One of the most intensively used appliances in a home is the boiler. Because of this, regular maintenance should be a priority. Unless something goes wrong and the hot water stops running or your heating is interrupted, proper care is often neglected.
Unexpected issues can of course crop up. If common faults are not detected early on it can cause the boiler to break down, resulting in frustrating costly repairs and even replacement. Certain boiler failures can also pose a serious danger to people in the home. We have all heard of boilers overheating and exploding, causing injury and sometimes even death.
Regular maintenance will not only help to detect any problems, it will also keep the boiler running smoothly, thereby saving you money on your energy bill. So what are some of the tell-tale signs? Can look out for what might indicate it’s time to have your boiler replaced? If you have already decided to get a new boiler, head straight to the section on “Best Boiler Recommendations”, if not, read on:
1. Radiators take longer than usual to heat up
Normally boilers should reach a maximum temperature quickly and produce almost instant heat. If the radiators in your home are taking hours to heat up it could be that there is a serious problem with the boiler.
There could be several reasons why radiators take longer to heat up including dirt in the water circulating through the system. Dirty water could cause long-term problems which could eventually lead to a breakdown. No-one likes to put up with a lukewarm environment while paying good money to keep the boiler running at below par.
If radiators are not as hot as they used to be and the water does not heat up to maximum temperature, it may be time to arrange for a full boiler service or a replacement. Subsequently, if this is the case and you are having problems with your boiler, you should schedule an appointment for a service engineer to come out and assess the problem.
As the owner of a gas boiler, make sure that you contact a registered Gas Safe engineer. If it is an oil boiler you will need a qualified OFTEC engineer.
2. There is a bad smell coming from the boiler
Any bad odour is an indication that the boiler is not healthy. A professional heating engineer should be called If a bad smell is detected as the problem should be investigated as soon as possible. Even though carbon monoxide is odourless, a faint smell could indicate a small leak. This will interfere with the proper burning of the boiler and should not be ignored.
Carbon monoxide is a dangerous gas that can be extremely harmful and potentially dangerous to you and your family. Symptoms caused by carbon monoxide poisoning include nausea, shortness of breath, headaches, and unconsciousness.
If you detect an odour or any member of your family experiences any of the above symptoms, it could be warning signs of carbon monoxide poisoning. In this instance you should evacuate your home immediately (including pets) and call the emergency gas line on 0800111999 to inspect the safety of your boiler.
Anyone who has been on the property should also have a medical check-up to ensure that there are no adverse effects on their health from the exposure. If you have pets you should take them to the vet for a check-up.
Other warning signs of leaked carbon monoxide include:
- Boiler flame is burning yellow instead of a crisp blue colour
- Dark soot stains in and around the Boiler area
- The pilot light frequently goes out
- Increase in condensation formed inside the windows
Even though a bad smell can be a warning sign that there is a leak, the best way is to install a CO Alarm to ensure detection as soon as possible. When choosing a carbon monoxide detector, be sure it is a trusted brand.
3. Increase in your energy bills
If your energy bills are going up without explanation, it could be because your boiler is not running efficiently. The heating system will eventually lose some of its efficiency as it gets older and subsequently cost more to run.
The best way to check the efficiency of your boiler is to have a look at the ErP energy label that has a 7-point colour-scale rating ranging from A-rated (dark green) down to G-rated (red). The most efficient boilers have a green rating with the most efficient being an A-rated (dark green) boiler.
The Energy Saving Trust estimates that if a G-rated boiler is replaced with a modern, energy-efficient A-rated boiler that features a set of heating controls. You can expect an annual saving on your gas bill of around £320.
If you would like the most efficient boiler, then you should pick one of the modern, condensing systems available on the market.
If you have recently upgraded your heating system but your energy bills are still increasing, you may want to consider using an alternative energy supplier.
For more information visit our ‘Independent Switching’ site.
4. Leaky Boiler
If there are puddles of water forming around your boiler, it is time to take immediate action! A leak will not only affect the heating, it can also lead to more serious problems. Issues such as corrosion, rust, and even structural damage to the interior of your home.
A leak can be an indication that internal parts are faulty or that they have started to disintegrate. Take into account the cost of increased gas bills and wasted water. When you detect a leak, no matter how small. You should call out a professional heating engineer as soon as possible to repair the damage.
To give you the best advice on the type and size of boiler for your home. Contact our experts who are highly experienced and trained on this subject.
5. Strange or unusual noises coming from the boiler
Boilers make a noise when they are firing up. That turns into a low and constant hum that mostly goes unnoticed. However, anything more such as whirring, clunking, or banging are sounds that you don’t want to hear from your boiler.
If your boiler is old, this could be due to wear and tear. It could also indicate a range of issues from problems with the heat pump to a broken valve. As soon as you hear strange noises you should switch the heating system off. This is to avoid any further damage from occurring.
Call out a heating engineer immediately to inspect the boiler. The problem may turn out to be minor so will be easy to fix. It is important to ensure that it is safe to continue using the appliance.
Our local trusted gas heating engineers are on call and ready to assist at Smart Gas Solutions.