Bleeding A Radiator

An easy and cheap fix for combatting cold and patchy radiators, bleeding a radiator is something anyone can do in their own home without the need for a heating or plumbing engineer.

Why do I need to bleed my radiators?

Radiators become less effective the more gas there is trapped within them. Bleeding your radiators will release the trapped air allowing the hot water to circulate freely.

Enabling you to heat your home more effectively and efficiently, bleeding your radiators regularly is an important part of maintaining your central heating system.

What do I need to bleed my radiators?

  • A radiator key – these can be found in all good DIY stores
  • A dry cloth
  • A cold central heating system

How do I bleed my radiators?

Before you do anything you’ll need to ensure that your central heating and hot water are switched off at the boiler. This will enable you to handle your radiators safely.

  • Locate the valve at the top or side of your radiator.
  • Position your cloth beneath the valve, ready to catch any water that’s likely to escape.
  • Insert your radiator key into the square groove of the valve and slowly turn it anti-clockwise.
  • After a few seconds you should hear a hissing noise, which is the sound of air escaping from your radiator.
  • Once the air has escaped, it will usually be followed by water. When a small amount of water starts to drip, close the valve by turning your radiator key clockwise.

How do I know if bleeding my radiators has worked?

Once you’ve closed your radiator valves, it’s safe to turn your central heating and hot water back on. If you’ve been successful your radiators should start to heat up within a few minutes.

You can also check the pressure gauge on your boiler and check that it reads between 1-1.5 bar.

Can I use automatic radiator valves to bleed my radiators?

Depending on what type of radiators you have in your home, it may be possible to bleed them automatically using an auto vent. These handy devices are attached to your radiator valves and let out air gradually over time. Helping to keep your radiators working efficiently, with an auto vent you won’t need to bleed them manually.

Blocked Pipes

Similar to UNBLOCKING YOUR BATH OR SHOWER with bicarbonate of soda, this method also relies on a chemical reaction to dislodge debris.

Quick and easy to do, you can unblock your kitchen pipes within a few minutes.

Start by crumbing three Alka-Seltzer tablets down your plughole. Follow this with 250ml of vinegar.

Within seconds you’ll hear fizzing, and foam should back up into your sink. Make sure you leave it for a couple of minutes and then run the hot tap to rinse.

If your pipes remain blocked call Safe Gas today and we can send a qualified plumber out to investigate.

Blocked Toilet

Easily clogged with too much toilet paper, a blocked toilet is relatively straightforward to fix.

As soon as you notice that your toilet is blocked, you should avoid flushing as this could cause it to overflow, potentially flooding your bathroom.

A messy job, if you’d rather not remove the blockage yourself, contact your local plumbing specialist for assistance.

Alternatively use one of the methods listed below ensuring you wear protective clothing and a facemask:

Use a plunger

Press your plunger down firmly into the toilet and pull upwards slowly. Repeat at least ten times or until you hear water begin to move along the pipes.

If this method fails to dislodge the blockage you’ll need to check your drains.

Check the drains

Locate your nearest drain and lift the inspection cover. Use a torch or flashlight to detect any blockages.

If you spot a blockage in the chamber you’ll need to clear it. Try using a wire coat hanger or a stick. If you need something longer, you may need a specialist rod.

If you can’t see a blockage in the drain, it’s likely that the obstruction is located somewhere between the chamber and the toilet pan.

Check the toilet pan

To clear a stubborn blockage you’ll need to insert a flexible drain cleaning wire down through the pipe at the bottom of your toilet pan.

Do this when someone else can help you as you’ll need them to keep an eye on the drain to see if the blockage has dislodged. If something is visible in the drain chamber it should be removed immediately to prevent further blockages in the system.

Use chemicals

If you still haven’t managed to remove the blockage, try a chemical drain cleaner or caustic soda. Ensure you follow the instructions carefully and always handle and dispose of chemicals safely.

If none of these solutions help to unblock your toilet you’ll need to contact Safe Gas today.

Boiler Controls

Your boiler and central heating system are fitted with a variety of controls, allowing you to manage temperatures, timings and energy consumption.

Boiler thermostat

The boiler thermostat controls the temperature of the water that flows through your system and feeds your radiators, and the temperature of your tap water. You can adjust this temperature according to your needs.

The LOW or MIN setting (approximately 50°C) is more energy efficient and is the ideal setting for the warmer, summer months. Additionally, because the water isn’t too hot, there’s no risk of scalding when using your hot water taps, or if you accidentally touch a radiator or pipe.

The HIGH or MAX setting (80°C+) burns more energy, but ensures that your radiators can heat up quickly and keep your home warm during the colder, winter months. While it also means that your hot water will run to temperature even in colder weather, you need to be aware of burn risks.

Room thermostat

Usually placed in your hallway or landing, the room thermostat has a built-in air temperature sensor which regulates the overall heat levels in your home. Setting your room thermostat at 18-20°C should keep you comfortable without wasting energy; when your home reaches this temperature, the sensor will send a message to your boiler, telling it to switch off until the temperature drops and it needs to fire up again to raise the temperature to the defined level.

Cylinder thermostat

If you have a separate hot water cylinder, this controls the temperature inside, working in the same way as the room thermostat.

This thermostat should be set at around 60- 65°C, in order to bust bacteria but stay safe for skin!

Timer/programmer

Your timer switch, with its built-in clock and electronic display, allows you to set your heating (and hot water if you don’t have an ‘on-demand’ system) to come on and switch off at selected times throughout the day.

More sophisticated models also allow you to adjust your settings according to the day of the week too.

 

Boiler Leaking

Possibly an indication of a serious fault, if you don’t fix a leaking boiler quickly the internal parts of your boiler could corrode, making it harder to repair in the future.

What is causing the leak?

Due to a variety of causes, a leaking boiler could be symptomatic of a crack in one of the boiler’s cast iron (or aluminium) sections or a broken seal on the boiler’s circulation pump.

How can I fix the leak?

While you may be able to isolate the source of the leak to help diagnose the problem, you should always call a Gas Safe Plumber when dealing with a faulty boiler.

Boiler Maintenance & Safety

To guarantee your boiler’s efficiency and longevity there are several things you can do to help ensure you have hot water and heating year round.

Get an annual boiler service

Once a year your boiler should be serviced by a Gas Safe registered engineer. Your boiler will be inspected to check that it complies with regulations, and will be tested, cleaned and repaired – should any faults be uncovered.

Helping to prevent it from becoming slow, uneconomical and dangerous, an annual boiler service is recommended to ensure your boiler remains gas safe.

Fire up your boiler regularly

To ensure your boiler remains in good condition it should be turned on regularly. By firing it up for 10 minutes once a month you’ll ensure that all the parts are moving correctly and that the pump remains clear, helping to minimise the chances of a breakdown.

Understand the risks of carbon monoxide

To protect yourself against CARBON MONOXIDE POISONING, install an audible carbon monoxide alarm. Warning you if there’s a leak, it’s important to understand the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning and to seek medical assistance immediately.

Know what to do if there’s a gas leak

If you suspect a GAS LEAK you should contact your gas supplier immediately, Phoenix Natural Gas emergency number 0800 002 001 & Firmus Gas emergency number is 0800 032 4567.

Boiler Not Working

While complete boiler failure can appear serious, there are many possible causes, ranging from a crack in one of the boiler’s cast iron (or aluminium) sections, to a broken seal on the boiler pump.

To determine what’s causing your boiler to shutdown ask yourself the following questions:

Is the power supply on?

If there’s no power running to your boiler, contact your electricity supplier who’ll be able to help rectify the problem.

Is the gas or oil supply switched on?

If the gas stopcock is on but no gas is present you’ll need to Safe Gas today.

If you have an oil boiler, read the gauge and check that there’s enough oil in the tank.

Is the pilot light on?

If the pilot light has gone out, follow the relighting instructions in your manufacturer’s manual.

If your boiler model doesn’t have a pilot light, press the de-blocking button. If that doesn’t work, check the central heating pressure is set to the manufacturer’s instructions (this should be approximately one bar).

Is the central heating programmer in the ‘on’ position?

Try firing up your boiler by setting the thermostat higher than the current room temperature.

Does the central heating timer work?

Check that the timer on your central heating controls works and is set to the appropriate times. If you find that you cannot change the settings it’s possible that the batteries are flat or there’s a problem with the power source.

Is the central heating pressure correct?

Check that the pressure is set to the manufacturer’s instructions (this should be approximately one bar).

Has the condensate pipe frozen?

Transferring condensation from your boiler to your outside drain, during cold weather it’s possible for condensate pipes to freeze.

You can check for signs of a frozen condensate pipe by seeing if a fault code is displayed at the front of your boiler and by inspecting the pipe.

Burst Pipes

A result of repeated pressure, pipes are prone to bursting after a continual period of freezing and expansion.

Commonly occurring during winter, there are several measures you can take to protect your pipes in cold weather.

If a pipe in your home freezes and then bursts, there are several things you can do to limit the damage to your home and possessions:

Turn off your water

Disable the water supply by turning off the internal stop tap, usually located under the kitchen sink, and if you have a cold water tank, the stopcock.

Switch off your heating and electricity

Make sure that your central heating is switched off. As a precaution you should also turn off your electricity at the mains.

If for any reason your mains switch appears to be wet, contact your local electrician and do not touch it yourself.

Drain your system

Turn on all of your hot and cold taps and flush your toilets to ensure there’s no water left within the system.

Collect the water

To help prevent flooding within your home, ensure you collect the water that’s leaking. Whether you use porous materials to collect the drops or buckets to catch a steady stream, be cautious of any water that leaks from your ceilings.

If the ceiling starts to swell do not stand directly beneath it. Instead find something long and sharp that you can use to pierce the plaster, such as a broom or mop handle or a long screwdriver.

Check your insurance policy

If you have certain insurance policies to protect your home, burst pipes may be covered. As soon as you possibly can, check to see what your options are, as alternative accommodation and the cost of repairs may be covered.

While it’s tempting to clear up and throw away damaged items, hold on to them in case they’re needed as evidence to support your insurance claim at a later date.

Open your doors and windows

To help dry out your home, open as many doors and windows as possible. Once you‘ve rebooted your heating and electricity supply keep your heating on for as long as it’s practical to do so and consider hiring a dehumidifier to speed up the drying process.

Carbon Monoxide

Infamous for being invisible to the naked eye, tasteless and scent-free, carbon monoxide (CO) is extremely dangerous. Responsible for 20 deaths in the UK each year, it’s important to ensure your home is Gas Safe compliant to avoid gas leaks and exposure to carbon monoxide.

What is carbon monoxide?

Formed naturally when a compound containing carbon burns incompletely, carbon monoxide is created due to a lack of oxygen.

Occasionally present in homes due to poorly fitted gas appliances, or those that are badly repaired or poorly maintained, carbon monoxide can often occur if flues, chimneys or vents are blocked.

What are the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning?

Similar to the effects of a hangover or flu, it’s vital to be aware of the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning.

There are six main symptoms:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Breathlessness
  • Nausea
  • Collapse
  • Loss of consciousness

While these symptoms may seem ordinary in isolation, if they occur only within your home, and you feel better outside, or you see similar effects in the people and animals you live with, you should visit your GP as soon as possible to rule out carbon monoxide poisoning.

If you suspect a gas leak call 0800 002 001 & Firmus Gas emergency number is 0800 032 4567.

How can you protect yourself from carbon monoxide poisoning?

You can ensure your home is Gas Safe by following these five simple rules:

  • Always use a Gas Safe registered engineer
  • Have your boiler and gas appliances serviced annually
  • Ensure your appliances are fully ventilated
  • Check that the flame in your boiler is a strong, clear blue
  • Install a carbon monoxide alarm that meets UK or European Standards

Cold radiators in different parts of the home

COLD RADIATORS IN DIFFERENT ZONES

If the radiators aren’t working in certain parts of your home it’s likely there’s a fault with one of your central heating system’s zones.

A predetermined area of the home, different zones enable you to control the temperature in different rooms.

In order to find out what’s causing certain radiators to stay cold, follow the steps below:

Check your zone timer or thermostat

In order to rule out a problem with your timer or thermostat, check the controls in the zone where the radiators aren’t working.

Your manufacturer’s manual will provide details on the correct settings.

Check the zone valve

Controlling the supply of hot water to the radiators, if the open and close valves are faulty you’ll need to contact Safe Gas today.

COLD RADIATORS UPSTAIRS

If you find that the radiators on the upper floors of your home are cold it’s likely that there’s a problem with the feed and the expansion cistern.

In order to check what’s causing the problem, follow the steps below:

  • Locate the cistern, which will usually be found in the loft.
  • Ensure there’s enough water within the cistern to enable the ballcock to float. But be careful not to fill it completely.

You should now notice that the radiators start heating up normally. If for any reason heat doesn’t return to the upper floors of your home, contact Safe Gas today.

COLD RADIATORS DOWNSTAIRS

If you find that the radiators on the lower floors of your home are cold it is likely that there’s a problem with your pump.

In order to repair or replace a faulty pump, contact Safe Gas today.

Combi Boilers

These valves control the flow of water through your radiators and are situated at the bottom, where the pipe feeds into the unit. There are three different types of valve:

Thermostatic radiator valve

Using air temperature sensors, Thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs) automatically regulate the hot water flow. You can adjust the temperature through
a series of settings from 1 (the coolest at around 10°C) to 5 (the hottest at around 23°C), or switch them off using the * setting, which will stop the radiator from heating up, but allow enough warmth to ensure the pipes can’t freeze.

Manual valve

A more basic version of the modern TRV, manual valves are generally found on older heating systems. Rather than being self-regulating, they operate on an open/closed basis, either allowing hot water to flow through and heat the radiator, or stopping the flow to allow the radiator to cool.

Lockshield valve

Located at the foot of your radiators, on the opposite side to the TRV or manual valve, lockshield valves are covered by a removable plastic cap and require a spanner (or similar tool) to open (turn anti-clockwise) or close them (turn clockwise). They rarely play a part in controlling heating systems anymore, due to the introduction of TRVs.

Different temperatures in different rooms

While your central heating system should work to distribute heat evenly around your home, from time to time it can become unbalanced.

If you haven’t programmed your system to heat the different zones of your home independently, follow these steps below to redress the balance:

Close the valve

Heating up in a domino effect, the radiators that are nearest to the boiler will heat first and, most likely, be warmer.

To prevent these radiators from hogging the heat, partially close their lockshield valves. This will allow more hot water to flow to the radiators further away.

Use radiator thermometers

If you have radiator thermometers you can adjust each radiator in the order in which they heat up. To do this turn off the lockshield valve, place a thermometer at either end of the radiator and open the valve slowly until the temperature at either end is close to being the same.

If you don’t have radiator thermometers you can gradually adjust the lockshield valves on each radiator manually. Aim to reduce the flow of hot water in the warmest rooms and increase it in the coldest rooms.

Eu energy labels and energy efficiency rating

Designed to help consumers assess the energy efficiency rating of new appliances, EU Energy Labels were created to help consumers choose products that use less energy, meaning less CO2 emissions and lower bills for the consumer.

Graded with letters A-G and a gradient going from green to red, the most energy efficient product is dark green and ‘A+++’ rated, while the least efficient appliances are labelled red and rated ‘F’ or ‘G’.

Which appliances come with EU energy labels?

By law, the EU Energy Label should appear on the following products:

  • Washing machines
  • Tumble dryers
  • Fridges and freezers
  • Dishwashers
  • Electric ovens
  • Air conditioners
  • Televisions
  • Light bulbs

In the future products including boilers, water heaters and vacuum cleaners will also be included.

What else does the EU Energy Label say?

In addition to the efficiency of a product, EU Energy Labels may also display other statistics related to a product’s performance. These include things like; washing performance, noise levels, size and water consumption, depending on the type of appliance.

Gas Boilers

Powered by natural gas or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), like most boilers, a gas boiler burns fuel to heat water.

As boilers account for around 55% of the total cost of annual heating bills, a new energy efficient boiler can make a real difference to the average home.

With legislation passed in 2005 stating that all newly fitted gas boilers must be condensing; all new boilers burn fuel with increased efficiency, and work to reduce heat loss.

How does a gas boiler work?

When the boiler is switched on, a valve opens to allow mains gas to enter a sealed combustion chamber – this passes into a primary heat exchanger which is attached to a cold water pipe. The hot gas transfers its heat energy to the water, heating it up and circulating it through your pipes and radiators, powered by a pump.

As the water travels through the pipes, it gradually cools and then passes through 
a second exchanger where it is re-heated by the gases, producing a liquid known as ‘condensate’, which is then drained from the boiler system.

By this stage of the process, the hot gases have transferred their heat to the water and are no longer of use – so they pass out of
the system via the flue. The water which has already been heated and passed around your radiator system then flows back through the primary exchanger, where the process begins again, being re-heated so that the radiators can continue to send heat out into your home. The cycle continues until the thermostat detects that the temperature of your home has reached the pre-defined level, or until the boiler is switched off manually.

Types of gas boiler available:

What are the advantages of gas boilers?

  • Economical to run
  • Energy efficient
  • Reduced carbon dioxide emissions
  • Simple to control

Gas safety certificate (cp12) explained

Also known in the trade as a CP12, a Gas Safety Certificate is a report which outlines the appliances tested in an annual gas safety check.

A legal requirement in the UK, all landlords and owners of commercial premises need to have their gas appliances regularly serviced to make sure they are working efficiently and safely.

Gas Safety Certificates are valid for a period of 12 months and must be renewed.

What does an annual gas safety check involve?

Once a year you will need to arrange for a Gas Safe registered engineer to visit your property or commercial premises. They will carry out an inspection to ensure your gas fittings and appliances are safe to use.

With your permission our engineer will:

  • Check that appliances are well ventilated and that there is a constant supply of fresh air enabling the gas to burn properly
  • Confirm that all safety devices are working effectively
  • Inspect the flue or chimney to make sure all fumes leave the property via the appropriate means
  • Declare an appliance unsafe if they find any faults

What does a Gas Safety Certificate say?

After a Gas Safe registered engineer has visited your property and completed your annual service they will document the following:

  • The date
  • The address of your property
  • A description and location of each appliance and flue checked
  • The faults and defects identified and any action required or taken to fix them
  • The results of operational safety checks carried out on the appliances
  • The name and registration number of the engineer who conducted your check

Gas safety tips for tenants

While it’s your landlord’s legal responsibility to maintain the gas appliances within your home, there are several things you can do as a tenant to ensure your safety.

Know your rights

In the UK landlords have to use a Gas Safe registered engineer to carry out annual safety checks and servicing on all your gas appliances and fittings.

Once this is complete your landlord will receive a GAS SAFETY CERTIFICATE.

When you move into a property ensure that the current certificate is dated within 12-months, and if not, request a service.

Know your responsibilities

If you own any gas appliances that were not on the inventory when you first rented your home, you are responsible for ensuring their safety.

Nonetheless, your landlord will, in most cases, be responsible for the gas pipes and any chimneys or flues that serve your appliances.

Choose the right person for the job

When your annual gas safety checks become due or if you need to arrange any repairs, always ensure that a Gas Safe registered engineer is used.

Whether booked by yourself or your landlord, always ask to see the engineer’s ID before they enter your property.

On one side you’ll see their photo and the Gas Safe Register logo of a yellow triangle, while on the reverse you’ll see a list of the appliances they’re qualified to work on.

Know what to do in an emergency

When you move into your rented accommodation your landlord should be able to show you how to turn off the gas supply in the event of a gas leak or other emergency.

If you believe an appliance is faulty, stop using it and let your landlord know as soon as possible.

Should you ever find a serious problem or become suspicious of a gas leak, call 0800 002 001 & Firmus Gas emergency number is 0800 032 4567.

Maintain your carbon monoxide alarm

Whether you or your landlord fit it, someone that has regular access your home will need to ensure your carbon monoxide alarm is working, as it should.

An effective audible alarm will let you know when CO is present in your home and will potentially save your life.

Leaking and dripping taps

A nuisance rather than a plumbing disaster, leaking and dripping taps sound annoying, waste water and leave stains in your sink.

If you’d like to attempt to fix the problem yourself follow these simple tips below:

Turn off the water supply

Switch off the water supply by turning off the internal stop tap, usually located under the kitchen sink, and if you have a cold water tank, the stopcock.

Unscrew the nut on the tap

Before you start to disconnect any fittings, place the plug in the socket to ensure you can catch anything that falls. Once this is done, firmly hold onto the tap’s spout while you’re unscrewing the nut.

Check the condition of the washer

Once you’re removed the valve you can check the condition of the washer. If it looks old and worn, or squashed it’s likely that you’ve found the cause of your leak.

Replace the washer

Available from all DIY stores, simply replace the worn washer with as new one.

Replace the nuts on the tap

Returning your tap to its original condition, ensure you secure the nuts as tightly as possible.

If your tap continues to leak or drip once you’ve replaced the washer it’s likely that the seating has become worn and will need to be replaced.

If you notice that the leak is originating from around the tap spindle or that the tap is vibrating whenever it’s turned on, you may need to replace the gland packing or the O-ring seals in the tap.

If you have older brass taps, they may develop cavities and become porous due to age. In this case the taps will need to be replaced.

Buying a new boiler

If you’ve decided that it’s time to buy a new boiler, you need to consider the different types available so you can ensure that you get the right one for your needs.

Boilers represent a significant financial outlay, but they are an important investment if you want a reliable and safe central heating and hot water system.

Worth the initial investment, over time, a new, more energy efficient boiler will save you money on your heating bills.

Before you decide on which type of boiler is most suited to your property, consider the following points:

The most common boiler sizes

How many people live in your house? How many radiators does your boiler need to feed?

Boilers come in a variety of sizes, here are four of the most popular:

  • 24-25kw – suitable for flats and houses with 2-3 bedrooms, with up to 10 radiators
  • 28-30kw – suitable for 3-4 bedroom properties with up to 15 radiators
  • 33-35kw – suitable for larger houses with up to 20 radiators
  • 40kw – as above

Location

Where do you want to install your new boiler? How much room do you have?

The most cost-effective option is to have your new boiler installed in the same place as the one you’re replacing, as the pipes needed will already be in place. However, you need to consider space for a cylinder and possibly a tank too, depending on the type of boiler you choose.

Energy efficiency

By law, all new boilers must be a ‘condensing’ type in order to meet energy efficiency requirements.

Warranty and parts

Does your boiler come with a warranty, and if so, how long is it? What does it cover? What is the cost and availability of parts if something goes wrong when the warranty has expired?

Scrappage schemes/grants

It’s worth doing some research into old boiler scrappage schemes or any funding that might be available if you’re replacing your boiler.

System flush

Check the terms of any warranty offered, as it may be invalid if you don’t also have your system flushed during installation, to remove the build up of sludge that can occur over time.

Water pressure

It’s essential that your cold water flow rate is tested to ensure that it can cope with the minimum requirements for combi boilers.

Installation time

Depending on the type of boiler you choose, installation time can be anything from a day’s work to two or three days. If you’re converting from a system boiler to a combi boiler, expect to be without heating and hot water for at least one day and night.

No Heating

If you’re experiencing a loss of heating, follow the steps below to try and kick-start your system.

If you’re not confident with DIY, contact Safe Gas on 02890343665 for further assistance.

1. Check the power

Ensure that the power supply’s on and that the fuse is working correctly. If you find that the fuse has blown, contact us today.

2. Check the supply

Ensure that the gas or oil supply is turned on. If you suspect a problem with your gas supply, contact your gas supplier. If you use oil, check there’s enough oil in the tank by reading the gauge.

3. Check the programmer

Ensure that the programmer’s in the ‘on’ position and that the thermostats are turned up to a high enough temperature.

4. Check the pump

Make sure that the pump is running effectively.

5. Check the pilot light

Ensure that the pilot light’s switched on. If it’s switched off, check your manufacturer’s manual and follow the directions on how to relight it.

No Hot Water

If you’re suffering from a loss of hot water you can follow the steps below to try and fix the problem.

However, if you’re not confident with DIY, contact Safe Gas for further assistance.

1. Check the power

Ensure that the power supply’s on and that the fuse is working correctly. If you find that the fuse has blown, the problem may be of a more serious nature and it’s worth contacting a qualified heating engineer.

2. Check the supply

Make sure that the gas or oil supply is turned on. If you suspect a problem with your gas supply, contact your gas supplier. If you use oil, check there’s enough oil in the tank by reading the gauge.

3. Check the programmer

Ensure that the programmer’s in the ‘on’ position and that the thermostats are turned up high enough.

4. Check the pump

Make sure that the pump is working effectively. If not, it’s best to call a professional electrical engineer who’ll be best placed to fix the fault.

5. Check the pilot light

Inspect the pilot light. If it’s switched off, consult your manufacturer’s manual for directions on how to relight it.

Noisy Boiler

If you hear your boiler or heating pipes making noises such as whistling, gurgling or banging, you should find out the cause as soon as possible.

A sign of something called kettling, where limescale collects in the heat exchanger, strange noises can also occur due to low water pressure or pump failure.

By reacting quickly, you may be able to save money on repairs in the future and delay the need for a new boiler.

While any repairs will need to be carried out by a Gas Safe engineer, there are several checks you can perform to discover what’s causing the problem.

Is there scale in the heating system?

Causing the production of steam bubbles, which make a loud bang, the build-up of limescale can cause ‘hot spots’ which will need to be treated with a chemical descaler.

To effectively use a chemical descaler you will need to:

  • Shut down the system
  • Add the product to the feed and expansion tank and leave it for a few days
  • Drain, flush and refill the system

Is the boiler thermostat set too high or is it faulty?

To combat a noisy boiler, try lowering the boiler thermostat. While you’ll have to compromise on the temperature of your rooms, lowering the thermostat should help to reduce the noise level.

Is there insufficient water flow to the boiler?

A common cause of a noisy boiler, poor water pressure can often be to blame. To find out why there isn’t enough water flowing through to the boiler, monitor the following:

Water flow rate

Firstly check that the mains water is switched on. If it is, also check the feed and expansion tank, which are commonly found in the loft.

Float valve

In order to examine the float valve, turn off the power supply to the boiler. Locate the tanks and double check that the float valve isn’t stuck. If it is, you’ll need to reposition its metal arm to release it.

Ensure that the open safety-vent pipe is correctly installed. If it isn’t correctly installed air can get into the system, causing noise in the boiler.

Frozen water supply pipe

If the weather’s particularly cold, the noises you’re hearing could be due to a frozen water supply pipe.

Is there a lack of water pressure in your boiler?

If you suspect there’s a problem with the water pressure you can double check by looking at the pressure indicator located on your boiler. It the pressure’s too low you should see a prompt to increase it.

Oil Boilers

Using oil to heat hot water that is then circulated through the central heating system, under UK law, since 2007 all oil-fired boilers must have a Sedbuk efficiency of 86% or more.

How does an oil boiler work?

Consisting of two parts, an oil-fired boiler includes a combustion chamber and a water tank. Oil enters the combustion chamber and feeds the burners which in turn fires up the water tank, heating the water and forcing it out into the central heating system.

The incoming hot water displaces the cool water which is then pushed back into the boiler, forming a cycle which is controlled by a thermostat.

What are the disadvantages of oil boilers?

  • Oil is expensive, and prices have been on the rise for the past few years
  • Oil is not available on mains supply, and supply is depenedant on local oil providers during times of high demand
  • Oil boilers are generally not as energy efficient as gas boilers
  • Depending on tank capacity, you will need storage space for an oil tank
  • Reduced temperature when multiple taps are used simultaneously

Radiator Valves

These valves control the flow of water through your radiators and are situated at the bottom, where the pipe feeds into the unit.

There are three different types of valve:

Thermostatic radiator valve

Using air temperature sensors, Thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs) automatically regulate the hot water flow. You can adjust the temperature through
a series of settings from 1 (the coolest at around 10°C) to 5 (the hottest at around 23°C), or switch them off using the * setting, which will stop the radiator from heating up, but allow enough warmth to ensure the pipes can’t freeze.

Manual valve

A more basic version of the modern TRV, manual valves are generally found on older heating systems. Rather than being self-regulating, they operate on an open/closed basis, either allowing hot water to flow through and heat the radiator, or stopping the flow to allow the radiator to cool.

Lockshield valve

Located at the foot of your radiators, on the opposite side to the TRV or manual valve, lockshield valves are covered by a removable plastic cap and require a spanner (or similar tool) to open (turn anti-clockwise) or close them (turn clockwise). They rarely play a part in controlling heating systems anymore, due to the introduction of TRVs.

Boiler’s working but radiators stay cold

If you’re experiencing cold radiators even though your boiler is working normally, it’s likely that there’s a problem with your boiler pump or central heating controls.

The pump is faulty

If you suspect that the boiler pump is faulty you’ll need to contact your local heating engineer who will be able to repair or replace it.

The pump thermostat or timer is faulty

Double check that the thermostat or timer is working correctly. If you find a fault, contact your local heating engineer to arrange for a replacement to be installed.

There are air pockets in the system

If you suspect that there’s trapped air within your system, release it by bleeding your radiators.

How to save gas

In winter one of the biggest expenses homeowners face is rising gas bills. Help keep your home warm and save money by following these simple steps:

Turn down your thermostat

Reducing the temperature in your home by just 1°C could slash your heating bills by up to 10%, with savings of around £75 on annual bills*.

Insulate

As a third of the cost of heating your home is lost through the walls*, insulating your home and heating equipment correctly will keep the heat in and the cold air out, while reducing your bills.

Seal draughty gaps, insulate your boiler, pipes and tanks, and pay particular attention to the roof, walls, floors, and windows.

Invest in a new boiler

With boilers accounting for around 55% of energy bills*, an energy efficient boiler can dramatically reduce your gas consumption.

A new A-rated high-efficiency condensing boiler will burn fuel economically, restrict the amount of heat lost and reduce carbon dioxide emissions, resulting in savings of as much as £305 per year.*

System Boilers

Sometimes referred to as ‘sealed system’ boilers, a system boiler works in the same way as a conventional boiler, storing hot water separately, in a water cylinder.

With many of the individual components of the heating and hot water system built into a system boiler, installation is usually faster and more efficient when compared to other types of boiler. Great for homes that need to have hot water in more than one place at the same time, system boilers heat the central heating system directly.

How does a system boiler work?

Removing the need for a feed and expansion cistern, system boilers pump hot water from the boiler through the heating system to the radiators and hot water cylinder.

What are the advantages of system boilers?

  • Economical to run
  • No need for a tank in your loft
  • Hot water is available from multiple taps

What Our Customers Say

Team has just left after completing an oil to gas conversion. Really friendly, professional guys, arrived early both days and worked really hard. The house is left exactly as they found it, tho a lot warmer now and instant hot...

Kerry Sanders, Newtownabbey Area

Gas Central Heating Installation

2019

Very happy with overall service and would definitely be recommending Safe Gas to others, very informative and friendly.

Fiona McCleary,

Gas Boiler Services

2016

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