10 Most Common Boiler Related Faults

Posted By Lobitech Solutions Lobitech on 28-10-2021 22:32:24

10 Most Common Boiler Related Faults

Description


A boiler fault occurring is never an ideal situation, and there's nothing more inconvenient than not having access to the heat and hot water you need for your house. No matter which fault you are facing, there is always something you can do to see if you can repair the fault yourself.

Below is a compiled list of some of the most common boiler faults and explains the causes, varying from boiler leaks to your heating being in bad condition. Our boiler tips will give you an idea of where to start so you can figure out how best to get your combi, heat-only, or system boiler back up and operational again.


Table Of Contents

  1. The Boiler Is Leaking
  2. The Boiler Has Low Pressure
  3. No Heating Or Hot Water
  4. Frozen Condensate Pipe
  5. Different Types Of Radiator Faults
  6. Boiler Not Responding To The Thermostat
  7. Weird Noises Coming From Your Boiler
  8. Boiler Pilot Light Keeps Switching Off
  9. The Boiler Won't Turn On Due To No Power
  10. The Boiler Has Broken Down

The Boiler Is Leaking

A boiler leak generally results from a malfunctioning internal component, such as a pressure valve or pump seal. If the leak is coming from your pressure relief valve, your system's pressure has most likely risen too high.

A system running at too high a pressure can cause the pressure valves to open and release built-up air and steam. If you notice water near the boiler or leaking onto the floor for any time, shut off the power immediately and call in a professional. There could be severe damage to internal components.

Keep in mind that corrosion can cause a leak around your system's pipes. There might be a deeper issue with how your heating system was installed in place. We propose that you contact a professional engineer for assistance in determining and correcting the problem.

If the leak results from a severe defect, your engineer may advise you to replace your boiler.

Our Top Tip - If the leak is due to a worn-out pump seal, the seal will need to be replaced and if something, anybody can perform if they are comfortable.

The Boiler Has Low Pressure

The built-in pressure meter on most boilers can usually be used to determine whether the pressure is enough. Your boiler's pressure should ideally be set at 1.5 bars, and if it is lower than that, your boiler will not operate properly.

If the boiler pressure is too low, there is a leak in the system, recently bled radiators, or a faulty component or seal. To fix the low-pressure fault, you need to turn up the pressure manually. Your boiler booklet might not say how much to increase it, but a general rule is to set the pressure at about one bar higher than whatever your boiler has now.

For example, if you currently have a 0.5 bar setting, try 1.5 bars instead.

If the low pressure isn't caused by a lack of hot water in the system, there could be an obstruction in one of your vents or airway passages that needs to be removed. In addition, corrosion can build up inside these parts and reduce their airflow capabilities. If this is the case, call a qualified Gas Safe registered engineer who will be able to restore your boiler and heating to their proper operating condition.

To determine if there is a leak, look for visible signs of one, but don't attempt to take the casing off the boiler. If you detect a leak, we recommend that you contact a qualified Gas Safe registered engineer. However, if you can't find a leak, consider repressurising a boiler manually and checking for leaks again, only doing so if you feel comfortable.

Our Top Tip - To increase the pressure in the boiler manually, look for a white lever or knob under the boiler, turn it slowly to open and the pressure to increase.

No Heating Or Hot Water

Naturally, it is highly inconvenient when your boiler stops working as intended to provide heating and hot water to your property. This problem might be caused by faulty motorised valves, cracked system diaphragms and airlocks, insufficient pressure, or a broken thermostat.

The lack of central heating could mean that there are problems with the gas supply or water pressure. If the main pump or programmer is faulty, then you will not get any heating either. If there's no hot water while using other appliances, e.g., washing machine, dishwasher etc., then the immersion heater element needs replacing too.

It is highly advised that if these things can't fix your problem, contact a local gas engineer for help immediately. Again, if the meter reading is lower than 1, the boiler will need repressurising.

Our Top Tip - If your thermostat is the source of your intermittent heating and hot water, consult the device's manufacturer's handbook for a possible fix. If you can't locate one, we recommend that you contact your manufacturer for assistance.

However, if none of these work, get in touch with a professional engineer. A broken motorised valve or faulty diaphragm will need further assistance from a qualified Gas Safe registered engineer because faults like these demand skilled attention.

A Frozen Condensate Pipe

This problem is quite typical, particularly during the winter months or cold periods. The condensate from your boiler is carried via your boiler's condensate pipe to an outside drain. The condensate can freeze during periods of cold weather, causing a blockage to occur. A common fault in homes where the condensate pipe is located outside or unheated is a garage. Fortunately, you should be able to correct this issue quickly and simply by yourself.

If this issue occurs, you should arrange for your system's condensate pipe to be thawed; keep in mind that this must happen before operating the boiler again. This fault might cause the condensate to feedback into the boiler, breaking down the system and shorting the electrics due to water entering the boiler.

Our Top Tip - Fitting a lagging or insulating pipe can be a long-term solution for this type of fault.

Different Types Of Radiator Faults

Cold patches and other issues are typically the consequence of air or sludge accumulation inside radiators, which causes uneven heat distribution. Finding cold spots in various locations can indicate multiple underlying issues. It would need a proper inspection and potential cleaning from a qualified Gas Safe registered engineer to attend and carry out the works required.

Additionally, if the boiler isn't getting hot enough, your radiators will not heat up as quickly. As usual, inspect the areas above the radiator for any discolouration on paint or wallpaper, indicating potential leaks. 

Our Top Tip - Many radiator faults can be resolved by bleeding the radiator, a simple task that anyone in your home can perform.

Look for a pipe covered and a cap with a handle behind the radiator to see if the system has been bled recently. If so, use this to bleed the radiator until water flows from it. If water doesn't flow, there is either no air inside the system or a leak.

Boiler Not Responding To The Thermostat

If the clocks have moved forward or backwards in the past few days, you should double-check that the device is set to the correct time. If your boiler refuses to respond to your thermostat, the controls may be damaged or too old and will need to be replaced with more up to date heating controls.

However, you should perform a few checks before deciding whether or not the boiler should be condemned or deemed economically unrepairable and in need of urgently replacing. It may not be receiving power from the boiler, which could be due to a blown a fuse or tripped circuit breaker.

If you cannot turn on your heating system, it is best to shut off the fuel supply completely before performing any of these tests. You could also try moving the device closer to the boiler and seeing any interference, which might be causing a problem.

Our Top Tip - If the fault with your thermostat persists, consult the instruction booklet for other suggestions or contact the manufacturer for live assistance.

Weird Noises Coming From Your Boiler

It's typical for your boiler to make some noise while it's in operation, especially if it's starting up. Air in the system, a failing pump, low water pressure, or even a buildup of limescale known as "kettling" can all produce strange boiler noises.

However, suppose your boiler abruptly starts to make unusual gurgling, banging or whistling noises. In that case, we recommend contacting a qualified Gas Safe engineer, especially if you hear a loud bang or start seeing smoke come out of the boiler casing.

Additionally, if your boiler begins to sound a little strange, it could signify that air has become trapped in the system. More often than not, this problem occurs when you first purchase the boiler or due to other circumstances such as an expansion vessel failing.

Our Top Tip - To frequently go through these common faults, and generally checking on your boiler unit can help prevent unusual noises from happening.

The Pilot Light Keeps Switching Off

A permanent pilot light may be present in your boiler, which must stay lit to light the larger burner within the boiler. If this light continues to go out, the thermocouple may be defective, cutting off the gas supply. There may be a deposit accumulation or a draught that's blowing the light out instead.

If the fault persists, we recommend contacting a qualified Gas Safe registered engineer to help solve this issue for you. Additionally, a pilot light that flickers but does not remain lit for long could result from insufficient oxygen, excess gas pressure, or combustion air.

If your system is equipped with an open flame safety device, this may override the pilot light and keep it from lighting correctly. You can test this by turning off the gas supply to your boiler and watching if the pilot stays lit. If it goes out, you need to replace your safety device.

Pilot lights in an older boiler are more likely to go out than a modern one since modern systems aren't built with pilot lights and ignite electronically. If your pilot light persists in being faulty, it's probably time to replace the boiler.

Our Top Tip - If you're confident enough, you may attempt to rekindle the pilot light yourself, and please ensure to follow any instructions in your boiler booklet. If you're not sure if it's safe, make sure your gas stopcock is switched on, and there are no issues with your gas supply or other gas appliances before proceeding.

The Boiler Won't Turn On Due To No Power

If your boiler does not turn on, check other appliances and sources of electricity in your house to ensure they are operating. If they are operating perfectly fine, check your fuse box for any fuses that have blown or tripped. If you still cannot find the cause, we recommend contacting a qualified gas safe engineer.

Our Top Tip - If your boiler turns on but keeps going off, the pressure might be too low and may need to be manually topped up or a blockage inhibiting the system.

Otherwise, you would need to check your boiler's pressure meter and repressurise it if the meter reads below 1 or it will not function properly.  If you don't know how to do it yourself or are not confident enough, don't hesitate to contact a local qualified Gas Safe registered engineer to resolve the issue.

The Boiler Has Broken Down

All of the above faults, if left unattended, can eventually lead to a total boiler breakdown. If that's the case, you should contact a qualified Gas Safe registered engineer as soon as possible. Understand that age and inefficiencies can also cause boilers to break down beyond repair.

If your boiler is old and inefficient, we recommend replacing it with a modern system to ensure you receive the heating and hot water you require. There are many ways to improve your home's energy efficiency, and a new modern and energy-efficient boiler will save you money on your energy bills long term.

Our Top Tip – If you have a regular/heat-only boiler, you may have access to a backup immersion heater that could provide you with hot water temporarily.

It is crucial to remember that you should only perform simple checks on your boiler with minimum risk. Do not attempt to fix the fault yourself, as this could be extremely dangerous if you don't know what you are doing. If that is the case, contact a qualified gas engineer to pay a visit and inspect your broken boiler.


Tags: boiler tips, boiler faults, worcester boiler faults, vaillant boiler faults codes, vaillant boiler faults, ideal boiler faults, main boiler faults, baxi boiler faults, common boiler faults

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  1. MvuleTree
    Helpful tips on common boiler faults

    This article is simple and well written and easy to understand and follow on troubleshooting common bailer problems. Thank you and keep up.

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