A hand turning up the heat on a boiler.

What to do if your boiler's on the blink

Feb 20, 2019 - 3min read

With howling winds, sporadic snow and blasts of sub-zero temperatures, the last thing anyone needs at this time of year is a boiler that’s on the blink.

Never fear - Tonik is here! We’ve spoken to our good chums over at HomeServe - one of the UK’s leading home assistance cover providers - about what our members should do if they suspect they’ve got gremlins in their boiler.

The good news is that in some cases you can sort out a boiler breakdown yourself, without even having to call out an engineer!

Is the gas running?

Okay, okay, we know it’s a bit obvious - the gas equivalent of “are you sure it’s plugged in?” - but it’s definitely worth checking if your gas is actually working before you start trying to resolve the issue!

Check your appliances - if, for example, your stove isn’t putting out any gas, then you’ve got a problem with your connection. Take a look to make sure that the Emergency Control Valve leading into your house hasn’t been switched off by accident. If it’s switched on and you still don’t have any gas, get in touch with us and we’ll let you know what’s going on.

Turn it off and on again

Another cliché from the IT department, but it’s worth resetting your boiler to see if this fixes the problem. Most modern boilers have a snazzy reset button on the front of the unit, instead of the pilot lights of yore. Alternatively, you might have a dial on the front that needs to be turned to the ‘zero’ position before being turned back to its original position.

Check the fuse box!

Have you had a power cut recently? If so, there’s a good chance your fuse box might have tripped - in which case all you have to do is re-flick the switches that have flicked themselves off, and hey presto! Your connection is restored.

Another possibility is that a power cut has confused your boiler by resetting its timer, making it think that it’s the middle of the night when it’s actually daytime. Check that your boiler’s clock display is showing the right time - if not, you’ll need to re-programme. Take a look at your trusty owner’s manual for how to do this. Don’t worry if you can’t quite remember where you put it; boiler manuals are usually quite easy to find online.

Under pressure?

Have a gander at the pressure display on the front of your boiler - there should either be a mechanical gauge or a digital LCD showing the amount of pressure in your central heating system. If the pressure in your system is too low, your boiler may have shut your supply off for safety reasons.

This is an easy fix. Check your trusty manual again for what pressure it should be, then look for the tap near your boiler that adjusts the pressure. Open it up until the pressure reads between 1 and 1.5, but keep a close eye on the display though - you don’t want to put too much pressure in!

Check your thermostat

Is your thermostat set to below 21°C? Some boilers will stop working when the thermostat is set to below this temperature, in order to save energy. Try incrementally dialling up the temperature a few notches and see if it awakens your slumbering boiler.

Another - slightly more complex - possibility is that your thermostat is having radio-frequency pairing issues with your boiler. Time to dig out the trusty thermostat manual (or do a quick google search for an online version) and check that everything’s working as it should be. You may as well change your thermostat’s batteries too - it’s worth a shot!

Call in a Professional

If all else fails, call in a qualified heating engineer to help! NEVER try and open up or service the boiler using your own DIY skills - you may well do yourself (or your boiler) a mischief, and you might even be breaking the law!

So if you’re stuck without a working boiler, what you need is a rapid, no-hassle visit from a guaranteed expert. That’s why we’ve teamed up with HomeServe to offer our members the best possible protection for their boiler in case things go wrong in the future- whatever the weather.

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