Last week, a homeowner in Poole contacted me for his annual boiler service. I asked if there were any problems he had experienced that I should be privy to. He mentioned that it was taking much longer than usual to get hot water and after running a test, some radiators were not warming up a room sufficiently. I assured him that I would be at his property within the hour to conduct the service and attend to any faults.
I got to the client’s home in 45 minutes despite some light traffic. I started by running the boiler to pinpoint any issues and the first thing that struck me was the noise being produced. It was not very loud and might have even gone unnoticed but it was an indicator of a common problem for boilers.
I also opened up the boiler to check the fan air pressure and the gas pressure. The fan air pressure was quite low and this might have been the cause of the sub-optimal operation. I looked closely at the spark electrodes and realized they had oxidized thus cleaning them would not help much. The best option would be a replacement. When I looked at the heat exchanger, I noticed there was limescale buildup which is why the fan air pressure had dropped significantly. Boiler repairs in Dorset often entail sludge or limescale removal due to the hard water in the area. I connected the boiler to a power flush machine which helped clear the limescale from the primary heat exchanger. The limescale in the plate heat exchanger was cleared using a chemical cleaning solution. After 3 hours, the entire process was complete and we fired up the boiler for a test. Not only had the “kettling” subsided, but adequate heat was coming from all the radiators in the property.
Last week, we had a customer from the BH8 area reach out to us requesting her annual boiler service after realizing her water was taking longer to heat up.
I drove to Oxford Road and arrived within the hour to conduct the service. The boiler was a Worcester Bosch Greenstar 40 CDi, and I started by running it to identify any flaws. Indeed, the water was taking longer to heat up, and some rooms were not receiving enough heat. I also bled the radiators and realized the water had a slightly brownish hue which indicated limescale build-up in the tubes. The filters had also corroded which can be attributed to the low water alkalinity in Bournemouth.
To clear out the limescale, I prepared a power flush which broke down the limescale deposits and cleared the corrosion.
I also added a water softener component to her boiler, which would prevent the limescale buildup from happening again. The process took about four hours and we bled the radiators a second time. This time the water did not appear discoloured, and we were sure that the limescale was completely gone.
Whether you are looking to soak up some sun during the summer or escape the debilitating winter cold, holiday time is exciting, especially given that most of us are only just getting the opportunity to travel post covid. Holidays also come with a lot of preparation beforehand such as packing, travel plans and ensuring the home is left in the best condition. Homeowners often wonder what to do with their central heating systems especially if they are traveling during the winter. We will be answering a popular question asked by many homeowners “Should I turn my boiler off when I go on holiday?”
Summer holidays vs winter holidays
The season in which you are travelling determines if you should turn your boiler off or leave it on. If you plan to travel during the summer, then you might get away with switching off your boiler.
During the winter, however, it is recommended you do not completely switch off your boiler. While there might be some cost-saving benefits to having the boiler off, the risks involved far outweigh the reward and you might spend a lot more on damaged pipes or the boiler. Here are some of the benefits of leaving your boiler on when you leave for a holiday:
Prevent Frozen Indoor Pipes
During the winter, temperatures in the UK and many other countries drop below zero degrees at which point, water starts to freeze and expand. Pipes in insulated areas or along the exterior walls of your house are susceptible to cracks or bursts from the expansion of frozen water. Leaving your boiler on while on holiday keeps the water moving and above the freezing point.
Cracked or busted pipes result in leaks and could you imagine returning home from a holiday to a flooded house?
Cracked or busted pipes can also be very expensive to repair. There have been instances of homeowners spending upwards of £7,000 on repairs. This cost could add up from the damaged items and the inconvenience of searching for accommodation elsewhere as the plumbers conduct repairs. For cabinets that house plumbing pipes, it is advisable to leave this open such that heat can reach them to prevent freezing.
Avoid the Risk of a Damaged Boiler
Leaving your boiler off can result in the internal pipes getting frozen and damaged. Switching off your boiler can also result in internal leaks and the risk of irreversible damage is very high. Even if your boiler does not get to the point of replacement, there is a likelihood of its efficiency being compromised even after a repair. Aside from the damaged pipes, the valves and pumps could also seize up which potentially leads to central heating problems down the road.
Return home to a warm house
Getting back from holiday to an ice-cold house can be a huge downer especially if you had travelled to a warm area. Other than preventing leaks and property damage, leaving your boiler on also ensures you return home to a warm house and you can settle back in quicker. As a bonus, you enjoy your holiday much more knowing everything back home is well taken care of.
Best Practices to Leaving Your Boiler On
Realistically, you should not leave your boiler on 24/7 or at high temperatures since there is nobody home. So, how do you ensure your home has sufficient warmth without wasting energy and piling up your energy bills?
Establish a Schedule
You should establish a routine where you switch on your boiler for a few hours every day you are on holiday. In the UK, the coldest hours of the day during the winter range between 2 A.M and 5 A.M. It is especially important to have your boiler on during these cold hours. You could also run the boiler a few other times during the day to keep everything flowing.
Utilize your thermostat
A thermostat is an invaluable device you should invest and the beauty of thermostats is they can now be operated remotely through an app. A programmable thermostat enables you to regulate the hours your central heating is on and you can also regulate the temperature of your home. When you are away on holiday, a temperature of 15 – 18 degrees Celsius is ideal to keep the pipes and the boiler warm. Unless you live in a very cold area, avoid pushing the temperature beyond 20 degrees as this could increase your energy bills unnecessarily. These thermostats are an absolute must-have nowadays, which is why we install them with almost all of out boiler installations in Bournemouth or Poole.
Prioritize rooms that need the most heat
Thermostats enable you to control the temperature of a room independently. Spaces such as the basement tend to house sump pumps which can freeze up and result in mould growth. If your boiler is in a cold room such as the loft or the basement, then you should prioritize heating these areas to keep the pipes around the boiler in optimal temperature.
COST-SAVING TIPS WHILE ON HOLIDAY
The majority of homeowners switch off their boilers while away as they are concerned about their energy bills. There are some tips you can implement to save on costs while your boiler is routinely on during the winter. The biggest cost you will save on, however, is the expensive repairs and replacements from completely switching your boiler off.
Close all Windows and Doors before leaving
Other than preventing burglars from visiting your property, closing all windows and doors ensures cold air does not rush into your home. The rooms also retain more heat and your boiler does not have to work extra hard or long to heat up a room. Additionally, properly sealing the doors and windows also retains more heat in your home.
Frost Protection Thermostats
Modern boilers often come with an anti-freeze/anti-frost component that protects the internal pipework of the boiler. For boilers that might not have this component, investing in a frost protection thermostat is advisable. Frost protection basically works by keeping the water in your boiler above 5 Degrees Celsius. When the sensor detects water temperature has dropped below 5 Degrees, the boiler heats the water back up to 10 Degrees Celsius then goes off. At Senior Plumbing, we are specialists in Viessman boilers which have built-in frost protection thermostats.
Insulate your home
Insulating your home is a great way to retain heat in your property and prevent cold air from seeping through the cold walls of the house. You could insulate your home using thermal paper or spray foam. The additional benefit of insulating your property is the savings extend beyond your holiday period.
If you are looking for something more temporary, you could insulate indoor pipes to prevent exposure to the cold. If you have a regular or system boiler, you could insulate your hot water tank since the water starts to cool down rapidly. Insulating your hot water tank slows
down the cooling rate and prevents the boiler from reheating the water again.
Leaving your boiler switched on while you are on holiday is a good idea and with most modern boilers there should be no risks involved. For your peace of mind, we recommend servicing your boiler before you leave if you haven’t done so within the last year or so.
Given the weather the other day, it was a surprise to get a call regarding a boiler breakdown for one of the local shops right in the center of Bournemouth. The shop owner said they were trying to wash up in the back, but their boiler seemed to be playing up and they were struggling to get any hot water flowing through.
I popped round about midday to have a look and it seemed that their Greenstar 40 cdi classic had been left without a service for way too long and they had a huge build-up of sediment and sludge which was preventing the boiler from functioning properly. This is typically why I insist on all my customers getting an annual boiler service, to make sure everything is ticking over correctly and so they avoid having to get an installation when the boiler could have been functioning for many more years to come. The system was so dirty that the pipe had probably reduced to about 10mm from an original 22mm. On top of this the boiler pressure seemed to be faily low, around 1.0 bar, which I then worked out was due to a leak, caused by corrosion.
After a long conversation with the customer, we decided that installing a new combi boiler was the best decision as this boiler would cost a lot to get back functioning, would likely only last 2-5 more years and be more costly on energy bills. I need to head back in a few days to install their new Viessmann, but above are the images from the boiler inspection and should be a warning to anyone looking to avoid a boiler service!
Last week, a customer from Bournemouth on Roslin Road (BH3), called up as they were having issues with their boiler. They were unsure if it was a boiler repair or boiler installation that they needed. On the phone, she informed me that they were experiencing a rumbling and whistling sound from their boiler. I asked if it sounded like the noise that a kettle makes and she said that it did. I knew from this that their boiler was kettling and this was what was causing the issues.
I explained that the water inside your boiler should not reach boiling point. It starts to boil if the water passes through the flame too slowly. This is caused by a blockage in the pipework. You will hear the result of this when the boiler starts to make sounds that are similar to a kettle boiling. We booked her boiler repair service for the next day.
When I arrived to inspect the boiler, I knew that there was a build-up of sludge blocking the system and raising the temperature of the water inside. This is most likely caused by a build-up of magnetite – an iron-based chemical that wears off the insides of radiators. To fix the issue, I took apart the heat exchanger and cleaned it to clear the blockage. The water then started to flow freely through the pipes and stay at the optimum temperature.
On Friday 19th March, I had a call out from the McDonald’s on Mannings Health Road, BH12 at 10am. They had no hot water. On investigation, it was discovered that there were several areas where electrical components had failed.
When looking at the bronze pump and main 3 phase elements in the cylinder, i realised it had no power to it. Due to the 3 phase element having 415 volts, I had to get an electrician in to inspect this component. This electrical connection had failed and had tripped over components in the process. We managed to get the system working, tested and left in order. The process took 5 hours.
However, on Saturday afternoon around 1600, I received a call from the store saying the hot water had failed again.
When I arrived at McDonald’s on Sunday Morning at 0900 hrs; there was still no hot water. The inspections of all trips switches were fine. The element had tripped inside the cylinder again. I reinstated the power and told the store to keep checking it. We called the store around 11 which they reported the hot water was maintaining temperature. I left in order- it took 1 hour.
I then had a call out to attend to no hot water again on Monday morning at McDonald’s Mannings Health. Obviously, we then thought we have an issue with the actual element but have decided to change the stats inside the element and see how we get on. If this does not work then I will source a price for changing the actual element. Tested and left after 3 hours.
Last week, I received a call from a customer Rossmore, BH12 – not knowing what the issue was with their boiler and wondering if I could come and fix it. He told me on the phone that they were experiencing banging and whistling noises from their boiler. I asked if it sounded like a kettle and after he said yes, I informed him that this was kettling. This can often mean that a new boiler is needed, but their boiler was fairly new, so I assured them that a repair will sort out their problem.
I booked them in for a boiler repair the next day. When I got there I took a look at their boiler, I knew that the problem was due to a limescale buildup. I took apart the boiler components and cleaned all the necessary parts.
They were happy with the repair and I filled them in on the necessities of getting a regular boiler service to prevent these minor issues from happening. The build-up of limescale or sludge, if not noticed, can completely break the boiler. Then, a boiler installation would have to be done. Luckily, the customer caught the problem early and we were able to get their boiler back on track.
Boilers are an integral part of creating a comfortable and cosy home. But just like any other system, boilers can experience faults. These faults call for professional boiler repair callouts.
Modern-day boilers are programmed to give you an alert when they are experiencing a problem ensuring that you get professional boiler repair Bournemouth services.
In this blog, we will discuss the most common boiler problems.
If you have been hearing unusual noises from the boiler that sound like a whistling kettle, chances are your boiler is kettling. This problem occurs when sediments or sludge builds up in the boiler.
The best way to solve the problem is to call a gas safe engineer to flush out the sediments and make sure your boiler is functioning efficiently again.
If your boiler is leaking, this is not a good sign. Boiler leaks can happen for different reasons, for example, broken pressure valve, broken pump seal, and more.
Don’t attempt to repair the boiler leak by yourself. Always call a certified gas engineer Bournemouth for boiler repair services.
No hot water or no heat
Your boiler is supposed to provide hot water and heat to your home. If it is not doing this, it can be due to a combination of problems.
Calling a professional gas engineer is the best way to find the issue that is causing the lack of hot water. They will rectify it efficiently.
Reduced boiler pressure
Usually, your boiler must maintain water pressure between 1 and 2. If you notice the pressure drop below 1, this might be indicative of a bigger issue.
Check for any water leaks to determine why your boiler is not able to maintain good pressure. Don’t hesitate to call a gas safe engineer for identifying and rectifying the issue.
Switching off of the boiler
Does your boiler switch off itself? If so, it can indicate numerous issues such as sedimentation or reduced water pressure. These will need professional boiler repair services to sort.
Sometimes, your boiler might switch off if it is not responding to the thermostat. If this is the case, you can look for temperature settings on the thermostat, connection to the Wi-Fi, or just give a call to the professional to correct these issues.
Your boiler is supposed to provide heat for your home. But, if you find that you have cold radiators, there might be a fault with your boiler.
If you find that your radiator is cold from the bottom, the standard procedure is to bleed the radiator. Usually, you can do this procedure on your own but if you feel that you need expert assistance, don’t hesitate to call a professional.
If you find that some parts of your radiator are not heating, just balance the radiator. This can also be done yourself, but if you don’t feel confident, calling a professional may be the best solution. The professional will also give you a radiator balancing guide that will help you in the future if the problem arises again.
But, if you have tried bleeding and balancing your radiator but it still does not heat up, there could be an issue with your boiler. This could be due to the development of sludge. If this is the case, you must call a professional gas safe engineer and they will flush out the system to remove any sludge. This will start to provide heat to your radiators and the rest of your home.
Frozen condensate pipe
If you have a condensing boiler, it will have a condensate pipe. You can find it installed on the outside of your property but this makes the pipe prone to freezing. To avoid this, call a professional who will help you insulate the pipe to prevent it from freezing. This way your boiler can be up and running even during winters.
These are the top seven most common boiler repair issues that require a call out to a professional company. If you want expert assistance, give us a call at Senior Plumbing & Heating.
We are based in Bournemouth and Poole and have years of experience in tackling boiler issues and faults. We have a licensed and professional team of gas safe engineers who will ensure that your boiler is up and running in no time.
Apart from scheduled appointments, we also provide emergency callout services. We are available for our customers 24/7. Apart from boiler repair service, we provide regular boiler maintenance services and new boiler Bournemouth installation services too.
So, get in touch with us at Senior Plumbing & Heating now for efficient boiler repair callout services.