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Boiler Servicing And Repairs: (9) Signs Trouble Is Brewing

by | 25 Sep 19 | Help and Advice | 2 comments

Boiler servicing and repairs are vital considering the average boiler has a working lifespan of 10 to 15 years if maintained correctly. As your boiler starts to reach the end of its life, it may need some additional help and repairs to keep functioning.

A little important point to note. A boiler repair and a boiler service are not the same thing. Think of it like your car if you have one. When your car breaks down you take it to a garage for a repair. To keep your car working and in tip-top condition, you also take it to the garage to have it serviced. In some instances cars are like boilers, you may need both a service and a repair.

Many homeowners think that most boiler servicing and repairs can be done on your own with a toolbox and YouTube. That’s not the case with all boilers. Gas boilers have more parts and pipes and are generally more complex, which means you should never attempt repairs on your own. You could also put yourself and your families live at risk in carrying out DIY on a boiler. In most instances removing a gas-fired boiler casing will likely render any warranty or guarantee you have remaining void. In most instances removing a boiler case will be against the law dependant on whether that boiler case is merely decorative or forms an integral part of the gas appliance, ie a case seal around the gas carrying components or the products of combustion components 

Is your boiler on its last legs? Here are nine signs that your boiler needs either a repair or servicing or both.


1. The No. 1 Missed Warning Signs Of Coffee Stains On A Boiler That Kill People Every Year!!!

A poorly maintained boiler or any gas-fired or solid fuelled appliance is a disaster waiting to happen. Not carrying out boiler servicing and repairs could have life-changing consequences for you and your family. Boilers, unfortunately, can and often do kill. The No 1 factor of a boiler taking someones life is a failure to have the boiler serviced or repaired by a licensed professional gas safe engineer.

Every year thousands of people are admitted into hospitals with Carbon Monoxide (CO) poisoning and some do not make it out of the hospital. Some people have lucky escapes whilst others can suffer from long term brain damage and paralysis.


The (4) Signs Your Appliance Maybe Emitting CO Emissions


If your boiler is displaying any of the following get it checked out immediately by a licensed registered Gas Safe engineer: 

  • Dark staining anywhere around the boiler but usually appears at the top of the boiler and/or boiler flue can also affect the ceiling and surrounding walls and decor. It often looks like coffee stains.
  • Yellow boiler flame or a flame that looks very lazy instead of being a strong bright blue colour.
  • The boiler pilot light frequently goes out
  • Condensation building up on the windows.


The (6) Symptoms Of CO Poisoning:


The six symptoms that will affect everybody to some degree. Although you may not experience all six, do keep an eye out for any of them. The symptons are often perceived and can be mis-diagnosed as flu-like symptoms:

  1. headaches
  2. dizziness 
  3. nausea 
  4. breathlessness 
  5. collapse 
  6. loss of consciousness

Always ensure your home is fitted with a CO alarm and like your smoke alarms, check to see if they are in full working order regularly. Remember that all CO alarms have an expiration date so ensure yours has not expired when you test.

If you do experience or suspect any of CO poisoning either you or your family then, immediately seek fresh air and consult a doctor. CO is not only odourless and tasteless, but you also can not see it, hence the name the “silent killer”. It can and does kill in minutes and a child or younger family member will have little to no time to escape.

Please always ensure you regularly service and maintain your boilers or any solid fuelled or gas appliance in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions, which, in most cases is yearly.





2. You Don’t Have Hot Water. Is This A Boiler Repair?

Is your hot water supply unpredictable at best? or does it start hot only to run cold the minute you shampoo your hair?

If your thermostat isn’t turned way down, then a lack of hot water is a clear indicator of a broken or failing boiler.

There are several potential causes. If the pressure gauge shows the appliance pressure is lower than 1 bar, then the low pressure is the culprit behind your cold showers. Have a look at our other blog post,  Winter-Ready Tip 2. In some cases, you only need a good boiler service or maybe you could be in need of a valve or another part replaced. In that case its a boiler repair you need.

Either way, your boiler should provide you with enough hot water to live your life. If it isn’t, you may need a boiler service or repair.


3. Your Pilot Light Turns Off Regularly

Pilot lights are now only found on the older style of boilers and have been replaced with flame rectification devices used in conjunction with electronic components such as printed circuit boards.

If you are still rocking an older style of boiler your pilot light should be on all of the time, but if it does go out occasionally sometimes because of draft or other reasons then further investigation is needed. Please pay particular attention to point 1 above. Any time this does happens, start by checking your gas supply at your gas cooker or other appliance. You can also contact your gas supplier to identify any known issues. If in doubt always contact a Gas Safe registered engineer to investigate your problems.

In some instances, you may be sure the thermocouple needs to be replaced because it has clearly worn or has a severe build-up of deposits, however, by UK law this is not something you are permitted to do. In the UK this involves the need to work on the gas valve and other gas carrying components which is an integral part of your boiler and not permitted in any circumstances for unlicensed individuals. If your thermocouple needs to be replaced or cleaned have a professional licensed gas engineer take care of any boiler servicing and repairs for you.



4. Your Water Pressure or Water flow is Lower Than Usual

Did you use to have a powerful water flow but it’s now trickled off?

Weak water pressure or flow is a sign of a potential boiler issue, which is usually indicative of the boiler becoming blocked due to the boiler not being looked after and serviced annually.

Water flow and water pressure are two different subjects that normally confuse everyone, however, they have a direct relationship. The best way to describe the subtle differences between the two is to imagine you are holding a garden hose. If you squeeze the hose you restrict the water flow but increase the pressure, therefore the water will go further under pressure but not as much water will flow.

As a homeowner or tenant, there is pretty much nothing you can do in this department to get your boiler back to its old self. You will need to call the licensed experts into diagnose the issue and provide a remedy.


5. You Have Cold Spots On Your Radiators And Your Home Is Not As Warm As It Used To Be

Are there corners of your home that get cold but there are no draft, cracks, or leaks?

Cold spots that occur when the heating is on are a sign of poor circulation either from your boiler or throughout the central heating system and may require either a boiler repair or complete system power flush with Magnacleanse or Kamco to the British Standard of BS 7593. In addition you may need to have magnetic filters installed in accordance with Part L of the building regulations to prevent future issues.

When you can’t generate enough heat to reach all the necessary spots in your home effectively, it’s a sign that your boiler is losing efficiency fast and you might as well set fire to your money to keep warm.

This is not something you can DIY a work around. You will need to call a certified heating engineer in to carry out a full system inspection of your home, including the boiler to determine the need for either boiler servicing and repairs or something more substantial may be required like system flushing and chemical treatments.




6. Your Boiler Or House Smells

Is your boiler or home emitting a less-than-pleasant smell?  Then you may have a gas leakA gas leak can happen anywhere as the gas main passes through your home from the gas meter to the gas boiler or any other gas-fired appliance.  you will need a gas engineer in any event, a Gas Safe licensed engineer will need to attend your home to assess and trace the problem.

If you smell rotten egg, then you may have a gas leak. Natural gas has no smell and a compound is added to natural gas to give it a very distinct odour that can’t be confused with anything else.

DO NOT operate any light switches plugs or sockets as this can cause an explosion. Extinguish all naked flames and cigarettes, open all windows and doors and if possible operate the emergency control valve on your gas meter to cease all gas going into your property. Evacuate the property and call for an emergency gas engineer and/or National Grid. Ensure no one returns into the property until told it is safe to do so.

Other smells can come from the accumulation of dust. This normally happens when your boiler is switched back on for the first time in winter after a long period. The smell is actually from the radiators and not usually from the boiler but again this smell is completely different from a gas leak.




7. Your Boiler Leaks

Boiler leaks happen. Often, they are a sign of a broken seal or valve within the boiler, which always requires an engineer to repair. They can also be the result of corrosion that reached a point where water could leak.

If your boiler is leaking, don’t wait to get it fixed. The leak causes rust and corrosion within the boiler and can spread to affect the whole heating system, this shortens the lifespan of your boiler dramatically. It can also destroy any electronic component and cause your boiler to malfunction completely.

In cases where the cause is corrosion, your engineer needs to perform a full examination of the appliance. Corrosion as a spot-problem isn’t good, but if it’s more widespread, then then it may not be worth the cost to fix it and you may at the very least require a new boiler with a complete chemical system flush and/or a power flush.


8. Your Boiler Makes Noise

Your boiler can make more noises than you might realise. It can bang like a drum and whistle like a kettle. We have attended jobs where the boiler sounded like a washing machine and others where it sounded so bad, the boiler was whaling like a banshee.

If you hear your boiler making noises (like a clunking and turning on and off), then there may be a blockage. Limescale builds up on your heat exchanger over time, and it can stop your water from flowing the way it should. When the water gets blocked, then it may steam or boil, which causes the banging noises within the boilers main or plate heat exchangers.

Modern boilers have many safety devices like high limit stats and negative temperature coefficient (NTC) thermistors to prevent the pressure from causing your boiler to explode. However, it can still cause damage and reduce the efficiency and life of the boiler.

Whistling noises can occur for the same reasons as above. However, they are also the result of trapped air. If it’s the latter, an engineer will be able to release the trapped air for you but this is also a clear sign your boiler needs some much love and attention.


9. Your Energy Bill is Too High

Older boilers already struggle with energy efficiency. As they age, these appliances can send your energy bills skywards.

If your boiler costs you more money than it should, then you are likely more in need of a replacement than a repair. It may surprise most people to learn that the difference of one degree a year in a home is around £100 or $140 a year.

New boilers use electronic ignitions, which removes the need for the pilot light to run all the time. They also generate the same amount of hot water using far less fuel. They also condense the flue gases as they burn to make them AAA class in efficiency

A new boiler will cost you upfront, but it will save you money every single month – both on energy bills and repairs.


Always Call a Registered Licensed Gas Engineer for all Boiler Servicing and Repairs

Most of the time, we don’t notice our boiler humming away in the background. It’s only when it stops working that we realise how much we rely on it.

As boilers age, they become more troublesome. If you recognise any of the above boiler issues, then you need to call an engineer to protect what’s left of your boiler’s lifespan and ensure you can still heat your home.

Do you need boiler servicing and repairs in London? Click here to book a non-emergency appointment.