The Ultimate Guide to Heating Problems and Heating Repairs

The Ultimate Guide to Heating Problems and Heating Repairs

The Ultimate Guide to Heating Problems and Heating Repairs

Part 1: Preventing Common Heating Problems

Part 2: Avoiding Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Part 3: Do You Need to Replace Your Boiler?

Part 4: Reducing your Heating Bills

Part 5:Do you Require a Power Flushing?

Preventing Common Heating Problems

Part One: Preventing Common Heating Problems

No Hot Water

If you have no hot water in your home you will need to check that the boiler, thermostat and  plumbing is turned on and working correctly.

Cold Spots on Your Radiators  

Cold spots on your radiator may indicate a build up of sludge or pockets of air in the system. You may need to bleed the radiator or flush it out with chemical cleaner.

Drop in Water Pressure

A drop in water pressure can be a sign of a leak in your heating plumbing. You will need to check the plumbing in your home for damaged pipework.

Different Radiator Temperatures Upstairs from Downstairs

If you experience a difference in the radiator temperature between upstairs and downstairs then your heating may require balancing. You may also have air trapped in the system.

Temperamental Thermostats

The thermostat regulates the temperature that the heating gets turned on. If your heating is too hot or too cold, you may have a faulty thermostat or it may be in the wrong location.

Faulty Programmers

If your programmer stops working correctly, you will not be able to set the heating according to your requirements. A faulty programmer may  need checking or replacing.

Pilot Light Disappearance

If your pilot light disappears, your boiler will not be able to ignite the gas that heats your water. You should re-light your pilot flame according to the manufacturers instructions.

Boiler Faults

Faults in your boiler may need to be attended to by a professional heating engineer. Regular servicing will keep your boiler maintained properly and prevent costly repair or replacement work.

Frozen Pipes

During winter, you may experience frozen water in your pipes. Frozen pipes will expand the plumbing which can cause damage or leaks.

Central Heating System Making Funny Noises

Noises in your plumbing can be caused by trapped air, loose fittings or high pressure settings on your pump.

Fixing a Leak Temporarily

When you discover a leak in your central heating plumbing, you need to take precautions to avoid a plumbing disaster. You should temporarily fix the leak until you have arranged for a professional engineer to provide a more permanent solution.

Hot Water or Heating is too Hot

If your hot water is too hot, you will be paying a higher rate for your energy bills than required. You also put household users, especially children, at risk of scolding.

Common Heating Problems: No hot water

If you discover that your hot water is not arriving from the tap at the required temperature, there are a number of checks that you should carry out before you call out a heating engineer. If you have ensured that the following  issues are not effecting the hot water heating then you can call a specialist.

  • Is there power going to your boiler? Although you may be using a gas boiler to heat your water, elements of the system are still powered by electricity. Check that all lights and digital displays are working correctly. If they are not it may be caused by a fault in the electricity rather than a faulty boiler.
  • Has the thermostat been turned down? Someone in your home may have turned down the thermostat too far so that the water is no longer heating to an effective temperature.
  • Is the pilot light on? If the pilot light has been extinguished then your boiler will not work. You should also check for a healthy blue flame. If the flame is yellow or orange, then there is a problem with the boilers combustion and there is also a safety risk of leaking Carbon Monoxide.
  • Have you tried to turn your boiler off and back on? Sometimes, you can get your heating back into action by resetting it and giving it a chance to rest for a few minutes.
  • Is the timer set correctly? There are a number of reasons why the timer could become set to the wrong time. There may have been a power cut or you may have forgotten to adjust the clock following the seasonal time changes. It is also common to find that young children or other people in the household have tampered with the timer.
  • Is there a problem with the water tank? For heating systems that use a water tank, you may need to check that the tank is working effectively. You can look into the tank to check the ball float is moving freely and not stuck in one position. You may also wish to check the water level.
  • Does your heating need a push to get started? By turning up your heating to the highest settings, you can provide encouragement to your boiler to get started.
  • Is the pipework in your home in good working condition? You should check for leakage by looking out for damp patches. You should also check for frozen areas by touch. If the water within a  pipe is frozen then you will feel a noticeable difference.

Click here to return to the top of Part 1: Preventing Common Heating Problems.

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Common Heating Problems: Cold spots on your radiators  

Cold areas on your radiator can be caused by a trapped air pocket within the system. Your radiators will usually feel cold at the top and warm at the bottom.

Trapped air in your central heating is known as an air lock and it will prevent heat being distributed evenly throughout the radiator.

To remove an air lock, the easiest solution is to bleed your radiator. You can bleed your radiator by using a bleed key which you turn anti-clockwise to release the air bubble. Once the air has been released, you can tighten the valve back up and test the radiator again.

How to Bleed your Radiator

To bleed your radiator safely follow the following steps:

  • 1: Turn on your central heating. Check that each radiator thermostat is set to the highest temperature and that your main thermostat is also turned up high. By warming up your heating system, you can help increase the pressure that will allow the air to escape easily during bleeding.

  • 2: Whist the radiators are hot, feel for cold areas. When you discover a radiator with cold patches at the top, you may have discovered an area of trapped air.

  • 3: Once you have identified problem radiators you will need to turn off the central heating to prevent further air from entering the system. It can also be dangerous to attempt to bleed a radiator whilst your boiler is still pumping hot water into it.

  • 4: The radiator valve is located at the top of the radiator at one end. You will need a radiator key to turn the square piece of metal which opens the valve. Some modern radiators allow you to open the valve using a flat top screwdriver.

  • 5: Remember that the radiator valve will release steam and water when it is opened. Ensure that your hand is protected by wrapping a cloth around it whilst opening the valve. You will also need to place a container or rag below the radiator to collect any escaping water.

  • 6: When you open the radiator valve, you will hear the trapped air escaping. You must be careful when opening the valve so that it does not pop open completely and allow the water to flood out. Only bleed the radiator as much as required to allow the air to hiss out. When the hissing noise has stopped, all the air has been releases and you can tighten the valve back by turning it in a clockwise direction.

  • 7: You will need to repeat this process for every radiator in the house. Once you have released all of the trapped air from your central heating you will need to check the pressure gauge. The pressure will have dropped following the radiator bleeding and should be between 1 and 1.5 when cold.

Now that you have successfully released air locks from your radiators, you can turn the heating back on and check once again for any cold spots.

Click here to return to the top of Part 1: Preventing Common Heating Problems.

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Common Heating Problems: Drop in Water Pressure

A drop in water pressure can indicate a problem with your heating system. Your boiler system requires a constant water pressure in order to function correctly. Most modern combination boilers use a filling loop to maintain water pressure. A filling loop provides a constant flow of cold water from your water mains.

One of the causes in a water pressure drop can be a leak in the pipe work. A major leak is usually easy to detect but tiny ruptures can be hard to identify  but over time can cause significant problems. Another reason for a reduction in water pressure is the loss of pressure after bleeding a radiator.

Is there a leak in my plumbing?

The smallest of leaks in the pipe work of your central heating system can produce a drop in your water pressure. It will also be adding unnecessary increases to your water bills if you use a water meter to calculate your costs.

A small leak somewhere in the plumbing may only be allowing a dribble of water to escape but over time you may find that the amount of water which has escaped has had a dramatic effect on your water pressure.

Leaks in the plumbing are most common around areas where there are joins in the pipework such as where you connect to radiators or valves.

Very tiny leaks in your heating system are hard to detect. During the summer months when the temperature is naturally high, the escaped water will evaporate without any trace. You may also find the same evaporation during the winter whilst your radiators heat your home.

For this reason it is more practical to search for leaks while the system is cold.

Monitoring your water pressure

As a guide to unusual   water pressure, you should check your boiler pressure gage on a regular basis. If the readings show that the pressure is below 0.5 or above 2.5 bar then you have discovered a problem. The ideal water pressure should be between 1 and 1.5 bar.

If the water pressure reading is too low you will need to follow the boiler manufacturer instructions to increase the pressure. If you no longer have a copy of the user manual then you will need to contact the manufacturer or do an internet search   for an online copy of it.

To find an online manual for your boiler make a note of the make and model number and enter it into a search engine such as Google.

Adding pressure to your boiler will usually involve the following stages:

  • Check that the isolation valves are turned off and locate the filling loop.
  • Remove the blanking caps and attach the loop
  • Keep an eye on the pressure gauge and open both valves. Your boiler pressure will now begin to rise.
  • When the gauge reads between 1 and 1.5 bar you can close the valves, disconnect the filling loop and fit the blanking caps back on.

Discovering A leak in the system

If you notice a drop in water pressure then you will want to discover if there is a leak somewhere in your central heating plumbing. Completing a check of your pipework will help you identify any leakage and allow you to address the problem without the need for a plumber call out fee.


Safety Warning:
You should carry out any checks on the pipework when the heating is turned off to avoid burning.

Feel along the pipes connected to your heating system and pay particular attention to areas around joins in the plumbing. If you notice an area which feels damper than the rest of the system then you may have found your leak.

Click here to return to the top of Part 1: Preventing Common Heating Problems.

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Common Heating Problems: Different Radiator Temperatures Upstairs from Downstairs

If you notice that your upstairs radiators are cold while your downstairs radiators are warm, you can try several methods to try and resolve the problem before contacting a heating engineer.

Bleed the radiators

Air in the radiators is a common cause of many problems with radiators. Try bleeding your radiators to check if you have an air lock in your heating system.

Check the pump

Ensure that your pump is working correctly. Your pump will usually have an inspection hatch to allow you to look inside. Check that the pump is rotating properly.

Increase pressure setting on the pump

Your pump may have become jammed or lost its power following a long period of inaction. You can try to encourage it to get going again by giving it a gentle tap or increasing the pressure.

Check the expansion tank

The float arm in your hot water tank  regulates the water level and should allow the tank to fill if it falls below a certain level. If your float arm is faulty, you can push it down and the tank wont begin to fill. A faulty float arm will need to be replaced.

Turn off working radiators

If you turn off any radiators which are working correctly, you can increase the pressure on the radiators which are not working. If this allows the radiator to heat up, you can try bleeding the radiators in sequence to relieve the air lock.

Problems with upstairs radiators

If just your upstairs radiators are not working correctly, this may be caused by your expansion tank running dry.

Problems with downstairs radiators

If only your downstairs radiators don’t heat up then there may be a problem with your pump.

Radiator Balancing

If your radiators which are located closest to the boiler are heating to a higher temperature than those that are further away, this may mean that there is a balancing problem with your heating.

Balancing your Radiators

When you find that some radiators in your home are hot whilst others are cold, your central heating may require balancing. You can save yourself a call out from a heating engineer if you wish to undertake radiator balancing in your home.

  • Bleed the radiators: Bleed all the radiators in your home as described above and turn off your heating so that the radiators are allowed to cool.
  • Locate the lockshield valves on the radiator: The lockshield is located near the bottom of the radiator at one end. It may be covered with a cap which needs to be removed. Open the valve by turning it anti-clockwise. You will need a plastic adjuster or a spanner to turn it.
  • Locate the thermostatic valve/wheelhead valve: Modern radiators will have a thermostatic valve located at the opposite end of the radiator from the lockshield valve. Older radiator may use a wheelhead valve to turn the radiator on and off. Open the valves by turning the wheelhead or thermostat by hand in an anti-clockwise direction.
  • Check the Radiators: Switch your central heating back on and make a not of which radiators heat up and which remain cool. You will usually find that those nearest to the boiler get hotter quicker. Once you have established the problem radiators, turn the heating off again and allow the radiators to cool down.
  • Take the Temperature: You will require a Digital thermometer or multimeter with thermometer function to assess the temperature of your problem radiators. Turn the heating back on and visit your first problem radiator. Close the lockshield and then open it by a quarter turn. Take the temperature of the pipe leading into one of the valves. Next, take a reading of the pipe leading to the other valve in the radiator and compare the results.
  • Adjust the temperature: Adjust the lockshield valve until the difference between the temperature of both valves is at 12°C.
  • Adjust all your Radiators: Repeat this process for each radiator. The temperature of the radiator does not need to be identical on each radiator but you should be aiming for a difference of 12°C between the two valves. The further that your radiator is from the boiler, the more you will need to adjust your lockshield valve.

Once you have adjusted the temperature in all the radiators throughout your heating system, you will have produced perfectly balanced radiators which should all heat evenly.

Other Causes of Faulty Radiators

If the bottom of the radiator is cold, this could indicate that there is sludge in the radiator. The most effective way of cleaning debris from out of your heating system is by flushing out the sludge with a garden hose. You may also require adding a chemical cleanser to the heating system which will work over 3 days.

The thermostat valve of the radiator may not be open. The thermostat valve sets the required temperature of the radiator. If it is turned off then no heated water will enter the radiator.

The lockshield valve on the radiator should be open. The lockshield valve controls the amount of water which can flow through the radiator. This is used to balance your central heating system. The lockshield valve is usually located at the bottom of the radiator beneath a cap.

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Common Heating Problems: Temperamental thermostats

Over time, your central heating thermostat can become less accurate and you may experience your home temperature fluctuating between extremeheat and freezing cold.

You will need to check the age and condition of your thermostat to decide if it needs to be replaced. A replacement thermostat can be purchased from a DIY store but it should only be installed by a professional heating engineer.

If there is no visible problems with the thermostat, you may be able to arrange for a Gas Safe engineer to recalibrate and clean it so that it is restored to good working condition.

Checking your thermostat for problems

If you suspect that there is a problem with your thermostats, you can check for the following solutions.

  • Thermostat Location: Ensure that your thermostat is not located over a heat source or in an area prone to cold drafts. The interference of cold or hot temperatures will produce wrong readings and send incorrect commands to the heaters or air conditioning units.

    Heat sources to avoid installing your thermostat above include televisions, computers, lamps and heating appliances.
  • Cleaning your thermostat: If you are using an older mechanical thermostat, it may malfunction if it is not cleaned on a regular basis. Remover the cover of your thermostat and use a soft brush to clean the dust from inside. To clean the contact switches, use a piece of paper which you can slide between the contacts moving it back and forth.
  • Adjusting the Anticipator: Mechanical controls may need to have its anticipator adjusted to prevent your heating from cycling to frequently or not often enough.
    The anticipator is usually a scale with a flat metal pointer. Adjust the anticipator higher if your heating starts and stops more than is required. Adjust the anticipator lower if the heating is not starting and stoping enough. It will usually take several hours to see the results of the adjustment.
  • Replace the Batteries: If you are using an electronic thermostat which produces digital readouts, there is a good chance that the batteries need changing. It is rare that  a digital thermostat will experience a technical malfunction.

Understanding how your thermostat works

The thermostat works within your heating system to open and close depending on the temperature of the house. You can set your thermostat to the required temperature by using the control dial. Once the temperature meets the required temperature, the thermostat will switch on the air conditioning, central heating or other device.

The two types of thermostat used in household central heating are digital and analogue. Analogue thermostats use a dial to regulate the temperature and digital units use LCD displays.

Your radiators may also have individual thermostats which can be set from 1 to 6 depending on the requirement of the specific radiator.

Setting your thermostat efficiently

Boilers with Temperature Controls

Setting your heating to the appropriate temperature will help you keep your home warm whilst not using more energy than necessary. During winter you should set your boiler temperature to 82°C. This will set the heat to between medium and hot. You can adjust it up or down if required.

In the summer months set your heating to 65°C which is the setting between medium and low. Keeping the temperature down in summer makes your boiler work more efficiently. You can add further adjustments up or down if required.

You should ensure that your water temperature is not too hot when it comes out of the tap. Hot water which is too hot can scald people using it and you should be especially careful if there are children in the house.

Boilers with Mechanical Timers

Mechanical timers usually allow you to set the times that a boiler comes on by using a dial that represents a 24 hour clock. You will need to set the inner dial to show the current time. You will also have an outer section which allows you to select the times in the day when you want the boiler to come on.

The major disadvantage with mechanical timers is that you can only set the times for a boiler to start and stop each day. You cannot adjust it for different requirements on weekends.

Room Thermostats

A room thermostat will assess the current temperature of a room and turn on the heating once the air temperature is less that the temperature that is set.

A temperature setting of 20°C is usually recommended for a cozy room. At night time you should lower the temperature to 16-19°C. Rooms with babies sleeping in them should not be warmer than 18°C. Homes where elderly people live or for people with impaired mobility should not be cooler than 16°C.

Programmable Room Thermostat

If you want greater control of the temperature of your home then a  programmable thermostat adds extra options available.

A programmable thermostat allows you to set different heating patterns according to whether it is a weekend or weekday. Some offer the choice to programme each of the 7 weekdays according to the daily requirements.

Thermostatic radiator control valves (TRVs)

Thermostatic radiator control valves (TRVs) control the amount of hot water that enters a radiator according to the local temperature of the room. These do not control the boiler but only the individual radiator.

TRVs are the most effective way of getting the temperature in a particular room set to exactly the temperature required.

Smart Thermostats

Smart thermostats allow you to control the heating in your home using smart devices such as desktop computer, tablet or smart phone. This allows you complete control of your heating even from a remote location.

Smart thermostats are designed to reduce your heating bills and make your home more efficient. By controlling the central heating to come on only when someone is in the house, you will not waste energy heating an empty home.

Smart thermostats can let you know how long it will take for a room to heat to the required temperature which allows you to set the timer to heat the house so that it becomes warm as people are due to arrive.

Other smart thermostats such as the Google Nest and the Tado°, have learning technology that can learn the habits of the people who live in the building and heat it accordingly.

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Common Heating Problems: Faulty programmers

The programmer is used to allow you to set the boiler to come on and turn off at required times in the day. If the central heating is not switching on at the correct times, there may be a problem with the programmer.

There are a number of problems which can occur with electronic programmers. Faults in the device such as circuit board electronics or LCD display can cause problems with your heating.

You can replace your electronic programmer if you have a standard universal backplate installed. Thees are available to purchase form DIY stores and can be installed by a professional if you are not confident in your DIY skills.

Check that the light on the programmer that tells you if the central heating is on. If the light is not on when the heating should be then make sure that the times that you have set are still correctly inputted.

If the light is not coming on when it should, check that power is reaching the programmer and ensure that the fuse does not need changing.

Make sure that your thermostat is turned up fully.

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Common Heating Problems: Pilot light disappearance

The pilot light is a small blue flame which is permanently lit inside your boiler. The pilot light is used to ignite gas released from the burner. When the boiler is turned on, the valve releases gas and the pilot light provides the flame to ignite the gas required for heating water.

The thermocouple is required to prevent excess gas leakage if the pilot goes out. The thermocouple generates electricity to keep the valve open directly from the heat of the pilot flame. The thermocouple holds the valve open whilst there is heat from the pilot flame. If the pilot flame disappears, the thermocouple will close the valve.

The most important thing to watch out for with the pilot light on your boiler is that the flame is a healthy blue colour. A yellow flame may indicate that there is a risk of Carbon Monoxide poisoning and you should seek assistance from a Gas Safe engineer.

A yellow flame in your pilot light indicates that there is an incorrect mixture of air and gas. When too much air is getting into your system the gas does not combust correctly and will produce Carbon Monoxide. If you notice a yellow flame turn off the gas supply and call a Gas Safe registered engineer immediately.

If the pilot light has diminished or disappeared, it will need to be reignited according to the manufacturers instructions. You should never try to carry out any further repairs on your boiler as these must only be completed by a Gas Safe engineer.

The pilot light may have disappeared for one of the following reasons:

  • Blockage: a deposit may have built up on the pilot light which prevents the gas from escaping. You should clean the pilot to remove any dirt.
  • Thermocouple: The thermocouple detects when the pilot light has gone out. When it finds that the pilot has gone, it closes the valve which releases gas that keeps the pilot light burning.
    A faulty thermocouple may be preventing the gas supply to the pilot when it shouldn’t be.
  • Broken Air Seal: If the air seal is broken, there may be a draught blowing the pilot light out.

To relight your pilot light you will need to press a button that opens the valve manually. You can now light the pilot and wait about 30 seconds until the thermocouple is heated enough to produce the electricity required to keep the valve open.

Modern boilers may not use a pilot light to save energy. Modern appliances use a  piezoelectric spark to light the burner.

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Common Heating Problems: Boiler Faults

When a boiler breaks down it can become costly to repair and cause inconvenience. Most boilers break down during the winter months due to long periods of use following the summer when they have been out of use for a long time.

Any of the following components may be the cause of heating problems:

  • Boilers
  • Timers
  • Thermostats
  • Pumps
  • Valves
  • Heating systems

There are a wide range of heating systems,  boilers, valves, timers,  pumps and valves available so it is difficult to diagnose particular problems unless you are an experienced heating engineer.

Arrange for a Boiler Servicing

The most effective way to ensure that your boiler is working when you need it is to arrange for a boiler servicing. Most boiler manufacturers recommend that a professional engineer should inspect your boiler once every 12 months.

An annual boiler servicing will keep your heating system working properly and help you to avoid costly call out fees in an emergency. A well maintained boiler is less likely to break down when you need it and will perform more efficiently.

Since winter is the busiest time for plumbers and the most inconvenient time for your boiler and heating system to break down it is a good idea to arrange for a boiler servicing during the summer months. Having a professional boiler servicing during the summer will ensure that everything is in good working order before you really need it.

The most effective way to prevent boiler faults from happening is to arrange for a qualified engineer to complete a regular servicing on your boiler and heating system. A boiler servicing can be completed during the summer months when plumbers are less in demand and your heating is not required.

Most boiler manufacturers recommend that you complete an annual boiler servicing to avoid costly repairs and emergency call outs in winter when you need your hot water the most.

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Common Heating Problems: Frozen Pipes

If you find that your water is not flowing during the colder months of the year, there is a good chance that your pipes have become frozen.

Frozen pipes will cause a blockage in your plumbing which needs to be defrosted before further damage is caused. The frozen water in your pipes will expand putting pressure on the pipework which can result in cracks, leaks or a burst pipe.

How to Identify a frozen pipe

The first areas to check for evidence of frozen pipes are in locations that are near to draughts or where the pipes exit the building or pass into to a colder area.

During periods of cold weather there may be more than one section where there is a problem of freezing. Check all locations where the pipes are more exposed to the elements.

Check for obvious areas of freezing along the plumbing. You can usually detect a frozen area by running your hand over the pipes and noticing the difference in temperature from one section to the next.

Check all water appliances to discover which pipes are blocked and which still flow. Compare the temperature of the blocked pipe to a pipe which has been tested and works correctly.

Prepare the Area

Once you have identified the frozen pipe you will need to clear the area of smaller items and cover larger items. This is to protect your property if the pipe bursts during thawing.

Turn off the mains water supply while you are working on the problem area. Turn on the closest tap to the frozen area so that water can escape when it is thawed.

Defrosting the pipe

You can begin defrosting the frozen pipe by heating it with a hairdryer. You should begin thawing near the tap end of the pipe and slowly working backwards.

An alternative to using the hairdryer is by heating the frozen section with heat packs or hot water bottles.

Another method used to thaw freezing pipes is to wrap towels around the problem area and pour hot water over the towel.

Do not use a heat gun or a naked flame for thawing as it may damage the plumbing and cause a fire hazard.

Take care whilst you are thawing the pipe as it can burst at any time.

Following the thawing of your pipes you will need to check the pipes for damage. If the plumbing is leaking or damaged, you will need to contact an emergency plumber to resolve the situation.

Check that the pipes are working again by turning the mains back on and letting water run through the tap.

Preventing frozen pipes

Pipes can become frozen over the winter months for a number of reasons. It is much more sensible to try and prevent your pipes from freezing in the first place than risk the damage that frozen pipes can cause.

Freezing pipes can cause damage and burst plumbing which will require emergency plumbing services to repair. To avoid these costly repairs you should ensure that your plumbing is not vulnerable to the cold conditions.

Common causes of frozen pipes

  • Pipes which have not been properly insulated are at risk of freezing. Ensure that all of your plumbing is sufficiently protected. Pipes which are more exposed to the cold weather are the most vulnerable.
  • Plumbing which is exposed to draughts are most likely to experience problems during cold weather. Draughts can be the result of gaps or cracks around the area where a pipe enters your home.
  • Pipes which are fitted inside cold areas of the house will not be benefiting from the warmth that your house produces. Pay attention to pipes located in cupboards, under the sink, basements and garages.

Keep your pipes from freezing

  • Pipes located in cupboards, under the sink, basements and garages  need to be lagged with good quality pipe lagging. You can also open access areas to cupboards and loft areas to allow the heat from the house to enter.
  • Insulate your plumbing. Insulate the loft area and the sides of your water tank. Foam tubing (or lagging) can be wrapped around your pipes to form insulation and additional support. Lagging is inexpensive and easy to install.
  • For exposed pipes or if a particularly cold period is expected, you may require electric heat tape to keep your pipes warm.
  • Most thermostats have a frost protection setting which will automatically turn on to heat your system if the temperature drops below a dangerous level. Ensure that your system is kept warm during the colder months.
  • Set your thermostat a few degrees higher during periods of extreme cold.
  • If you expect extreme freezing conditions you can allow your taps to run a trickle of water constantly during the cold period.
  • Over periods of cold weather you should ensure that your heating is set to come on several times a day or kept on at a low level. This is important to remember if the house is left unoccupied for long periods such as holidays.
  • Make a regular inspection of your pipes to check for bursts or freezing.

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Common Heating Problems: Central Heating System Making Funny Noises

There are a number of reasons why your boiler or heating system is producing unusual noises. Noisy heating is usually a sign of something that may be restricting the efficiency of your heating system.

Before you call out a plumber or heating engineer to attend to your noisy boilers, you may be able to discover and fix some of the issues which are causing the problem.

  • Gurgling: If you experience a gurgling noise in your central heating it can be a sign of trapped air or of excess pressure from your central heating pump.

    Trapped air. To release trapped air in your heating you will need to bleed the radiators.

    High pump pressure. If your pump pressure is turned up too high, this can cause water to rush around the system. You can reduce the pump pressure using the adjustment control on the pump.

  • Creaking: Tight Pipes. Creaking noises in your central heating can be caused by the pipes rubbing against the holes that they travel through. When hot water flows through the pipes they expand and rub against the holes if they are not wide enough.

  • Humming: You may experience a humming noise coming from your boiler, the radiators or the pipes in your central heating.

    Pipes and Radiators. Humming from within the pipes can be caused by the water pump being turned up too high. The pump can cause water to rush through the system which and the noise is conducted through the pipes.

    Humming from the boiler. If the humming noise is coming from the boiler, you should check that it is securely fixed and that there are no loose mounting fixtures.

  • Banging: There are a number of reasons why your central heating may be producing a banging noise.

    Trapped Air. Banging noises in your central heating can be caused by trapped air in the system or when there is not enough water in the system. You can release trapped air by bleeding the radiator.

    Scale in the heating system. You may also wish to use a chemical de-scaler to clean the system of scaling in your heating. You will need to leave the descaler in the system for a few days to clean through your central heating. You will then need to drain the system, flush it and refill it.

    Moving Pipes. Another cause of banging can be movement of pipes which are not secured properly or pipes which are too tightly fitted and expand when heated.

    Sticking valve. Banging noises can also be cause  by a sticking valve. You can free it up by lightly tapping it with a hammer.

    Lack of water or pressure. Lack of water pressure is another cause of noisy heating systems. Check for burst or frozen pipes and that the mains water is on.

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Common Heating Problems: Fixing a Leak Temporarily

When you discover a plumbing problem, it can quickly escalate to become an  emergency if it is not attended to quickly. Burst pipes can cause flooding which will result in expensive water damage to your home and property.

It is therefore important to apply temporary fixes to your plumbing until a professional plumbing service is available to install a more permanent solution.

Before beginning your temporary repair, isolate the water supply for the damaged pipe and drain it out.

Pipe repair clamps

You can temporarily stop a burst pipe from leaking by containing the broken area with pipe repair clamps. The clamps can be used along with a rubber sheath for longer term repairs.

C-clamp

You can also use a C-clamp and a wooden block to temporarily hold back a leak. Cut a piece of rubber out to cover the hole and use the C-clamp and the wood to apply pressure to hold the rubber against the leak.

Pipe Repair using Garden Hose and Jubilee Clips

If you have some garden hose and jubilee clips available you can carry out a temporary repair on your leaking pipe. Ensure that the hose will cover the pipe diameter. Cut it lengthways and wrap it around the damaged area. Use at least three jubilee clips to fasten the hose in place and seal the area so that water cannot escape.

 Epoxy Compounds

Epoxy putty is created from a compound of two substances. Once applied, the putty will bond to the metal and dry hard. Ensure that the pipe is cleaned and sanded down with Emery paper to ensure that the putty will stick.

Mix the putty components and press it onto the damaged area smoothing it out with a knife. Follow the manufacturers instructions to apply the appropriate thickness and drying time.

Rubber  Couplings or Pipe Connectors

Rubber couplings or connectors can be used to repair leaks on the joint or middle. These are commonly used for preventing drainage water, such as toilet water or laundry water pooling around the leak.

 

Pipe Wraps

Pipe wraps work in a similar way to epoxy. You can use pipe wraps to fix leaking pipes and cracks. They are applied to the area over the damaged area of the pipe and left to set.

 

Repair Sleeves

Repair sleeves work like clamps to provide a reliable temporary fix to your leaking pipe. Repair sleeves are better suited to fix small cracks and pinhole repairs. These smaller faults can get worse if left unattended below the repair sleeve so these are only a temporary solution.

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Common Heating Problems: Hot Water or Heating is too Hot

If you experience high temperatures in your heating and hot water, your system is using more energy to heat your water then is required and there may be a serious flaw in your central heating.

If you use a hot water cylinder, you should check the following:

  • Is the cylinder thermostat set too high. The recommended temperature is 60°C.
  • Is the thermostat for the cylinder loose. The strap may require tightening.
  • Is the cylinder thermostat positioned correctly. There should be a good contact
  • between the thermostat and cylinder. Check there is no dirt or insulation interfering with the contact.
  • Check that the cylinder thermostat switch is not broken. You may need to replace the thermostat and test the electrical circuits.

The following checks will allow you to establish if there is a problem with your heating system producing  water that is  too hot.

  • 1. Switch on your central heating and hot water.
  • 2. Check if your thermostat turns the boiler and pump on and off. Ensure that the frost thermostat is set correctly or positioned in the correct location. If there is a problem with the thermostat, it may need to be replaced.
  • 3. Does the thermostat move the motorised valve to the correct position? If there is a problem with the motorised valve, then this may need repairing or replacing.
  • 4. If reverse circulation is occurring, you may require a change in pipe layout.
  • 5. Ensure that the room thermostat is fixed to a suitable location. It may need to be relocated if it is reading the room temperature incorrectly.
  • 6. There may be a problem with faulty wiring in the system if the components work individually but fail to operate within the system.

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Avoiding Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Avoiding Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

What is Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Causes of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

The Main Causes of Carbon Monoxide Leaks

Effects and Dangers  of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Preventing Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

How to detect a Carbon Monoxide Leak

Installing a Carbon Monoxide Detector

What to do if you suspect a Carbon Monoxide Leak

Treating Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

What is Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Carbon monoxide  (CO) is often referred to as the “silent killer”. This is because it produces no taste or smell but it is a poisonous gas which can kill.

Carbon Monoxide poisoning results in 40 deaths a year in the UK. It is also estimated that over 200 people a year are taken to hospital with suspicion of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Preventing carbon monoxide poisoning is the most effective way of avoiding poisoning. You should also be aware of the symptoms of CO poisoning and know what to do if you or someone that you know shows signs of poisoning.

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Causes of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Carbon monoxide is produced from the following sources:

  • Kerosene and gas space heaters without adequate ventilation

  • Chimney and furnace leaks

  • Back drafts from fireplaces, wood stoves, gas water heaters and furnaces

  • Gasoline powered equipment such as generators

  • Camping gas stoves and other gas stoves

  • Tobacco Smoke

  • Exhaust fumes from automobiles (bus, truck, cars etc) in attached garages, parking areas or nearby roads

  • Gas ranges, and unvented gas or kerosene heaters where oxidation has not been completed during combustion

  • Poorly maintained combustion devices such as furnaces and boilers

  • Combustion devices which are badly connected, blocked or use the wrong flue size

  • Leaking Flues from stoves and fireplaces

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The Main Causes of Carbon Monoxide Leaks

Household Appliances: Badly installed appliances, appliances in rooms without ventilation or appliances which have not been properly maintained can cause CO leaks.

Solid fuel burning stoves: Solid fuel burning stoves need to be installed with adequate ventilation and a flue to allow the fumes to escape.

Blocked Chimneys and flues: Chimneys and flues offer the only means of escape for poisonous fumes produced by stoves or open fireplaces to escape from your home. If these become blocked or damaged, CO can escape into your living area.

Burning fuel in an enclosed space: You should only burn fuel in an open space or properly ventilated room. You should never do any of the following in an enclosed space:

  • Run a car engine
  • Run a petrol powered generator
  • Burn a barbecue
  • Allow a faulty boiler to run

Car exhausts: A blocked or faulty car exhaust will cause a build up of carbon monoxide. Check your car exhaust for blockage following a heavy snow fall or use through muddy conditions.

Paint remover and cleaning fluid fumes: Carbon Monoxide can also be released from some  paint removers and cleaning fluids. Substances that contain  methylene chloride (dichloromethane) can cause CO poisoning if breathed in.

Shisha pipes smoked indoors: Using shisha pipes in unventilated rooms can cause a build up of carbon monoxide. These pipes burn tobacco and charcoal which can release  CO gas.

Household Appliances

Carbon monoxide leaks within the home are generally caused by faulty or badly installed appliances which are not properly ventilated.

Appliances which burn coal, wood, oil or gas are potential sources for CO leaking. Carbon Monoxide is produced when the fuel is not combusted properly.

Appliances which should be checked for CO leaks include:

  • Boilers
  • Cookers
  • Central Heating Systems
  • Open Fires
  • Gas Fires
  • Water Heaters

A fully trained Gas Safe installer will ensure that any appliance is properly installed and the rooms where it operates are adequately ventilated. You must always ensure that gas appliances or solid fuel burning stoves are installed safely by engineers that are legally permitted to do so.

Gas appliances should only be installed and maintained by a Gas Safe registered engineer.

Solid fuel burning stoves and flues must be installed by engineers registered by HETAS.

Any fuel burning appliance should be regularly checked for damage. You should employ a Gas Safe engineer to ensure that your appliances are maintained and serviced correctly.

Chimney Flues

Chimneys and flues which are not installed correctly or have become blocked can prevent the gas from escaping out of your home and produce a dangerous build up within an enclosed space.

Any room with a fuel burning stove providing heat or for cooking must be installed with adequate ventilation available. You will also need an effective  flue or chimney to be installed to safely carry the fumes away from your home.

Ensure that your chimneys or flues are properly maintained and cleaned on a regular basis to avoid blockages. A chimney inspection will check for any leaks in your flue which are allowing poisonous gas from entering your home.

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Effects and Dangers  of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

The effects of Carbon Monoxide poisoning are hard to distinguish from food poisoning, flu and other illnesses. The symptoms of exposure to CO gas include feeling dizzy, headaches, confusion and feeling nauseous.

Symptoms of Low level exposure :

  • Shortness of Breath
  • Mild Nausea
  • Mild Headaches
  • Fatigue in Healthy People
  • Chest Pain in People with Heart Disease

Symptoms of moderate exposure :

  • Headaches
  • Angina
  • Dizziness
  • Impaired Vision
  • Mental Confusion
  • Feeling Faint
  • Nausea
  • Reduced Brain Function

Symptoms of long term exposure :

  • Confusion
  • Nausea
  • Flu-like Symptoms That Clear Up When You Leave Home
  • Impaired   Coordination and Vision
  • Long Term Effects on your Health
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Death at Very High Concentrations

The severe effects of CO poisoning are caused by the formation of carboxyhemoglobin in the blood. This inhibits the amount of oxygen that can be absorbed into your blood stream.

You may notice that other people in the house, including pets, are experiencing the same effects where they had not before entering the building.

If you experience these symptoms whilst you are inside the house but they disappear when you go out side for a while then there is a good chance that they are caused by Carbon Monoxide. You should immediately seek fresh air and medical help if you experience the symptoms of Carbon Monoxide poisoning.

  • Seek Fresh air: Open all windows and doors, turn off any appliances that burn fuel and leave the house.
  • Seek Medical Attention: Go visit an emergency room immediately. Inform the medical staff that you suspect Carbon Monoxide poisoning.

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Preventing Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

  • Always consult a professional or manufacturers manual to check that a room is properly ventilated when using a fuel burning appliance.
  • Carry out an annual flue and chimney inspection for any open fire place or fuel burning stove.
  • Fuel burning appliances such as gas water heaters, gas stoves, gas boilers should be serviced annually (or according to manufacturers instructions) to avoid problems with maintenance and performance.
  • Pilot lights can release CO if they are not kept in good working condition.
  • Gas cooking stoves and ovens should not be used as a heating appliance.
  • Ensure that there is adequate ventilation for any fuel burning appliance. If you do not know who installed the appliance seek a Gas Safe professional to inspect the safety.
  • Wood burning stoves and fireplaces should be checked once a year by a professional  (or according to manufacturers instructions).
  • Ensure flues are open and free from blockage when using fuel burning stoves and open fireplaces.
  • Fuel burning indoor heaters should be checked annually by a professional. You need to ensure the room is properly ventilated according to manufacturers instructions.
  • Never use barbecue grills indoors.
  • Never leave a car or other vehicle running inside a garage or enclosed space. CO can also build up in a garage whilst the door is open.
  • Never use a fuel powered generator inside an inclosed space such as a garage, shed or crawlspace. Carbon Monoxide can build up and linger for hours after the generator has been shut down.

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How to detect a Carbon Monoxide Leak

Carbon Monoxide is known as the silent killer since it is invisible and  does not produce an odour or taste. The gas can take lives quickly without the victims even knowing that they were at risk.

Carbon monoxide poisoning can kill within minutes at high enough concentrations. For this reason it is essential that you know how to detect any CO leak to protect your family, the members of your household and visitors to your home.

For homes without a carbon monoxide detector

If you do not have a carbon monoxide detector installed in your home, you need to be aware of the symptoms of exposure. If you feel dizzy or nauseous within your home you should step outside and get some fresh air.

  • Observe the people who live or use the building. Does anyone experience flu like symptoms at the same time. Symptoms vary from person to person. Look for nausea, dizziness, coughing fits, headaches and the other symptoms mentioned above.
  • If the symptoms disappear when you are outside, you should call a Gas Safe specialist to investigate the problem as soon as you can.
  • If you think that you have suffered the effects of  carbon monoxide poisoning you will need to seek medical attention immediately. You should not try to treat these symptoms at home.
  • Ensure that your gas and fuel burning appliances are checked regularly by a professional.
  • You will also need to provide adequate ventilation for fuel burning appliances.
  • Check the condition of your chimney and flue if you use an open fire or stove.
  • Check that the pilot light remains lit and is a healthy blue colour. A yellow flame is a sign of CO being produced.
  • Increased levels of dew on surfaces or windows which gather water can be a sign of carbon monoxide dispersion.
  • Be aware of open fires and stoves where fire is not smoking or the chimney does not draw the fumes up.
  • Check fireplaces and fuel burning stoves for accumulation of soot.
  • Always check manufacturers instructions when using gas fueled appliances. Over use and misuse is the cause of most carbon monoxide poisoning.

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Installing a Carbon Monoxide Detector

Fitting a carbon monoxide detector is the most effective way of alerting your household if there is a CO leak. Since carbon monoxide poisoning is deadly in a short period of time, it is essential that your detector is able to wake you from your sleep if exposure is detected.

A carbon monoxide detector works like a smoke alarm to alert you when CO is found in the home (A smoke alarm will not detect carbon monoxide). It is recommended that you fit an audible alarm to alert you quickly.

You can purchase a carbon monoxide alarms from DIY stores, superstores or from the supplier of your energy. If you are unsure about which alarm to install contact a Gas Safe engineer for advice. Always consult the manufacturers instructions for information about installing, testing and replacing the alarm.

Remember that a Carbon monoxide alarms is the last line of defence against CO poisoning. You should ensure that all of your gas and fuel burning appliances are checked regularly by a Gas Safe registered engineer.

  • Check that the detector has the British Standards’ Kitemark or another European approval organisation’s mark on it. It should be marked  EN 50291.

  • Consult a local heath official or Gas Safe registered engineer to find out which carbon monoxide detector is the best available.
  • Install a detector in each room with a gas appliance to improve efficiency.
  • Place one on each floor in the hallway outside the rooms to ensure that the alert will be heard throughout the home.
  • Place an alarm in the hallway outside the rooms where you sleep. You are most vulnerable from CO poisoning at night whilst you sleep so the detector will need to wake everyone in the house.
  • Ensure that the batteries are new and tested on a regular basis
  • If your detector is connected to the mains you will need to install a battery back up in case of a power cut
  • Detectors will have a designated phase out period which means that they will need replacing at a certain age specified by the manufacturer

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What to do if you suspect a Carbon Monoxide Leak

If you are aware of the dangers and symptoms of Carbon Monoxide poisoning you can save the lives of yourself and your family.

The symptoms of CO poisoning can often be mistaken for flu, food poisoning, tiredness or viral infections. For these reasons, Carbon Monoxide poisoning can often go unnoticed which presents a danger that can be hazardous to your health. Carbon Monoxide poisoning can even cause death if exposure is significant.

1. Be aware of the Symptoms

Look out for the major symptoms in yourself and others in the home:

  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Collapse
  • Breathlessness
  • Loss of consciousness

Do these problems occur only while you are inside the house. If you feel better when you leave, then become ill again when you return inside you should take precautions against further damage.

2. Act Fast

Carbon Monoxide poisoning can become fatal in a short period of time. You will need to get away from the dangerous area and seek medical assistance as soon as you can.

  • Get fresh air straight away
  • Turn off all gas appliances
  • Open windows and doors
  • Leave the house
  • Arrange for a Gas Safe engineer to inspect your gas appliances
  • If you have been feeling ill you must seek medical attention
  • Call the National Gas Emergency number: 0800 111 999 if you think there is any danger.

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Treating Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Over 200 people are taken to hospital annually in the UK with Carbon Monoxide poisoning. This results in an estimated 40 deaths a year.

Since there is a serious risk of death from CO poisoning, it is essential that each household identifies the potential areas of danger which could expose them to poisoning.

Installing a Carbon Monoxide alarm is the most effective way to protect your home from a potentially deadly leak.

Ensuring that all appliances are regularly inspected by a Gas Safe engineer is also essential to prevent leaks from occurring in the first place.

If you suspect that you have suffered the symptoms of CO poisoning, you must seek fresh air and contact a medical expert for immediate oxygen therapy treatment.

How does Carbon Monoxide effect you?

Once carbon monoxide enters your bloodstream it begins to effect your bodies ability to carry oxygen around the body. CO mixes with the haemoglobin in your blood to form carboxyhemoglobin.

When your blood cells are infected with carboxyhemoglobin the blood is no longer able to carry oxygen to the cells in your body. This lack of oxygen results in the tissue and other cells in the body dying.

Visit the NHS website for more information about how carbon monoxide can effect you.

What is Oxygen Therapy Treatment ?

Oxygen therapy treatment is applied with 100% oxygen which is breathed through a tightly fitting mask. This is compared to regular air which contains only 21% oxygen.

The amount of treatment that you require will depend on the amount of exposure that you have experienced.

Severe carbon monoxide poisoning can also lead to long term complications including damage to the heart or brain.

The people most at risk from the effects of carbon monoxide poisoning include:

  • Pregnant women
  • Young children or babies
  • People with chronic heart disease
  • People who suffer from respiratory problems  such as asthma

Visit the NHS website for more information about how carbon monoxide Treatments.

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Do-You-Need-to-Replace-Your-Boiler

Part 3: Replacing Your Boiler

Why Do I Need to Replace My Boiler?

Buying a New Boiler : What You Need to Know

Condensing Boilers

Combi Boilers

System Boilers

Heat Only/ Traditional / Regular Boilers

New Boiler and Boiler Installation Costs

Which is the Best Boiler For My Home

What is an EPC (Energy Performance Certificate)?

Why Do I Need to Replace My Boiler?

Modern boilers have been developed to be much more efficient than the boilers that were installed over 10 years ago. This means that you can achieve a large reduction in your heating bills by replacing your older boiler with a more energy efficient model.

The development of more accurate heating controls also offer a more precise method of managing your household temperatures. By managing the central heating of your home more efficiently you will be able to only heat rooms that are in use and during the times of the day when they are required.

A typical boiler will last up to 15 years. If your boiler is older than this, you will probably benefit the most from replacing it.

Buying a New Boiler : What You Need to Know

  • ErP Rating
    The Energy related Product (ErP) directive comes into force from 26th September 2015. The ErP is part of an EU target to reduce energy use by 20% whist increasing the use of renewables.
    From this date all space and water heating products will carry an energy rating label. The rating will be from A++ to G.
    The Erp directive will ensure that all space and water heaters that are manufactured meet minimum energy efficiency requirements. This will not effect an installer being able to fit a boiler that does not meet the requirements.
  • SEDBUK Rating
    The Seasonal Efficiency of Domestic Boilers in the UK rating (SEDBUK) was designed to provide a fair comparison between boilers and their levels of efficiency.
    SEDBUK was developed by the UK government and boiler manufacturers. The rating system ranges from A to G. A rated boilers are the most efficient.
    From 2010 all newly installed boilers in domestic properties must meet an efficiency rating of 88% or more. This means that any boiler installed after this date should meet a SEDBUK rating of A or B.
  • OFTEC Accreditation
    OFTEC is a trade association that provides the leading role in setting the industry standard for oil fueled boilers. An OFTEC accredited engineer has been fully trained to a minimum standard of competence.
    It is recommended by boiler manufacturers that you ensure that an OFTEC registered engineer caries out installations, servicing and repairs of your oil fuel boiler.
  • Gas Safe Register
    The Gas Safe register is the list of engineers that are permitted to carry out work on gas appliances in the UK. Only a Gas Safe registered engineer can install, service or repair a gas boiler in the UK.
  • Flow Rate
    The flow rate is the rate that water enters your home from the mains in litres. Your combi boiler will need to be able to heat water at the rate that it flows in t. A higher flow rate means that your boiler will need to be more powerful to heat the water at the required temperature.
  • Flue
    The flue allows excess gas produced in fuel combustion to escape from the boiler to outside of the building. The boiler flue is typically located behind the boiler allowing fumes to escape through the wall outside your home.
  • Standard Efficiency Boilers(G Rated)
    A Standard Efficiency boiler does not condense and reduce excess heat that is produced. A Standard Efficiency boiler is about 30% less efficient than a new condensing boiler and will carry a SEDBUK rating of G.
  • Weather Compensation
    A weather compensation feature allows boilers to automatically adjust the temperature according to the weather.
    Your boiler can use weather compensation to increase the heat of your radiators on a cold day and reduce heat when it is warmer. By producing less heat on days when it is not required, your boiler will run more efficiently.
  • System Filter
    System filters and magnetic system filters work to prevent metal and non metal debris from entering your boiler. The filter traps any dirt, debris and sludge before it is able to enter the boiler and do any damage.
  • Open Vent System
    An open vent heating system is typical of the type of heating installed in older properties. The system makes use of water tanks in the loft feeding the radiators and hot water cylinder.
  • Thermostatic Radiator Valves
    A Thermostatic Radiator Valves (TRVs) allows you to control the temperature of individual radiators in your home. By controlling the temperature in each room, you do not need to heat rooms which are not being used. TRVs helps makes your central heating more energy efficient.
  • Power Flushing

    The metals and other components within your heating system can react with the water over time to produce rust (magnetite) particles. Along with limescale and other contaminant build ups, these particles can create blockages and cause damage to your boiler.
    A power flushing can clean your entire heating system of sludge and other debris. This allows your boiler and heating to work more efficiently and avoid costly repairs.

Condensing Boilers

Condensing boilers are designed to make the best use of the fuel burned to ensure maximum performance and efficiency. Since 1st April 2005 all boiler replacements in the UK must be a condensing boiler.

The increased efficiency of a condensing boiler is from its ability to reuse heat that older boilers would have released into the atmosphere as water vapour. The condensing boiler uses a larger heat exchanger or secondary heat exchanger to extract heat from the water vapour found in exhaust gases.

A condensing boiler will convert 90p from every £1 that you spend on oil or gas into heat for your home.

Combi Boilers

Combination boilers (Combi) are a single boiler unit which is used to heat your hot water and central heating. The combi boiler allows you to save space in your home as it does not require a hot water storage cylinder or a cold water storage tank.

Because water is heated directly from the mains, hot water is available whenever you turn on the tap. For this reason there is no need for water to be heated and stored. This makes it more efficient.

A Combi boiler is an energy efficient and cost effective solution to heating the hot water in your home. These are some of the benefits to installing a combi boiler:

  • The installation of a Combi boiler is cheeper as it requires less pipework than a traditional heating system.
  • The system does not need a hot water cylinder which can take up valuable living space.
  • There is no need for a cold water tank to be installed which frees up loft space for extra storage or as a loft conversion.
  • It delivers your water at the mains pressure which allows you to install a powerful shower without the need for a separate pump.
  • A combi boiler is ideal for smaller properties with limited space due to its compact size.
  • You will not experience pipes freezing in the loft area.

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System Boilers

System boilers are convenient for homes which have more than one bathroom or require hot water to be available in two or more places at the same time.

A system boiler stores the heated water in a hot water cylinder which means that it is available when you need it at multiple places. This option is not available with a combi boiler system as it can only heat water at the rate that it enters through the mains.

You will require additional space to install a hot water cylinder but you do not need a water tank to be installed in the loft.

system boilers are compatible with renewable technologies such as solar water heating. This offers you the option to use renewable energy to lower your heating bills and reduce the harmful effects of CO2 emissions on the environment.

  • A hot water cylinder makes hot water available at multiple locations at the same time.
  • Quick and easy installation.
  • Can be used with renewable technologies.
  • Perfect for homes with more than one bathroom.
  • Economical heating systems.
  • No need for a water tank in the loft space.
  • Insulation is easier and cheeper than a regular boiler as many components are built into the boiler.

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Heat Only/ Traditional / Regular Boilers

Regular boilers are a suitable heating system for homes with more than one bathroom or for homes wishing to take advantage of renewable heating technologies.

If your home is fitted with older radiator systems or is in an area of low water pressure, then a regular boiler system may be the best option for you. Some traditional heating systems are not able to manage the high pressure water that a combi boiler delivers.

Regular boilers require a hot water cylinder and a water storage tank in the loft. You will also require a tank that feeds into the heating system. This means that this system is better suited to larger homes with a lot of space.

  • Perfect for homes with more than one bathroom.
  • Ideal for areas where water pressure is low.
  • Compatible with solar water heating systems.
  • The best option for properties with older radiator systems installed.

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New Boiler and Boiler Installation Costs

If you own a boiler which is older than 15 years old, you will probably have experienced problems which require a heating engineer to complete costly repairs.

When a boiler begins to show signs of breaking down on a regular basis, the cost of replacing it will relieve the stress and repair fees that are required to keep your old boiler working.

Replacing your old boiler is an expensive task so you should find out as much information as possible about your current system and about how an upgrade will benefit your home.

Despite the initial installation and boiler costs, the savings that you make on fuel bills will eventually outweigh the replacement price. A fuel efficient boiler installation can also add value to your home, making it more appealing to potential buyers.

Installation Costs

Installing your new boiler is a job that you can only undertake if you are a Gas Safe registered installer.

Be aware. The cost of installation may be more than the price of the boiler itself depending on the type of work involved.

The factors which will determine how much your boiler installation will cost include:

  • How much work is involved
  • The area that you live
  • The engineer that you employ
  • The availability and cost of parts required

Since each installation job is unique, a quotation will be offered by an engineer according to the individual requirements of the client. The prices below are only a guide to how much you will need to pay for a boiler installation only.

Replacing your previous Gas Combi Boiler with a new Combi Boiler

If you are installing your new combi boiler in the same position as where the previous boiler was located there will not be much additional plumbing work required.

Cost £540-£660

An old heating system may require a mechanical flushing to clear it out before connecting the new boiler.

Mechanical flushing cost about £510

Installing a condensing boiler to replace a non-condensing boiler

To fit a condensing boiler in the same location as a non-condensing boiler shouldn’t require much additional plumbing. The existing flue may need to be replaced or removed to fit the new boiler and the gas supply will require checking.

Cost £640-£770

If the heating engineer needs to move pipes then this may add an additional cost to the installation.

Cost £200-£300

For older heating systems you will require a mechanical flushing to clean the system of debris before connecting it to the new boiler.

Mechanical flushing cost about £510

Installing a condensing boiler and upgrading the whole heating system

If your whole heating system requires upgrading and your boiler is required to be fitted in a new location from where the previous boiler was installed, you will require a significant amount of extra plumbing to be completed. This job includes complex operations such as routing the flue and adding a condensate drain.

Cost £1,140-£1,440

Alongside the installation and plumbing work, your heating system will need to be flushed using a chemical solution to clean it of sludge and debris. The chemicals used in the flushing will add to the final cost.

Flushing chemicals cost about £200

Replacing a Regular Boiler with a Combi Boiler

Converting your household heating system from a traditional boiler to a condensing combi boiler will take a lot of work to complete.

Your heating specialist will need to replace your open-vented system for a sealed setup. A lot of obsolete equipment will need to be removed. Your cold water storage tank, hot water cylinder, feed tank and expansion tank will need to be taken out as these are no longer required.

Cost from £1,440

A condensate drain will need to be installed and extra plumbing may be required.

Extra pipework and plumbing will cost £200-£300

If your system requires a mechanical flushing or a chemical flush, you will need to add an extra cost.

Flushing chemicals cost about £200

Mechanical flushing cost about £510

Replacement Boiler Costs

Your boiler is the most crucial and complex part of your central heating system. Therefore, replacing your boiler is a costly undertaking.

There are a wide range of boiler brands and makes available so it is important to decide which product is best for your needs. The price of a new boiler varies according to type, size and brand.

A typical price for a new boiler will be between £560 and £2,300. The average new boiler will cost £1,000 and the lowest price is around £560.

 

New Boiler Brand Price Range Eco Friendly Option
Baxi Between £730 and £830
Glow-Worm boiler Between £560 and £980
Vaillant Between £740 and £1,100
Worcester Greenstar Between £1,300 and £2,100 eco-friendly options available
Potterton Boiler Between £700 and £1,050
Ideal Boiler Between £680 and £1,200
Grant Vortex Boiler Between £1300 and £2,300 eco-friendly options available

The price of a new boiler may also depend on the Heat Output Rating System. For larger homes with more rooms a higher heat rating is required. Below is an average comparison of prices depending on heat ratings.

Heat Rating Price Range
Heat Rating 18 to 28 From £1,200 to £1,600
Heat Rating 29 to 39 From £1,750 to £2,000
Heat Rating 36 to 40 plus (rare) £2,000 plus

How Much Can I Save on a New Boiler Installation

There are a number of advantages from installing a new boiler into your home. A new energy efficient boiler will offer you significant savings on your fuel bill whilst also reducing your impact on the environment by reducing your CO2 output.

On average, about half of the money that you spend on heating bills is to pay for boiler consumption. For this reason, reducing your boiler costs can significantly effect your heating bills.The initial costs of installing a more efficient boiler will usually be returned over time because of the amount of money that you can save.

A new boiler installation can also be a contributing factor in adding value to your home. This is worth considering if you are thinking of placing your home on the market in the near future.

The time a new boiler will take to pay for itself in reduced heating costs will depend on the type of old boiler that you are replacing. It will also depend on the efficiency of the new boiler.

The calculations below are based on replacing your old boiler with a new boiler of 90% efficiency. We have used an average boiler cost of £1800 for this type of boiler.

Old Boiler Efficiency Energy Bill Reduction Per Year How Much You Will Save Per Year How Long Until Your Boiler Cost is Paid Back
60% 33% £237 7.6 years
65% 28% £201 9 years
70% 22% £158 11.4 years
75% 17% £122 14.8 years
80% 11% £79 22.8 years

Source: www.uswitch.com

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Which is the Best Boiler For My Home

The Best Boilers for Large Properties

Boiler Model Product Number Max Heat Output (kW) Flowrate (litres per minute)
Ideal Logic Plus 35 HE 100422 24.2 14.5
Vaillant ecoTEC Plus 832 0010018354 24 13
Vaillant ecoTEC Plus 938 0010018357 28 15.9
Vaillant ecoTEC Plus 838 0010018356 28 15.9
Worcester Greenstar 38CDi 7738100252 30 16.4
Worcester Greenstar 42CDi 7738100246 30 17.2
Baxi EcoBlue Advance 40 7219518 32 16.4

The Best Boilers for Medium Properties

Boiler Model Product Number Max Heat Output (kW) Flowrate (litres per minute)
Worcester Greenstar 28CDi Compact 7733600057 24 11.4
Worcester Greenstar 30i 7733600005 24 12.3
Worcester Greenstar 30Si Compact 7733600052 24 12.3
Ideal Logic Plus 30 HE 204874 24.2 12.4
Worcester Greenstar 32CDi Compact 7733600055 24 13.1
Worcester Greenstar 36CDi Compact 7733600056 24 14.7
Vaillant EcoTec Plus 832 0010018354 24 12.7
Baxi EcoBlue Advance 33 7219517 28 13.5
Vaillant EcoTec Plus 838 0010018356 28 15.2
Worcester Greenstar 29CDi 7738100216 30 12.3
Worcester Greenstar 34CDi 7738100218 30 14.3

The Best Boilers for Small Properties

Boiler Model Product Number Max Heat Output (kW) Flowrate (litres per minute)
Vaillant ecoTEC Pro 24 Combi Boiler 0010018494 19 9.6
Vaillant ecoTEC Plus 825 Combi Boiler Natural Gas 0010018353 19 10.5
Baxi EcoBlue+ 24 7219498 24 9.8
Ideal Logic Plus 24 HE Combi Boiler 123174 24 9.9
Worcester Greenstar 25i 7716130139 24 10.2
Worcester Greenstar 25Si Compact 7733600050 24 10.2
Vaillant ecoTEC Pro 28 Combi Boiler 0010018495 24 11.1

Source: www.directheatingsupplies.co.uk

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Reducing-your-Heating-Bills

Part 4: Reducing Your Heating Bills

Energy Efficient Boilers

Low Cost Energy Saving Techniques

Draught Proofing Your Home

Insulating Your Home

What is an EPC (Energy Performance Certificate)?

Energy Efficient Boilers

It is estimated that 50% of your household energy bill is used by your boiler. This is why it is important to ensure that your boiler is the most energy efficient type available.

Compared to the oldest, least efficient boiler, you could save as much as £310 a year on replacing your boiler with a new more efficient system. Boilers which have been installed after the late 1990s are more likely to have half of that amount.

When replacing your boiler for a new energy efficient model, short term savings are not immediately noticeable. The benefits of installing an energy efficient boiler are noticeable over a long term basis. You will also reduce the risk of emergency call outs and repair work for broken boilers.

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Low Cost Energy Saving Techniques

There are a number of ways in which you can reduce your heating bills without costing you much expense. Using your central heating efficiently can save you money and reduce your impact on the environment.

  • Check that rooms which are not being used regularly are not getting heated. You can turn down individual radiators in these rooms whist ensuring that they do not get damp.
  • Use curtains to keep the heat of your house inside. You should open your curtains during the day to allow the natural sunlight to heat your home and close them in the evenings to prevent it from escaping.
  • Add a curtain to your front door which you can draw closed when it is cold.
  • Keep windows and doors closed when the heating is on. You should open your windows for ventilation whist the sun is shining on them.
  • Wear an extra layer of clothing when the temperature drops. Adding a jumper will allow you to keep warm for longer without the need to turn up your heating.

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Draught Proofing  Your Home

By investing in draught proofing and insulating your house efficiently you can reduce the amount of heat required to keep your house warm and reduce the amount of money that you spend on energy.

  • You can draught proof doors by  adding a rubber or foam seal around the cavity. You can also install  a threshold strip and brush at the bottom of the door to cover the gap.
  • Add a brush to the inside of your letter box and attach a seal under the flap.
  • Fit heat reflective foil behind radiators to reflect heat away from the walls and back into the room.
  • Search for gaps between the floor and skirting boards. These can be filed with a silicon sealant or wood moulding.
  • Add a keyhole cover to stop draught entering through the keyhole.
  • Add a rubber seal or strip of foam to the loft hatch to prevent heat escaping out into the loft.
  • Ensure that your hot water cylinder is fitted with a cylinder jacket to prevent heat being lost from the surface.

You can find out more information about insulating your home on the Energy Saving Trust website.

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Insulating  Your Home

Roof and Loft

Since heat rises, a quarter of heat lost from your home escapes through the roof. Loft insulation should last for over 42 years so the investment pays for itself many times over in the amount of energy saved.

Floor

You can reduce the draughts that enter through the floorboards by sealing any gaps between the floorboards and filling gaps around the skirting boards.

Cavity Wall

Uninsulated walls account for a third of the heat lost from your home. If your house was build before the 1990s there is a good chance that it was not built with wall insulation. The type of insulation that you require will depend on whether your home was built with solid walls or a cavity wall. Most houses built after the 1920s will have cavity walls.

Draught Proofing

Draught proofing your home is one of the most cost effective ways of saving energy. Most draught proofing techniques are not expensive and require little skill to implement.

Solid Wall

Solid walls have no gap between them so they allow more heat to escape through them. These are more expensive to insulate than cavity walls but will offer significant savings on your heating bills.

Insulating Tanks, Pipes and Radiators

You can keep your hot water warmer for longer and reduce the amount of heat loss with pipe and tank insulation. Fit an insulation jacket around your hot water tank and insulate exposed hot water pipes. You can fix reflective panels behind your radiators to prevent heat escaping from the room.

You can find out more information about insulating your home on the Energy Saving Trust website.

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What is an EPC (Energy Performance Certificate)?

An EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) contains information about the typical energy costs of a property and how much energy it uses. It also offers recommendations to reduce energy use and save on fuel bills.

The EPC will rate a property from the most efficient (A rating) to the least efficient (G rating). These ratings are valid for 10 years.

Any property in the UK which is rented, sold or newly built requires an EPC. Before a property is marketed for rent or for sale, the owner will need to order an EPC. This will need to be available for potential tenants or buyers to view.

An Energy Performance Certificate will be awarded following a property assessment by an accredited assessor.

A landlord who is not able to produce the relevant EPC when required can receive a fine. If you are renting or buying a property, you should be allowed to see the Energy Performance Certificate by the landlord or letting agent.

Buildings which do not require an EPC are generally non-residential, temporary residential, listed property or buildings due for demolishing.

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Do-you-Require-a-Power-Flushing

Part 5:Do you Require a Power Flushing?

Why Does My Heating Need A Power Flushing?

What is Power Flushing?

Power Flushing for New Boiler Installation

Benefits of Power Flushing

The Power Flushing Process

Why Does My Heating Need A Power Flushing?

If you experience problems with your central heating there may be a problem with the circulation of your hot water within the system. A build up of sludge in the central heating can be the cause of a number of heating problems including:

  • Slow to warm up
  • Radiators are cold at the top

  • Radiators require frequent bleeding

  • Your boiler is making noises

  • The heating pump has broken down

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What is Power Flushing?

Sludge or silt can build up in your heating system as a result of rust, corrosion, scale or other debris which has entered the central heating plumbing. When this material builds up it can create blockages that cause various problems with your heating performance.

Power flushing is the industry standard solution for efficiently cleaning your central heating of a blockage. Power flushing is a fast and reliable method for getting your heating working again.

A power flushing engineer will use water that is usually mixed with a cleaning agent. This water is flushed through the system to release any blockage. The water is flushed at low pressure but high velocity so that is causes no damage to the plumbing.

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Power Flushing for New Boiler Installation

Because modern boilers are built to maximise efficiency they use narrow waterways compared to older boilers. These narrow passages are more susceptible to blockage from silt which may have built up with your older boiler.

Before installing a new boiler into an older heating system, it is advisable to complete a power flushing of the older system. This is to avoid any accumulation of silt causing problems with the replacement boiler.

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Benefits of Power Flushing

  • It descales the system and removes corrosive water.
  • Power flushing cleans the entire heating system of sludge and other debris.
  • Reduces future problems from occurring.
  • Circulation and flow problems will be cured.
  • Your heating will be restored to maximum efficiency reducing energy costs.
  • Treatment in the power flushing prevents further corrosion.
  • Removes the noise from noisy boilers.
  • Radiator heat output will be restored.

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The Power Flushing Process

A power flushing engineer will replace the central heating pump with the flushing unit. A specialist cleaning solution is added to the water and is flushed throughout the central heating using a powerful pump.

The water is pumped at a low pressure but high velocity to ensure that no damage is caused to the system.

Each component of the heating system and each radiator is individually targeted and separately cleaned.

As the water is pumped throughout your central heating it cleans all the contaminating elements from within your system and carries it away in the solution. Power flushing will loosen and remove build ups of rust, debris and sludge efficiently and quickly.

A power flushing service will usually take between 3-4 hours to set up and complete and an experienced engineer will ensure that minimum disruption is caused to your home throughout the process.

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