Category - Boilers
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Will Scholfield, Engineer

8 Jun : Updated 17 May ● 7 min read

What maintenance does a gas boiler need?

Gas boilers are essential for heating many homes across the UK. Still, like any complex system or machine, there are plenty of things that can go wrong. With so many parts and components, keeping your gas boiler running efficiently can be tough.

When you look after your boiler and perform regular maintenance, you can help prevent breakdowns, extend the life of your boiler, and save on your energy bills and costly repair fees.

In this article, you'll discover why boiler maintenance is important and the key tasks you need to learn to keep your central heating working all winter long.

Why is boiler maintenance important?

While routine boiler servicing is important, it doesn't replace the need to keep an eye on your central heating systems all year round to ensure they're running safely and efficiently.

Maintaining your boiler is essential to keep it up and running, but there are other benefits to regularly checking your boiler:

  1. Firstly, a boiler that is running smoothly will save you money. When your boiler is functioning optimally, it's more efficient and doesn't have to work twice as hard to produce heat. It can also save you from needing expensive repairs or replacements further down the road. So be sure to check it regularly.
  2. Boiler maintenance is also important for reducing the risk of it failing or breaking down. It can extend the life of your unit and ensure you're getting the most out of your system.
  3. Lastly, looking after your boiler can help to reduce the risk of health hazards. Gas appliances like boilers can be dangerous when they aren't properly serviced or maintained. And most boilers produce carbon monoxide as a by-product of their standard functions. When there is a leak, it can pose a threat to the health and safety of your household.

Of course, you can check your boiler from time to time to ensure it's working efficiently. Below, we've listed a few tips on keeping your unit in tip-top shape until you get your boiler serviced again.

What's involved in gas boiler maintenance?

Boiler servicing is a great way to keep your central heating system functioning at its best all year round, not just in the colder winter months!

But what happens when there is an emergency? Always call a Gas Safe registered engineer. This way you can be assured any work required will be completed in a safe and competent manner.

Knowing how to care for your boiler could mean the difference between a small service fee and a hefty boiler replacement cost!

Check the boiler pressure

If you have a sealed system or combination boiler, the first thing on your boiler maintenance checklist should always be checking your boiler's pressure. This pressure is measured in bars and should usually be between 1 - 1.5 bars. You can check this using the pressure gauge on your boiler.

If the boiler pressure is below 1 bar, it can cause your gas boiler to stop working or malfunction. This happens because the low pressure will prevent water from circulating correctly through your system, sometimes leading to serious damage. Or the boiler's internal safety devices will kick in, again stopping the boiler from working and therefore keeping you and it safe from any harm.

Low boiler pressure can also lead to air locks which can prevent your boiler from working properly. To fix this problem, you'll need to add more water to the system via the filling loop and bleed any excess air from the system via radiators if required.

In some cases, the pressure may also be too high. When this happens, you may need to bleed your radiators to release some of the pressure, or more commonly, it could indicate a fault with your appliance and or system. Again, if this persists, contact a Gas Safe registered engineer. High pressure can cause damage to your boiler and heating system by placing strain on some of the components, like water sections within appliances and the boiler pump.

Check for water leaks

Boiler leaks can cause serious damage to your heating system and your property, so checking for potential water leaks is an important step in maintaining your boiler.

Water leaks can happen almost anywhere on your boiler, including the pipes, fittings, and valves. If these leaks are left alone, they can damage some of the electrical components of your boiler and can wreak havoc on your floors.

So, when you're doing your routine maintenance check, be sure to check under and around your boiler for any puddles of water or condensation. If you notice any signs of water leaks, you'll need to act quickly to prevent your boiler from breaking down. Again the best course of action would be to get in touch with a Gas Safe registered engineer as soon as possible.

Check your condensate pipe

Never heard of a condensate pipe before? Don't worry! The condensate pipe is the plastic pipe that carries condensation that is produced by a condensing boiler to a drain outside of your home. This condensation builds up as a result of the heat exchanger while the boiler is on and is a normal part of the heating process.

A blocked pipe will prevent the condensation from draining away, leading to a buildup in the heat exchanger. Over time, this will cause your boiler to stop working and potentially water log and damage internal parts of your boiler.

You can usually find the condensate pipe outside of your property, near where the boiler is installed. If you notice a blockage, you'll need to contact a professional from the Gas Safe Register as soon as possible.

Listen out for unusual sounds

Strange sounds coming from your boiler parts are never a good sign, so definitely worth listening out for as part of your routine boiler maintenance.

Banging, clanging, whistling or kettling are usually cause for concern. Generally, banging or clanging can indicate that there's a problem with the water circulation through your heat exchanger within the boiler. This could indicate low water levels in the appliance, a faulty pump or even a blockage within the boiler or system. A hissing sound can indicate a water or gas leak, so be sure to listen out for this too, and call a Gas Safe registered engineer if you notice one.

Bleed your radiators

Bleeding your radiators is an important part of boiler maintenance because it can help to ensure that your system is running efficiently. Radiators can often become air-locked, which means that air becomes trapped in the top of them. When this happens, it prevents hot water from circulating properly and heating the entire radiator which in turn means the radiators won't produce as much heat to convect or radiate into the room that it is situated in.

You can usually tell whether you need to bleed your radiators when they are cold at the top or don't heat up at all. Luckily, bleeding them is quick and easy and will allow all the trapped air to escape.

It's important to note that when your radiators are blocked or not heating, your system (including your boiler) will work even harder to heat up. That means you could end up paying a lot more for your energy bills. So be sure to check your radiators often and include this step in your boiler maintenance schedule.

Check out our complete guide on bleeding your radiators to ensure you’re completing this task correctly. 

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Final thoughts

From checking for leaks, to bleeding radiators and inspecting the condensate pipe, maintaining your boiler may sound like a chore but it isit's better than having to replace your entire system.

Knowing how to check and maintain your boiler can help you to save money and prolong the life of your central heating, meaning you can stay warm and toasty all the time.

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