5 tips to get your boiler ready for winter
Autumn is here once again which means many things – bright and beautiful coloured leaves filling our local streets and parks, fresh harvests of fruit and veg, and of course Halloween. Autumn does however, also mean shorter days and colder weather.
This means that it’s the time of the year that many UK homes start firing up their central heating again following summer warmth. These periods of inactivity can mean that our homes' boilers can start to develop faults, which could cause them to break down leaving you without any heating or hot water. This can be easily avoided however by taking a few steps…
Here’s everything you need to know about getting your boiler ready for winter.
1. Get it serviced
Getting your boiler serviced, ideally annually, is one of the best ways to avoid a major hot water or heating failure occurring. An accredited engineer will be able to check over the whole boiler for things such as air pressure, emissions and limescale build ups in the central heating pipes. It’s a little late now, but in the future, having your annual boiler service carried out in the warmer months when engineers are less in demand is a good idea to avoid having to wait for long.
2. Check your radiators
Once you know that your boiler is working in tip top condition its time to turn your attention to your radiators to ensure that they have no faults. Whack your heating up to full, and then one by one check that each radiator can get up to its maximum temperature before turning it down.
3. Bleed your radiators
From time to time, radiators will need to be bled in order to keep them working at their maximum efficiency. This is an incredibly simple piece of maintenance that many homeowners put off. To check if a radiator needs to be bled turn it on and check if it is colder at the top than the bottom. If this is the case all you need to do to carry out this piece of maintenance, is:
- Place an old towel beneath the valve on your radiator
- Turn off your heating
- Use a radiator key to turn the valve anticlockwise by about a quarter of a turn
If the radiator was in need of bleeding it should start to hiss as trapped air escapes, once the hissing stops and water starts flowing out consistently, shut the valve by turning it clockwise back to the position it was in.
4. Check your pipes
Uninsulated pipes can freeze during cold spells which could cause your boiler to stop working. There are two solutions however to avoid this happening. Insulating your pipes will help to prevent them getting so cold that standing water freezes, alternatively you can leave your heating on all the time, at least on a low temperature when it's cold.
5. Get/check your carbon monoxide alarm
Carbon monoxide has no odour or taste, so leaks from your heating system can be difficult to detect. However, it can be potentially fatal if a huge amount leaks into your home or you're exposed to it for a long time. It’s therefore wise to install a carbon monoxide alarm to detect this gas for you. They are inexpensive as well as easy to install.