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How Long Do Boilers Last?

Boiler thermostat

Your boiler is a heavy-duty machine that works around the clock to provide hot water and heating to your home. In a country as cold and damp as the UK, it plays a vital role in your central heating system. Even summer nights can run a bit chilly. Given its importance and frequent use, boilers are built to last and are considered a long-term investment for every home and business.

Whether you are buying a new boiler or just curious when your boiler replacement is due, you are bound to ask yourself, “how long do boilers last?” There is no strict answer to it. Their lifespan purely depends on how much you use your boiler, whether you take care of them or not, and sometimes, just pure luck. If you want to make the most out of your current boiler, it is important to learn how long they last and what factors affect that.

How Long Should A Regular Boiler Last?

No matter what type of boiler you have, the average lifespan would be around 10-15 years. With the proper care and maintenance from a boiler engineer, they can last well up to 20-25 years, though there may be dips in performance. For most boilers, this dip happens in the 10th year. Their efficiency goes down about 30% by then. 

The efficiency of your boiler depends on what type you have. Combination (combi) boilers and condensing boilers are some of the more modern options. A combi boiler can have a thermal efficiency of 98% when they are new, and a condensing boiler can have 92-95% depending on the model and brand. However, if you have a traditional boiler on hand, like oil boilers or gas boilers, they usually have a thermal efficiency of 85%

There have been so many great strides in improving heating systems’ efficiency that it was only 30 years ago when these oil heating furnaces could only reach a maximum of 70% when bought new. 

Can you imagine the 30% dip in the 10th year with such an inefficient model? It is understandable to see why most would replace it in 10 to 15 years. However, given the push for more sustainable options, you might see a generation of boilers that can last well beyond that, given proper maintenance. 

How Do You Extend The Life Of Your Old Boiler?

Like any other appliance in your home, the only way you can extend its lifespan is through responsible use and proper maintenance. When you manage to do both consistently, there should be no reason for such heavy-duty machines to break down before their time. 

What Commonly Affects Its Lifespan

Several things can negatively affect your boiler’s lifespan–it is a mixture of environmental factors and user habits. It is up to the homeowner, or the landlord and tenant’s joint effort, to make sure that these variables are under control. 

 Improper Boiler Storage

When you first get your unit, the boiler manufacturer’s manual outlines your boiler’s ideal location and storage. It is generally advised that you keep it in a cool, dry place away from other items for proper ventilation.

If your boiler is in the attic, basement, or closet, make sure your boxes and clothes are not directly beside your unit. Leave at least 1 m or 3 feet-gap between your boiler and other items. However, it is preferable to keep the whole area clear. 

*You may also want to apply the same idea for your boiler flues and vents. It is always best to keep them clean so that they can do their job properly. 

Impact Damage 

Even though your boiler is built to last, they aren’t made for impact damage. The impact can come from a variety of sources like items falling on your unit or receiving hits when you roughhouse near the boiler. While your cast iron boiler might look like it can take a beating, that isn’t true. You may need to replace the section or the entire boiler because of the dents in extreme cases.

Poor Water Treatment

Poor water treatment leaves impurities and debris in the system. These tend to build-up and create blockages in your storage tank and pipework that affect your existing boiler’s performance. When the grime stays inside too long, it can lead to a boiler breakdown. The UK generally has hard water, which means it is rich in minerals and similar sediments. You need to treat your water for this before it enters your home to prevent this. 

Debris Build-Up

As mentioned earlier, debris can affect your boiler and lead to its early retirement. And poor water treatment isn’t the only way to trigger this. When there is trapped air in your system, it can mix with the water and create rust. Rust, along with the limescale from your hard water, can turn into a thick sludge that prevents your home from heating evenly. It becomes something that not only damages your boiler but your pipework and radiators as well. 

You may want to invest in a magnaclean filter, and you can read more about it here. 

Overfiring

Every boiler has set limits. While you can go for the maximum amount, you cannot keep it there indefinitely. You are at risk of overfiring your boiler the same way you would overfire your woodstove. Cast iron boilers are more prone to this. 

Remember, your unit is only built to withstand a certain amount when you keep overfiring your boiler, you damage the internal tubing and heat exchanger. The reality is that overfiring doesn’t actually speed-up your heating. So, you end up increasing the wear on your unit without any reward. 

Thermostat Misuse

When you set your thermostat to a certain temperature, it works hard to keep it that way inside your home. So it doesn’t matter if it becomes warmer or cooler because the thermostat sensors will adjust the heat for you. If you increase the heat to account for the sudden drop, you are only overfiring your older boiler, and that counts as thermostat misuse.

Another example is when you constantly toggle the controls or participate in “thermostat wars” with your partner or roommate, that also contributes to decreasing your boiler’s lifespan. It forces your boiler to make frequent changes, and there might be a point where it can no longer keep up. 

Delayed Repairs

Nothing affects the boiler as much as neglecting repairs. For the most part, when the issues listed above happen, a quick and speedy repair can make things right. They rarely leave lasting impressions on your system. However, when you leave them alone, the worst-case scenario always happens, and you end up without heating when you need it the most. 

Plumbingforce offers clients same day service for emergency boiler repairs. If you want to address your heating problems as soon as possible, all you have to do is look for our experience boiler engineers!

How To Take Care Of Your Boiler

When it comes to taking care of your boiler, it is a balancing act. You need to be able to avoid making common mistakes while actively working to address its issues. You can set preventive measures in place, like a self-administrating anti-limescale solution and a magnaclean filter. There are a host of maintenance tips without calling an engineer:

  • Adjust the boiler pressure

  • Bleed your radiator

  • Drain and balance your system

  • Invest in a smart thermostat

By doing this, along with scheduling an annual maintenance check-up with your local heating engineer, you can make your boiler last longer. If you are looking for a new, professional team–Plumbingforce can match you with a Gas Safe registered engineer.

When Should You Replace Your Boiler?

Most people think they should replace their boiler after 10 years. After all, that’s when efficiency starts to go down. However, machines aren’t like perishable food items. When they are well-cared for, they can last past their “expiration date.” Instead of basing your replacement on its years, keep an eye out for your broken boiler’s tell-tale signs:

  1. High gas/ fuel bills
  2. Noisy boiler and radiator
  3. Difficulty sourcing replacement parts
  4. Frequent breakdowns
  5. Fails to heat your home and water adequately

When these signs become commonplace, and you have your engineer on speed dial, you may be due for a replacement. 

How Much Does A Replacement Boiler Cost?

The cost of a replacement boiler depends on your boiler type (modern condensing boiler vs non-condensing boiler), brand (Viessmann boiler vs Worcester Bosch boilers) and model. They can cost anywhere from £500-2,500 for most household brands. For a more comprehensive look, you can learn more about replacement boilers here. 

*Note: The boiler price range listed is only an estimate and can be subject to change. Before your boiler installation, it is best to consult your heating engineer about the best option for your home. While you are at it, you can also get a free quote from your boiler installer to make sure you have the best price. 

While boilers are notoriously expensive, think about the savings you make along the way. You can enjoy lower fuel and energy bills and less frequent visits from your heating engineer. If you cannot find the budget for your replacement boiler, you can look into the UK’s green initiative for their new boiler grant. The grant allows residents to get a free boiler or have one heavily subsidised. You can take your pick from the sustainable options available like an electric boiler, combination boiler, or condensing boiler.

When it comes down to it, you can last without a boiler for long, especially given the UK’s winters. It is always best to treat them well and consider their long-term role in your home. If you need a helping hand, you can book your Gas Safe engineer online or call us at 0330 162 5329! No matter what type of boiler you have, a non-condensing boiler, system boiler, conventional boiler, gas boiler, or combi boiler, Plumbingforce can be your go-to service!

A Comprehensive Guide On Registering For An Ideal Boiler Warranty

Boiler Maintenance

To most of us, a boiler is a vital part of our daily lives, essentially running every day from the moment it is installed in your home. And because you’ll have it running or a long time, it’s best that you prepare for the possible consequences of its wear and tear.

One way of doing this is by making sure you are getting the best deal possible when it comes to the standard boiler warranty, which usually covers a certain warranty period beginning on the day you have your new boiler installed. A long-term warranty is handy, especially if you don’t want to deal with a boiler emergency on your hands.

If you have recently purchased a new Ideal boiler, or are simply curious about what is covered by the warranty on your old boiler from Ideal, this guide is for you! Here, we are going to discuss the standard boiler guarantee granted by Ideal. You will also learn about getting an extended warranty, boiler warranty registration, keeping your Ideal boiler warranty valid, and many more. 

Ideal: A Heating Authority

Ideal Boilers, a boiler manufacturer since the early 1900s, has become a household name known for meeting the evolving central heating system and hot water needs of many homeowners in the UK. They offer a wide range of boilers, each suitable to your specific needs.

They can provide you with a combi boiler, a standard gas boiler, an electric boiler, a system boiler, a condensing boiler, or any other kind of boiler you need. Ideal also offers radiators, heat pump and heat pump accessories, hot water cylinder, and many more.

To compare and identify which kind of boiler is best suitable for you, visit Ideal Boilers’ website.

Ideal’s Standard Boiler Warranty

A new boiler from Ideal always comes with a standard warranty. It covers any manufacturing issue (i.e., mechanical or electrical breakdowns due to defective materials or quality) which could have originated from the boiler itself. Typically an Ideal Boiler warranty lasts from two years to 10 years, depending on the type of boiler you purchase.

This warranty period, however, may be shortened to 12 months if you fail to register your warranty within 30 days of purchasing your boiler.

If the company finds that their standard warranty covers you, you will be eligible to get boiler parts and labour repair services, or a replacement boiler, all free of charge.

Do note though, that if Ideal deems that the defect, damage, or breakdown was caused by user misuse, third party interference, accidents, or inadequate servicing and maintenance of the boiler, the boiler warranty will be void.

How To Register Your Boiler Warranty

As mentioned above, registering your warranty within the 30 days of your purchase is vital to keeping your original warranty period because failure to do so will cut it down to twelve months. Here’s how to register your boiler warranty:

Visit the Ideal website and click “Register Warranty.” Complete all sections and submit to register your boiler. Alternatively, you may call Ideal’s customer service team at 01482 498660. Take note of the boiler serial number, as it will be required for both methods of registration.

How To Keep Your Ideal Warranty Valid

Aside from those mentioned above, there are a few more things that could render you warranty void. To prevent these from happening, take note of the following:

  • Make sure your boiler is installed and commissioned with 12 months of manufacture by a Gas Safe registered engineer. Moreover, the boiler should be installed following the guidelines in the installation and servicing booklet that is provided with the boiler.
  • The Benchmark commissioning sheet must be accomplished by the installer and left with your boiler.
  • To make sure that your Ideal boiler warranty starts from the date of installation, you must provide proof of purchase. Otherwise, the warranty will begin from the manufacture date.
  • A Gas Safe registered engineer should annually be servicing your Ideal boiler. Not only is this a crucial step in keeping valid your boiler warranty, but it will also make sure you won’t have to pay for costly repairs in the future.
  • You may not move your boiler from its place of installation without consent from the manufacturer.

Getting An Extended Boiler Warranty

Companies like Ideal also offer extended warranty for some of their customers. To extend your Ideal boiler warranty, you may:

  1. Get your Ideal boiler installed by an accredited installer or heating engineer. Many accredited installers may be able to offer you a longer guarantee, thanks to the points system Ideal has with their accredited installers.
  2. Ask if Ideal is offering promotional warranties, which means the standard warranty is extended, free of charge. This is something that Ideal sometimes does, so be sure to ask, as you may be lucky enough to have bought your boiler at the right time!

It would also be wise to get an Ideal boiler that has a long standard warranty period. Some models you may want to check out are:

  1. Ideal Logic Max Combi Boiler
  2. Ideal Vogue Max Combi Boiler
  3. Ideal Logic Max Heat Regular Gas Boiler
  4. Ideal Vogue Max System Gas Boiler

Final Thoughts

If you need help in deciding which Ideal boiler is the best for you or are simply in need of a Gas Safe heating engineer to service and maintain your Ideal boiler, do not hesitate to reach out to Plumbingforce!

Why Is My Radiator Hot At The Top And Cold At The Bottom?

home water radiators

With the colder months fast approaching, it is always important to make sure that your central heating system is in tip-top shape and ready to go. Be warned though. Often, after a long period of being unused, people will find that their radiators are not heating up properly, with its tops feeling warm, while the bottoms stay cold.

If you have a radiator hot at top cold at bottom, you’ll be glad to know that there could only be a few things wrong with it and that it could easily be remedied. After reading this guide, you would ideally be able to identify what is wrong with your radiator and how exactly you can fix it!

What’s Causing A Cold Radiator Bottom?

First, make sure you are not using a convection or convector radiator. Modern radiators like these work differently because the hot water rises to the top, thus forcing the cold water down to the bottom, where it is reheated in a cycle. Otherwise, you may be dealing with radiator sludge.

Radiator sludge is a mixture of different contaminants like dirt, rust, dirty water, and limescale that settled at the bottom of your radiator. The sludge prevents and blocks hot water from freely flowing around your radiator, thus leaving some areas within your home, as well as the bottom of your radiator, cold. 

The buildup of sludge will make heating your home more difficult than usual. Moreover, this will also increase the cost of your heating bills and possibly cause irreparable or costly damages to the rest of your central heating system, including the boiler.

Hence, you must make sure not to ignore your cold radiator and ensure that it is always clean and free of sludge.

How Do I Free My Radiator Of Sludge?

There are several ways you can get rid of central heating sludge. Here is a list of the most common ways you may do so:

Manually Draining and Cleaning Your Radiator

If you’re looking to get to the bottom of the issue yourself, then you may manually drain and clean your radiator. To do this, you will have to find the affected radiator before you may begin. (Yes, the problem is probably isolated to one radiator. However, as your central heating system is all connected, a blockage on one may easily affect all the others connected to it, or even the entire radiator system). Here’s a quick step-by-step guide you may follow:

  1. Turn off your central heating system and wait for everything to cool down. You wouldn’t want to accidentally come into contact with scalding hot water from your radiator system. Read up on the dangers of hot water burns here.
  2. Prepare some towels or buckets to catch the sludge and dirty radiator water.
  3. Locate a valve on both ends of the radiator, and make sure they are closed. Remember how many times you turned the valve to close it. Loosen the thermostatic valve as well. (The thermostatic radiator valve helps regulate the flow of water into your radiator).
  4. Use a radiator key to turn the bleed valve. Doing this will release dirty radiator water and trapped air from your radiator.
  5. Once you’re sure that almost all the water has been drained, dislodge your radiator and take it outside so you can flush its insides.
  6. Attach a hosepipe to the valves or a lower radiator hose to flush any dirt and debris inside.
  7. Reconnect your radiator into the central heating system and reset the radiator. Do not forget to turn the valves as many times as you did to shut them off.
  8. Because bleeding radiators may affect boiler pressure, you may want to check your boiler’s pressure. If the boiler pressure is low, you may need to repressurise it. You can learn how to do that here.

These steps should be able to kickstart your radiator into working efficiently again.

Make Use Of Heating System Cleaners (Chemical Flush)

A heating system cleaner can quickly help get rid of the debris within your radiator and your system, thus also getting rid of the cold spot or cold patches on your radiator.

You have to introduce the cleaner to your heating system, and leave it in there from at least an hour up to a week, depending on how much sludge or debris the chemicals are up against. Once satisfied, you may start flushing and draining the system of all the broken down debris until the water runs clear.

Powerflushing

You may also opt to have your heating system undergo a power flush. By doing this, a high volume of forced water and cleaning agents will be circulating the heating system. The powerful water flow will then forcibly remove all debris and contaminants.

Because this requires a flushing pump, the power flushing of a central heating system should be done by a professional heating engineer.

What Can I Do To Prevent This From Happening Again?

Once you’ve gotten rid of the sludge and other debris in your radiator system, you may start taking steps to prevent or at least slow down its redevelopment, as well as keep your heating system running smoothly. Here are some ways you may do so:

Install A Magnetic Boiler Filter

A boiler filter is a powerful magnet often installed along your central heating system pipework or somewhere on the boiler. It will collect the sludge, rust, and other heavy metal debris from the circulating water before it can build up in radiators and reduce the efficiency of your heating system.

Make Use Of A Scale Reducer

Similar to a magnetic boiler filter, a scale reducer will protect your central heating system from the damage caused by hard water and limescale. If you live in an area with hard water, a scale reducer is vital to keeping your central heating system efficient.

Add Radiator Inhibitors

You will want to add this liquid chemical into your central heating system. It serves as a protective coating against corrosion within your boiler, pipes, water pump, etc.

Schedule Regular Radiator System Flushing

To maintain the warmth that your heating system provides, make sure to have it regularly checked and flushed. After all, you wouldn’t want to wait until your boiler is on the verge of breaking down again!

What If None Of The Methods Above Work?

If none of the methods above work, you and your gas safe registered engineer may want to discuss the possibility, and the cost, of getting a new boiler or a new radiator. This is especially the case if you are using an old central heating system.

Final Thoughts

Fixing a faulty radiator doesn’t always have to be so complicated! Hesitant about dealing with a defective radiator yourself? Call an expert heating engineer from Plumbingforce today!

I Have Hot Water, But My Central Heating Isn’t Working! What Do I Do?

thermostat

Have you ever come home, fully expecting to have a lovely evening that starts with a hot shower followed by a warm, toasty evening in bed? Imagine being confronted, instead, with the fact that you are getting hot water to your taps, but no underfloor heating and hot air from your central heating?

If so, you’ve come to the right place! This guide will walk you through everything that could be causing the fact that you have some hot water but no heating.

Do note that finding out where the problem lies precisely will require some trial and error. To help you narrow it down, though, we’ve come up with a list of the most common reasons as to why this could be happening. Ideally, by the end of this guide, you will have ruled out possible causes to your problem, and most importantly, will have figured out what is wrong with your boiler or your central heating system.

Common Causes Of Having Hot Water But No Heating

Radiator-related Problems

Because your boiler has been functioning correctly to power up your water heater, check your radiators first. Check to see if any of them are warm. If none of them is warm or only mildly warm, then it is safe to say that your central heating issues are directly related to your radiators.

If you think this could be the problem, consider bleeding and cleaning your radiators. All you need is a radiator bleed valve. You will use to turn the bleed valve in the side of the radiator. Before doing this, make sure that you have towels or buckets ready to catch the dirty water and sludge that would come from your radiators. You can read about cleaning and bleeding your radiators here.

Thermostat Settings

You may also want to check your thermostat for any potential issues that may be causing your central heating system to malfunction. Here are some things you should be on the lookout for:

  • Is your central heating switched on?
  • Is it turned up properly to the correct temperature?
  • Did you set for your heating to power up at the correct time? (Your clock may be on 24-hour clock settings, which means you probably could have put the time incorrectly)
  • Do you need to adjust your room thermostat clock? Has your clock gone forward or backward?
  • Did a recent power outage reset your boiler?

For most issues involving a faulty thermostat, all you have to do is check the user manual for instructions or a walkthrough on how to make the necessary adjustments. Also, check for drained back-up batteries and ask the people in your household if someone had been messing around with the room or boiler thermostat. After all, the only problem you may be having is miscommunication!

Low Boiler Pressure

If the issue isn’t with your radiator or your thermostat, then your boiler may be worth checking. If the water pressure in your boiler is too low, then it could affect the performance of your central heating system.

To find out if you have low boiler pressure, check on the pressure gauge if your pressure level is at or below one bar.

Resetting your boiler may do the trick. There should be a reset button or switch on your gas boiler, which you have to press to trigger a soft-reset. But, if you have to open a boiler cover or casing to access this button, DO NOT DO IT, as doing something like this may be risky.

If you are using an electric powered boiler, turn the power off, wait 30 seconds, and then turn it back up. You may also want to repressurise your boiler using either a filling loop or a repressure key. Read your user manual or this DIY Guide for more information on repressurising a boiler.

If repressurising your boiler does not work, you may be dealing with a larger issue, which you may or may not identify by checking the fault code on your boiler. Low boiler pressure may be a result of a boiler problem listed below

  • A water leak in the boiler, radiator, or pipe work.
  • A faulty boiler component (i.e., a malfunctioning heat exchanger, failure to deliver gas supply to your combustion chamber or power to your heating element)
  • Recent boiler bleeding

Malfunctioning Motorised Diverter Valve

Out of all the possible reasons for your water heater – central heating system issue, a faulty diverter valve is the most plausible.

The diverter valve is a part that can be found in a combi boiler, but not a system boiler or a conventional boiler. It is responsible for switching the heat between your water supply and your central heating system. It makes use of an opening and closing mechanism to alternate between providing heat to the two.

So, if you find that your water on your tap is getting heated, while no hot air is coming out of your radiators, that only means that the valve is stuck or not opening up for your heating system. If this is the case, then your valve will need to be repaired or replaced.

Do note, though, that a relatively newer boiler will be easier to fix as parts for these kinds of boilers are readily available. Meanwhile, a combi boiler that is of an older model may be hard to source parts for.

It’s None Of The Above, What Should I Do?

There are many other reasons as to why you could be having problems with only your central heating only, and not your hot water supply. In cases like this, it would be best for you to contact a heating engineer to check the issue out.

Moreover, it would be best if you remembered that appliances like boilers should be best addressed by a heating engineer who is skilled and qualified in the maintenance and installation of such. To ensure that you and your heating equipment is safe and in good hands, hire a local gas safe registered engineer, or book one through Plumbingforce!

A Comprehensive Guide For Your Boiler Flues

Boiler flues

Every part of your central heating system is essential, from the boiler down to your flues. Everything works together to heat your home safely. For the most part, that means maintaining your current boiler and bleeding your radiator at least once a year. But what about your flues? 

Boiler flues are the unsung heroes of your heating system, and they should be given the same amount of consideration as you do with your boiler. After all, whether you rent a flat or own a house, it is important to learn about how different parts work. When you have a good idea about their role in the overall system, you can better care for your home, and in turn, it will take better care of you. 

What Is A Boiler Flue?

While your boiler works hard to keep your house warm, your flues work to keep it safe for you to live in. They act as the exhaust pipe of your home. It connects your boiler to the outside and is the pathway for your heating by-products like air, gas, and condensation. 

While these things are not particularly harmful in small doses, they can easily build up and become a health hazard. Condensation can lead to mould and combustion by-products to carbon monoxide poisoning, among many others. With your flues and proper ventilation, you can keep your place safe and warm.

How Do They Work?

In most fuel-burning models, like a gas boiler or oil boiler, you get your heat from combustion. This process creates waste gas, and too much of it can negatively affect your health. Your boiler flue runs from the combustion chamber to the nearest external wall to properly expel the fumes according to the rules and regulations. It travels through the pipes with the help of a fan to the boiler flue terminal. This terminal takes care of releasing exhaust gases and water vapour while also allowing fresh air to enter. 

However, for modern condensing boilers, this process is different. Your flue has a more integral role in heating your home. Instead of quickly expelling the gas, it first passes through the heat exchanger. It goes through the chamber where cold water re-enters the boiler and partially heats it before leaving the house. The cooled water vapour becomes condensate and has a separate drain, while the rest of the gases exit through the boiler flue terminal. Since the flue gases pass a bit of the heat back, condensing boilers are more efficient. 

How Much Would It Take To Install A Proper Flue?

It is difficult to give a proper average for the cost of installing a boiler flue because every person’s set up can be unique. Besides considering the house’s shape and structure, you also have to think about the placement of the flue terminal. In crowded neighbourhoods, you need to make sure that people in the surrounding area, including passersby, are not affected by the released gas and air. Your flue system has so many variations like having a square or rounded flue pipe or a horizontal or vertical flue. 

For a regular, horizontal flue kit, you can find one within the £36-£150 range. Vertical flue kits are not that different but are considered more expensive because of the changes in the scaffolding and tiling. It usually has more parts to accommodate your pitches or flat roof. Even without accounting for labour, you can add £100-£200

Besides the main pipe and terminal, there are other accessories like a flue guard, which retails from £12 to £25, and a boiler plume kit, which can range from £75 to £150. If you are installing your flue for the first time, the total price could go from £200 to £350

When you already have one in place and are looking to redirect it, the job should cost around £250-£300. Flue systems involve a lot of other trade work with opening walls and ceilings. So it isn’t unheard of to have a £900 bill for major upgrades, given the labour and material costs. 

As tempting as it is to DIY your installation, it can only be done by Gas Safe registered companies to ensure that everything is secure. You can call us here at Plumbingforce for a local heating engineer. If you want a more exact quote, you can submit a risk-free enquiry, and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

 *Note that the prices shown are just estimates. There are several factors that may affect your total bill. Discuss the actual price with your plumber before proceeding with any construction.

Important Things To Take Note 

Not All Boilers Have Flues

While most boilers have flues, it is possible not to have one. Traditional back boilers have an open system and are the only type of boiler that does not have flues. While it might seem like an appealing option, they are tightly regulated and can be very dangerous when they are not handled properly. They are very inefficient, and there is a nationwide movement for more sustainable options like a condensing boiler or combi boiler. 

Flue Shapes And Sizes

If you are repairing/ replacing your flue pipes, remember that there is no one-size-fits-all kit. Older homes tend to have a square flue with 15 mm pipes. When this is the case, chances are your system is not up to code, and it can be difficult to replace parts without having them custom-made. There have been many changes with the rules and regulations. Unless you have a listed home, you should look into upgrading your system. If you have a more recent building, you can work with the regular 22 mm round flue.

Flue Inspection Hatch

Besides figuring out where to position your flue, you should also consider how to make them accessible. Most homes in the UK have an inspection hatch that allows Gas Safe registered engineers to inspect and maintain your system properly. When your boiler flue is acting out, they should be able to easily diagnose the problem. 

Where Can I Find My Boiler Flue?

Your boiler flue usually takes the shortest and straightest route to the outside. It is located behind the boiler and exits through the nearest external wall. However, since homes vary, there is no fixed place. Most homes keep their boilers in the attic or loft, but you can also find them in basements and small closets. As long as it meets the boiler and flue regulations, you can find your boiler flue just about anywhere. 

If you have a vertical flue, then it comes out from the top of your boiler and exits through the roof. It acts and looks like a chimney, but instead of billowing smoke, you get steam–and lots of it. Given the location of vertical flues, you need to make sure that it is properly sealed. Unlike horizontal flues that get a bit of protection from the wind and rain with neighbouring buildings and roof overhangs, vertical flues are left to the elements. You may need to invest more to protect your flue terminal. 

The Best Location For Your Flue

The best place for your flue is one that meets regulations and serves you for a long time. When you are planning your build, envision the changes that may happen around the neighbourhood. What might be an excellent location for your boiler flue terminal might be an issue when the building next door is completed. You may be forced to add a plume deflector to redirect the air and gas away from the now busy area. When you manage to find a location that ticks off both boxes, you save yourself from the hassle. 

When in doubt about where to put your boiler flue, it is always best to consult an engineer and bring up your concerns. They can inspect your property and come up with the most satisfying solution. For new boiler installations, you can contact us here at Plumbingforce!

What Are The Boiler Flue Regulations? 

Even with the professionals on the case, it wouldn’t hurt to be aware of the boiler flue regulations. Here is a brief rundown: 

  1. When the flue terminal is towards a frequently used pathway, it should be 2.1 m above ground level.
  2. When it is near a window or air vent, it should be 300 mm away (either above, below or beside the opening). 
  3. It should be 75 mm below guttering and drain pipes.
  4. It should be 200 mm below the eaves/roof overhangs. 
  5. For vertical flues, it should be 2 m below roof windows/skylights.
  6. For vertical flues, it should also be 300 mm above the roof pitch or flat roof. 

When you have your flues installed, you should make sure the area is clear. Most boilers are kept in rooms filled with other items. If this is the case for you, leave a little bit of leeway between your heating system and other items. 

The Importance Of Your Boiler Flue and Proper Ventilation

Your boiler flue and ventilation system keeps your gas appliances working safely and efficiently. It keeps a decent fresh air supply for proper combustion and gets rid of waste gases. The one you should keep an eye out for is carbon monoxide.

Carbon monoxide is a colourless and odourless gas. Many consider it a silent killer because its effects are gradual and symptoms are often associated with other ailments. When you get headaches and feel nauseated, is it carbon monoxide poisoning or a stressful week? 

To avoid CO poisoning, you should have proper gas safety measures in place. Besides working closely with your gas engineer and keeping your boiler and flues in tip-top shape, you can also look into CO detectors to round out your system. With this in place, you can prevent the worst from happening. 

Our home is meant to be a safe space to rest and recharge. It should never be a health and safety hazard. While you don’t see your flue system, they are an integral part of your home’s heating and ventilation. 

For any heating issue, you can book our services online or call us at 0330 162 5329. We handle regular boiler maintenance and installations along with same day emergency repairs. When you need immediate service, Plumbingforce is more than ready to address your needs.

What Your Noisy Boiler Is Trying To Telling You

Boiler Maintenance

Windows can rattle, and floorboards can creak. The loud, banging noises of the boiler should be right at home with all the other sounds of a well-lived house. It can be the new headliner in the midnight concerts that happen inside your house. 

Whether you mind these sounds or not, homeowners are encouraged to investigate them since these sounds often point out a problem. For example, drips mean there is a leaky tap and creaks mean there is a loose floorboard. While most of these sounds are harmless, the same cannot be said for boiler noise. 

As a heavy-duty machine, wear and tear can lead to more significant heating problems. When your noisy house is trying to tell you something, it is best to pay close attention. 

Do You Have A Noisy Boiler?

The thumps and hisses can come from different parts of the house, from your central heating system’s pumps and radiator to your plumbing’s pipework and taps. It isn’t difficult to check whether the noise is coming from your boiler or not.

When you hear something out of the ordinary, make it a point to find out what is causing the sound. You can work your way down from a list of the usual suspects like your boiler, radiator, pipework, taps, and showerhead, among many others. By following this list, you can quickly identify the issue and address the problem. 

So Why Is My Boiler Making Noise?

When you have a noisy boiler, there is a high chance something wrong with your unit. Sometimes it can be fixed with proper annual maintenance by a professional heating engineer, and other times it may signal the final days of your boiler. If you want to avoid paying the exorbitant fees for a new boiler installation, pay attention to your boiler’s unusual noises. 

As soon as you hear the whistling, hisses, gurgling, rattling, or a loud bang, contact your local engineer from Plumbingforce. They can take over issues that you cannot do on your own. With their expertise, your boiler can go back to running smoothly and quietly. You manage to achieve two things at once: 

  1. Keep your central heating in good shape.
  2. Get rid of the boiler noises that keep you up at night. 

It is a win-win situation! 

Common Sounds And Their Causes 

A noisy central heating system can usually be chalked up to poor maintenance. When you stick to your annual boiler checkup and follow the basic maintenance steps, you shouldn’t have to deal with a noisy boiler.

There are several types of sounds you might encounter, and there may be a bit of overlap with the causes of these sounds. Here are some of the things you might hear when your boiler is acting out: 

Rattling

The rattling noise sounds like there is something stuck in your boiler, and it is being tossed around. It is quite loud, and it tends to be very inconsistent. 

Cause

There are two leading causes of rattling in your boiler. The first is that there are loose screws and components that shake and “rattle” when the unit is in use. You can look out for loose valves or any unclipped pipes. The second is because of the excess air in the system. When your central heating system isn’t properly balanced, it can mess with the pressure and create the rattling sound. 

Solution 

When you have to deal with loose screws and components, you can take your screwdriver and wrench and inspect your boiler. As long as it is exposed, you should be able to tighten them with no problem. However, if the sound is coming from the pipes, then step back and call a plumber or heating engineer to take a look.

If the rattling comes from excess air in the system, you can opt to DIY the repair. You can learn how to balance your boiler and radiator here.  

Banging

The banging noise has several degrees of intensity. The mild version sounds similar to the rattling though a bit more heavy and infrequent. The strong version has a loud bang, and the sound and volume can make you feel like the walls are coming down. It can be very startling and problematic if you are a light sleeper or if you have a lot of anxiety. 

Cause 

Older models are more likely to suffer from boiler kettling, causing loud bangs and pops. Boiler kettling happens when there is debris build-up in the heat exchanger. The debris usually comes from the limescale in hard water. When it builds up, it chips the metal bit by bit adding rust and grime. It can create blockages that clog and pop, which ultimately increases the trapped air in the system.  

Solution

While kettling isn’t a real explosion, it can be very troublesome. When the debris builds up, it can speed up the wear and tear of your pipework, increase your energy bills, and affect the other elements of your central heating system. 

Take note that only a heating engineer can address boiler kettling properly. They need to drain your system and have your boiler and radiator power flushed. Once the sludge is out of the system, you should have a quiet boiler. To maintain the work they did and prevent the loud banging noise, you can invest in a magnaclean filter and an anti-limescale solution. 

If you have never heard about the filter before, you can read more about the magnaclean filters here. 

Tapping

The tapping noise is very similar to the previous two. It sounds like there is a piece of metal constantly hitting the pipes. While it is softer than the banging, it can still be frustrating to hear around the clock. 

Cause 

Again the cause is due to boiler kettling. The build-up of debris in the heat exchanger affects the flow of the system. The sound typically comes up when the circulating pump is on, so expect it when you are washing the dishes, taking a shower, or flushing the toilet. 

Solution

There is no DIY fix for this. It would be best if you had your central heating professionally cleaned to address these problems. To ensure that tapping sound does not recur, remember to invest in proper boiler maintenance.

Humming/ Vibrating/ Droning 

Not all boiler noises are disruptive or distracting. The humming noise, for example, is like a muffled fan. Unlike the others listed here, it is a lot softer and easier to get used to every day. 

Cause 

If you have an electric or combi boiler, this sound is quite common, even if the model is new. It just comes with the mechanism in the boiler. However, if your boiler was originally soundless, there are several possibilities as to whether it is humming/ vibrating. 

The first is a loose component with your water heater or with your boiler fan. The second is with the build-up like sludge and limescale inside your boiler. And the third can be because of high boiler pressure. When the pressure is high, your boiler valves may hum a bit. The vibrations can also come from the travelling hot water or air being circulated through the pipes.

Solution

The solution for a humming boiler is split between DIY tasks and your boiler engineer. When the problem is the boiler pressure, you can adjust that on your own. If you have never done it before, you can consult our guide for pressuring your boiler

You can also take your trusty screwdriver and wrench and tighten the loose component when it is visible. However, if the issue is on the inside, you need to get a Gas Safe heating engineer to take care of it. The same goes for cleaning a debris-filled central-heating system. 

Hissing

The hissing of your boiler is very similar to having a kettle on top of your stove. It is a high whistling noise that can sound very eerie at the dead of night. 

Cause

The hissing noise can be linked to the boiler kettling or the trapped air in the system. 

Solution

Since the hissing sound is often associated with air and gases, you need to contact a Gas Safe engineer. If it is a kettling problem, they are more than qualified to power flush your system to eliminate the debris. However, in the off-chance that the hissing is not coming from your boiler but a faulty flue or gas appliance, they can easily remedy that. 

When the hissing is from trapped air, you can bleed your radiator and adjust the boiler pressure yourself with the manufacturer’s manual and the pressure gauge. 

When you live in an area with hard water, you need to learn to do this regularly. For preventive measures, you can invest in filters and an anti-limescale solution to take care of the sediments. It should keep your boiler’s heat exchanger clear of any rust and grime.

Gurgling/ Dripping

The gurgling noise of the boiler sounds similar to the ones in your water pipes or taps, so it wouldn’t be strange to assume that you have a plumbing problem over a heating one. However, if you hear something bubbling or dripping near your boiler, it probably is. 

Cause 

The common cause of the gurgling sound is trapped air or by a frozen condensate pipe. 

Solution

When there is trapped air in your boiler, you can fix it by bleeding your radiators. If you finish bleeding them, but you still hear the dripping sound, and it is within the late autumn to early spring, it must be a frozen pipe. 

When winter comes around, homeowners are advised to lag their pipes to ensure that this does not happen. When you have a frozen pipe, it can negatively affect both your plumbing and heating system. When it is frozen, you can slowly thaw the condensate pipe with a bit of patience and hot water. 

The sounds listed here are the most common ones, but there are many other unusual noises your furnace can make. When left unchecked, it can ultimately lead to poor water pressure, uneven heat distribution, dirty pipes can affect the performance of your heating system. As your system becomes more and more inefficient, you may end up with a faulty boiler and thermostat. In the worst-case scenario, you may need to invest in a new boiler instead of repairing your current one, and that can set you back £500-£1,500. 

Dealing With Your Noisy Boiler

UK residents should never wait for things to be so bad that you need your boiler to hiss and pop before you properly maintain it. Since they are an essential part of your daily life and expensive to replace, you are encouraged to care for them properly. 

When you find out your boiler is making noise, try the DIY methods listed above. When they fail, work with a heating engineer to get your boiler to work smoothly and quietly. To ensure that you get the right fix the first time around, record the sounds on your phone. As descriptive as the words “hissing” and “banging” are, it is best to have the same frame of reference.

You can book Plumbingforce’s local engineers online or call us at 0330 162 5329, so we can have a look. We offer same day service for boiler maintenance, repairs, and installations. With Plumbingforce, you can go back to enjoying a quiet and peaceful heating system in no time!

Can You Sell Your House With A Broken Boiler?

house boiler

As you go through the final checks with your Gas Safe registered engineer, you find out your boiler is broken. You are crushed. The central heating system plays such an integral role in every UK home, from the hot water for your tea to the heating during winter, you cannot neglect it. You quickly need to decide what to do next or else you are left with selling a house with a broken boiler. 

It takes an average of 102 days to sell property in the UK, so you don’t have long to consider your options. If you find yourself torn between selling the home as-is or having a new boiler installation, consider all the possibilities discussed below: 

The Short Answer: Yes

If we were to take the question at face-value, then yes, you can sell your house with a broken boiler. There are so many old homes in the UK, in different states of disrepair. There are bound to be buyers who are more interested in the land and location than they would with the house’s features. As long as your property has many other redeeming qualities, a broken boiler will not prevent you from making a sale. However, this scenario is only possible when you are willing to compromise. 

How Can You Sell Your House With A Broken Boiler

When you choose to sell your house as-is, you have to be very deliberate with your marketing or else you won’t get to sell it at the best price. There are only three types of buyers who wouldn’t mind a broken boiler: flippers, property developers, or generally residents who don’t have a choice. 

Market As A Fixer-Upper

There are many UK residents out there who want to put the blood, sweat, and tears into making the house their own while saving a couple of pounds. As long as your home has good bones in other areas, a faulty boiler shouldn’t be a problem. 

Flippers tend to look at properties with the possibilities in mind. So make sure to highlight assets they can work with in the future. Do you get decent natural light? What kind of water do you get in the area? Is there a garden? Do you have original hardwood floors? While your property information sheet covers all of these things, it will never set the scene the same way you would by sharing your personal experience. 

While a faulty boiler shouldn’t deter the sale, saying you have a broken boiler is like releasing fish blood in shark-infested waters. They will bargain–hard. Even if you try to account for the boiler cost, they will try to bring down the property price to the lowest possible. Announcing a faulty boiler becomes a red flag that signals buyers that there might be other problems, and they have good reason to be worried. 

For example, a common problem with a faulty boiler is carbon monoxide poisoning. If the boiler is damaged, who is to say that the pipes are also in good condition? Your potential buyers may be on their guard. However, with a bit of work, you should be able to make the sale.

Sell To Property Developers

The second option is to sell it to property developers or landlords. They have the time and capital to deal with whatever you throw at them. If they are planning on demolishing your current structure, your old boiler should be a non-issue. 

However, there is a clincher. Property developers are only interested in places that can generate profit, either from a private tenant or commercial rental income. There has to be enough interest in the area before you can set the price. If you do not have the right location or square footage, they may not be interested in your house, and there is little you can do about it. 

Capitalise On The Limited Market

The last route depends on where you live. If there aren’t many houses available in the area, people might be willing to overlook your listing’s shortcomings. While 59% of renters believe they cannot afford to buy their own home, there is still massive interest. Buying is more cost-efficient than renting and with the right market. 

The silver lining with buying a house without a functioning boiler is that they can choose what type they want. There are so many options in the market from the conventional boiler, gas boiler, condensing boiler, to the combination (combi) boiler, electric boiler. They can also find their own boiler insurance cover and find the conditions that best suit them. 

The reality is that if they were stuck with an old, albeit functioning, boiler they would have to pay more. Boiler maintenance, quick repair service, and expensive energy bills will be the new normal, and it will stay that way until the buyer decides to replace it. A new boiler may be expensive, but when compared to the fuel-hungry models, it is no competition in the long-run. 

Whether you are selling your home to an aspiring landlord, first-time homeowner, or property developer, you have to market with their niches in mind. By doing so, you are sure to make a sale.

But Should You Sell A House With A Broken Boiler?

While there are plenty of ways to get your house on the market, should you even bother selling a house with a broken boiler? You have to meet so many conditions before you even make a sale. And even if you manage to fulfil them, there is no guarantee that you can get the best price. 

Cost-Benefit Analysis

Sellers are encouraged to do a basic cost-benefit analysis to ensure they are making the right decision. While it might be expensive to hire a professional boiler engineer to repair or replace your boiler, do not count them out just yet. 

For the sake of being able to sell the house at a profit, many homeowners make last-minute improvements as an investment. A good cleaning and splash of paint ought to cover up some of the wear and tear. Others even make the extra effort to update certain features to be more attractive to buyers. After all, who can say no to your asking price when you have smart appliances, modern finishes, and a system that is in tip-top shape? 

These upgrades are meant to make your house more competitive in the market. However, not all home improvements pay off. There are only a handful of projects that people will consider a good investment. So while that fresh coat of paint might be nice, it doesn’t exactly inspire a long-term commitment. A new boiler though is an investment that can serve the family 10 to 20 years into the future. Doesn’t that sound like a better deal?

If you are considering the refurbishing route, pay attention to the parts of the house that will get the most amount of use. Some examples of excellent investments are your gas hob, countertop, radiator, plumbing, electrical wiring, and central heating. All of these things play a vital role in how you go about your day. The kitchen and the bathroom are key areas you should target. Everything besides the ones listed here can be considered a bonus. 

The Exception To The Rule

Most cases would dictate that it is better to make the boiler repairs, but there are times when it would be too expensive. If you have an old home with an even older boiler, the repair might be too expensive. Outdated models require different pipework, and if you cannot repair the one you have on hand, it means buying a new boiler. 

To fix that as the seller, you would need to rip out your old pipes just to install your replacement. Think about the drywall and flooring you have to open up, along with getting the planning permission from the local council and getting trade workers to start on the work. It can be a logistical nightmare that will make a massive dent in your finances. In this case, it might be better to settle on a lower price.

Ethical Conundrum

When you are facing the exception to the rule, it can be challenging to make a decision. It is so tempting just to leave it be and let the consequences be damned. Do you have to mention the broken boiler? How detailed should your property information form really have to be? Can’t the buyer shoulder the replacement? Shouldn’t the burden be on the buyers to properly inspect the property? Sellers are forced to struggle with these questions, and it isn’t easy to find a favourable solution. 

The best way to answer this question is by asking yourself what you would do if you were in the buyer’s position. Imagine seeing your home for the first time, would a broken boiler be a deal-breaker? If the sale went through and you found out the boiler is broken, what would you do? Heating is such an integral part of life in the UK. It would be extremely disappointing to move into your new place and find out not everything is as advertised. 

Grey Areas

There are several grey areas, and there are many cases where the buyer and seller toss the responsibility back and forth. A common example is when the boiler breakdown happens after the sale, but before the new owners had the chance to settle. The break would be suspiciously close. It can be very clear to see who is responsible for the faulty boiler when it was discovered before the paperwork has been signed, and the stamp duty tax has been paid. It would be on the seller, and anything after the sale will be on the buyer. 

However, if you knew that the boiler was broken and made the sale without informing them or purposefully hiding that information, then it can be easy to get into hot water. Remember, sellers must disclose all relevant details about the home, including the broken boiler. Failing to do so can lead to long nasty emails and calls and, in the worst-case scenario–a lawsuit. 

The Long Answer: It Depends

The real answer to the question, “can you sell your house with a broken boiler?” shouldn’t be a matter of strategy. You technically can sell your home, but would you want to? Have you exhausted all your resources in making sure your place is move-in ready? 

If you feel uncomfortable with walking the legal and moral grey line, you should work on addressing the problem. You can contact Plumbingforce’s local heating engineer for a proper inspection. They can check your gas appliance and the gas supply line. If your boiler needs to be repaired or replaced, they can take over. You can check out our blog on how to find a replacement boiler for tips and tricks.

When the budget is tight, the UK has a green deal initiative, which aims to provide accessible heating. They can provide you with wall insulation, double glazing, and a boiler grant. You can find something energy-efficient like a combi boiler for free or at a significant discount. Only when you exhaust all these options do you consider selling your house as-is? Given all the trouble to sell a house without a working boiler, it is better to pay attention to proper boiler maintenance in the future. 

Regardless of your decision, it is always helpful to get a plumber’s opinion. You can book us online, or you can call us at 0330 162 5329. Whether you need a Gas Safety certificate, same day boiler repair, or any other inspection for your heating or plumbing–you can depend on Plumbingforce to have an expert ready!

How Much Does It Cost To Replace A Boiler?

boiler

Having a broken boiler can cause quite an inconvenience in your house. Your morning shower and midnight soak will definitely turn into a short ordeal without a functioning boiler heating your water nice and good for you. Imagine coming home from a long hard day of work. You just want to soak in the tub. You fix yourself a treat and head to the bath for some much-needed downtime when you realize there’s no hot water. 

So what do you do next?

Call the plumbers, of course! However, before making that call, it’s best to do a little research to ensure that you don’t get ripped off. Plumbing costs can take its toll on your monthly budget. Here we discuss precisely just how much is a new boiler.

Is It Really Broken?

The first thing you have to do is determine whether your boiler is really broken or if it just needs a little bit of fixing. It is best to call a local plumber for a professional boiler servicing. Who knows? You might only have a busted pipe or a bad limescale buildup. Call plumbers from Plumbingforce so that you can have your boiler inspected on the same day of your call. Boiler repairs are exponentially much more affordable than having to spring for a new boiler.

Cost of a New Boiler

So your plumber finally decided that your house’s boiler has no hope of being repaired anymore. You can jump on the phone for a second opinion, or you can save yourself some time and buy a new one.

A new boiler costs a lot of pounds. That’s not a secret. New boiler replacements can cost from £1 500 upwards depending on your boiler’s size, type, brand, and model. You also have to add to the computation the boiler installation costs. DIY-ing your boiler installation sounds good after spending thousands of pounds on a new boiler. However, without the technical know-how, the chances that it gets installed improperly are high. You might be springing for a new boiler earlier than expected because you got it wrong the first time. Or worse, it doesn’t work when you install it, wasting both your time and money.

Legally, only a Gas Safe registered engineer, such as our plumbers in Plumbingforce, can perform a boiler installation or boiler replacement. 

That is why plumbers always recommend homeowners to maintain their boiler properly. A boiler replacement takes a lot of time and money. Even a regular boiler, and not the high-end ones, can cost you. When you’re looking to buy a new boiler, the first thing you need to know is what type of boiler do you need. Years ago, when your house was being built, there was still a limited amount of options for your house contractor to choose from. 

Your existing boiler may not be what your house needs and is incompatible with your home, its number of residents, and even the frequency of use. 

For instance, your 4-bedroom house could have been fitted with an existing combi boiler that can only service an apartment for two to three people. If you find yourself always running out of hot water while you’re in the shower, this might be the cause. On the other hand, your flat may have been working with an old boiler that’s been unnecessarily racking up your energy or gas bill.

When you go to the market for a new boiler, know that there will be different factors for you to choose from. Each one would affect the price of your new boiler. Some of the questions you should ask your plumber are:

What size of boiler does your house need?What’s their trusted and recommended boiler manufacturer?What model is the best for your needs?Should you get a brand-new boiler, or is second-hand more worth it?What type of boiler will solve all my heating requirements?

Your plumber will take into consideration factors such as your usage and house size to answer these questions for you. However, it doesn’t hurt to do some research on your own. Read through here to discover the common types of boilers and their advantages and know which one to choose.

3 Types of Boiler

You can read more about the three most common types of boilers here. 

Condensing Boiler

Condensing boilers are water heaters that are fueled by gas or oil and not electricity. The condensing boiler condenses the water vapour in the exhaust gases, recovering its latent heat of vaporisation. This means that condensing boilers save you money by optimizing its power usage by extracting over 90% of the heat. 

Because of this feature, condensing boilers are known to be the environment-friendly central heating system. Condensing boilers can be quite costly at the start. However, the savings that you make from its energy-efficient systems will pay off in the long run. Make sure to clear up your basement as condensing boilers take up a lot of space.

Combination Boiler

The combination boiler is the most used type in the UK, mostly because of the minimal amount of space required for the system. Combi boilers work on hot water on demand. It doesn’t require a large water tank to store hot water. It is also the most affordable of all three types of boilers and the easiest to install.

System Boiler

A system boiler is a gas boiler that is a compromise between condensing and combi boilers. It’s larger than combi boilers, which means it can accommodate multiple taps being used. However, it does not need a cold water storage tank, which requires a lot of space. 

Cost Of Boiler Installation

The installation cost of your new boiler will depend on your local plumber. Does he charge an hourly rate? Or a lump-sum basis. Talk to your boiler installer about the rates and costs, so you don’t get blown by the final bill. 

You can contact Plumbingforce for some commitment-free price estimates of boiler installation cost, boiler maintenance, boiler repair, and other concerns about your central heating system. If you choose to go with us, we can attend to your property on the same day that you call. You can now say goodbye to cold showers!

What Do You Do When The Boiler Does Not Respond To The Thermostat?

Boiler thermostat

Heating mishaps may happen when you least expect it. It could be a regular day when you notice that your flat is warmer than usual. You quickly check the thermostat and everything seems to be in order, so you turn it down a notch. It might be 5 mins of toggling the thermostat setting or an hour of sweating into your shirt when you realise that something isn’t right. You either have a malfunctioning thermostat or boiler. 

There is nothing fun or exciting about realising that your system isn’t working. You can have your heating shut-off completely or end up with no hot water in the dead of winter. Considering the UK’s climate and weather, you don’t want to leave it like this for long. So take a deep breath and fix the problem. 

My Boiler And My Thermostat Do Not Match-Up

When your boiler does not respond to thermostat or vice versa, it is challenging to pinpoint the problem. Most people would shy away from dealing with it themselves and look for professional plumbers or engineers from Plumbingforce to take a look at it instead.

If you need it sorted out as soon as possible, then, by all means, call your local service providers so you can have your heating up and running. However, if you want to see what you can do, here is a basic guide to help you troubleshoot this problem. 

When you cannot control your boiler from your thermostat, it is either the two machines are not communicating with each other, or there is a faulty component. Then you also have to consider what kind of setup you have. 

Do you have a wired, wireless, or smart thermostat? Is the problem with a specific room thermostat? When things don’t add up in your central heating system, you can break it down and follow these steps: 

Inspect Your Central Heating System

While smart technology is taking the world by storm, there are still many houses with old-school thermostats installed. Take note of the brand, model, and state of the different elements of your central heating system from your boiler to your temperature control unit. If you still have a copy of the manufacturer’s instructions, now is a great time to pull it out. Remember, you can never have too much information when trying to diagnose a heating problem.

If you have a popular brand in your home, like Worcester Bosh, Ideal, Vaillant, Baxi, Viessmann for your boiler, and Hive Active Heating, Nest, Honeywell, or Drayton for your thermostat–you should be able to find additional resources online. Most common problems, along with tips and tricks, are available on their FAQs page and forums. If you are looking for specific details for your set up, you can check their website first. 

Clear The Basics

Before you look into targeted concerns, make sure you cover the obvious reasons for your heating problems. Check if your boiler and thermostat have power. If it is an oil-burning boiler or anything similar, do you have fuel? If you have an electric system, do you have a blown fuse? If you have a wireless thermostat, how are the batteries of each component? It may seem stupid to go over them, but you need to be sure.

Covering the basics can help you avoid embarrassing scenarios like hiring a heating engineer only to have them tell you that the batteries are old. Since your system works around the clock, check for common issues like:

  • Old batteries

Just like your alarm clock or phone, your thermostat will act up when it is running out of juice. Try switching out your batteries and see if it makes a difference. Make sure that you replace your batteries every six months just in case.

  • Debris build-up in your system

Some thermostats have a rechargeable battery. Since you don’t take them out, you never really know if they are in good condition or not. When it is very old, it may leak, and your dirty thermostat may lead to more problems. Brush the inside of your control panel once in a while to keep it clean. If the problem is too severe, you may need to replace the unit.

  • Poor Thermostat Location

Thermostats need to read the temperature of the room to be able to execute their commands. If your device is located near the boiler, another heat source, or a poorly insulated area, it can mess up the temperature readings. When your thermostat is already installed, you can try to feel around the area and see if you should rearrange anything to accommodate it better.

  • Inputting improper instructions

There are a slew of issues that can come from giving the wrong instructions, so it wouldn’t be so strange to assume you might have the wrong instructions. The first is with setting the temperature. Thermostats have thresholds. When the temperature you set is too low, it might not trigger your heating at all, hence the cold room. 

The second is with scheduling your heating. While you might have a practised hand at using your thermostat, you might have mixed up the hot water schedule with the heating. Programmable thermostats may take away the bulk of the manual work, but it is far from a self-learning model like Hive and Nest. If you input the wrong commands, these older models follow them. Dealing with this problem should be fairly easy to correct, just input the right settings and you should be good to go. 

  • Old/Outdated Thermostat

The final scenario is having a thermostat on its last leg. Unlike your boilers, thermostats aren’t exactly built to last a lifetime, and there are still many improvements in the field. When it doesn’t want to turn on, you may need to replace the whole unit.

Besides covering the common thermostat problems, you also need to consider your boiler. If you are renting a flat or living in an old home, your furnace should have a couple of years on it. If it is not properly cared for, it can suddenly give way. You can check out our dedicated blog, “Boiler Maintenance Tips” for more details for common boiler maintenance and repairs. 

Did I Wire The Thermostat Incorrectly?

When you have a wired thermostat that does not properly control the boiler, the problem can either be due to a faulty wiring, a damaged component, or an outdated unit. In all 3 cases, you need to be able to access the inner components, so get ready to open your thermostat.

Materials

To rewire or replace your thermostat you will need: 

Pen and paper

Screwdriver

*Additional parts / new thermostat

Instructions

  1. Go to your circuit breaker and turn off the electricity for your furnace. If you want to make sure, you may also opt to shut down the entire house’s power just for safety’s sake.
  2. Open the control panel and take notes of the placements of the wires.
  3. Use your screwdriver and disconnect the faulty thermostat unit from the wires.
  4. Install your replacement. Make sure that the wires are partially exposed. If they aren’t, you may need to cut the wire casing a bit.
  5. Follow the instructions on the manual. If you are replacing your thermostat with the same model, you can refer to your initial notes for the wires’ placement. 
  6. Secure the rest of the device, and you are good to go!

* If you found a faulty component, you can look into replacing it. However, if there is a problem with the wiring, it is best to get a professional. Simple DIY fixes will not be a long-term solution for it.

If you need a more comprehensive guide for installing a new thermostat, you can look for tutorials online that better cater to your model. 

Is My Wireless Thermostat Communicating With My Boiler?

When you have a wireless or smart thermostat, you have a little bit more leeway since you aren’t dealing with a bunch of wires running through your house. However, the problem is being able to figure out why it isn’t working. The wireless system uses a component that is attached to the boiler. Any relevant information about heating is sent between that component and your smart thermostat. So it looks like this:

Boiler =>component => wireless thermostat

When you have a command from your app, your wifi will connect you to your thermostat, and the relay of information happens. When this chain is broken, you end up with a wonky system. You can try to reprogram and rebind your thermostat to improve the lack of communication. The easiest way is to go back to your factory default settings. Since models may vary, you can have a better chance working off your manual.

Common issues you will find with a wireless thermostat are application bugs, signal interference, and a faulty wireless relay box. If resetting didn’t fix the communication problems, try addressing these issues first. When things don’t improve, you can narrow it down to faulty hardware. In that case, you either need to work with a professional boiler engineer or replace the component completely. 

Is It A Boiler Problem? 

While thermostats can be temperamental, you cannot discount the possibility that it can be the main elements of your central heating system like your old radiator and even older boiler. There are so many things that can go wrong and spell certain death. A faulty thermostatic radiator valve, low/ high boiler pressure and water pressure can create boiler problems. Even when you have a poorly balanced system, your home will not heat evenly. These can all lead to a complete boiler breakdown. 

There is very little you can do outside the troubleshooting methods mentioned above. If there is something wrong with your boiler, contact Plumbingforce, and have a heating engineer look at it. Be prepared to invest in a major repair or replacement. Boiler problems tend to be very expensive, so people are advised to keep up with their annual maintenance.

The Benefits Of A Boiler Thermostat And Controls

While you are figuring out how to get your boiler and thermostat to get along, it is important to remember the benefits of having one in the first place. Regardless of how simple or fancy your setup is, it can be an excellent long-term investment. When you have your central heating system in tip-top shape, then you can enjoy better energy efficiency, lower energy bills, and a more convenient process. These qualities are especially true for the new smart thermostats on the market. 

If you are thinking about investing in one for your home, you can read our comparison here at, “Best Smart Thermostat to Use: Hive vs Nest.”

When your boiler does not respond to your thermostat, you cannot wait and hope for things to improve. You have to act quickly to get your heating in order. You can block off an afternoon to follow the instructions listed above or avail Plumbingforce’s same day service! You can book our Gas Safe Registered engineer online or call us at 0333 060 4640! With our team of professional service providers, you don’t have to go without heating for too long!

I Have A Noisy Radiator. What Do I Do?

radiator leaks

Are you dealing with headache-inducing radiator noises that won’t go away? If so, I’m more than willing to bet that you’d do anything to make it stop. Fortunately for you, it doesn’t take much to stop the banging, hissing, hammering, whistling, gurgling, and rattling in your noisy radiator.

Before we get to getting those annoying sounds to stop, though, you should know that noisy radiators are often signals that tell you your radiator is acting up. That, however, is not always the case. So, if you find that your boiler is indeed making some noises, calmly assess the situation first.

If it seems as though your radiator is only making those noises because it is warming up or because of the natural expansion of metal, then you don’t have to worry, as everything should be fine. But, if the noises start sounding or feeling unusual to you, then it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty!

Causes of Noisy Radiators and How To Fix Them

Here are some of the most common causes of a noisy radiator, and some tips on how you can address these issues:

Limescale Buildup (Boiler Kettling)

If your boiler is making a banging noise or a lot of rattling noises, then you may be experiencing limescale buildup in the heat exchanger. This occurrence is also known as “boiler kettling.”

Limescale is the by-product of evaporated hard water, and when it builds up and settles in your central heating system, it will restrict the water flow. This, in turn, will trap moisture inside the heat exchanger, which will then boil, steam, and expand. As a result, your boiler will start producing whistling, banging, or clanking noises.

Fixing this issue is pretty straightforward. Here’s what you should do to remove existing limescale deposit in your central heating system:

  1. Add a descaler or system cleaner to your feed and expansion tank. Allow the chemical to circulate and make its way around the system.
  2. Once the descaler has travelled throughout your central heating system, flush it with clean water.
  3. Add some radiator inhibitor or anti-limescale agent to prevent corrosion and prevent the further formation of limescale.

Aside from stopping your radiator from making any loud banging noises, getting rid of the limescale buildup in your system will improve the lifespan and efficiency of your central heating system.

Air Bubbles

Air bubbles naturally occur in the radiator due to the movement of heated water through the heating pipes and often get trapped inside the piping of your central heating unit, thus causing it to expand and collapse within your radiator pipes. This is what causes a clicking or gurgling noise within your boiler.

To get rid of these bubbles and the annoying sounds in your central heating, you will want to give it a passageway in the form of an opened air vent, which should remain closed unless necessary. Air vents, however, are most effective for radiators on higher or top floors. To get rid of trapped air elsewhere in the system, put an air separator in the piping, as close to the boiler as possible. Together, opened air vents and air separators will get rid of excess air throughout your system.

If your radiator has an automatic bleed valve or air release valve, you may also do this to get rid of excess air in your system and the hissing sound that comes with it.

You may also want to consider relocating your heating pump to the supply side of your boiler, rather than leaving it on the cooler boiler return pipes. By doing this, you are allowing all the energy created by the pump to add pressure to the highest points of your heating system. The high pressure will minimise the occurrence of trapped air within your system.

Sludge

Sometimes, the loud noise in your central heating system may be caused by excessive sludge or debris somewhere within your heating system. Sludge is usually a result of the corrosion in the central heating system. It is often dark brown or black in colour.

Because it causes blockages in your pipework and radiators, it is only natural for sludge to cause a noisy boiler. To get rid of this sludge, and to get rid of the noise that comes with it, you will want to bleed or drain your radiator.

Flushing your system with clean water and adding radiator inhibitor will also help prevent your system from corrosion in the future. Draining your radiator and preventing corrosion from occurring will prevent the formation of unwanted gases in your heating system.

Issues With Your Heating Pipes

If you hear clanging or banging sounds, then you probably have a loose heating pipe or two. Water flowing through unclipped pipes may manifest into vibrations and hammering sounds, which will then result in a noisy radiator, a noisy boiler, and noisy pipes.

You will need to secure such pipes back into their clips to get rid of the vibrating and hammering sounds.

Meanwhile, pipe warping is when metal pipes naturally expand due to the heat. Typically, this would be no problem with such issues aside from the fact that they can be annoying, especially when you’re trying to sleep.

However, if your pipes are passing through wooden joints, these may eventually break due to the tension. Although such occurrences are rare, you will need the help of a professional to fix the issue for you.

Water Leaks

Dripping noises or any sound similar to water coming from your central heating system could mean a leak. If you suspect such leaks, turn off your heating system and water supply immediately. Even one small drip could lead to larger damage, after all.

Once you have turned your heating and water supply off, DO NOT attempt to locate and fix the leak yourself. Call for a Gas Safe heating engineer to do the job for you.

Radiators Are Imbalanced

If there is too much water flowing through a radiator, it may create a rushing or hissing sound. In cases like these, your system will need balancing. You will be able to determine that this is the issue if radiators furthest from the boiler do not get as hot as the others.

You may control the flow of water through each radiator by using a lockshield valve. By using this, you can ensure that hot water is evenly distributed throughout your heating system. This should stop any noises coming from your noisy radiator.

Malfunctioning Immersion Heater or Heating Pump

If you hear a humming noise from your radiator, then you are likely dealing with problems within your immersion heater. To fix this issue, check your output levels and make sure they are correctly set and functioning properly.

However, if the problem persists, there could be an issue with your central heating pump, and the high pump speed could likely be causing the humming in your radiator. In such cases, you will want to turn down the pressure levels and balance your radiator heat output.

The issue could also be something as simple as a loose central heating pump or heat pump fan, both of which you can easily fix by securing them.

Meanwhile, there could also be trapped airlocks in the pump, which you could easily release by bleeding your heating pump. Insert a pump heat screw into the side of the heating pump and turn in halfway to slowly let the air out;

If this still does not work, check to see if you have the filling loop still connected and that you do not have a valve loose.

Frozen Pipes

A frozen condensate pipe due to cold weather may also cause unwanted noises in your central heating system. If this is the problem, addressing this would be easy. Here’s a quick step-by-step on how to thaw a frozen pipe:

  1. Turn off your boiler.
  2. Slowly pour warm water onto the surface of your condensate pipe. Do not use boiling water, as this could only lead to more damage.
  3. Once the blockage has been thawed out, turn on your boiler.

To make sure that this does not happen often, do consider investing in pipework insulation. This will ensure that you will not have to deal with frozen pipes regularly, especially during the cold weather. For other tips

Unable To Get Rid Of The Sound?

If you are dealing with something that is not one of the issues mentioned above, or simply unsure about dealing with the problems that could be behind your noisy central heating system yourself, do not hesitate to reach out to a local Gas Safe heating engineer. You may also reach out to one of Plumbingforce‘s heating experts to do the job for you!