Here’s the difference between two important phrases that could save you any confusion or hassle when next calling your plumber.
When you have a problem with your boiler, do you call up for a service or do you tell them it’s playing up, faulty or broke down?
The answer is this. A service won’t fix your boiler.
What’s a boiler breakdown?
When a boiler breaks down this usually means there is a mechanical or electric fault with the boiler that’s causing it to not work efficiently or not work at all.
Most new boilers now have a fault code setting that is read like F.22 on the boilers LCD screen. If there is a fault code coming up on your boiler then it is not working correctly and you should call a plumber, stating the make and model and also the fault code to them, to give them an idea of what is wrong with the boiler. Don’t be alarmed if they don’t know the answer over the phone as they may have to refer to the manufacturers guide to find out what that fault code is referring to.
What to check before calling your plumber
Before ringing a plumber because you’ve no hot water or heating it’s good to quickly check over the following as it could be something simple.
Check to see if the boiler is on. There should be a small LCD screen on all new boilers which shows you whether or not the boiler is turned on. Also check the fuse spur or plug socket that it’s connected to. If possible, check the fuse in the plug or fuse spur and replace if necessary.
Replace the batteries in your wireless thermostat if you have one. This is a common problem, as they’re generally installed and then left alone for years. The batteries on wireless products will run out and it’s the first thing to check and see if it’s working if your central heating isn’t working but the boiler is on.
Next would be to check the water pressure on the boiler. There will be a gauge on the boiler face next to the controls or slightly underneath it. The gauge is generally shown with numbers representing the pressure of the system, this is usually measured in Bar e.g. 2 Bar. If not numbers then a green or red coloured block will be shown.
Your water pressure should lie between 1 and 1.5 bar or approximately the centre of the green section. If the water pressure has dropped you can top it up if you’re capable by following the manufacturers instructions on filling the system, Don’t be too alarmed that is has dropped in pressure as this could simply be air escaping out of an auto air vent. If however the system continues to lose pressure then there is a good chance then you could have a leak somewhere on your central heating system.
Check the LCD screen is showing a fault code if everything else is ticked off and proceed to call your plumber.
What’s a boiler service?
A service for your boiler is similar to servicing your car. It’s a yearly thing that is designed to ensure your boiler is working correctly, efficiently and to highlight any potential problem that may occur if not treated.
A boiler service at a minimum should include:
An external visual inspection of the boiler and associated pipework
A visual inspection of the internal parts in the boiler and cleaning the boiler of any dust or rust. This also includes the heat exchanger, main injector, burner and spark probe.
Checking the flue for obstructions and that it has been safely fitted and working correctly.
Gas pressure check to ensure that there is enough gas getting to the boiler so that it works efficiently and that there are no leaks on the gas pipe work. Cleaning out the central heating filter if there is one installed.
Topping the heating system up with inhibitor to protect the water inside the heating system.
Lastly firing the boiler up to make sure it is working correctly with no fault codes showing.
In conclusion. If your boiler isn’t working, please call for a boiler break down and describe if possible what is happening or what fault code is showing. A boiler service won’t fix the problem and is designed to be completed on a fully functioning heating system.