As the weather cools, many of us start to think about turning the heating back on.
However, if your boiler has been off all summer then it might not be that simple. When a boiler hasn’t been on for a while, it can be faulty or not work at all.
We’ve put together a few tips for successfully restarting your boiler after summer.
Advice for turning your boiler back on
You don’t want to turn your boiler back on after summer to find that it doesn’t work. So, take a note of some of these tips…
Start with a boiler service
Your boiler should always be serviced at least once a year by a Gas Safe registered engineer.
And the summer is a great time to arrange a boiler service. Heating engineers tend to have more time available, and you could even get a cheaper rate.
A boiler service will bring any potential faults to the attention of a professional before the colder months arrive, so you will be able to get them fixed before you end up with no hot water or heating when you need it most.
Gradually switch your boiler back on
If your boiler’s been off during the summer, you should have been aiming to fire it up once or twice a month to help prevent a build-up of debris.
This will also flag up any potential issues before switching back on permanently when the weather gets colder.
If you haven’t been doing this and it’s not too cold yet you could still fire it up a couple of times over the coming weeks.
Bleed your radiators if they need it
You’re unlikely to notice if your radiators have stopped working effectively over the summer because they’ve most likely not been on.
If you find that one or more of your radiators isn’t heating up in certain areas (or not warming up at all) then you might need to bleed your radiators to remove trapped air.
When it comes to radiators, it’s also worth noting that thermostatic radiator valves can get stuck if they’re left closed for too long which means that they won’t work when it comes to turning the heating on again. Try to keep them open as much as you can during the summer months.
Don’t turn the heat up too fast
It can be tempting to crank the heat up as soon as we start feeling the cold.
But doing this could mean you set the temperature higher than necessary and end up wasting both energy and money.
Instead, try to turn your heating up one degree at a time. Generally, your thermostat should be set at a temperature you feel comfortable at. For most households this is between 18 and 21 degrees Celsius (and slightly higher for the elderly).
It’s also important to remember that turning a thermostat up won’t make your home heat up any faster, it will just reach a higher temperature.
Check for any boiler problems
During a long period of inactivity (over the summer) is when problems with your boiler are most likely to happen.
Low boiler pressure
If your boiler’s pressure is too low then it won’t fire up.
You can read the boiler pressure by looking at the pressure gauge. Ideally, it should be somewhere between 1 and 2 bar. Any lower than 1 and your boiler has low pressure.
Fortunately, increasing the pressure is something you can do yourself. Take a look at our guide to increasing boiler pressure.
Before you do increase the pressure, check the heating system for any signs of leaks. If you do spot a leak – no matter how small – turn the mains water supply off and call a heating engineer.
Noticed a sound like a kettle when turning the heating on? Then this is a strong sign of kettling. An issue that’s caused by a build-up of sludge or limescale on the boiler’s heat exchanger.
A build-up of this nature can restrict the flow of water within the heat exchanger, causing it to overheat, steam and boil.
If this is the case, then you’ll need a heating engineer to clean out the heat exchanger.