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Common Christmas boiler problems to keep an eye on!

Posted in News on Dec 15, 2016

Christmas may be the time for giving, but it’s also the least convenient time to have any kind of problem with your boiler! With kids flying around the house, the turkey in the oven and your grandparents sinking into that comfy armchair for a snooze - boiler issues are the last thing you’d like to even give a second thought to. Lucky for you, we’ve compiled our top 3 boiler problems to keep an eye on in the run up to Christmas, and also given you some useful tips to try and resolve them.

Frozen pipes

Now the key here depends if your boiler has a condensate pipe, which most modern boilers do. This pipe carries some of the energy and gases produced by the boiler and transports them to the external drain as they cool into a small amount of acidic water. 

The condensate pipe often freezes as it runs outside the home, and is such subject to the external temperatures, which at this time of year can easily get to below freezing. When this pipe freezes, it creates a blockage and causes the boiler to eventually shut down due to a build up of water within the system, which would otherwise cause it to flood.

To check if your boiler has a condensate pipe, look underneath your boiler at the pipes entering and exiting the boiler, if one of these pipes is about 20mm wide and plastic, the likelihood is, this is almost certainly your condensate pipe. Externally, you’ll notice this pipe runs to the drain. 

In more serious cases, we would always recommend calling us to take a look, but a simple method that often helps to thaw the frozen pipe is to pour some hot (not boiling) water around the lower area of the pipe from a watering can, or apply something warm such as a hot water bottle. 

Pressure loss

This is possibly the most common boiler problem we see all year round. To find out the optimum pressure for your boiler, it’s best to refer to the manual as this varies from model to model but in most cases should read around the ‘1’ bar. Usually, there’s very little to worry about, and the pressure will increase and maintain at this level following a manual pressure increase and regular bleeding of the radiators in and around your home.

More seriously, prolonged pressure loss that is not resolved by manually increasing the boiler’s pressure via the pressure gauge (again, your manual will be able to point you in the correct direction for this based on your exact make and model) will need to be investigated, as this could be a sign of a leak that will only worsen over time.

Cold radiators

The most common cause of having cold radiators is the result of excessive air within the radiator itself. This is easily rectified by ‘bleeding’ the radiator with a radiator key (if you don’t have one of these, they’re widely available for very little cost). You may find you need to manually increase the boiler pressure following a radiator bleed, which is perfectly normal! 

If bleeding the radiator and adjusting the boiler pressure hasn’t solved this problem, the issue could be down to a buildup of sludge within the system, which could require a system cleanse or radiator power flush to rectify and remove the dirt and grit. This is not a foolproof method by any means, and should only be conducted by your local plumbing and heating experts. 

If you’re noticing continued issues with your boiler and heating system, it’s best to give us a call to come and check it out - after all, nobody wants to be cold this Christmas!

Call Harris Heating today, your local 24-hour plumbing and heating experts in and around the Leeds and West Yorkshire area on 0800 130 3007 or email!