Is your boiler ready for winter?

With winter just around the corner, your heating system is about to become the most invaluable part of your home. It’s probably had a nice break for the last few months, so how do you make sure it’s ready for action?

1. Seeing the signs

There are some simple visual checks you can do to see if everything’s okay. Look at your boiler. The flame in the window should be blue, and strong. If the flame looks yellow, or tinged with smoke, you should call out an engineer right away. Any signs of soot, or banging noises from the boiler itself are an indicator that something is very wrong and requires immediate attention.

2. Get your boiler serviced

A reputable Gas Safe registered heating engineer will be able to check over all the key parts of your boiler and heating system to make sure that they’re all in good working order. They can safely disassemble and clean the components, and let you know which might need replacing to keep the boiler ticking over. Remember that a faulty boiler can be a real danger to your health by emitting carbon monoxide, so having a carbon monoxide detector is absolutely essential. Test it regularly, because it could save your life.

3. Bleed your radiators

It sounds gruesome, but there’s no blood involved. The next time your radiators are on, put your hand at the top, and compare it to the temperature at the bottom of the radiator. If the top is colder than the bottom, you have air trapped in the system, which is stopping the radiator from heating up properly. If you’ve not got a radiator key, you can pick one up for a few pounds from a DIY shop. Simply pop it into the valve at the top, rotate it 90 degrees and wait. You should hear the air being released. When the air stops, and water starts to appear, you’ve got rid of all the air. Rotate the key back to the starting position to lock the valve shut.

4. Feel the pressure

Over time, your boiler can lose pressure. This will make it inefficient, but don’t worry – this is easily remedied. Your boiler’s manual will have instructions on what the pressure should be, and how to adjust it if your pressure is too low.

5. Pipe dreams

If you have pipes on the outside of your house, they’re open to the elements. When the temperature goes below zero, it’s possible that the pipes might freeze, causing your boiler to cut out. A quick fix is to pour hot water over them, but it’s much easier to buy purpose made lagging for your pipes to insulate them.