The winter and especially these cold snaps can be challenging at the best of times, especially so now when we are all trying save money on our heating costs.
There is some good news though, our directly employed, DBS checked engineers are always sharing tips with homeowners, on things they can do to help maximise the heat in their home and have their boiler running as efficiently as possible. So, to help you, we have pulled them all together into this article.
Let’s start with Boiler maintenance.
We know, it’s tempting to cut costs, yet having a maintenance plan does not have to be costly! And having your boiler serviced regularly and running efficiently will save you money in the long run.
We find most homeowners don’t consider having their boiler looked at until something goes wrong. Yet, it’s essential to have a yearly service to ensure the proper functioning and maximum efficiency of it during the winter months as well as maintaining guarantees and warranties. A well-maintained boiler will not only provide you with a warm and comfortable home, it will also save energy and money in the long run.
Here are our experts’ top tips for maintaining your boiler.
- Schedule a yearly boiler service: Our Heat:Plan Only Service, means you can get your boiler serviced every year to ensure it’s safe and running efficiently. This package is £6.99 per month; however, we do offer other packages which include cover for callouts and repairs.
- Check the pressure gauge regularly: You can do this yourself. You need to ensure that it is at the proper level. The ideal pressure on your boiler is between 1 and 1.5 bar when the system is cold. If the pressure keeps dropping, this could mean there is a leak, which should be repaired as soon as possible. When you have your heating switched on, the pressure on your boiler will rise to around 2 bar. If you find it rises higher than 2.5 bar, then an engineer visit is required as soon as possible as you have an expansion issue.
- Bleed the radiators: If your radiators are not heating up evenly, this could be a sign of air in your radiators. To fix this, you can bleed the radiators by releasing the trapped air through the bleed valve. If you’re unsure how to bleed radiators or top-up pressure, then always seek professional guidance before attempting. No air in your radiators and correct pressure will ensure your system heats up efficiently and produces the correct heat output and flow rate throughout the system.
- Insulate: Insulate pipes and the boiler itself to reduce heat loss and save energy. This will also help to keep the boiler running efficiently by reducing the amount of energy required to heat your home.
Check the water quality of your boiler.
Another often overlooked task is checking your boilers water quality, which needs to be done by a professional engineer.
Hard water can cause mineral build up in hot water cylinders and hot water heat exchangers in combi boilers. Adding an in-line water softener will help reduce this.
Sludge created by the breakdown of metal from radiators can build-up in your boilers heat exchanger, reducing the boilers efficiency and potentially causing damage. Adding a central heating system inhibitor will help reduce this but it is important to have the system flushed regularly to remove any build-up.
Flushing the system can also help to remove any sludge or debris that may have accumulated in the boiler over time. During your service, our engineers can take a water sample, test it, and advise you on the next steps. If need be, we can come and flush the system, ensuring that it is done properly and safely.
Can a power flush damage my old system?
The short answer is no. We would say, if your system is old, this is a must to keep it functioning efficiently.
It is also important to keep an eye on the quality of water that is going into the system, as poor water quality can lead to corrosion and damage to the internal components of the boiler. A professional engineer can check the water quality and recommend any necessary treatment to ensure that the water is safe for use in the boiler.
More Energy Saving Tips from our Service Manager, Marcus.
So that’s the boiler sorted – what about some tips on keeping your home warm? Marcus, our service manager shared these tips on our socials.
- Trap any heat that’s produced by keeping windows and doors closed, and draught-proof any unwanted gaps. The most effective methods are brush strips on doors and letter boxes but alternately you can use a traditional pillow type draught excluder at the bottom of your doors and something smaller for your letter box; even blocking up large key holes will make a difference.
- The harder a boiler or heat pump has to work, the more energy it will consume. Lowering your systems flow temperature is the most efficient way to operate a system. Radiators will feel slightly cooler, but majority of homes will heat effectively with a lower flow temperature. Try lowering the flow temperature on your boiler to 60 degrees. This can be adjusted on the dial with a radiator symbol on the front of your boiler. A heat pump system is designed to provide heat at a lower temperature and to run over a longer time period, so it’s important it’s set to operate this way. The user instructions should help how to check this but always seek professional guidance if you’re unsure.
- Adjust your room thermostat 1 or 2 degrees lower than you normally do and lower the thermostatic valves on your radiators. There’s no need to heat rooms you hardly use so turn these radiators off. These small adjustments should make no difference to how warm you feel but will make big savings on your energy bills.
- Move any large furniture like wardrobes or sofas away from where your radiators are fitted. Where this isn’t applicable, move furniture at least 3-4 inches away from the radiator. This will allow the heat to circulate adequately around the room which you’ll now find warmer and will also heat up a lot quicker.
By following these tips, you can ensure that your boiler is running efficiently and effectively, and your home is warm and comfortable throughout the winter.
We would recommend you chose one of our Heat:Plan packages. They start at only £6.99 a month, and you can have total peace of mind, safe in the knowledge we are only a quick phone call away should something go wrong. You can find out more about the different packages here.