Boilers are vital in every home or establishment’s central heating system. It is used in the process of making hot water and heating open spaces in buildings and homes. Most of us also know that boilers only use one of the following as a heat source:
- Natural Gas
- Heating Oil
Due to this, we are often discouraged from conducting or performing any boiler repair, maintenance or installation jobs ourselves. Instead, we are urged to call a local plumber who is both experienced and, most likely, qualified or accredited to perform such tasks. After all, you don’t want to deal much more damage, do you?
However, in the present, where interacting with people who live outside our household, whether they be strangers or people you know, is considered a health risk, it pays to have a bit of knowledge in fixing and maintaining our boiler units.
Here are the top 4 DIY boiler fixes every homeowner should know.
Bleeding A Radiator
Think your central heating system isn’t performing as well as it should? If so, you may find bleeding your radiator helpful or better yet it may solve the issue altogether. However, even if that’s not the case, bleeding your radiator regularly would be beneficial in keeping your home warm and cosy.
All you have to do is turn off your hot water and central heating, and wait until the radiator cools down. Afterwards, place a dry cloth underneath the radiator to make sure you do not damage your carpet or flooring.
Afterwards, find a radiator bleed key, which you can easily purchase at a DIY or hardware store. Find the bleed screw at the top of the radiator and insert the bleed key. Slowly turn it anticlockwise, but do not remove the screw completely.
You will then hear a hissing noise. Wait until this stops, and you’ll start to see some water coming out of the bleed screw. Tighten the bleed screw, but make sure not to over tighten it. Do this for all the radiators in your home, and if you have a combination or combi boiler, check the pressure gauge on it to figure out if you will need to repressurise your boiler.
Repressurising Your Boiler
Often caused by a leak in your boiler system, a faulty pressure valve, or a recently bled radiator, low boiler pressure almost always causes a home or building to lose heating or hot water, and nobody wants that!
If your built-in pressure gauge is indicating that your boiler pressure is below 1, the first thing you will have to do is check for its probable cause. If you find a visible leak, you may have to call in a Gas Safe engineer to help you out. Meanwhile, if there are no visible leaks or if you recently bled your radiator, then all you have to do is repressurise your boiler.
Fortunately, pressurising a boiler is not as difficult as it seems. All you have to do is make sure the boiler is turned off, find its filling loop, and turn on the valves that will have water filling up the system. This should help the pressure go back up. Once the pressure gauge indicates that the pressure has reached 1.5, close the valves and turn the boiler back on.
If the issue persists, call an expert to help you sort the problem out.
Thawing Out Frozen Condensate Pipes
This is a very common issue, especially in colder seasons. The condensate pipe transports condensation from your boiler to your outside drain. The cold may cause the condensation to freeze, thus creating a blockage in your pipes.
Such blockages may cause the condensation to back up into the boiler and cause it to malfunction, which is why clearing the condensate pipe of blockages is essential.
So, if you suspect that your condensate pipe is frozen, here are a few steps you should follow to thaw it out.
- Confirm if the pipe is indeed frozen. Gurgling or bubbling sounds from the boiler or condensate pipe are indicators of a frozen pipe. You may also find a warning light or a fault code on the boiler’s display.
- Try locating the blockage. This could either be on the open end of the pipe or at a bend. Run your hands over the pipe until you find a section that feels colder than the rest of the pipe.
- Pour hot (not boiling) water along the length of the pipe, and repeat this step until the pipe has thawed.
- You may also drape a towel around the pipe that was soaked in boiling water. While this may take longer, pouring hot water directly might affect the integrity of your pipes
- When the frozen section has been melted or cleared, reset your boiler.
Resetting Your Boiler
Is your boiler not turning on or showing an error code? You may be experiencing lockout. Fortunately, boiler lockouts are often caused by the issues mentioned above.
Once you have addressed the issue that could have probably caused the boiler lockout, all you have to do is find the boiler’s reset button.
To find the reset button, refer to your boiler’s manual. Push the reset button for ten seconds. Wait a few minutes, and then check if the boiler has ignited, the error code has disappeared, or you see a green light.
If your boiler does not reset, you may have to contact a qualified plumbing engineer. At the same time, if you notice that your boiler constantly needs resetting, you may have to either call in an expert or worse, consider installing a new one.