Why Are My Boiler Controls Not Working or Boiler Not Responding to Thermostat?

James Elston
Written by James Elston
Updated on 7th December 2023
Posted on 4th December 2023
Why Are My Boiler Controls Not Working or Boiler Not Responding to Thermostat

6 Common Thermostat Problems, Boiler Not Responding and How to Fix Them

You might wonder, why are my boiler controls not working? Why does my boiler keep going on and off? Why is the appliance not firing up at all? Why is my boiler not responding to the thermostat?

It can be a nightmare if you can’t control your boiler from the thermostat, especially in the icy winter months and you have no hot water from your boiler.

It’s easy to get all worked up and think that something is seriously wrong with your heating system and think you need a replacement boiler. But, the likelihood is you don’t and the problem might not be with your boiler not responding – It might be with the thermostat.

Keep reading to learn why your thermostat might not be working and what you can do about it.

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1. Check that the Boiler is Turned On

If you have no hot water from your boiler when you want it, check if your boiler controls not working from your thermostat, and check that there is a power supply. Ensure your boiler is turned on both at the mains and the appliance.

It doesn’t matter whether you didn’t turn your boiler off. Start by making sure the appliance is on. Although this advice might seem ridiculous, it can prevent you from spending a call-out charge to hire a professional to fix your boiler only to find that the equipment is off.

Sometimes your boiler can turn off during power cuts and fail to come back on when the power is restored. It is also possible that someone in your household has turned the appliance off unknowingly.

Even if you didn’t purposely turn off your boiler, it doesn’t cost anything to check and make sure that the appliance is on. Turn on your boiler at the mains and at the appliance itself. If the boiler had been off, it should respond to your thermostat when you turn it back on.

2. Make Sure You Know How to Work the Thermostat Correctly

man turning on a British Combi Gas Boiler

A thermostat detects and regulates a set temperature, but you probably already know this.

Knowing the definition of a thermostat is one thing, but knowing how to use the device is a different thing entirely. Your heating system won’t automatically know what to do because you have a thermostat.

You have to learn how to adjust the temperature setting on the device and how to program it correctly.

Thankfully, it is not too difficult to learn how to work these small devices, even if you’ve never used one before. You can find the instructions on using your thermostat in the user’s manual or search online for the manufacturer’s instructions.

3. Replace Old Batteries

Swapping the batteries will solve the issue of your boiler controls not working, if the display on a wireless thermostat appears darker or fainter than usual.

Normal low-battery indicators include an on-screen message or a flashing light. The battery will run out, and if you missed the alert, your boiler won’t know what temperature to set. You’ll soon realise the thermostat isn’t working.

Look at the thermostat display. If it is too faint or completely blank, try replacing the batteries. In many cases of a broken thermostat, your boiler won’t turn off!

4. Get a New Thermostat

If your thermostat is old, it may begin to malfunction. Most thermostats have a 10-year average lifespan. However, some may not last long and will need to be replaced.

If your thermostat consistently displays incorrect room temperatures, it’s time to replace it. Here are a few more signs that your thermostat is damaged or out of date.

  • Difficulty maintaining temperature settings: If the temperature fluctuates excessively and unexpectedly, you may have a faulty thermostat.
  • If your energy bills have been unusually high, a faulty thermostat may be reading the temperature incorrectly, causing the unit to cycle more frequently than it should. Unfortunately, frequent boiler short cycling increase power consumption.
  • The heating system works as follows: Frayed or damaged wiring can jeopardise the thermostat’s connection to your heating system, causing your appliance to cycle on and off. In this case, a professional can tell you whether you need a new thermostat or if the current one can be repaired.

If you notice that the thermostat is old or outdated, simply get a new one to continue enjoying adequate heating and hot water on demand.

While we’re on the subject of thermostat replacement, consider upgrading to a modern thermostat. Modern thermostats, such as smart thermostats, are more user-friendly. You can even control them with a mobile device app.

Many of these intelligent solutions can learn your preferences for your home’s heating requirements and turn on or off your boiler automatically based on those preferences. To ensure that you return to a warm, comfortable house, the device, for instance, can turn on your heating 15 minutes before you typically arrive home.

Decide which model is best for your current heating and hot water system. If you’re thinking about buying one of these, read our article on the Best Smart Thermostat.

5. Clean the Thermostat

master holds a thermostat from an electric boiler in his hand

Dirt, dust, and debris build-up can affect the functionality of your thermostat. If your boiler isn’t responding to the controls and won’t turn on, look inside the device to see if it looks dirty.

  1. Take off the front panel of the thermostat.
  2. Remove the batteries.
  3. Use cotton buds or a soft brush to carefully brush off the dirt.

Be careful not to touch the contact points with your bare fingers.

6. Change the Location of Your Thermostat

Your boiler and thermostat need to communicate to work properly. The location of your thermostat might interfere with this communication and can cause the device to misjudge the temperature sometimes. If this happens, the thermostat will send wrong signals to the boiler, and the heating won’t work when you want it or will keep working when you don’t need it.

For example, installing the thermostat near a poorly insulated area in your home or too close to a heat source, such as a radiator or the boiler itself, can cause inaccurate readings.

If this is the case, you need to relocate the thermostat to a more neutral spot in your home to improve its accuracy. Moving your thermostat to a different location shouldn’t be difficult if the device is wireless. If it’s wired, you will need a technician or electrician to move the thermostat.

Get Professional Help – if your boiler controls not working

If your boiler controls are still not working after trying all of these tips, the problem might be more serious than a broken thermostat. Your best bet would be to get professional help in this case.

If you experience recurring issues with your heating system, it might be more prudent to get a boiler cover plan that includes the repairs of boiler controls as well as maintenance of the appliance.

Compare Boiler Quotes can help you find the best quotes from boiler experts near you. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today if you need professional help with your boiler controls.

How to keep your boiler from breaking down in the future:

Having your boiler serviced on a regular basis is the best way to avoid costly, inconvenient, and even dangerous boiler faults. In fact, you should have all gas appliances in your home safely checked and serviced by a Gas Safe registered engineer on an annual basis.

Matter of fact, we offer a boiler cover with free annual boiler servicing, so instead of making a yearly appointment, you can rely on us to assist and check your boiler on a regular basis.

Written by
James Elston
James Elston Director Of Boiler Central
Posted on: 4th December 2023

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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