Is your boiler broken?
While you should never repair a broken boiler yourself, there are certain steps you can take to solve simple problems.
There is nothing more frustrating than when your heating system isn’t working correctly or, even worse, your boiler is broken down completely. There are a number of reasons that this could be happening, but if you smell gas, then it could be a more serious problem than you think.
If you smell gas and can’t find the source straight away, then call the emergency services.
Even if you don’t smell gas, but your boiler is broken down, you should never try to fix it yourself. Working on gas-fired boilers without the proper experience will not only invalidate your warranty, but it could also lead to accidents and even be fatal. There are many qualified, or licensed, heating contractors who can help with a broken boiler, so reach out to one in your local area.
There are a few things that you can check as soon as your boiler breaks down in order to rule out more simple problems and make an informed decision about potential repairs, which can help when you book a service appointment with a heating technician.
Broken boiler? Here’s what to check
If your boiler has broken down or is not working correctly, here are the most common issues to check:
- Is too much gas being used? That is usually a symptom of a gas leak or an inefficient boiler.
- Is the pilot light blue? If the flame is orange or yellow in color, that signifies an issue.
- Is the water pressure steady? The pressure in your boiler dropping too low or rising too high could indicate a problem.
- Are there any noises coming from your boiler, like tapping, banging, or clanking?
With these symptoms in mind, it’s time to check your gas, power, water, pressure and other potential problems that can lead to boiler breakdown.
Check your gas supply
If your boiler has broken down and you think it is a problem with the gas, the first thing you can check is your gas shut-off valve. If it’s switched on but you still have no gas coming through, then it could be a supply problem. The easiest way to check this is by ensuring other gas appliances are working, like your oven or range. It’s also a good idea to speak with your neighbors to see if they are experiencing any problems as well.
If you think you might have an issue with your gas supply, contact your gas supplier to check if there is a problem in your area.
Do you have an issue with your power supply?
If there is an electrical issue, you will be unable to ignite your boiler. Most modern boilers have a digital or LCD display, does it look like it’s on? If not, check that your boiler is plugged in. As with the gas supply, check other appliances to make sure there is not a wider power problem. If there is, check all your circuit breakers before speaking to neighbors to see if they are experiencing similar issues. If there has been a temporary power cut, then your boiler may have reset, so check that the clock and settings are correct.
Check your water supply
First, is your water supply turned on? Check the mains water shut-off valve as well as your faucets: is water on in the rest of your house? As with the gas and power, it is worth checking with your neighbors to see if they are experiencing a similar problem. If there is no water, contact your provider.
If your boiler has broken down and your water is turned off, you will see a loss of pressure in your boiler system.
Check the thermostat
Is your boiler broken down and you still can’t find the fault? One option is to check the thermostat controller and make sure it’s in the on position. If it’s a timer-based system, make sure that the clock is set correctly. It’s also worth checking that the thermostat is set above the current room temperature.
What’s the boiler pressure set to?
Sometimes, the boiler water pressure can fall below the minimum requirements or go above the maximum recommended settings. The normal pressure setting for modern boilers is 1.0 - 1.5 bar, so check the gauge on your boiler to see if this is why your boiler has broken down.
If you are under or over pressure, then you can find how to pressurize or bleed your boiler in your boiler’s manual.
Has your boiler broken down in winter?
Sometimes, when it’s very cold outside, the condensation pipe can freeze, causing your boiler to automatically shut down as a safety precaution.
While you can theoretically pour hot water onto the end of a pipe to defrost it, we suggest calling out an expert heating contractor to take a closer look. The DIY approach might work, but it’s only a short-term fix and is likely to result in the freezing reoccurring as a fault. It’s also worth remembering that you can avoid many cold-weather boiler breakdowns with some simple winter prep.
Are you still struggling with your broken boiler?
If you’re still having issues, then it’s time to look for a professional broken boiler repair. There are lots of certified heating contractors that should be able to get you back up and running quickly.