When the boiler breaks down, it's a stressful time for everyone in the house. It's always when you need it the most that something goes wrong, leaving you irritated and anxious to get things corrected as soon as possible. However, it can be all too easy to call a gas safe engineer at the earliest notice. You know you have to get your boiler fixed, but rushing in without checking some vital points could lead to you picking the wrong engineer or putting yourself at risk of more expensive problems further down the line.
If you don't know what needs doing, how can you tell who is best placed to do it? Use our 8 point checklist before calling a gas safe registered engineer, and you won't regret it, but first ask yourself, does my boiler need repairing? Before getting any quotes from engineers, check if your boiler really does need repairing or whether it's just broken temporarily by trying to fix it yourself.
While not having hot water may be inconvenient, keeping a level head and performing these essential inspections before calling an expert is advised. When you are in a hurry, some of the most straightforward solutions may go unnoticed and could be fixed in minutes without needing an engineer to come out. So, before calling a gas engineer, take a few minutes to examine the following checklist. If you perform these 8 fast boiler inspections, you may save a lot of time and effort.
Table Of Contents
Although it may appear obvious to check the power supply in the middle of a crisis, many individuals overlook this step. You should check the main circuit breaker or fuse since it may have tripped and reset manually. It would be best to double-check to make sure your electricity is still working by checking out other electrical equipment in the home.
If none of them is, there's a problem with your energy source, and you'll need to contact your provider. If the power supply is back, but your gas boiler has stopped working, you'll need to check out the thermostat and wiring.
Before calling a Gas Safe engineer, it's a good idea to check that what you smell isn't due to a faulty appliance or something else entirely. For example, cooking smells, smoke from open fires, and strong-smelling cleaning products can all impact. You should also pay attention to and be worth checking your appliances to ensure that none of them has been left running, which gas appliances are switched on as you might smell Gas if one of them has been left on accidentally.
Especially the oven or hob; in this case, switch off the appliance and call a Gas Safe engineer right away. It might not be Gas if you smell Gas; check if it is a rotten egg smell. This can mean there's a buildup of sulphur in the drains, so that it could be due to something other than Gas, for example, a blocked drain or broken septic tank.
The smell of sulphur in your water supply the sewerage system works along with the water supply system, and usually, any blockages are found via problems with the drainage system. So, do not automatically assume it is from the gas supply as a qualified plumbing engineer would first check out the likely source before calling out a Gas Safe engineer to inspect the cause of the smelly odour further.
Annual Gas Safety Certificate (AGSC)
The Annual Gas Safety Certificate (AGSC) gives an engineer permission to work on your appliance and ensures that they're qualified and competent enough to carry out such services. If you've never had an annual service carried out by a Gas registered company, you'll need to have a new one fitted.
When the Gas is on, the most common reason for the lack of heat from your boiler is that it's not firing up correctly. In this case, you'll need to let the system fire up fully and then repeat the tests above to see if it fires up with no problems or whether there are still some issues with your system. If the problem persists, call our Gas Safe registered engineer. A Gas Safe registered engineer will quickly determine why your boiler isn't working and ensure that it's safe to use.
The Pilot Light
If your boiler is an older type with a pilot light, check whether the pilot light is on. If it doesn't work, follow the manufacturer's instructions or consult our guide on how to relight a pilot light if you're having trouble. If your boiler is a recent design without a pilot light, you might wish to try pressing the deblocking button in an attempt to reignite the burner.
Pressing the deblocking button will not restart the system if the gas pressure is insufficient. When has the minimum pressure been reached? All boilers of this type will reignite automatically when the minimum pressure is restored. The gas pressure will increase when you open a hot water tap, try this test to see if your boiler is working. If you don't have a hot water tank or can't afford to run a hot water tap for a few minutes, use a bucket and fill it with boiling water from the kettle instead.
Make sure that the deblocking button on your boiler isn't stuck in its 'pressed' position. This may be due to limescale build up over time or sticking due to dirty compressed air filters. You can free them by using filtered compressed air but make sure not to blow directly onto the motor as this may damage it.
A sediment trap is designed to prevent deposits in your boiler system. It must be removed every year for cleaning, so ask a Gas Safe Engineer if you're unsure or have never done this before. As far as the gas pressure is concerned, it should be set at the factory but could have increased over time because of increased use within your home.
Boiler Controls (Plus Thermostats)
Check to see whether there are any abnormalities with your boiler's settings and controls. If you have a timer, make sure it is set correctly and goes off at the appropriate times. If the oven does not come on, there may be an issue with the timer or power source.
Examine the thermostat to ensure that it is set correctly.
Adjust the thermostat's temperature setting to a higher number, as the boiler will only come on when the room thermostat is greater than the boiler's minimum operating temperature. Also, think about the age of your thermostat. They can become less accurate with time, and they may need to be replaced. If there is a knob on the side of the thermostat, turn it in an anti-clockwise direction.
If you do not have a timer or thermostat, check to see whether the boiler has power. If not, then there may be no gas getting into your boiler. Other factors could cause this problem, but they all require more technical knowledge than checking for power and voltage drop. If your boiler is dead, you'll probably need to get the heating on for a while before calling an engineer.
To try getting the boiler back on without any specific tools, press your boiler reset button, usually located at the bottom of your current model and wait for it to start up again. Be patient with some models that take more time than others. When testing your thermostat, ensure that the 'off' position is turned off entirely rather than just turned down low.
If possible, turn on every heating zone in the house to test all thermostats simultaneously. If you find one or two zones are still not heating up properly after adjusting each thermostat, the problem could be a faulty thermostat or a dirty filter.
Please remember that you should not have to remove an access panel to find the reset button. A Reset button is a small, red reset switch found on the other side of the pressure gauge. Occasionally, the numerous safety devices in a boiler may be tripped, requiring that your boiler is reset.
To reset the pressure, turn off your central heating system by pressing the reset button, which is generally on the boiler's front. If you're unsure where your reset button is, check the manufacturer's instructions. If you need to reset the boiler, turn the central heating system back on and check that it is working. Press this button to clear an alarm should the boiler error light illuminate.
If you have just installed your new boiler, you may use the reset button as part of the initial start-up procedure. Please do not press it any other time as doing so could cause severe damage to your heating system. To avoid error lights from being activated in future, check all dials and functions before turning on your power supply switch for your heating system. As a safety measure, please turn off your heating system again within half an hour of turning it on.
If you don't know how to do this, call a Gas Safe engineer to undertake this task for you. We recommend there needs to be at least one person in your household who can carry out essential safety inspections and safely restart your boiler should the need arise.
A Common Myth About Reset Buttons: No need to continually press and release the reset button: it is only used to clear alarms and has nothing to do with starting or running your boiler. If the boiler has failed and needs repair, pressing the reset button will not start working again after switching the power back on.
When a boiler is operated at notably low pressure, it can cause the boiler to run at a lower capacity than expected. Check the pressure gauge, which should read 1 bar when the boiler is cold. Many boilers will not restart if the pressure is low for safety concerns, and the deblocking button will not function to reignite them.
To address the problem of low pressure, you may use the filling loop to top up the system with more water. This is a straightforward procedure that you can complete on your own if you have a flexible filling loop, or you may choose to hire someone to help. Hiring a gas safe engineer may be necessary if your boiler pressure is highest but still low.
When the weather is cold, your boiler's condensate pipe may freeze, causing a blockage and shutting down the boiler. If the condensate pipe is frozen, an error code or a caution light might appear on your boiler's display. The boiler instruction manual will explain a gurgling or bubbling sound coming from the condensate pipe, or the boiler itself may indicate a blockage in the system.
If the condensate pipe is frozen, it will need to be defrosted as quickly as possible, ideally by a professional; however, it is very straightforward if you know what to do. It will prevent hot water from being supplied to your property. In some cases, you may have a slow drip from the drain, evidenced by the presence of puddles in low-lying areas around the boiler.
You can clear this blockage by pouring boiling water down the drainpipe. If this does not resolve the issue, you might need a professional to help with more extensive blockages caused by sludge buildup. When taking on this job yourself, consider a few safety precautions: Please make sure you wear rubber boots so that no hot water comes into contact with your feet while being drained away from the boiler. Don't forget about safety goggles.
You may be having an issue with your radiator valves rather than the boiler, so test changing your radiator valves to see if you can get them to heat up. To replace the setting on a standard lockshield valve, you'll need to remove the clear plastic cover and use the right tool from a DIY store or a hardware shop. A thermostatic valve, on the other hand, can be adjusted to any setting. If you don't notice a temperature change after adjusting the radiator valves, they may be faulty and need to be replaced by a professional.
If you have a room thermostat, check if the radiator thermostat is set to "on". This should be the last setting and will allow for a greater temperature range. If it's not in this setting, your room may not be as warm as it could be.
When your boiler isn't working, it's essential to take a few minutes and do a few quick boiler inspections before calling in the gas safe engineer. These are 8 of the most common things that can go wrong with boilers, so if you're experiencing any issues at all, having this list handy should help you diagnose the problem quickly!
The power supply could be out; the first is to ensure that power goes into the boiler by checking if any lights are on or flickering inside. Next, check for gas supply by releasing the pressure valve at least once every day during these colder months and constantly turning it off as there might not be enough fuel for your burner. You should also check the pilot light regularly for strength with either a match or lighter don't forget to change its filter, too; there may also be an issue with water pressure!
The boiler temperature controls can often need resetting after changing air vents, installing new radiators etc., so try unplugging them before plugging back in again. Finally, check whether there is condensate building up in the condensate pipe as these factors will affect how well your heating works. If none of our fast boiler checklists has helped, we recommend getting in touch with one of our expert engineers who can give you peace of mind by inspecting and repairing your boiler as necessary.
If you've gone through all of the above inspections and none of the 8 fast boiler checklists has helped or worked, we recommend getting in touch with a qualified gas safe engineer. An engineer will be able to give you peace of mind by inspecting and repairing your boiler as your boiler may be having some other type of trouble if it isn't up and running yet; it's time to call in a Gas Safe engineer to visit and visit your boiler.
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