Boiler service & care: preparing your boiler for winter
The cold weather can be harsh on our central heating systems. If you haven’t prepared your boiler beforehand or altered your boiler settings for winter, you could run into all sorts of trouble when this season arrives. It can put your boiler out of action if you haven’t taken the necessary precautions.
Before winter arrives, you need to ensure your heating system is ready for the cold weather. In this guide, we’ll explain how to ensure your boiler is properly prepared for winter and how you can continue to look after it throughout the year.
Why should you prepare your boiler for winter?
If you don’t want to get caught out with a broken boiler and no heating or hot water when the temperatures plummet below freezing, preparing your boiler well in advance will be more than worth it. Not only that, but the demand for engineers during the colder months will be high. This means that if you do request someone to come and take a look at your boiler, you may be waiting a while.
To give your boiler the best chance of making it through the winter, there are numerous ways in which you can protect and look after it.
Check your radiators.
Checking your radiators should be one of the first things you can do and probably the easiest. To start with, make sure you switch on all your radiators. Once your home is heated, you’ll then be able to check your radiators for cold spots. If the flow of air around your radiators is disrupted, it may feel cooler around the bottom. This could mean that you have ‘sludge’ stuck here, which will need removing.
To ensure the sludge is removed completely, you’ll need an engineer to flush your system, ideally using a MagnaCleanse. It may also mean that you’ll have to bleed these radiators to remove the air that is preventing the whole radiator from generating heat.
Bleeding radiators is a job that you can carry out yourself, but if you need any advice or guidance, use our live chat to speak with an engineer.
Ensure you’ve had a boiler service.
Servicing your boiler should be something you do every year. A boiler service will highlight any current problems or potential future problems with your system that could result in a breakdown. If your boiler is under warranty/guarantee, you will need to have your boiler serviced every year to keep it valid.
What happens during a boiler service?
When an engineer carries out a boiler service, they will firstly remove its casing to look at each component. They’re trained to notice anything out of the ordinary and will pay close attention to any possible damage from corrosion and weak points. They will then check a number of things to ensure they are working as they should be and for wear and tear, including:
- Water and gas pipes
- Safety devices
- Electrical connections
- Gas pressure and flow
- Flue test
- Fans and other essential components of the system
The engineer will then give your boiler a clean where needed and return the casing. You’ll be presented with a boiler service report, detailing what has been done alongside any recommendations for future maintenance. Your service should always be carried out by a Gas Safe Registered professional.
The annual service for your boiler is required to keep the warranty in a lot of cases, and by getting your service done when you need to, it will really be money saving down the line.
You’ve also got the added peace of mind that the chances of your boiler breaking down in the winter are slim.
What temperature should my boiler be set at in winter?
It’s surprising how many homeowners feel the need to set their thermostat to a high temperature for their homes to heat up. Doing so will waste a lot of energy and your home is more than capable of keeping in heat at a much lower temperature. It’s recommended that thermostats should be set to around 18 degrees Celsius. This is the minimum temperature you need for comfortable living.
After you’ve had your boiler serviced as mentioned above, setting your smart timer will allow you to be much wiser with how you use your heating system. Setting your heating to come on around 20 minutes before you get up in the mornings and before you come home from work, for example, will ensure you’re only using the heat that is needed and saving energy in the process.
If you do have an older system, it may be worth looking for a brand-new boiler; something much more reliable and efficient. To do so, you can use our ‘Find A Boiler’ tool to find the perfect boiler for your home.
As water expands when it freezes, you can only imagine what this does to your pipes if not properly insulated. To make sure you don’t run into the problem of burst pipes in freezing temperatures, you should take the necessary precautions to insulate them wherever you can.
Boiler condensate pipe insulation is quite similar to loft or wall insulation. The insulation will minimise loss of heat through your pipes, ensuring that the water keeps flowing as it should to prevent a major boiler breakdown or a burst pipe.
Instead of going through the last-minute panic, you should prepare a few months in advance to ensure that all your pipework is properly insulated and that no frost can settle. If you do find that your pipes have frozen, you can poor warm water over them or apply heat gently until the frost has disappeared. Again, if you’re unsure about anything, always seek the advice of a professional to prevent further damage.
Carrying out a flush of your heating system can rid your pipes and components of waste debris and residue from boiler use. The MagnaCleanse is a much more efficient way to clean your complete system without being as aggressive as a power flush or chemical flush. The MagnaCleanse will usually be followed by a central heating inhibitor - a liquid solution which will further help your boiler to function correctly.
From our experience, a power flush or chemical flush of an older system can cause yet more problems, so a chemical flush is the best way to clean your system of waste materials.
It will also restore your confidence in your heating system.
Has your Boiler broken down or not working effectively? Arrange a boiler service before winter.
A boiler service is an incredibly important part in the upkeep of your boiler. It can easily identify any problems in your system and it’s essential in most cases when keeping your boiler warranty. It’s always worth organising a boiler service well ahead of winter.
Has your boiler broken down? Perhaps it always seems to be on the blink. Instead of continuously repairing your system and paying hundreds upon hundreds of pounds to replace or repair different components, it will always be worth replacing your boiler entirely.
Use our live chat feature for honest, professional boiler advice and guidance. If we can help you with choosing and installing a new boiler, call us: 0800 193 7777.