Top 5 tips on preparing your boiler for the winter

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Top 5 tips on preparing your boiler for the winter

Your boiler breaking down in the winter would be an inconvenience for you and your family. There are measures you can take to prepare your boiler for winter and avoid potential faults. We offer a range of services here at Plumr that can help ensure the efficiency of your boiler, as well as new boiler installation and boiler repairs. Modern boilers are so efficient and convenient it’s easy to forget they’re there. But taking steps to ensure its efficiency during colder periods is sure to be beneficial in the long term. Below we’ve compiled the 5 best tips for preparing your boiler for winter:

Getting your boiler serviced

Annual boiler servicing is advised with most boiler systems and often needs to be completed to comply with warranty. A good hack is to book your service before the winter months (when you’ll rely on your heating most) to get any underlying issues resolved. A boiler service involves an engineer cleaning all parts and components of your boiler. This will prevent blockages and enable the engineer to check all components are working efficiently.  Anything that is broken or worn can then be replaced, meaning your boiler will be left in perfect working condition. 

You don’t have to wait till winter to get your boiler serviced. If it’s been 12 months or more since your last service, it’s a good idea to book one.

Defrost and insulate your pipes

Standing water in your pipes can freeze in the colder months. Water expands when it freezes, which can cause your pipes to burst. If your condensate boiler pipe freezes this can cause your boiler to completely stop working. You can use tepid water to unfreeze by pouring the water over the pipe.  Do not use boiling water as this can cause further damage. 

One of the best methods to prevent freezing pipes is to insulate them. For boilers that are placed outside or in garages, pipe insulation is a must. To find out how to insulate your pipes, or to book a consultation contact us. We’ve listed the most common causes of burst pipes and how to get emergency pipe repairs in the burst pipes section of our website.

You can also keep your heating at a constant low temperature throughout the winter to prevent pipes from freezing. You can then set your timer for when you want your heating to increase. This will help keep the overall temperature of your house warm through the colder months.

Checking your boiler pressure

If your boiler loses pressure and the level becomes too low, this can affect its efficiency. To check the pressure of your boiler, take the reading from the gauge. If the pressure is too low, you’ll need to use the taps to raise the pressure to the appropriate level (1-1.5). It’s best to aim for the lower end of the range, as pressure will rise slightly as your system heats up.

Bleed your radiators

Air can become trapped inside your radiators, which can prevent warm water circulating round them effectively. Your radiator will become cold at the top but warm at the bottom, meaning it takes longer to warm a room. This is when it’s time to bleed your radiators so you can heat your house efficiently. 

To bleed your radiators you will need two things, a radiator key and a cloth or towel. 

  1. Turn off your heating. You can’t bleed your radiators with it on. If left on, you may get hot water spraying out of your radiators. 
  2. Use the radiator key to turn the valve on the top of your radiator. Attach the key to the groove in the centre of the valve and turn anti-clockwise. You should hear a hissing sound as any trapped air escapes from the radiator. Use your cloth to clean any excess water that leaks out. 
  3. When the hissing stops and there is only water leaking out, retighten the valve by turning clockwise. 
  4. Once these steps are completed and the valves have been tightened, turn your central heating back on. 
  5. Check the pressure of your radiators by checking the reading from the gauge on your boiler. Bleeding your radiators can cause the pressure to drop. If the pressure has become too low, you’ll need to top it up. To do this use the lever tap on your boiler. 
  6. Check your radiators to make sure they are heating up properly. 

If you are unable to bleed your radiators we do a full radiator power flush service, the central heating system will benefit from a power flush if it has been installed for several years. Radiators work more effectively and you could extend the life of your boiler with an internal cleaning of the system. Water will flow more freely around the pipework and radiators supplying more heat and circulating it faster.

Check your thermostat

A faulty thermostat can cause an incorrect temperature reading for a room causing it to be too hot or too cold. If the thermostat has blown it will not send a signal to the valve which allows the radiator to heat, meaning your heating will not come on. On the flip-side, your thermostat may not know when to switch off the heat causing the temperature to become too hot. 

Taking these steps to prepare your boiler for winter, should prevent any arising problems or system shutdowns. To book a service, arrange a repair or ask any questions contact us.

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