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Checking Heating for Winter

As autumn temperatures ease into the teens before sinking to the lows of winter, there are a number of simple tasks that you can carry out to ensure your heating system is fully-functioning and working efficiently.

The Importance of Checking Boilers

Problems pinpointed at this stage may still be minor issues that your local plumber can solve easily and at a lower cost than coping with a major system failure in the middle of winter, when their availability is low and your need is greater. If your boiler stops working in the winter, you’ll be without heating and hot water.

How to Check Your Heating

+ Step One

Turn off your boiler or programmer and reduce the room thermostat to zero. If there is no room thermostat, just use the temperature setting on the boiler itself.

+ Step Two

Turn on your boiler and central heating, ensuring the hot water remains turned off.

+ Step Three

Increase the temperature on the room or boiler thermostat. You should then hear the boiler ‘fire-up’. This is the “booming” noise associated with the gas burner starting up.

+ Step Four

Wait around 10-15 minutes. Your radiators should begin to heat up in every room. These should be heated evenly across the whole radiator. If radiators have a cold patch (usually at the top of the radiator), you’ll need to bleed the radiators.

+ Step Five

Turn down the boiler or room thermostat again to reduce temperature and turn the boiler off.

+ Step Six (Combination Boilers Only)

For combination boilers (those without a linked hot water tank or cylinder, usually found in an airing cupboard), turn on the hot water and await the steady flow of hot water that remains stable. Unstable temperatures could be a result of weak water flow, or a plate heat exchanger that needs replacing.

+ Step Six (Conventional Boiler)

For conventional boilers (those which are older and tend to be linked to a hot water tank or cylinder, usually sited in an airing cupboard), turn the cylinder thermostat to 0°C, and then run the hot water for a few minutes to reduce the amount of stored hot water. The boiler should remain off during this process.

+ Step Seven

Next, turn off the hot water and  turn the cylinder thermostat up to around 55°C. Any hotter is dangerous and risks scalding. At this point, the boiler should fire up.

If you follow the above steps and the heating and hot water are turning on and off according to these instructions, then it is unlikely you have any major heating issues.

However, any pulses in temperature, drops in performance or cold spots could indicate problems in the system. Steps should be taken to rectify these before winter arrives. For a full system check, contact Staunch and Flow to book a boiler service.

Note: Please take great care when dealing with heating and hot water systems as there is a risk of scalding.