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Last updated: 17th January, 2024


Combi Boilers For Winter 2024

Combi Boilers For Winter 2024

As the temperature starts to drop and winter approaches, now is the time to ensure your home is prepared for the colder months.

One of the most important things to think about is your heating system. Is your boiler functioning effectively and efficiently?

Is the pressure correct? Have you bled your radiators? In this guide, we’ll be explaining how you can ensure your combi boiler and heating system is ready for winter.

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Getting Your Combi Boiler Ready for Winter

Be Proactive - Test Out Your Boiler Early On

Giving your boiler a quick run to test that it is working properly can ensure any issues are spotted early on and can be repaired before they become a more serious, and costly, problem.

It’s worth noting that now is the time to test your boiler as engineers tend to be fully booked all throughout winter, so if any problems do arise, you’ll want to get them sorted soon instead of being stuck without heating and hot water when you need them most.

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How to Test Your Boiler

Set your thermostat to a temperature a few degrees above the current temperature in your home- 22ºC for example. Wait for the boiler to fire up. After 5-10 minutes, feel the tops and bottoms of your radiators to make sure they have warmed up evenly.

Things to look out for:

- If you notice any cold spots on your radiators, you may need to bleed them. Find out how to bleed your radiators here.

- Check for any unfamiliar stains or smells on/around your boiler and make sure the pilot light is blue. If you notice any unusual stains or smells, a yellow flame, or a flame that frequently blows out, this may be a sign of carbon monoxide leak. This can be fatal and must be addressed as soon as possible by calling the Gas Emergency Line immediately on 0800 111 999.

- Make sure your boiler pressure is correct as a boiler with less pressure is less efficient and a boiler with pressure too high can break down. It’s quick and easy to top up or lower your pressure and most manufacturer’s manuals have instructions on how to do this for your individual boiler model.

- Check your pipes. Walk around your home and check for any leaks where your pipes are. If you notice a leak, make sure to call out a Gas Safe registered engineer. Also it may be prudent to check for a frozen condensate pipe. Many modern boilers are equipped with built in anti-frost protection but if not, having your pipes insulated by a qualified engineer could save you money this winter.

- Check the thermostat. A faulty thermostat could be providing incorrect readings or failing to signal the boiler, causing inefficient and frivolous temperature regulation. Alternatively a smart thermostat may be having trouble making or maintaining a remote connection to your boiler, rendering the functionality impaired.

Have Your Boiler Serviced

The very best way to ensure your boiler is working properly and prepared for winter is to get it serviced by a Gas Safe registered engineer. This also makes sure your boiler is running as efficiently as possible, helping to keep your heating bills low. Not to mention, most boiler warranties require that you get your boiler serviced annually, otherwise it may become void.

An engineer can also detect any small issues early on and fix them before they become more serious.

How A New Boiler Can Help

If your boiler is over 15 years old and you have noticed your energy bills rapidly increasing, it may be time to consider purchasing a new boiler. This is because an old and inefficient boiler can end up costing you up to £380 a year more in energy costs compared to a brand new A-rated efficient combi boiler.

Age of Boiler

Efficiency Percentage

Efficiency Rating (ErP)

0+ Years

90% +


10+ Years

85% +


15+ Years

80% +


20+ Years

70% +


25+ Years

60% +


The direct correlation between a boiler's age and its efficiency is clear to see in the newer systems’ ErP. 

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New Boiler Costs

Boilers can be a daunting purchase for many people as they’re an appliance with a lot of responsibility, providing heat for you and your family is something you want to get right. Boilers aren’t exactly a quickly disposable item either, potentially lasting you a decade.

Boiler costs can be split into two segments: the first is the actual boiler itself (unit price), and the second is the cost of the boiler being installed (set up) in your property by an expert engineer. 

Here at iHeat, we want to remove all of this undue stress and make the decision making process of upgrading to a new central heating system, as easy as possible.

Boiler costs can vary depending on a number of factors including their brand, model, fuel, output, warranty, labour and installation type. Typically a new boiler will cost between £1,845 and £3,500, below is a list of average boiler installations offered by iHeat (guide only).

Installation Type

Price (inc VAT)

Combi to combi swap


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System to combi conversion


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New boiler install


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Back boiler to a combi


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System to system


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Frequently Asked Questions

What temperature should my combi boiler be set at in winter?

During winter, it is generally recommended to set your combi boiler's heating temperature between 18°C and 21°C. Higher temperatures may result in more energy consumption while lower temperatures could cause your home to be uncomfortably cold. Adjust the setting according to your comfort.

Does cold weather affect combi boilers?

Yes, cold weather can affect combi boilers. In extremely low temperatures, the water within the boiler's pipes may freeze, causing blockages or disruptions in hot water and heating supply. Proper insulation and regular maintenance can help minimise the impact of cold weather on your boiler system.

What temperature is too cold for a boiler?

Boilers are designed to work in various temperatures and conditions. However, issues can arise when the temperature drops below freezing (0°C). In these conditions, the pipes and condensate drains can freeze, leading to possible damage and inefficiencies. Boilers should ideally be installed in well-insulated, frost-protected spaces to avoid such problems.

Do combi boilers have a built-in frost protection?

Most modern combi boilers come with built-in frost protection systems. These systems monitor the temperature within the boiler and automatically activate the heating when it falls below a certain level, preventing freezing and potential damage. Check your boiler's manual to confirm whether it has this feature.

Do I need a cold water tank if I have a combi boiler?

No, you don't need a cold water tank if you have a combi boiler. Combi boilers are designed to be compact and space-efficient while being capable of providing hot water on demand directly from the mains supply. Having a cold water tank is unnecessary as they can heat water instantly when needed.

How do I stop my combi boiler condensate pipe from freezing?

To prevent the condensate pipe from freezing, ensure it is properly insulated, especially during colder months. Use weather-resistant pipe lagging or foam pipe insulation to wrap the pipe. Additionally, consider having a professional install a trace heating cable to maintain an above-freezing temperature around the pipe.

How do you defrost a condensate pipe on a combi boiler?

If the condensate pipe of your combi boiler is frozen, you can try gently applying a warm towel or hot water bottle to the affected area. Alternatively, you can pour warm (not boiling) water over the pipe to thaw the ice. Don't use open flames or boiling water as this could damage the pipe. If you're unable to defrost the pipe or are unsure about the process, seek assistance from a qualified professional.

Stephen Day profile photo
Article by
Stephen Day | Co-founder
Gas Safe registered and FGAS certified engineer with over 20 years experience in the heating and cooling industry.