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Home heating safety: How to maintain your boiler

It’s National Safety Month, so we’ve put together a checklist to keep your home heating and boiler maintained and safe during the summer months.

Whether your boiler is brand new or you’ve had it for some time, ensuring you maintain it properly is important for your home, health and wallet! Though you cannot prevent your boiler from breaking down at some point, there are some regular maintenance routines you can carry out to reduce the chances of it happening.

Keep the heating ticking over
During the spring and summer months when your heating is used less, you should always make sure that you keep your boiler working to help reduce the chances of it failing during heavy use in winter. If you chose to turn your boiler or heating off during the warmer months, it’s recommended that you turn it on for 15 minutes each month to keep your central heating system working.

Gas Safety
Poorly maintained or faulty boilers can present a serious health risk to you and your family. If your boiler is damaged, there is a chance that it could be producing deadly carbon monoxide gas.
Carbon monoxide poisoning accounts for 50 deaths in the UK every year, as the gas is void of smell or taste it often goes unnoticed. You should make it a priority to install a carbon monoxide detector in your home. They are relatively inexpensive and if checked every month, can help you ensure a safer home.

Annual Servicing
Servicing and MOTs are necessary to keep your car in good condition, so why not your boiler?
Having a fully qualified gas engineer in to inspect your boiler once a year could flag up any potential problems before they become serious. A boiler engineer can also check your boiler’s settings to ensure its running at optimal efficiency, leading to savings on your gas bill and a better boiler.

Tip: You should check that any engineer working on your boiler or any gas appliances within your home are on the Gas Safety Register and have good reviews.

Avoid the clutter
Boilers need space and ventilation around them to work at their most efficient capacity. The cupboard, room or area around your boiler should be kept free from clutter in order to improve airflow and reduce vapour.
You also need to keep the area clear for easy access, if you need to check on your boiler or you have an engineer into service it, there needs to be space to gain access and allow work to be done.
If you use your boiler room as a storage room you should consider the fact that some of these materials could be combustible. If kept too close to the boiler, household items could pose a fire risk.

Check for changes
Check your boiler regularly for any changes to its appearance as this can suggest a problem – this can include leaks, cracks, black marks and unusual noises.

Five common boiler problems and what they could mean:

  • Gurgling, whistling and banging noises are sometimes an indication of air in the system or that the water pressure is too low. Hearing a noise like a kettle boiling (also known as Kettling) could be the result of limescale build up. It is most common in areas with hard water but can also occur on areas with soft water supply.

  • If the pilot light has gone out there could be a broken thermocouple pipe which is stopping the gas supply, a draught blowing the pilot light out or a deposit built up in the pilot light.

  • If the boiler pressure is showing as below 1 then there may be a problem with your central heating pressure system. To keep your boiler running at maximum efficiency, the pressure needs to be between 1 and 1.5 bar.

  • If the boiler is leaking or dripping water, it could be a variety of issues or a broken internal component. Leaking around the piping is often a result of corrosion. In either case, you would need to call out an engineer to investigate further.

  • If the thermostat on your boiler is losing accuracy or turning heating on and off when it’s not supposed to it could be time to invest in a new boiler. You should ensure you first make some common sense checks on your boiler to ensure it hasn’t been knocked off schedule.

Think you need a new boiler?

CHiL are a government backed affordable warmth initiative which runs throughout Lancashire. We obtain funding and grants to help give Lancashire residents free and subsidised home heating and energy efficiency measures.

You could be one of the 650,000 homes in Lancashire eligible for a boiler replacement or a number of our other schemes including cavity wall insulation, storage heater replacements and loft insulation.

Register your details today or get in touch to find out if we can help you towards a cosy home!

Did you know that you do not always have to be on benefits to get help with improving the energy efficiency of your home?

Over 650,000 homes within the area potentially qualify for help to reduce their Energy Bills. Cosy Homes in Lancashire has been set up by all 15 Local Authorities to provide you with a simple way to find if you are one of them.

Find out which services you are eligible for by answering one simple question:

Do you live in Lancashire with an income of £16,010 or less from Full or Part time employment and the receipt of benefits of some kind (including tax credits)?

YES -or- NO
Have a higher income than £16,010? We can still help you save money. Simply select No above to see how we can help.
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