As winter approaches, it is a good idea to prepare your boiler for those chilly winter months so that you can stay cosy despite the cold weather. While boilers are an asset to any home all year round, they become particularly handy as it gets colder and the rainy months arrive. Then more than ever, our central heating systems become one of the most important things in our homes. Since colder weather puts more strain on our central heating, it is also important to make sure everything is working in tip-top condition before the rain and snow set in.
Undeniably, as it gets cooler, our boilers’ begin to use more energy and to prepare your boiler becomes an important task. However, with the right safety and service checks, you can enhance its energy efficiency and ensure optimal functioning from summer through to winter.
So, if you have ever wondered how to prepare your boiler for winter, it’s time to read these five essential tips and make sure that you are equipped with the best knowledge for the job.
Get Your Annual Boiler Servicing In the Lead Up To Winter
One of the critical things that you can do to ensure that your boiler is adequately prepared for winter is to arrange your annual boiler service with a gas safe professional. By choosing an authorised and regulated service provider, you can ensure that your boiler is functioning at optimal levels. As a rule of thumb, plan this service a month or two before winter so that you can spot any potential issues and get them fixed before it gets too cold.
When you choose an engineer who is gas safe certified, you can rest assured that your boiler will be in great hands and offer reliable heat all winter long. By choosing a registered company and engineer, you can ensure that the job will get done properly and that all warrant agreements on your boiler are assured.
An annual service ultimately offers safety, savings, and peace of mind and can really enhance the lifespan of your system.
An annual boiler service is usually around £150 and £250 and usually entails:
- A visual inspection of all the boiler’s components.
- The removal, inspection, and cleaning of all of the significant boiler components.
- A thorough examination of all of the buttons and controls.
- An examination of the pipes and flue pipe which goes to the outside of your home. They will ensure that there are no obstructions to this pipe.
- An extensive check of all boiler parts, including the flame sense device, thermostat, pilot burner, heating controls, flue, wiring connections, insulation, gas and pressure gauge, boiler pressure, seals, and safety devices.
Check Your Radiators
The health of your radiators can tell you a lot about your central heating system, and checking them is an important step before winter arrives. To do this, you will want to turn on your central heating system and open all of your radiator valves to their highest heat. Once they have warmed up and the hot water is ciruclating, go through your home and check that all of your radiators are reaching the desired temperature. If you notice any cold patches on them or certain radiators are not working, they might need to be serviced too.
Before the technicians arrive, it’s always a good idea to highlight potential problems and flag them to the engineer. Radiator repairs can include a number of different services, depending on the situation. Some might need a simple valve replacement, and others might need a chemical or power flush because of a build-up of debris and rust.
You might also need to bleed your radiator, which simply means letting out any trapped air. To do this, you’ll need to turn off the central heating system and turn the valve anti-clockwise until the air is released. To be extra safe, pop a towel under the radiator to avoid any water spills. As central heating systems get older, it might become more necessary to bleed your radiators. Bleeding radiators can easily be done at home, however, a technician can always show you how to do this during the annual service if needed.
Check for Leaks and Cracks
Leaks and cracks can cause a lot of damage to your boiler and your pocket. Fixing leaks and cracks, especially if they are left for some time, can become a costly endeavor. This is why you need your boiler serviced regularly. An easy way to determine whether you have boiler leaks is to check for any damp around the heating system. You can also check the pipes directly and check for any dripping water. If you notice water coming from the pipes, you probably have a leak. These can either be fixed at home or by a professional, depending on your experience and penchant for DIY.
If you notice any wet patches or dampness around your radiator or the floor, it’s time to get the professionals in to fix those cracks before it gets icy. While it might seem expensive initially, maintaining your heating systems effectively will save you a lot of money in the long run in terms of boiler replacements and wasted energy. Rather fix a leak than an entire system!
Clean Up the Area around Your Boiler
Next up, you will want to clean the area around your heating system. As a rule of thumb, your boiler will operate at its very best in a well-ventilated area. As such, you will want to ensure that the area around it isn’t cluttered and full of dust. Since boilers are often located in garages and attics (those places that are notoriously filled to the brim and cluttered), this can become an all too common phenomenon. Unfortunately, excess of boxes or clothes could become flammable fire hazards and impact the effectiveness of the system. Before winter approaches, be sure to give the area a good clean and de-clutter. You will always want to get rid of any dust since this can creep into various components and hinder efficiency.
As such, you will need to ensure that the area around your boiler is clean and clear. This will enhance safety and allow your boiler to function in a reliable way all winter long. While doing this you can check the boiler insulation. Naturally, when you insulate your boiler efectively, it can better retain the heat and ensure higher temperatures throughout winter.
Check for Carbon Monoxide Warning Signs
Another important step when it comes to preparing your boiler for winter and ensuring ultimate safety is to check for carbon monoxide and install a carbon monoxide detector. This colourless, odourless gas can be deadly if left unchecked. To do this, be sure to take a good look at the pilot light. It should be blue rather than yellow. Moreover, you will need to ensure that your carbon monoxide alarm is fitted and in good working order. In the event that the heating system starts producing poisonous gas, your alarm will alert you, and this could ultimately save your life.
While carbon monoxide posinging isn’t a wide-scale problem, around four people are treated on average in the UK for it each year, and if you are one of the unlucky ones, it could lead to serious health issues. For these reasons, it is paramount to install an alarm and to check that the alarm is always well maintained.
Always ensure that the alarm’s batteries are in good working order for added safety and security! A technician can also show you how to test the alarm if needed.
Preparing your boiler before winter is an important part of central heating maintanance and will ensure that those freezing winter temperatures do not cause problems. Servicing your heating system with a registered company and engineer can ensure that you and your family stay warm all year long.
Moreover, such a service ensured optimal fuel efficiency and can even bring your energy bills down. While an initial service fee might seem costly, it is usually much cheaper than having to replace an entre system after years of neglect. Perhaps most important of all, is the safety such a service offers you.
When did you last have your boiler serviced and how do you best prepare your heating system for winter? Chat with the experts if you have any questions or concerns and remember to always choose a registered gas safe tecnhician for the job!