Top 7 Most Common Boiler Problems (And How To Solve Them)
For the majority of households, the boiler sits neatly in our kitchen cupboard or utility room unnoticed - except for it’s annual service. So it’s no surprise that the average homeowner doesn’t necessarily know what’s going on behind the glossy white facade of the boiler casing. However, if something does go awry, it’s good to know the difference between the small, easily fixable issues and faults that mean it’s time to contact your installer or service engineer.
Here are some of the most common issues we are asked about on a daily basis (particularly when the seasons change):
1. No heating or hot water
There is a number of reasons that your heating or hot water may not be working as you expected including thermostat issues, issues with the motorised valves, airlocks, or low water pressure. The best first step is to check your thermostat as described below and check your water pressure.
To check your boiler’s pressure level, look at it’s built in pressure gauge, if it’s below 1 you may have an issue. There are a number of reasons why this may happening e.g. a water leak in the system or as a result of recently bleeding radiators. Check the display on your boiler for a fault code e.g. L9/L8 signals a faulty PCB, L1 indicates poor circulation, possibly due to a pump fault or valve issue.
2. Boiler keeps switching itself off
This could be due to low water pressure, a problem with the thermostat or a lack of water flow due to a closed valve, air or the pump not circulating the water in the system properly. These issues are covered in more detail below. If you have checked all of these issues but still don’t have heating, call our dedicated customer service team on 1890 827 887.
3. Your Condensate Pipe Is Frozen
Condensing boilers have condensate a pipe which transports the water,away from the boiler. This usually runs outside into a drain, and because of its location it faces the risk of freezing.
Your boiler will often have a fault code or warning notification if your condensate pipe has become frozen e.g. L2 is the code shown on an Ideal Logic boiler.
Below is a tutorial video demonstrating how to thaw a frozen condensate pipe by pouring warm water over it, if you feel unqualified or unsafe doing so you should call your installer
4. The Vent is blocked / Your boiler won’t ignite
Another common reason that your boiler will not ignite is due to a blocked vent. A warning notification will show on your boiler if this is the case e.g. L2 is the code show on Ideal boilers. This is common in Autumn and Winter as falling leaves can block the vent. Simply clearing all debris from around the vent will solve this issue.
5. Strange gurgling or hissing sounds
Air in the system is a common cause, alternatively it could be that the water pressure is too low or it’s kettling. Imminent pump failure, particularly in older systems, could also be responsible for strange banging noises. Check out our blog post on Boiler Kettling for more information.
6. Radiators Not Heating Up
Over time, sludge or air can build up in your heating system causing an unequal distribution of heat. You may find that not all your radiators are not getting hot, take longer than they used to to heat up or have cold patches. If only the bottom of your radiator is getting hot, you may need to bleed it. This is fairly straightforward and doesn’t require an engineer and you’ll find lots of videos online to help you.
However, if you find cold patches in your radiators or find that your radiators are slow to heat, you may have an issue with lime, sludge or other deposits building up in your heating system. Power flushing, also known as 'Hard Flushing' or 'Jet Flushing' is a process used to clean heating systems with water combined with vigorous mobilising and cleansing agents. The flushing is done at high velocity, but low pressure to prevent any damage to the system. The heating circuit is cleansed of lime scale and corrosion debris. No debris remains to create blockages in the system eliminating the possibility of damage or inefficiencies had the debris been left in place.
A power flush takes approximately ½ day to complete and should only be carried out by an RGII registered engineer, contact us for details.
7. Thermostat Issues
If the thermostat is turning the heating on or off when it’s not supposed to it might be time to invest in a new one. It’s worth making a couple of simple checks first though, as sometimes these can be easily overlooked. As seasons change, it’s worth considering that that your home might be warmer than you think and a thermostat won’t allow the boiler to heat your home higher than the temperature it has been set at. If this is the case, it’s easily solved by increasing the temperature in very small increments until you find the temperature that’s right for you.
If none of the above apply it’s possible that your thermostat may have malfunctioned and it may be time to consider upgrading. In Ireland there are government grants available through the SEAI Better Homes Scheme. If you have any questions, just send us a message on our live chat or call us on 1890 827 887.
Bonus: 8. Leaking or Dripping
The most common cause of leaking or dripping is a broken pump seal or pressure valve. You may also find your boiler is leaking around the pipes or tank, this may be due to corrosion.
If your boiler is leaking, you should never try to fix it yourself or allow anyone other than an RGII registered engineer to look at for you. If you are a Swyft Energy customer, call us immediately and we will arrange for a service engineer to examine the boiler.
If your boiler was not installed by us, we recommend that you contact Bord Gais, they’ll arrange for a service engineer to examine the boiler and repair it if possible.
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