Is Your Boiler Not Working? – Here’s a guide on how to fix it
If your boiler is not working then you might just simply want to let out a cry of anguish and move on, or you might think well that’s “all she wrote” time to move on. But instead of working your way through the 7 stages of grief or being dramatic read our helpful guide instead!
No one wants their boiler to suddenly stop working but it can happen and don’t panic a boiler not working doesn’t mean it’s dead, kaput, ruined or gone for good (or any other term you want to use). In fact, many issues that stop a boiler from working can be fixed.
Sometimes you might even be able to do this yourself! Which yes while being hard work (sometimes) is still going to be very cost-effective and might even be quicker. But of course, you can always call in a professional if you prefer.
If your boiler is not working because of a more serious issue then you will of course likely need professional assistance. But even with those issues, it’s still good to know what to look out for, isn’t it? Which brings me to the point of this piece because we’ll be looking at all the reasons your boiler might not be working.
Okay not all of them but we will be looking at the main ones! And we will put them into two very distinct categories to make things easier because let’s be honest boilers can be a little confusing at times can’t they? Especially when they aren’t working correctly.
What to do if your Boiler is Not Working – Your Free Fixes
Finding out your boiler isn’t working is going to be a little panic-inducing but don’t worry! It could be a simple, easy to fix problem.
There are many reasons why your boiler is not working such as a power cut, frozen condensate pipe, issues with your gas supply, general cold weather or another problem with your boiler that is causing boiler breakdowns.Some of the reasons below why your boiler is not working are fixes that do not require a Gas Safe Registered engineer to fix your central heating system.
Gas appliances are regularly fixed by the homeowner however if you are unsure to the reason your boiler is not working and you are not confident in fixing yourself, you should contact a company to help.
We work with UK Home Cover who provide boiler cover and one-off repairs boiler boiler breakdowns. Click the banner below to go to their website.
They offer a fixed £99 call out fee if you sign up to their 12 month boiler cover plan so if you do experience break downs in future, you are fully covered.
What types of boiler breakdown do they cover for your fixed price? They cover Combi boilers (these are the most common boilers), system boilers and regular boilers.
So, without further ado let’s look at the common problems that could be causing your boiler not to work that are easy to fix.
Did You Pay The Bill?
Don’t laugh and think “well of course I did” because forgetting to pay your gas bill is easier than you might think. If you have an automatic payment (direct debit) set-up then a simple oversight could have caused your supplier not to be paid. Or if it isn’t an electronic/ digital issue then you might have just forgotten about it.
It can happen and we’ve all done it at one time or another. If you have a top-up/ pay as you go meter then you might have forgotten to put some money on it as well. Or it could all be your supplier’s fault couldn’t it? They aren’t exactly known for always taking their payment when they should are they?
So, if your boiler isn’t working make sure everything is paid up or money is on it. If it turns out there isn’t well no one needs to know do they? You can then easily correct the issue and get your boiler working again.
Is The Boiler Turned On?
Well if you didn’t roll your eyes at the first possibility then you are definitely going to be doing it now, aren’t you? But you might be surprised to learn just how common this issue is! Believe it or not many people have fallen victim to this very thing. You might not even realise your boiler has an off switch in the first place or that the water pressure has gone.
Yes I know it sounds a little patronising but it can happen so if your boiler suddenly stops working then be sure to check the on/ off switch. A boiler can accidentally be turned off for a number of reasons it could be down to human error, an issue at the mains fuse box or any of the other possibilities. So, before calling in an engineer just double-check the switch or fault codes after all it costs nothing.
Is It Down To Low Pressure Problems?
Okay so now we are getting on to less embarrassing issues. Pressure basically means the balance of air and water in your boiler, there is more to it but we are trying to keep things simple. Your boiler needs a certain amount of pressure to work correctly which you can measure by using the pressure gauge on your boiler. A loss on boiler pressure will result in not enough water running through your boiler.
Now a boiler can lose pressure for a number of reasons and it doesn’t always mean there is a serious issue like a leak or damaged component. While that can happen one of the most common issues with pressure is down to the natural use of water when running your home’s heating.
Now if you notice your pressure gauge is low you can attempt to fix the problem by topping it up or to use the technical term repressurise it. This might sound complicated but it’s actually quite easy to do. First of all, find the filling loop on your boiler you’ll be able to see it under the boiler and it will often be silver in colour.
Every filling loop will have at least one black tap but some do have two. Simply turn these taps to repressurise the boiler and when the gauge reaches the number 1 or green safe zone turn the taps back. Make sure the taps are safely locked back in their original position or you’ll be having the exact opposite problem of too much pressure.
So, that’s how you check and fix pressure problems and if you do it yourself it’s free! Although you can always treat yourself for doing a good job if you want. However, if you really don’t want to do it yourself (for whatever reason) then you can always call in an engineer to assist. Still wondering why your boiler is loosing pressure then read our guide as this will tell you about boilers loosing pressure and how to fix it, even if it is leaking water.
The Pilot Light
That little glowing light in the boiler isn’t just for ambience, is it? No the pilot’s light does an important job basically it’s a small internal flame that ignites the gas to heat the water. If your boiler’s pilot light doesn’t light when your boiler is active then you have a problem.
The good news (kind of) is that this issue is easy to spot, most people will quickly notice when their boiler’s pilot light isn’t working. Fixing it could also be quite easy simply turning off your boiler and then turning it back on again could reignite the light. Just like a crashed computer sometimes turning it off and on again can fix the problem.
The bad news is this might not work and if it doesn’t you will need to call in a professional engineer to help you. Sometimes a boiler’s pilot light can just go out like if a sudden breeze blows past for example. But in more serious cases it could be because of internal damage but still, you lose nothing by trying the reset method do you?
The Condensate Pipe
This is a seasonal issue as you will likely only have issues with your condensate pipe during the winter months. Unless you live in a place with a very cold climate, of course. The condensate pipe travels from your boiler to the nearest outside wall so it should be easy enough to find.
The condensate pipe is where excess liquid (created by condensation) is collected and deposited. It drops outdoors in small drips and is susceptible to freezing during the winter. If this does happen then it will cause a blockage which as I’ am sure you can guess is not going to be a good thing. I mean when is a blockage ever good news?
Because the boiler has no escape route for the water (now that it’s blocked) it will essentially shut down. Now, this might sound like a big problem but fixing the issue is easier than you might think! All you need to do is gently pour some warm (not hot) water over the pipe to slowly melt the frozen blockage. Once that is done reboot the boiler and it should be working again.
Your boiler’s thermostat is a very misunderstood device in many ways. A lot of people oversimplify things it doesn’t just give a temperature reading. In fact, in more modern boilers the thermostat acts as an all singing all dancing control panel.
So, you can probably see where this going already can’t you? If this thermostat isn’t working correctly then your boiler won’t. This can show itself in many ways but usually, your boiler simply won’t power on. So, how do you fix this kind of problem?
Well, it all depends on what the issue with the thermostat is. If it isn’t charged, the batteries have run out or your Wi-Fi isn’t working correctly then your boiler could simply not turn on. Thankfully all these problems are quite easy to fix on your own.
And it won’t cost you a thing unless you need to buy some new batteries that is. However, if the thermostat is damaged in some way then you may need to call in an engineer to help you. Or at the very least refer to your boiler’s manual for more in-depth guidance.
Boiler Not Working? – Your Certainly Not Free Fixes
If your boiler isn’t working and it’s not a simple easy to fix problem then bad news I’ am afraid because you might need to pay a lot of money to get things back in business. How much things will cost can vary considerably but let’s look at the common problems with expensive solutions.
Low Pressure Problems Again!
Yes I know I talked about this before but that was quite a while ago so let me briefly reiterate my point. While low pressure can be fixed by repressuring your boiler which thanks to our handy instructions earlier you should be able to do for free, that isn’t the only potential issue that can cause low pressure problems.
Low pressure problems that stop your boiler from working can happen for a variety of reasons. Leaks and damaged components are two of the more common causes and both of these problems will require professional assistance to fix.
Patching a leak can sometimes be quite cheap if it’s small and easy to get to (if it isn’t then expect to pay a lot more) but replacement components can be quite costly. If you are suffering repeated issues with low pressure and things keep breaking down or leaks keep springing then it could be a sign your boiler is getting to old as well. So, you might want to consider upgrading to a newer model.
Boiler/ System Leaks
Speaking of leaks let’s talk more about them! Leaks in boilers come in two main forms system leaks and boiler leaks, yes I know it’s a little confusing but I’ll explain. A system leak means the leak could be anywhere within reason of course.
Since a boiler is linked up to your home’s heating system the leak could be near a radiator, at one of the main pipes leading out from your boiler or at a completely random spot in your home. These types of leaks can be hard to track down although they are more commonly found at the joints in pipes.
A boiler leak is going to be a leak inside the boiler itself so in most cases it will be easier to identify and find. But both system and boiler leaks will need professional assistance to repair or even find in some cases which means you can expect to pay.
How much you’ll need to pay can vary quite considerably however the bad news is, either way, it won’t be free. If you do get leaks repaired make sure you keep an eye out for them in the future. If leaks keep springing up then it could be a sign that you need to get a new boiler.
My Boiler Simply Won’t Turn On
If your boiler just isn’t showing any signs of life and you’ve been through everything else on this list then oh dear. This likely means it is an electrical issue which can mean many different things. Some might be quite simple and easy to diagnose and fix whereas others could take much more time and be much more expensive.
So, what can you do about this? Well apart for the good old fashioned turn it off and turn it back on again method or saying a quick prayer you don’t really have many options but to call in a professional to inspect the boiler. One of the most common causes of this is that the PCB board (as you can likely guess this is a circuit board) no longer functions.
But you might be lucky it could just be that a fuse needs replacing. But even if it is a simple, easy to fix issue you will still need to call in an engineer to find out what is causing it and then pay to get the problem fixed.
My Boiler Is Operational But Doesn’t Heat Up
Well let’s close out our look at the more costly repairs with this conundrum, shall we? If your boiler looks like it is operating properly but your radiators aren’t heating up or there is no hot water from your boiler, then what should you do?
Well if it’s your radiators that aren’t heating up then it likely means there is a blockage somewhere. Again this likely sounds much worse than it is, radiators do pick up debris and dirty water and become congested over time.
An engineer will be able to fix this problem by carrying out a power-flush which will cleanse all your pipes and get your radiators working again. Now if your boiler seems to be working okay but the water is running cold then what should you do? Call a home boiler cover company?
Well, this will usually be down to some internal component not working. Most likely it will be the diverter valve which isn’t operating as it should. The diverter valve is what moves water around to the different areas of your home. An engineer will need to repair or replace the valve which can be quite costly in some cases.
If it isn’t the valve causing the problem then it could be several other things. But an engineer will be able to find the problem components with some searching. And then once they know what it is they’ll carry out any repairs or replacements needed.
So, that finishes up our (hopefully) helpful guide to what to look out for and do if your boiler isn’t working. Yes, there is a lot to think about and consider but if you’re lucky you might be able to get it working again on your own! And if you can’t then professional help is always available.
If you need to get a new boiler, you can get a fixed online price and purchase your boiler online within minutes. If you are struggling to decide which size boiler fits your home then read our guide on which size boiler fits your home.