get the best from a boiler
Be sure your home is prepared for the chilly weather ahead
Are you prepared for the cold snap? This is the time to make sure your central heating system is in tip-top condition, so that your home can stay nice and cosy during the colder months.
QIf our central heating stops working, can we try to fix it ourselves without having to call an engineer out? absolutely, but don’t try anything beyond these basic checks. First up, if you’re on a repayment meter, check your credit, turn on any gas appliances to check for a flame, and see if a fuse has tripped. Power cuts can reset timers, so you may need to reprogramme it; once you’ve done that, turn the thermostat up past 21˚c, which can force the boiler into action. checking and topping up your boiler’s pressure is simple – search ‘British gas: how to check water pressure’ on youtube. Finally, press your boiler’s reset button, because sometimes turning it off and on again really is the answer!
QAre annual boiler services really essential to have? a yearly service by a gas Safe registered (gassaferegister.co.uk) engineer is just good common sense and costs around £60-£100. the engineer should check the flue (both inside and outside the house), operating pressure and heat output and all seals. they should also do a full safety check and clean parts if necessary, plus provide a signed service report.
QOur boiler cuts out when it’s freezing – is that a fault? Below-zero temperature weather can cause condensate pipes (found on modern condensing boilers) to freeze, which can stop the boiler from working. Frozen pipes are a common call-out for boiler engineers in the winter. Simply defrost the pipe by pouring some warm (but not boiling) water over it.
QWe’ve got an A-rated boiler and we never have the heating turned up over 20°C, but our bill is still high. Any tips on how we can save costs and energy? Boilers account for up to 55-60% of our annual energy bills, so you’ve already done the hard part by getting a highefficiency boiler installed, which can cut up to £570 a year, compared to an older model. installing a programmable thermostat (from £35, Screwfix) and thermostatic radiator valves to each radiator can also slash £150* from your bill by letting you control when and where the heating is used. But remember, your home needs to be properly insulated.
QIs it worth installing a smart thermostat in my home? Flashy new thermostats like those made by nest and Hive will give you more control over your heating via a smartphone, and can track your gas usage. the leading brands also promise quite impressive savings – but remember, these savings are not guaranteed.
protect yourself from carbon monoxide poisoning (caused by a faulty boiler)– keep an alarm by the boiler at all times
CDI Compact gas-fired combi boiler, around £2,500, Worcester Bosch