Is your Boiler not working?
Here are the 7 most common reasons why your boiler is not working and simple fixes that anyone can do at home.
No matter whether your boiler is not turning on or it is making weird sounds, it can be very concerning, especially during the colder months of the year when you rely on your boiler for a comfortable home and warm showers.
Nothing is more frustrating that a central heating system that has stopped working, or as we call them, boiler breakdowns.
In this guide, we will explain everything that you need to know about common boiler issues and the steps that you should take.
What you need to check first if your boiler is not working
Is your boiler switched on
This may sound like a patronising statement at first but we promise that we’re not trying to make you mad! There have been a lot of boiler companies that have gone on call-outs only to discover that the boiler is not turned on; sometimes at the mains. This can be human error.
Someone may have turned the boiler off or gas supply by mistake. However, this usually occurs because of a power cut and can effect gas appliances in your home.
You may have even had a power cut during the night and not realised because you were asleep. So, before you spend your time and energy on calling a company to come and fix your combi boiler, make sure that it is turned on in the first place.
It is always a good idea to check the fuse box at this stage.
Check your gas bill
It is also important to make sure that your gas bill is paid. Or, if you are on a meter, make sure you have credit. You may have recently switched bank accounts and forgotten to change your direct debit, for example.
If your energy bill has not been paid for any reason, even if it was a simple oversight, your boiler is not going to work. It could be that there was simply a mistake on the company’s behalf.
They may have switched your gas off by accident. Give them a call and make sure everything is as it should be and you may have heat and hot water back on quickly.
Common broken boiler problems
There are a number of different problems that people can have with their boilers. Let’s take a look at some of them…
Check the water pressure
Now that you are sure that you have paid your bill and your boiler is indeed turned on, you need to make sure that it has water pressure. Over time, boilers will start to lose water pressure naturally.
There are a number of different reasons why this happens. You do not need to be a Gas Safe registered engineer to view this fault code. You should look at the pressure gauge on the boiler. You will see a feature that looks like a clock.
Whenever the boiler is turned off, the arrow should be pointing toward the green zone, around 1 bar. There is also such a thing as the boiler pressure being too high.
If the boiler pressure is too low, you should be able to resolve this at home within a few seconds. The first thing that you need to do is locate the filling loop.
If you look underneath your gas boiler, there should be some pipework. Here, you will find the filling loop. It is a silver flexi pipe that has either one or two taps on, which tend to be black.
In order to increase the pressure, you are going to need to open the taps, full, until 45-degrees of pressure is reached. It will lock at this point.
You will see the pressure rise on the boilers gauge to around one bar while you are going this. Close the taps once you are in the green, and there you have it; your boiler has been repressurised.
Has the pilot light gone out
The boiler pilot light, which is essentially a tiny internal flame, will need to be alight in order to ignite the gas and deliver hot water and heat.
If it is not, it is not going to burn the gas when the boiler is active. There are occasions whereby the flame will go out. This could happen because of a sudden draft, for example.
If you have an old boiler, simply peer through the casing and you should be able to see whether there is a flame or not. Try resetting or restarting your boiler if this is the case.
If the boiler still does not work, you are going to need to get a heating professional engineer to sort out the issue or even the person who did the boiler installation.
Check the condensate pipe
This is something you should check during the winter. The condensate pipe travels from your boiler to the nearest outside wall in most cases.
This is where excess liquid, which is caused through condensation from the boiler, is deposited. In the cold weather, this little quantity of slow, dripping water can be vulnerable to freezing.
A blockage will occur if there is a frozen condensate pipe. This means that there is no escape route for the water, causing your boiler to shut down because of this. This is one of the more common reasons for boiler failure.
In order to fix a broken boiler that is not working, you should gently pour warm water over the condensate pipe that has become frozen until the frozen water melts away.
Once you have done this, you should reboot your boiler. It is a good idea to check on your pipes regularly in order to try and prevent this from happening.
Check the thermostat on your boiler
If you still have not gotten to the bottom of your boiler issues, the next step is to check the thermostat. Boilers tend to be held accountable for the shortcomings of their controllers.
So, it is a good idea to make sure that your boiler has not failed because of a problem with the thermostat. The first thing you should do is make sure that the boiler is switched on and that it has working batteries, which are fully charged.
Make sure that the temperature is turned up to the level that is needed. After this, if applicable, you should check the Wi-Fi connection in regards to your boiler thermostat. Take a look at the time settings as well. Make sure there are no unnoticed daily schedules, stand-by options, or vacation modes that have been set.
In order to fix your thermostat, firstly, replace the batteries. After this, you should clear any settings and then restore it to manual operation. If all else does not work, then you need to refer to the thermostat manual.
When you will definitely need a professional…
There are a number of different circumstances that are going to require a professional Gas Safe registered engineer. So, let’s take a look at these in further detail…
Pressure problems that have been caused because of broken parts
Pressure is a necessity for boilers, with a balance being needed. If pressure is lost, this is going to mean that there is not enough water running through the boiler.
This means that your boiler is not going to be able to supply your home with the hot water that you need.
On the flip side, if there is too much pressure, your boiler is not going to have enough time to ensure that the water is heated properly.
There can be a lot of other issues as well, for example, internal parts being put under pressure, resulting in leaks.
There are a number of different culpable boiler parts. This includes the heat exchanger, pressure release valve, and expansion vessel.
Such problems can result in expensive repairs and often, you will be better off going for a new boiler.
Of course, this depends on the age and state of your existing boiler.
A boiler leak in your heating system or boiler
Leaks within the heating system, i.e. the pipework, or the boiler’s internal parts are not only bad for your floorboards and carpets.
They are also bad because they can cause damage to your boiler that cannot be reversed. In order to check for these sorts of issues, you should look for drips and patches of water underneath the boiler. You should also look at the pipes throughout your home, especially around the bends and joints.
If you do notice a leak, you are going to have to get in touch with an experienced gas boiler engineer who can check over your system, ensuring that any fault parts are replaced or that any leaks in the pipework are secured.
Your boiler is working but you have got no hot water
This is another issue that a lot of people experience. The boiler is turned on yet there is not any hot water. When this happens, it indicates that there is a problem with one of the parts in your boiler. In all likelihood, it is going to be the diverter valve that is to blame for this issue.
As you may be able to tell from the name, this is the part that is responsible for diverting water to your hot water outlets, radiators, or both, depending on where you’re demanding water.
So, when this happens, the obvious solution is to get the diverter valve replaced.
There may be cases, though, whereby you need to invest in a new boiler, so it is worth keeping this in mind.
If you have noticed that your radiators are not getting hot yet your boiler is working, the issue here probably does not lie with your boiler at all.
As time passes, heating systems, i.e. radiators and pipes, will end up being congested with dirty, congealed water and metallic debris. This causes system blockages.
If your radiators are cold at the bottom, this is a clear indicator that you have got an issue with sludge.
Your boiler simply will not turn on
If your boiler will not turn on, i.e. there is no power whatsoever, then it is probably an electrical issue. You will know that this is the case if your boiler has no sign of life.
This is usually a busted circuit board, otherwise known as PCB. You could end up spending a few hundred pounds to replace this, if not more. However, it can often be sensible to simply get a new boiler.
This is especially the case if your current boiler is an old model and is not energy efficient. In order to determine whether this is a problem, your only real play here would be to turn the boiler off and on again at the mains.
You will need to get in touch with an experienced engineer in order to get to the bottom of the problem. If it is your PCB board that has broken, then a replacement is going to be the only solution, and this is not cheap.
What to do next if your boiler is still not working:
So there you have it: some of the most common issues that are associated with boilers today. If you have noticed any of the problems that have been discussed in this guide, it is always advisable to get an experienced engineer in to resolve the problem because the last thing you want to do is run the risk of it getting worse.
When looking for an engineer, make sure that they have plenty of experience in the make and model of boiler that you have.
For instance, some engineers only specialise in certain boilers, be it Baxi Vaillant or Worcester, for instance. Aside from this, make sure that they have all the necessary qualifications and experience.
Do not simply assume that this is the case. You should also take your time to do some research online. Read what other people have had to say to make sure that the company in question has a good reputation.
The last thing you want to do is end up using the services of a business that has let many people down in the past. If you are wanting a new boiler you can compare boiler prices on our homepage.