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How to Look after your Boiler during Winter

 

With the days shortening and the winter months drawing in many of us become dependent on our boilers to provide us with the luxury of a warm bath after a long day and to keep our radiators warm at night, yet many of us neglect to give a second thought as to what we would do if our boiler was to break down. 

According to uSwitch, last winter 1 in 5 households suffered a boiler breakdown, averaging at a repair cost of £320. In some cases a boiler can take up to a few days to repair, leaving you and your family in a bit of a sticky wicket. There are a few ways that you can help prevent your boiler from breaking down, Prevention is better than cure, however it is worth keeping yourself covered by an insurance policy that offers 24 hour home emergency assistance.

boiler According to uSwitch, last winter 1 in 5 households suffered a boiler breakdown, averaging at a repair cost of £320. In some cases a boiler can take up to a few days to repair, leaving you and your family in a bit of a sticky wicket. There are a few ways that you can help prevent your boiler from breaking down, Prevention is better than cure, however it is worth keeping yourself covered by an insurance policy that offers 24 hour home emergency assistance.

Once you’ve got your boiler covered, there are some practical steps you can take to prevent it from breaking down. On top of this here are a few tips on how to best look after your boiler this winter.

Follow the Manufacturer's Guidelines

Always follow your boilers manufacturer’s advice, and if there is a problem do not try to fix it yourself, unless you  are qualified to do so. Trying to mend your own boiler is not only potentially dangerous, you could end up invalidating your manufacturer’s warranty and your insurance policy.

Keep Your Boiler Ticking Over

Boilers are more likely to break down in the Autumn, running your heating on low for 15 minutes once a month will help decrease the chance of a breakdown when you come to turning it back on in the winter months.

Insulate Your Hot Water Tank

Insulate your hot water tank with an insulating jacket, this will help to retain the heat of the water in the tank, which means your boiler won’t have to work as hard. Insulating your water tank can cut heat loss by up to 75% plus it’s also an environmentally friendly option saving around 160kg per year in carbon dioxide emissions.

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Insulate Your Condensate Pipe

One of the most common reasons for a condensing boiler breaking down in winter is that it condensate the pipes that carry away condensation. Preventing this is really simple all you need to do is insulate your pipes using lagging, a material which you can pick up from most DIY stores. If you’ve had previous problems with your condensate pipe freezing, it might be an idea to relocate the pipe internally or have it replaced with a wider pipe.

Thaw Your Condensate Pipe

If temperatures are below freezing and your condensing boiler isn’t working and is displaying an error message or flashing light, your condensate pipe has more than likely frozen over. You will need to thaw the pipe out, the best way to do this is to pour hot water over it, or wrap a towel soaked in warm water around it, remember to then reset your boiler.

Bleed Your Radiators

If you can feel cold patches on your radiators it is likely to be due to air  trapped inside that is blocking the system. Bleeding your radiators is easy, click here to ready our How to Bleed a Radiator Guide. If you bleed your radiators and still have a problem with cold patches, your system might be blocked with sludge and might need a professional chemical flush.

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Treat Your Boiler like your Car

It is important to have your boiler serviced annually to keep it in good working order.  Regular checks cost a small fee, but will help to prevent any minor issues becoming major issues. Make sure the water pressure levels are correct in order to get the optimum performance from your boiler.

If you have a gas boiler, never block the air vents in or out of the boiler. Not only could this cause the boiler to malfunction, but it can produce deadly carbon monoxide gas, which causes death and injury in households every year. If you are in any doubt about your boiler, it is important to seek professional advice from a professional gas safe registered engineer.

 

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