Boiler thermostat

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

Sep-2020 / 7 min read

Reading Time: 7 minutes

A blocked shower drain can significantly affect your bathroom schedule. Just how many days can you last without having to take a shower? Do you know how to unblock your shower drain? You’re probably thinking. It’s simple. Just pour a bottle of drain cleaners down the pipe, give it a few minutes, and flush it out. Easy-peasy, lemon squeezy, right?


Why Are Commercial Drain Cleaners Bad?

While it may seem like an elegant and inconvenient solution, drain cleaners are not recommended by professional plumbers. Drain cleaners are made up of sodium hypochlorite, sodium hydroxide, and potassium hydroxide, among other harsh chemicals. These chemicals have corrosive properties that can rid your pipes of most blockages. 

When poured down a drain opening, the chemical reaction removes the block, usually made up of hair and soap. Unfortunately for your pipes, the drain cleaners also thin them out. Harsh chemicals, when used too often, takes its toll on your pipes. You may end up with micro leaks, or worse, a flood. 

Additionally, drain cleaners also let out toxic fumes that you and your family can inhale. It is also a known nose and eye irritant. 

Here, we will discuss seven alternative ways to unblock the shower drain without using drain cleaners. If it’s your toilet that is the problem, read how to unblock a toilet here.

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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.


To rewire or replace your thermostat you will need: 

Pen and paper


*Additional parts / new thermostat


  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. 

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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!

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