing out on boiler services last year due to national restrictions, there is no doubt we are going to see an increase in boiler faults. Missing out on an annual boiler service can mean issues go undetected and your boiler may not run to its full potential. It is more important than ever to be looking out for common warning signs to avoid boiler breakdown this winter”

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