Grrr ….gas price rises coming thick and fast now! It’s not simply a problem of finding the extra money to cover the winter quarterly bill. Every year millions of customers face a crisis when the boiler packs up unexpectedly – just when a cold snap arrives or worse, the night before Christmas!
If the cold snap lasts as long as they have been doing in the last couple of years, then all sorts of unexpected problems can occur. It’s simply staggering how many emergency call outs there are every day as it starts to get colder from November onwards.
But as daily gas consumption rises more boilers break down. The rise in energy prices have also meant that people have, increasingly, delayed turning on their heating.
One in six consumers will wait until November before putting the central heating on for the first time since last winter while three per cent will keep putting another jumper on until December or until the first sign of frost, and one per cent hold out until snow arrives!
But the added delay also increases the likelihood of storing up more problems with the boiler, radiators or pipes just when they need to be fully working and providing heat.
Before temperatures start to fall…
The master always advises customers to have their boilers and central heating checked over before temperatures start to fall . It’s so much easier to fix a boiler or water flow in milder weather than when temperatures are below freezing and there’s the possibility of a blockage.
It’s easy to simply forget about the heating system but there can be so many things that can go wrong simply because the system has “not been looked at for a while.”
Most people know about radiators failing to heat up because of corroded pipework causing a blockage of sludge in the system, which prevents the free flow of hot water.
But many people will simply leave the boiler set to ‘hot water’ all summer and then switch to both ‘hot water and heating’ when they feel the first nip in the air. What actually happens is that a valve turns to allow the water out to the radiators but if the valve has been damaged or simply stopped working during the year, then the first time it’s realised there is a problem is when the radiators fail to warm up.
So many things that can go wrong…
As well as a failure of motorised valves, no heat or hot water could also mean broken diaphragms and airlocks, a faulty thermostat or low water levels. A boiler which keeps switching itself off could also mean a problem with the thermostat, or the pump not circulating the water in the system properly.
Low water pressure is another possible cause. A water leak in the system is the most common reason for a loss of pressure, but a pressure relief valve may need replacing, and leaks and drips can be caused by a variety of issues.
And those strange banging, whistling or gurgling noises you hear when you’re trying to get some sleep at night? Once again it could be low air pressure or most commonly, air in the system or the build up of lime-scale in the boiler’s heat exchange.
There’s so many things that can go wrong which can so easily be avoided with a pre-winter check up!
The master is always right – he should know, of course, he is a fully qualified Gas Safe plumber!