Keep your home warm and avoid a boiler breakdown this winter
Everyone knows that your boiler is most likely to break exactly when you need it the most – which will always be in winter!
But boilers tend to give up the ghost when it’s coldest because that’s when we use them the most, and forcing your boiler to work harder without taking care of it properly can cause damage to your system.
How to avoid a boiler breakdown
Smooth operation is better than a stop-start approach
Just like driving a car, it’s better for your boiler if you keep it on more regularly at a lower temperature, with smaller gaps in your schedule, than to let it go completely cold and then quickly heating it up to full power over and over again.
Keeping it on zero could lead to the system freezing up, and it’s also a less efficient way of keeping your home warm if you’re always starting from scratch with your temperature.
Check the pressure
Your boiler needs to maintain a constant pressure to keep working. A sudden loss of pressure below a certain point, which is far more common in colder weather, will cause your boiler to go cold.
If you suddenly find your radiators aren’t working, the pressure is a likely suspect – so check your boiler manual (or search for the model online!) for how to check and reset the pressure. It’s often as simple as opening and closing a valve, and you’ll start to notice the effects straight away.
Get your boiler serviced
An annual boiler service means getting a checkup from a Gas-Safe Registered Engineer – any problems can be fixed ahead of time, meaning your boiler will last longer and can work more efficiently.
If you haven’t had one for a while, now could be the time – and make sure you book one in good time before next winter too!
Replace older boilers before it gets coldest
Although the cold snap usually starts in November and December, January and February are always the coldest months on average.
At WYGS, we guarantee that the whole process for a new boiler, from the first survey to the installation, will be just 48 hours – and that’s about as fast as it gets anywhere.
Being boilerless for two days while you’re having a replacement fitted is going to be preferable at the end of this year, rather than at the start of the next one!
We offer a number of finance options, so don’t think that you have to cancel Christmas this year to afford a new boiler – take a look at our interest-free payment options.
Consider a switch to a combi boiler
If you do need to replace your boiler, then it’s well worth considering a combi boiler over a traditional boiler with a water tank.
Combi boilers are more efficient, as they produce hot water on demand, rather than heating up the hot water tank once or twice a day – something that will require a lot more energy in colder weather.
So, with a combi boiler, you can increase your energy efficiency, reducing your bills, all without having to spend ages waiting for the shower to heat up in the morning. Spot on.
More tips for staying warm
Bleed your radiators
Another major cause of radiators staying cold when you need them the most is trapped air, which means they can’t fill with hot water all the way to the top. If you’ve got some heat at the bottom but that’s it, then this will likely be the culprit.
You’ve probably got a radiator key knocking around the house already – they have a little square-shaped indentation in the end that fits over the valve at the top of your radiator. If you don’t, any DIY shop will stock them, and they’re not expensive.
Simply give it a twist, and air will hiss out – as soon as water starts to drip out, twist it closed again. Job done!
Well, not quite – give your boiler pressure another check after bleeding your radiators, as the process can cause it to drop.
Temporary tinfoil insulation
Time to get a bit crafty! Cover a big sheet of card in some tinfoil and slot it behind a radiator for some quick, effective and, above all, very affordable temporary insulation.
The foil reflects the heat back into the room, meaning less is lost through the wall – it really will make a difference in keeping your rooms a bit warmer through winter.
Stay energy efficient
There are plenty of little things you can do around the house to stay energy efficient and keep heat in. It can often be as simple as making sure you close the curtains, or using draft excluders around doors and windows.
You could also leave the oven door open after dinner’s been served to let some extra heat spread across your kitchen, as long as it doesn’t cause a trip hazard. Keep kids and pets well away, too of course.
If you’ve got wooden floors, then winter’s the right time to spread out some rugs if you usually leave your floors bare. It means less heat will escape through any gaps in the woodwork.
Use your timer
Programming your boiler’s timer means your house will be warm when you need it to be. Make sure you’re not shivering by setting it to come on about half an hour before you get up or come home from work, so your system has had time to warm up.
Set it to turn off about half an hour before you head to bed or go out in the morning, and the built-up heat will keep you warm for long enough.
If you’ve always found programming the boiler to be a bit of a hassle, then there are some amazing new technological solutions out there that make things easier, whether it’s by using your phone, or with a smart thermostat that learns your ideal temperature – take a look!
Boiler troubles? We can help
If you think a boiler service, upgrade or replacement is long overdue, then act now before January rolls around and it starts to get truly chilly.