As colder weather arrives the last thing you need is your boiler going on the blink. Take extra care to make sure your heating system is in tip-top condition and your home insurance is up to date. It can save you money – according to Checkatrade.com the average cost for an emergency boiler repair is over £400, while replacing a boiler will be much more.
1. Service, please
Just like your car, your boiler should be regularly serviced to make sure it’s operating at its best. If it’s a gas boiler (and most in the UK are) make sure you have it done by a Gas Safe registered engineer, who at the end will give you a service report detailing everything that has been done.
2. Keep it clean
Keeping the boiler, and the area around it, clean and clear of obstructions, will increase its efficiency. Cleaning the inside you need to leave to the professionals, and this will probably be part of the annual service, where needed.
3. Powerwash the system
Over time radiators can fill up with sludge, making them inefficient and costly to run. If your radiators are cold at the bottom and hotter on top this can mean sludge is building up and needs to be cleared. This is a job for the experts, who will flush out the entire system, cleaning the inside of the radiators and refilling them with clean, fresh water.
4. Bleed those radiators
If, on the other hand, your radiators are cold on top and hotter at the bottom, this means there is air trapped at the top of the radiator. This is a simple DIY job, and most radiators can be bled when cold with either a flat-end screwdriver or a special radiator key.
You simply slowly turn the valve at the top of the radiator (if there is air trapped, you’ll hear it coming out). Then be ready to close the valve again when water starts coming out. It’s wise to have a tea towel on hand to wipe up any drips. You might need to repressurise your boiler after you have let the air out of the system.
5. Check your home insurance cover
A broken boiler in winter is not just inconvenient, it’s also expensive. Check your home insurance to see if your boiler and heating system are covered. Home Emergency Cover is available as an add-on for an additional cost to your Tesco Bank Home Insurance policy. This gives you up to £1000 worth of cover for each call-out; there’s no limit on the number of call outs you can make. Monetary limits, excesses and exclusions apply. Home Emergency cover is underwritten by Inter Partner Assistance S.A UK Branch.
6. Under pressure
If you find an issue with your heating or hot water the first thing to do is check the pressure of the boiler. A common cause of no hot water is simply needing to repressurise the boiler; it’s easy on most modern boilers, as we've outlined above, and your boiler instructions will also tell you how to do it.