9 Common Boiler Issues And What You Can Do About Them

You don’t know how much you rely on your boiler until things start going wrong, and it can be expensive and inconvenient, especially if things go wrong in the winter months. Sometimes the issue can be a quick fix, but the costs can start to build up when you have to call out an engineer.

9 Common Boiler Issues And What You Can Do About Them

We uncover the 9 most common boiler issues and what you can do in terms of prevention and fixing.

1. Low boiler pressure

It’s really simple to check the pressure of your boiler, and this should be done regularly. However, if you find that the needle is below 1 on the dial, you may find that your central heating is not functioning properly. This can be a major issue in colder months, and especially with vulnerable people in the home, such as children and the elderly.

There could be a variety of reasons this is happening, for example, the pressure relief valve needs replacing, there’s a leak in the system, or the radiators have recently been bled.

What can you do?

First of all, you need to identify if there is a visible leak in the system. You will need to call an engineer if you find one as this can cause further damage. However, if you cannot see a leak, you can try re-pressurising the system. You can find the instructions in your heating systems manual.

2. No heat or hot water

If you’re experiencing no heat or hot water, there could be several reasons causing problems including valves, boiler pressure or low water levels. You’ll want to get this fixed as soon as possible, but this is sometimes not the easiest fix.

What can you do?

You’ll want to check that there’s no issue with the boiler pressure. If this is not the case, there’s unfortunately not a lot you can do other than call in a professional as you may need to replace the diaphragm, airlock or valve.

If you can get boiler warranty, issues such as these repairs are likely to be covered and will not leave you out of pocket.

3. Boiler Leaks

Leaks can cause some major issues in the home. The most common reason for leaks are broken internal components, however, this largely depends on where the leak is coming from. If the leak is coming from around the pipes or the tank itself, corrosion could be the issue or even incorrect installation.

What can you do?

The first step would be to identify where the leak is coming from. You’ll need to call an engineer and describe where the leak is coming from so they can advise you accordingly. Worst case scenario is that you may need to replace your boiler.

Annual boiler services provided by great boiler cover will help minimise the possibility of this happening.

4. Strange noises coming from your boiler

Rest assured, there’s no wild animal taking cover in your boiler. Any strange noises including whistling or banging can mean that there’s air caught in the system or that the water pressure is too low.

Kettling is also another common issue that causes alarming noises to come from your boiler. This is a term used to describe a build up of sludge and limescale in the system that blocks the flow of water inside the heat exchanger.

What can you do?

This is a fairly urgent matter because it can become quite expensive to fix if the issue is left unresolved and could shorten the lifespan of your boiler. It is important to call an engineer as soon as possible as they will be able to drain the system to remove any foreign substances.

5. Pilot light keeps switching itself off

The pilot light is the small blue flame that remains constantly lit underneath your boiler. If this flame keeps going out, then you have an issue that needs addressing. The most common cause of this is a faulty thermocouple which is stopping the gas supply reaching the boiler.

What can you do?

You’ll need to check the gas supply before attempting to reignite the flame. The flame is harder to reignite in newer boilers, and if there are issues with the gas supply or if the flame keeps going out, it's time to call an engineer in. Ensure that the stopcock is on before you determine a gas issue. Instructions on reigniting the flame can be found in the boiler user manual.

6. Incorrect thermostat

An unreliable thermostat can cause many issues in the cost of heating your home and potentially switching itself off at random points. You must factor in that your home may be warmer than you think and the thermostat will not allow your home to get any warmer. However, if you’re still experiencing issues after investigation, it may be a simple case of replacing the thermostat.

What can you do?

If you have tried re-adjusting and are still experiencing problems, it may be time to get a new thermostat.

7. Radiators not heating up

If you’re not regularly receiving annual checks and servicing from your boiler warranty provider (cheaper warranty providers may not include this), you may need to bleed the radiator if only the bottom of the radiator is getting warm.

If you’re experiencing patches of cold around the radiator, it may be a build up of sludge or air trapped in the system. This requires equipment a little more advanced and will require an engineer to perform a power flush.

What can you do?

If you have identified that the radiator needs bleeding, this is a fairly simple task to complete. This, of course, is usually completed annually with first class boiler cover.

8. Boiler keeps switching itself off

A boiler may keep switching itself off if the pressure becomes too low. This is commonly caused by some sort of blockage in the system restricting the flow of water or internal part failure. It can often be difficult to identify the cause, but you should investigate the water pressure before calling in an engineer.

What can you do?

Once you have completed your investigation, you may have diagnosed an issue with the pressure. If not, you’ll have to seek advice from a professional. Otherwise, you will want to repressurise your boiler. Instructions for this can be found in your boilers user manual.

9. A frozen condensate pipe

New boilers have a small amount of waste gas, commonly known as condensing, meaning that the boiler will naturally turn the waste gas into water as it cools. This is drained outside by the condensate pipe, and in the winter months, it is common for the water to freeze and cause a blockage in the pipe.

What can you do?

You can simply deal with this by using a hot water bottle or a warm cloth on the frozen part of the pipe. Another option is to pour hot (not boiling) water over it. Boiling water could damage the pipe, so caution is required when attempting to fix this issue yourself. You may need to reset the boiler after going through this process.

Boiler repairs can become expensive and it isn’t always possible to find a quick fix to all boiler issues. However, these problems can be minimised by regularly maintaining your boiler and heating system by covering yourself with Warrantywise Home Cover.

As providers of the UK's highest level of warranty cover, Warrantywise Home Cover includes a comprehensive annual boiler service which includes efficiency testing, pressure testing, bleeding radiators and much more.

Visit our Warrantywise Home Cover page for more information.