Boiler Not Working or Broke Down? Quick Fixes & Top Tips

James Elston
Written by James Elston
Updated on 30th April 2024
Posted on 29th April 2024
Boiler Not Working: The Definitive Guide & How To Fix It
broken boiler

Dealing with a boiler that’s not working can be stressful, leaving you without heat and hot water when you need it most.

If your boiler is broken, this often means it’s either not igniting, making odd noises, or leaking water, among other warning signs.

This guide will walk you through identifying what’s wrong; it might not be time for a new boiler yet, but here are the immediate actions you can take in the case of a broken boiler and when to call a professional to get your warm and cosy space back.

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Broken Boiler Overview

  • Look out for clear signs your boiler might be broken, like no heat/hot water, strange noises, leaks, and low pressure, and don’t try to fix it yourself—call a pro.
  • Try simple fixes for boiler issues like checking power supplies, adjusting pressure, or troubleshooting the thermostat and pilot light before calling for help.
  • Prevent future boiler headaches with regular maintenance, consider boiler cover for peace of mind, and always use a trusted, Gas Safe registered engineer for any work.

If you are having the following problems, you are in the right place:

boiler not working
  • Boiler not turning on?
  • Has the boiler stopped working?
  • No hot water to taps
  • Radiators not getting hot
  • Do you have boiler problems and need solutions?

If your boiler has stopped working and you require a Gas Safe heating engineer, there are several different reasons why this may have happened. This guide will cover combi boilers, system boilers, and conventional boilers, but it can also be used in other scenarios.

Even the best combi boilers and best system boilers can spring a leak, so let’s find out why.

Recognising a Broken Boiler

You might be wondering how to tell if your boiler is broken. It’s not like it screams out “I’m broken!”

gas safe register

Well, your boiler may not scream, but it certainly shows signs of distress. One of the most obvious indicators of a broken boiler is its failure to provide heat or you have no hot water.

Picture a cold winter day, and you’re waiting for the hot water to come through, but it never does.

Or perhaps you’re noticing strange noises from the boiler, similar to a ghostly bang in the night or your boiler sounds like a kettle. In these cases, you can safely say your boiler broken is a reality.

Some other signs that your boiler may be broken include:

  • Leaking water
  • Low water pressure
  • Pilot light keeps going out
  • Radiators not heating up properly
  • Boiler constantly switching off

If you notice any of these signs, it’s best to call a professional to assess and repair your boiler. Don’t try to fix it yourself, as boilers can be dangerous if not handled properly.

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More Reasons Your Boiler is Not Working

Unusual smells, including when you smell gas, can also be a warning sign of issues with your heating system. Your boiler may be silently screaming for help by giving off a strange odour.

hot water

Visible leaks beneath the boiler or on pipework and an unlit pilot light are common visual signs of boiler problems.

It’s like your boiler is crying out for help, quite literally, with tears of water leaking out. Another crucial sign is low boiler pressure, which can cause inadequate heating and potentially lead to the boiler shutting off.

Additional signs of trouble include an unlit pilot light or unusually high boiler pressure. It’s like your boiler is trying to communicate with you through a series of signals.

Now that you know what to look for, let’s dive deeper into some specific signs of a faulty boiler.

Signs of a Faulty Boiler

The pressure gauge on your boiler can be your secret weapon in identifying a faulty boiler. Watch out for signs such as fluctuating pressure, leaks, and inconsistent temperature, which can indicate a problem.

pressure gauge

It’s like your boiler is a patient, and the pressure gauge is the thermometer, indicating your boiler’s health. A healthy boiler will have a pressure gauge pointing to the green zone, normally around 1 BAR, to indicate proper pressure.

Repeated occurrences of the boiler’s pilot light going out can also be a sign of a faulty boiler. It’s as if your boiler is trying to stay awake but keeps falling asleep, signaling that something’s not right. Now that we’ve identified the signs of a faulty boiler, let’s look at what could happen if you ignore these signs.

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Dangers of Ignoring a Broken Boiler

Ignoring the warning signs from your boiler can lead to serious hazards like carbon monoxide leak and even explosions. It’s like ignoring a baby’s cry, which could lead to serious consequences.

Carbon monoxide poisoning, often due to faulty boilers, is the most common cause of death by poisoning in Britain. It’s a silent killer that can creep up on you without any warning.

To prevent such hazards, ensure to get your boiler regularly serviced by a certified engineer. It’s like taking your car for regular servicing to ensure it doesn’t break down in the middle of the highway.

Also, utilising unregistered engineers for gas work can increase the risk of gas leak and carbon monoxide poisoning. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Speaking of safety, let’s look at some quick fixes for common boiler issues, as outlined in your boiler manual.

Quick Fixes for Common Boiler Issues

Having a broken boiler can be quite the pickle, but don’t worry, there are some quick fixes you can try before calling in a heating engineer. Start by checking whether the boiler’s power switch is ON since power outages can often leave boilers turned off.

It’s like checking if your computer is plugged in when it won’t turn on. If the boiler’s pilot light has gone out, visually check it and relight if possible to resume operation.

Increasing boiler pressure to the correct level can often restore your combi boiler functionality if it has dropped over time. It’s like pumping air into a deflated tire to get it rolling again. Also, check the thermostat settings which could be contributing to low boiler output. Readjust or reset them when necessary.

If the boiler’s digital or LCD display is not on, confirm the boiler is plugged in and check for broader power issues.

Don’t forget to reset the boiler clock and preferred settings if they were lost due to a power cut. Look for the lock-out light or error code on the boiler display, which may indicate a need for resetting or further troubleshooting. It’s like your boiler is trying to communicate with you through a secret code.

Now, let’s break down these quick fixes into more detailed steps.

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Checking Power and Gas Supply

The first step in troubleshooting is to ensure the boiler is properly connected to the electrical supply. It’s like making sure your TV is plugged in before trying to diagnose why it’s not working.

To determine if the boiler initiates correctly post a power reset, set it to start heating after 10 minutes and observe if it responds. It’s like conducting a small experiment to diagnose the problem.

Adjusting Boiler Pressure

Correcting boiler pressure is a matter of balance. Locate the pressure gauge on the boiler to begin assessing current pressure levels. The pressure gauge should point to the green zone, normally around 1 BAR, to indicate proper pressure.

A reading of one bar or less on the boiler’s pressure gauge could signal that the pressure is too low for the boiler to operate correctly.

Adjust the boiler’s pressure by following the manufacturer’s instructions if the gauge indicates the pressure is not within the desired range. It’s like fine-tuning a musical instrument to hit the perfect note.

Troubleshooting Thermostat Issues

If your thermostat panel is blank or showing an error message, this could indicate an issue with the thermostat or its settings. It’s like your boiler’s way of saying “I’m not feeling well.”

Verifying the proper function of the central heating timer and thermostat can resolve certain heating issues, signifying their critical role in boiler operation.

An operational check that can be performed includes turning the thermostat above 21 degrees to activate the boiler, as lower settings may prevent it from switching on. It’s like turning up the volume on your radio to hear the music.

If attempts to fix timer and thermostat issues do not work, it may be necessary to call in a professional for a potential thermostat replacement. It’s like calling in a doctor when home remedies don’t work.

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Dealing with Frozen Pipes

With condensing boilers, frozen pipes can be a common issue during winter, causing the boiler to shut down automatically due to blockage and trapped excess water. It’s like your boiler’s veins are blocked with ice.

You can resolve this issue by pouring hot water onto the end of the pipe or using a hot water bottle or heat wrap to melt the ice inside. It’s like giving your boiler a warm hug to melt the ice away.

To prevent the condensate pipe from freezing in the future, insulate the external part of the pipe using materials such as foam or cloth.

It’s like wrapping your boiler in a warm blanket to keep it cosy during the cold winter months. Now that we’ve looked at some quick fixes, let’s see how to cope if your boiler is broken and can’t be fixed immediately.

Coping Strategies for a Broken Boiler

Although a broken boiler can be inconvenient, there are still ways to keep warm and manage without hot water until your boiler is repaired.

Wearing additional layers of clothing can help maintain warmth when the boiler is not working or out of service, especially in colder months. It’s like dressing up for a winter outing.

Utilise the following strategies to keep your home warm and cosy during the cold weather:

  • Install curtains or draught excluders around doors and windows to help keep the cold air out and retain heat inside the home.
  • Use thermal curtains to enhance warmth retention.
  • Ensure that your home is well insulated to prevent heat loss.
  • Consider using a space heater or electric blanket for additional warmth.

By implementing these strategies, you can create a cosy cocoon inside your house and fortify your home against the cold.

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Alternative Heating Sources

If your boiler breaks down, turning to alternative heating sources can be a great relief. Electric heaters can serve as a temporary heating solution during the period when the boiler is under repair.

Additionally, other gas appliances can provide supplementary heating options in such situations.

Infrared heating panels offer an affordable installation and directly warm objects, making them a viable alternative to traditional heating sources. It’s like basking in the warm sunlight on a cold day.

Managing Without Hot Water

While living without hot water may seem daunting, it’s entirely manageable with a few handy tricks.

Boiling water in kettles or pans can provide necessary hot water for essential hygiene tasks like washing and bathing when the boiler is not functional. It’s like going back in time to when there were no boilers.

This method of manually boiling water is an effective stopgap solution to manage day-to-day activities until the boiler repairs are completed.

It’s like using a band-aid until you can get to the doctor. To ensure the water supply is intact for boiling, run taps around the house as a preliminary check. It’s like conducting a systems check before launching a rocket.

Now that we’ve covered coping strategies, let’s look at preventative measures to avoid future boiler breakdowns.

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Preventative Measures for Boiler Breakdowns

It’s always better to prevent problems than to fix them.

Insulating the external part of the condensate pipe can prevent freezing, ensuring that the boiler can dispose of excess liquid caused by condensation without malfunctioning in cold weather. It’s like putting on gloves to keep your hands warm in winter.

Upgrading to one of the best smart thermostats can lead to significant savings on heating bills due to efficient temperature control and energy usage. It’s like upgrading from a basic mobile phone to a smartphone.

To keep your boiler running smoothly and prevent unexpected breakdowns, make sure a Gas Safe registered engineer performs regular maintenance. It’s like having a regular health check-up to prevent serious illnesses.

Regular Boiler Servicing

Just as regular car servicing ensures efficient running and early detection of minor issues, regular boiler servicing can lead to potential savings on energy bills and prevent future costly malfunctions.

Many boiler warranties and insurance policies require regular servicing to maintain their validity, making annual maintenance essential.

Scheduling a boiler service during the summer months is beneficial as engineers are less busy, and this ensures the boiler is prepared for the increased demand in winter.

It’s like preparing for a marathon well in advance. Ensure that the servicing engineer is Gas Safe registered and qualified for the specific type of gas work required to guarantee a high standard of safety and quality. It’s like ensuring you have the right person for the job.

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Investing in Boiler Cover

Investing in boiler cover provides a sort of insurance policy for your boiler.

A boiler cover plan is an insurance policy intended to provide repair or replacement services for a faulty boiler.

Boiler cover insurance can cover costs associated with an engineer’s call-out fee, labour, and parts for boiler and central heating repairs.

It’s like having a safety net to catch you in case of unexpected costs. Investing in boiler cover can provide peace of mind by mitigating unexpected costs and easing the process of finding a reputable heating technician in emergency situations.

We have a range of options, and comparing different plans yearly is recommended to ensure you’re receiving cost-effective service.

Using an unauthorised engineer can invalidate the boiler cover policy, leading to future claims being denied and the individual incurring the cost of repairs. It’s like invalidating your car insurance by letting an unlicensed driver drive your car.

Finding a Gas Safe Heating Engineer

Finding a reliable heating engineer is akin to locating a competent mechanic for your car. Landlords are obligated by law to hire Gas Safe registered engineers for annual maintenance checks on gas appliances such as boilers.

Seeking Recommendations and Reviews

Online reviews serve as a useful tool in assessing the reputation and work quality of local boiler engineers. It’s like checking restaurant reviews before deciding where to eat.

Comparing Quotes and Services

To choose the most appropriate gas supplier for your needs, it’s important to obtain multiple boiler quotes from Gas Safe registered businesses. It’s like getting multiple bids for a project to ensure you get the best price.

Using online platforms that provide ratings and reviews Trust Pilot assists customers in making an informed choice among various heating engineers.

It is recommended that all job details be provided in writing prior to any work being done to ensure clear agreements and expectations are set. It’s like signing a contract before starting a job to ensure both parties understand the terms.

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In conclusion, recognising a broken boiler, understanding quick fixes for common issues, knowing how to cope when your boiler is broken, taking preventative measures, and finding a trusted heating engineer are all crucial components of maintaining hassle-free heating.

Remember, your boiler may not scream, “I’m broken!” but it certainly shows signs of distress. Recognise these signs, take necessary action, and most importantly, never ignore your boiler’s silent screams.

Here’s to being boiler savvy and enjoying a warm, cosy home!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some signs of a faulty boiler?

If you notice fluctuating pressure, leaks, inconsistent temperature, and the pilot light frequently going out, these are signs of a faulty boiler. Keep a lookout for these issues to ensure your boiler is functioning properly.

What are some quick fixes for common boiler issues?

If you’re facing common boiler issues, checking the power and gas supply, adjusting the pressure, troubleshooting thermostat problems, and dealing with frozen pipes are some quick fixes you can try out. Good luck!

What are some coping strategies when the boiler is broken?

When your boiler is broken, consider wearing extra layers, using curtains to keep in the heat, and using alternative heating sources like electric heaters or bioethanol fireplaces to stay warm and cosy. Remember to also check for any draughts around doors and windows.

What are some preventative measures to avoid future boiler breakdowns?

To avoid future boiler breakdowns, consider insulating the condensate pipe, upgrading to a smart thermostat, and scheduling regular maintenance with a Gas Safe registered engineer. These steps can help prevent unexpected issues and keep your boiler running smoothly.

How can I find a good heating engineer?

To find a good heating engineer, ask for recommendations, read online reviews, and compare quotes and services from multiple Gas Safe registered businesses.

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Written by
James Elston
James Elston Director Of Boiler Central
Posted on: 29th April 2024

James Elston is our resident boiler replacement and heating expert here at Boiler Central. With over 20 years experience in the boiler installation industry, James ensures that he knows everything there is about our Gas Safe boiler installations, energy saving and home heating solutions. This can be from simply procuring the latest best combi boilers, to reviewing and ensuring that Boiler Central maintains the highest standards across our boiler installation company.

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