Why is my heating not coming on? FIVE common heating problems and how to prevent them

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Steph’s Packed Lunch: Expert gives advice on broken boilers

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Heating and energy costs have become increasingly expensive leaving little left in our pockets for repair and call-out fees if the boiler’s on the blink. Keeping your central heating system intact and working efficiently will save you money in the long run, but how can you prevent it from glitching in the first place? With everything from damaged pipes to DIY broken boiler solutions, Andrew Collinge at BestHeating has rounded up his top tips to prevent these five common heating problems in your property.

How to prevent a broken boiler

We all rely on our heating throughout the winter and with the first week of November already drawing to a close, many of us are enjoying the warmth of our homes thanks to a trusty boiler.

With nearly half of boiler problems occurring during winter, it can be an unnerving time for homeowners as we become so reliant on our central heating.

Andrew said: “If you need to call an engineer, a broken boiler could cost hundreds to fix and if it needs replacing, it is likely you will have to pay between £600 and £2,500 depending on the size and model.”

The good news is that a regular service will spot any pressing issues with your boiler before it becomes too expensive to fix, so be sure to keep up with annual services.

Damaged pipes

Plummeting temperatures and frosted winds can cause pipes to freeze during the winter.

The expansion of water as it freezes in your pipes can lead to burst pipework, which can cause flooding or expensive water damage to your home.

Andrew says: “If you suspect problems with pipes you should turn off the water at the valve, keep tabs on to relieve pressure whilst any ice melts and also use a hair dryer or a heat gun to thaw frozen pipework.”

The best quick fix for a broken pipe is to tightly bind the piping with a cloth or heavy-duty tape until you can make long-term repairs.

With a freezing winter forecast ahead, you should look into wrapping your pipes with foam tubing to limit potential damage and insulate your pipes this winter.

Thermostat issues

Dialling the thermostat up and down is one of the many liberties of modern heating systems.

If you’re struggling to adjust your heating day-to-day, there could be an issue with the thermostat which may indicate a fault.

If you suspect you thermostat is broken, it could be because:

  • The wiring is faulty
  • It needs recalibrating
  • The battery is dead

Change batteries regularly and use the five-degree rule to test whether it is working – (try changing the temperature up or down by five degrees to be sure it’s broken).

Service your thermostat regularly to identify issues before they escalate into an expensive fault.

Calibration or wiring issues will require an electrician to take a look, which could cost you between £100 to £400 if it is irreparable.

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Cracked walls

Fixing cracked walls and filling gaps in the structure of your property is key to up your energy efficiency.

Making the most of your heating is more important than ever amid rising energy costs, so check your home thoroughly for potential cracks near windows, doors and un-insulated areas like lofts, cellars and garages.

Keep sealant handy at all times in the kitchen cupboard as it could save you hundreds on your heating bill over time.

Andrew added: “Sealant is effective for blocking wall cracks, sealant strips are good for windows and draught excluders help around doors.”

Home improvements like cavity wall insulation and loft insulation could pay off in the long term and help to reduce heating cost by making your heating more efficient.

Carbon monoxide leaks

Heating your home doesn’t come without its dangers and carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning is a harrowing reminder of the importance of checking your central heating.

This colourless, odourless and extremely poisonous gas is so dangerous because it cannot be seen, smelt, heard or even tasted.

CO is the result of incomplete burning of carbon-based fuels and is most commonly associated with:

  • Cookers
  • Boilers
  • Blocked flues
  • Chimneys

Installing a carbon monoxide detector in your home could save your life if a CO fault occurs.

Andrew added: “If your CO detector catches a hint of carbon monoxide, call a professional immediately as they will know how to find leaks and repair the issue, potentially saving your life in the process.”

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