The autumn is the perfect time of the year to get your boiler and central heating system ready for the winter. As a homeowner, you probably know that boiler repairs don’t come cheap. The latest consumer surveys claim that the average cost of a boiler repair is in the region of £235. Add that expense to the inconvenience caused by boiler breakdown, and you have two good reasons to make sure that your central heating system is ready for the winter. Here are some tips that you can follow to help you minimise the risk of breakdown.
DIY boiler maintenance
By the time the winter arrives, your boiler will have been off duty during a few months. One useful thing you can do is check that your boiler is in good working order.
You do not need to call in a professional in, as there are some basic checks that you can carry out yourself safely. Some things to check include the water pressure (which should range between 1 and 2 bars), and making sure that the cylinder thermostat stays at a stable temperature (ideally between 60ºC and 65ºC). Doing a test run in the autumn can help you identify potential faults and get them fixed before the cold set in.
The importance of adequate insulation
Even if you do not live in an area where the winter is particularly harsh, unpredictable weather can cause the condensate pipes in your heating system to freeze. Don’t wait until this happens and make sure that your boiler, cylinder, and pipes are adequately insulated. An easy and cost-effective way of doing this is getting some regular pipe insulation from your hardware store and fitting your boiler with an insulating jacket. This will help the water stay hot for longer, limiting the need for re-heating and reducing heat loss by up to 75 per cent.
Check your radiators
After months of inactivity, it is a good idea to check your radiators for cold patches and leaks. Bleeding your radiators will only take you a few minutes and will help your central heating system work more efficiently. Any problems that persist after bleeding the radiators may indicate a serious fault and the need for servicing.
Get your boiler covered
If you purchased your boiler a while ago, make sure whether it still is under warranty or not. For additional peace of mind, you could consider boiler insurance cover. Basic boiler-only insurance plans start at £5.99 per month and cover the most common repairs and replacement jobs. Depending on your circumstances, you may want to consider full central heating cover. Signing up for an insurance plan can also help you reduce costs in the long term, as the best companies will include the cost of labour and parts in your monthly fee.
Can a power flush help?
If you have had repeated problems with your boiler or central heating in the past, you could benefit from having an engineer perform a power flush. This will help remove any blockages and get your central heating working as it did when you first installed it. This procedure should be performed by fully trained heating engineers, so always check their credentials first and make sure that the company is on the Gas Safe register.