October 25, 2020

How to Get Your Boiler Ready for Winter

When preparing for winter, taking steps to ensure your boiler is ready may be the last thing you consider.

How to Get Your Boiler Ready for Winter

When preparing for winter, taking steps to ensure your boiler is ready may be the last thing you consider.

In fact, most people don’t even notice their boilers are there until they break down and they are left without heating and hot water.

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Luckily in the UK, we experience milder weather throughout the year, so a broken boiler is just an inconvenience, however, having a broken boiler in the winter months becomes more than just an annoyance.

A cold house with no access to hot water could be incredibly serious for the elderly, the young and the vulnerable, and potentially even life threatening if the temperature drops dramatically.

This is why it is vital to be prepared. The sooner you do it, the better. Mid autumn time is the best time to start checking your boiler, particularly if you require an engineer to come out as they’re well sought after during the colder months.

Below are some helpful tips for getting your boiler ready for winter:

Test Your Boiler

Running your boiler for a few hours before the cold weather arrives will enable you to check that it is working properly.

This then gives you enough time to get it checked out and fixed before winter if there is a problem.

How Do I Test My Boiler?

Turn off your boiler by setting the thermostat to 0ºC. Once your radiators are cool, switch your boiler back on, making sure your hot water is turned off.

Wait for the boiler to fire up. After 5-10 minutes, feel the tops and bottoms of your radiators to see if they have warmed up evenly.

If your radiator has cold spots, you may need to bleed it. Read further on to find out how to do this!

Also make sure to check for any unfamiliar stains or smells on/from the boiler, and a pilot light that is yellow or frequently blows out, as this may be a sign of a carbon monoxide leak which can be fatal and needs to be addressed as soon as possible.

Bleed Your Radiators

When people don’t turn on their heating for long periods of time such as during summer, air bubbles can begin to form, and may get trapped inside your radiators radiators.

Because the bubbles rise, the air then accumulates at the top of the radiator, making it gradually become cooler and less effective.

Bleed Your Radiators
How Do I Bleed My Radiator?

Start by turning your heating on to check your radiators for cold spots. If your radiator is cold at the top, turn off your central heating and wait for them to cool down.

Once cool, locate the bleed valve and loosen the bleed screw. Once the hissing stops and the trickle starts, re-tighten the valve.

If your radiators are cold at the bottom, this is likely as a result of a build up of 'radiator sludge.' Whilst it is possible to clean them yourself, it’s usually better to get this done by a professional who can clean them properly or perform a powerflush.

Check Your Boiler Pressure

A boiler with less pressure is less efficient. It’s quick and simple to top up the pressure and instruction on how to do so can usually be found in the manufacturers guide.

We have also produced a comprehensive guide of what to do if your boiler loses pressure.

Boiler Pressurre
How Do I Top Up My Boiler Pressure?

First of all, make sure you check the manual to get model-specific information about each valve, as well as determining whether you're using a combi boiler or not.

Switch your boiler off completely, and then attach a filling loop from the mains. Open both major valves so that water can start leaking in - you're essentially flooding the system with water directly.

Once you reach your desired pressure (around 1.5 bar, in most cases), close the valves and turn the boiler back on, resetting it if necessary.

Prevent Your Pipes from Freezing

During winter, the water in your pipes can freeze. When water freezes, it expands, putting your pipes at risk of bursting, which would turn into an extremely expensive and complicated process to fix. Trust us, you want to avoid this!

Freezing Pipes

A simple way to prevent this is by defrosting your pipes by pouring warm (not boiling) water over them.

Service Your Boiler

The best way to ensure your boiler is well prepared for winter is by getting it serviced. Not to mention, most warranties only remain valid if you have your boiler serviced annually by a Gas Safe registered engineer.

A service also ensures that your boiler is running as efficiently as possible, which could help you to lower your heating bills, a win-win situation! If anything is in the early stages of failure or if something needs replacing, the engineer will spot these so any potential risks can be nipped in the bud early on.

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