Common Causes Of Boiler Breakdown

Mar-2020 / 4 min read

Reading Time: 4 minutes

A boiler is one of the more important parts of the house. When it stops working properly, it can result in countless problems. There is never a good time for your boiler to stop working. Your bathroom experience can get pretty harrowing if your boiler becomes dysfunctional during the colder seasons. It can lead to an overall unsatisfying start to your day or even health concerns. Extreme temperatures can cause not only discomfort but also health complications that could’ve easily avoided with a well-maintained boiler.

Unless you enjoy freezing cold showers, it is better to have your boiler working at optimal condition all of the time. Wear and tear can be the common culprit as to why your boiler is working inefficiently. However, there are other causes of boiler breakdown like faulty installations and incompatible parts. This is the reason why we recommend hiring a licensed engineer to install your boilers.

Your boiler functioning inefficiently can cost you a lot of money through your bills or even in its replacement. Boiler replacement is quite expensive, which is why it’s best to identify and fix any issue when it arises instead of letting damage pile up until it breaks down. Boiler maintenance is so much better than boiler repair.

If you have boiler cover or home insurance, then boiler breakdown, though still a bad thing, will not affect your finances as much as households without boiler cover. Home repairs, especially for low- to middle-income families, can create quite a disturbance on the household’s finances, even force them to take personal loans just to pay for repairs.

In this article, I shall discuss how to avoid boiler breakdown, including common boiler problems, how to diagnose whether your boiler isn’t working properly, what to do during a gas boiler breakdown, and when to give up with DIY repairs and call for a boiler breakdown service.

Some of the common boiler problems include:

Low Boiler Pressure

Boilers come with a built-in pressure gauge. If the boiler pressure is below 1, then chances are your boiler won’t be able to function properly. Low pressure is caused by many factors: water leaks, overused pressure relief valve, and a bleeding radiator. Low boiler pressure can put you in quite an inconvenient situation. Check for any signs of a leak and immediately call a Gas Safe Engineer if you find any. Even if you do not locate any, if you think that there is a problem with your gas central heating system, you should contact a gas engineer registered in England already to fix your boiler. There may be micro leaks that would be hard for the untrained eye to detect.

Radiator Not Heating Up

What use is a cold radiator? Usually, sludge, rust or air can build up inside the gas central heating system. Because of this build-up, cold patches in radiators are caused by an unequal distribution of heat. In most cases, this will not need an engineer as all you have to do is bleed out your radiator and relieve your boiler of pressure. However, if the problem still persists, there may be a bigger underlying problem that is best left to a plumbing and heating professional.

Frozen Condensate Pipes

Over time and frequent use, the small traces of condensation left in your pipes accumulate. During the winter or cold seasons, the condensation goes back to liquid form and freezes, causing a major blockage. Never subject your pipes to direct heat like a propane torch or an open flame as this can result in a fire. Instead of just dealing with boiler insurance, you might be dealing with life insurance if the fire comes in direct contact to your gas line. Only use thermostatically-controlled heat tape to thaw out your pipes. Pipe insulation can be bought from any home improvement store and is cheaper than dealing with the consequences of burst and seized pipes.

Boiler Switching Off

Your boiler automatically switching off can mean several faulty problems: the boiler pressure is too low, there could be a blockage in the pipes which is restricting the water flow or that the water is not being circulated properly due to a malfunctioning pump. 

Unreliable Thermostat

An unreliable thermostat can lead to unsatisfying home experience. Before panicking and calling for a Gas Safe Engineer, inspect your thermostat if it’s in the right position. Usually, the knobs can get a bit loose after years of use. It may be set incorrectly.

Another factor that you have to take into consideration is that your house may not exactly be optimized to lock in temperature. Check if your windows and doors have the proper insulation. Your houses’ temperature may already be higher than the temperature you’re setting, making it impossible for your boiler to reach your desired temperature.


Boiler leaks can be quite dangerous for so many different reasons. Locate the spot where there is a leakage and determine whether it’s from a broken internal component, burst pipe, or just wear and tear. It is best to leave any repairs of boiler leaks to the professionals. Make sure that you hire only a Gas Safe registered Engineer so you know that you and your house are in safe hands. 

Usually, micro-leaks can go undetectable for many months or until they turn into a bigger problem i.e. corrosion of pipes and tank. This is why it’s recommended for household owners to call a Gas Safe registered engineer to perform an annual boiler maintenance check. Make the sensible decision of replacing your boiler should there be any major damage. Your safety should always be your priority.


One of the unavoidable occurrences that happen with boilers is a limescale build-up. If you happen to live in an area whose water supply has high mineral content, then kettling will be one of your issues.

Hard water is formed when deposits of limestone, chalk, or gypsum accumulate over time restricting the flow of water and causing it to overheat and boil. When hot water evaporates, it leaves small residues of minerals. Kettling will not only drastically decrease your boiler’s lifespan but also cost you more on energy bills as the boiler has to work twice as hard.

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