Heating and Plumbing Checks that You can Do By Yourself

If you want to keep your heating system operating optimally it is important that it is serviced regularly. Taking good care of your heating and plumbing will reduce the risk of breakdowns and identify any faults before they become a potentially serious problem. Some checks must be done by a professional plumbing company. If you have gas heating, for example, then a qualified heating engineer should inspect it annually to ensure that it is working properly and that you are not at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Those checks can quite literally save lives.

There are some checks that you can do yourself, however, and it’s a good idea to add those checks to your regular home maintenance schedule, to keep your property in the best possible condition.

Check Your Boiler Pressure

Checking your boiler pressure is a quick and easy check that you can do without needing specialist equipment. With most modern combination boilers, you will find a gauge at the front of the system. The gauge may be numbered, or coloured, to indicate the pressure level. If the pressure is below the acceptable level, top up the system with water. You may find that this simple step will solve a lot of common boiler problems.

If you need to top up your boiler more than twice a year, then that could be a sign that there is a leak or a fault somewhere, so it is a good idea to call in the experts to check.

diy heating checks

Check Your Radiators

Turn on your heating and let it run for a little while, and check the radiators. Are all the radiators, including the ones downstairs, warm? Are all the radiators ‘warm all over’ (rather than just warm at the bottom, but not at the top)? If you notice that some radiators are cold at the top, then they may have air built up in them, and will need bled. This is quite easy to do if you have a small radiator key to use to turn the valve at the top (these are quite affordable and are sold at most DIY stores). If some radiators are cold but others are not, then you may need to adjust the pressure on the boiler, or you may need to have more work done on your central heating system, for example to fix a leak.

Check Your Stopcock

In the ideal world you won’t need to turn the water supply off at the stopcock, but it is useful to know where it is, in case you ever experience a leak with your plumbing. Check your stopcock and make sure that it moves easily. It would be unfortunate to discover that your stopcock was ‘frozen’ or ‘rusted’ into place when a leak was happening.

Check Your Drains

Make sure that all of your drains are working properly, and that there are no blockages. Watch how quickly all of your sinks and basins empty, and check that the drains don’t smell (a bad smell is often a sign of a blockage).

Low Pressure in Your Boiler

pressure gauge on a boilerIt is important to maintain constant water pressure in the boiler in order to ensure that it works as efficiently as possible. Also, low pressure in a boiler is an indication that not everything is right with the system and therefore, it is important for you to find the root cause of the low pressure.

First and foremost, you need to understand that two of the most common causes of low boiler pressure include bleeding radiators and water leaks. However, it does not mean that these are the only two causes that can lead to low boiler pressure. If you fix these two issues and still the boiler pressure remains low, it means that you need to call in a heating service engineer and let them check the system to find out the root cause.

A low boiler pressure is indicated by the pressure gauge on the boiler. If the pressure gauge indicates less than one bar, it typically means that pressure is low due to lost water from the system. The water is lost due to water leaks. It’s not easy to find leaks in the boiler, pipes or radiators but you can take a look around in order to find damp patches.

It is important that you never open the boiler to look inside for leaks. You should always call a gas safe registered engineer to take a look at the boiler in case you are unable to find any water leaks. Another reason for the low boiler pressure is bleeding radiators. A bleeding radiator releases air which results in lower pressure in the system.

If you are sure that the pressure drop in the boiler is not due to a leak or if the leak has been fixed, the boiler can be pressurised to bring it back to the normal level. It’s not that difficult to do and usually, the instructions are there on the back of the boiler. It is important that you re-pressurise the boiler only if you know what you are doing and completely understand the instructions. In case you have any doubts regarding the instructions, you should call in a gas safe registered engineer in order to check the system and re-pressurise the boiler.

Overall, you should detect the cause of low pressure in the boiler and fix it before attempting to re-pressurise the boiler. It is recommended to call in a registered engineer if you have any doubts on how to fix the leaks or how to re-pressurise the boiler once the leak has been fixed. Dealing with the boiler without proper tools and training can be dangerous.

Economical Boilers

New boilerIf you’re looking to buy a new boiler, the worst mistake you could make is buying the cheapest boiler available on the market without paying attention to other important parameters that really determine the lifetime cost of a boiler.

One of the first things you need to look at is whether you want to invest in a LPG boiler, an oil boiler or a gas boiler. Most of the UK households are connected to the gas network making them ideal for a gas boiler. In case you’re not connected to the gas network, you can always invest in a LPG boiler or an oil boiler or a wood-burning stove.

When it comes to choosing a gas boiler, there are many different types of gas heating systems available in the market today including a combi boiler, a conventional boiler as well as a system boiler

A combi boiler provides not only hot water but also heat for the radiators. On the other hand, the heat only boiler has a hot water storage tank and a large cold water feed tank. The system boiler works like a heat only boiler without the cold water storage tank.

The most important thing you need to pay attention to when buying a new economical boiler is the size of the boiler. You need to make sure that it is the right size, depending on your requirements as well as the cost of running the boiler. There is no ideal size of a boiler as it’s unique to every household. It also depends on the number of people living in the household as well as the number of bathrooms in the house.

A heating engineer can help you figure out the right size of the heating cylinder. Another important parameter you need to pay attention to is the boiler efficiency. Boiler efficiency refers to the efficiency with which boiler produces hot water. Most of the modern boilers available in the market today are around 90% efficient and there is not much to choose from. Therefore, the key to buying the most economical boiler is to choose the right size and the right type.

Another important parameter you need to take into account is the reliability as well as maintenance cost of the boiler. Keep in mind that a boiler that breaks down frequently will cost a lot more over its lifetime as compared to a reliable boiler that may cost more initially but does not break down as frequently.

Overall, you need to pay attention to the above-mentioned parameters in order to buy the most economical boiler available in the market today. Simply put, you need to focus on the lifetime cost of running the boiler instead of focusing only on the initial cost in order to make the right choice.

Servicing Your Own Boiler

If you’re looking for information on servicing your boiler yourself, you have come to the right place. In this article, you will find all the information you need in order to figure out whether you are legally allowed to service the boiler on your own.

In simple terms, you are legally allowed to service your boiler on your own provided you do not take any of money for it. In other words, you can service all the boilers you want on your own as long as you do not profit from it. In case you want to take money for servicing boilers, you need to get the required qualifications. On the other hand, it does not mean that you should service the boiler on your own even when you don’t know anything about boilers.

service your boiler

Keep in mind that boilers are meant to be taken lightly as these are slightly complicated machines that do require some kind of training and knowledge for servicing. Therefore, only try to service the boiler yourself if you know what you are doing. This is the reason, experts recommend getting your boiler serviced by a trained technician at least once each year. A regular annual check will make sure that your boiler is safe and keeps working efficiently. An experienced technician will also take care of small issues and prevent them from snowballing into big costly problems.

Simply put, it is better to hire the services of an experienced technician or a registered heating engineer to service the boiler on an annual basis instead of doing it on your own if you do not have the necessary experience and tools.

On the other hand, regular maintenance is something that you should be able to do on your own. Regular maintenance will not only extend the lifespan of the boiler but will also boost its efficiency. Here are a few maintenance tips to keep your boiler running well.

  • Make sure that the air vents are not blocked. Sometimes, accumulation of dirt may cause blockages in the vents or flues. Therefore, you need to make sure that the flues and vents are not blocked by checking them on a regular basis. You should also regularly check the water level in the boiler, at least every other week. If the boiler keeps operating without water, it will be damaged beyond repair. In fact, it may also lead to an accident.
  • Leaks occur due to various reasons. Regular checking for leaks will ensure that all the worn out parts are replaced or repaired before it turns into a major problem. Experts recommend flushing all the water from the boiler at least a few times a year. With regular use, lime scale, grit and dirt tend to accumulate and regular flushing helps in keeping the interiors clean. It is recommended to put on some new gaskets before refilling the boiler.

Overall, it can be said that you are free to service the boiler on your own but do it only when you have the necessary training and you know what you are doing. Do not DIY boiler servicing without proper training as it will do more harm than good.