Plumbing TipsHow to Repressurise a Boiler
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It’s a cold winter day – perhaps even the coldest day of the year.
You leave the comfort of your bed and blankets to make a morning cuppa, only to be welcomed by the same conditions you’d find in an antarctic glacier. Perhaps a nice, hot shower will warm you up? Guess again – you’re basically bathing in North Sea water.
You start to wonder what happened to your heating system. Why are the central heating and hot water not working? How can you fix the issue? Don’t worry – we’ve got the answers you seek!
So, if you’ve ever:
Then keep on reading! This post is for you.
There are three possibilities here – either you have no heating and hot water at all, the hot water’s working, but there’s no heating, or there’s no hot water, but the heating is ok. So, let’s go over each of these issues and their causes.
There are quite a lot of things that could have gone wrong if this is the case. It can be challenging to pinpoint the exact issue; however, your boiler should help you out by showing an error code. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.
Let’s take a look at the many possible causes.
Naturally, the first thing you should do is check if your boiler’s actually on. If not – is there an issue with the power supply? Is there electricity in the rest of your home? Was there a power outage recently? If there was, it might have messed with the boiler settings.
If you find that the power supply is the culprit, there are several possible reasons, which include the following:
If there’s no water reaching your boiler, then it can’t really do its job. This issue is easy to diagnose, as you probably won’t have water anywhere in your home, either. Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do, and you’ll have to just wait it out until the water supply is restored.
If you have no heating or hot water, no fuel may be reaching your home and boiler. If you’re connected to the gas supply, check if your other gas appliances are functioning correctly. If not, check to see if your supplier is still providing fuel. If you have an oil boiler, you might have run out of oil – check the storage tank.
Boilers have a flow and return pipe. The flow pipe takes hot water out of the boiler, so it should be hot to the touch. The return pipe, naturally, returns the water to the boiler after it’s made its way around the property. It should be a bit cooler, as water loses some heat along the way. If neither of these pipes is hot, or even warm, the issue might lie in the pump.
If the weather is especially chilly and you find yourself with no hot water or heating, you might want to check if the condensate pipe is frozen. The flue gases that make their way out of your property through the pipe are prone to freezing in extreme conditions. Luckily, this is an easy fix. All you need to do is locate the condensate pipe, then thaw it. Pour hot, but not boiling water over the pipe until it thaws out. Then, check it for blockages and remove them if any.
The pressure on your boiler gauge should be between 1 and 1.5, maybe up to 2 bar when it’s not in use. If your boiler’s losing pressure, it won’t be able to heat the water properly, or it may have shut down because there’s too little water in the system, resulting in your central heating and hot water not working. Check if there’s any water leaking from the boiler. That would be the problem easiest to spot, but unfortunately, not the easiest to fix.
Some boilers have a pilot light – a small, constantly burning flame, which fires up a larger one when the boiler needs to provide hot water or heating. If the pilot light goes out, the boiler won’t be able to fire up and serve its purpose.
Unfortunately, that’s not something you should tackle on your own. You’ll have to call a Gas Safe engineer to handle any gas boiler related issues. Not to worry, though, we can help you with that. Find a certified boiler engineer to fix your water heater here.
If you have no heating or hot water, you might want to check your programmer or thermostat, as that could be the culprit.
Set your thermostat to a higher temperature and see if the boiler fires up. Check that all the settings are correct, including the time. If there has been a recent power cut, it might have affected the settings.
Sometimes, you can fix thermostat issues with a reset. Consult the manual on how to do that. If your thermostat isn’t working and is not hard-wired, then a battery change might be in order. If you can’t seem to fix it at all, call a professional to take a look and determine whether it can be repaired, or if it needs replacing.
So, there you go – if neither your heating nor your hot water is working, these are some reasons you might want to keep in mind. Let’s move on to the next issue – what if…
If you find yourself in a freezing room after a nice, hot shower, then there’s probably an issue with your heating system. There are a few possible reasons in this case – it’s either your radiators, your boiler settings (both heating and hot water should be on), or the diverter valve.
Let’s take a look.
The first thing on your checklist when you have heating, but no hot water, is to examine your radiators. Are all of them cold, or is it only a few? If even one of your radiators is warm to the touch, then the issue is most certainly not in your boiler.
If only some of your radiators are cold, there are a few possible causes. If they’re cold at the top, then there’s air in the system that needs to be bled out. Find out how to bleed your radiators in our helpful post. If your radiators are cold at the bottom, but warm at the top, sludge has built up in your system, and you’ll need a power flush.
If the radiators are cold all over, you might want to check if the valves are faulty, or if the pump is working properly.
The diverter valve is what switches heat between your central heating and water supply. Naturally, wear and tear can get to it, resulting in a variety of issues. If your diverter valve is faulty, it won’t be able to switch positions. This means that either your heating or your hot water won’t work, while the other one does.
If you find the problem is not in your boiler settings or radiators, then it’s more than likely that it’s the diverter valve that needs changing. You’ll need to call a professional to get this done, though. Trust us – the cost of expert plumbing repairs is worth it.
So, that’s something to pay attention to when your hot water is working, but there’s no heating. But what if it’s the opposite?
If your home’s all warm and cosy, but you can’t go for a shower without turning into a block of ice, then there’s an issue with your hot water supply (obviously). There are a few simple checks you can do to determine the cause.
Go around your house and check if all the taps and showers are getting hot water. If only one or two taps are cold, then the faucet or shower itself may be faulty, and your boiler is probably fine. You’ll need to change the tap or fit a new shower, though.
If you have no hot water, but the heating works, or if the water coming from the tap is sputtering, then there’s almost certainly air trapped in the water pipes. Luckily, that issue’s not difficult to handle. So, find out how to get the air out of your water pipes.
As we mentioned before, if the diverter valve gets stuck, then either your heating or hot water will stop working, depending on what position it’s stuck in. Again, we highly recommend you get a professional to help you out, unless you’re a certified technician yourself. If you want to find out more about diverter valves in general and how an expert would handle the issue, head on over to our post on the topic.
If you don’t fancy spending the winter as an icicle, don’t risk your health and safety. Call the professionals instead, and get your heating back! The skilled plumbers at Fantastic Services are fully insured, certified, and capable of tackling any issue that may arise. Whether you need your boiler or radiators repaired, or even a full central heating power flush, we’ve got you covered! So, contact us now to arrange your service with our online booking form.
Find a professional to bring the warmth back into your home!
If you’ve found that something’s wrong with your boiler, head on over to our helpful post on the matter, where you’ll find out why your boiler is not working, what may be causing it, and how to fix it.
Was this post helpful to you? Did you manage to get your heating and hot water back? Let us know down in the comments!
Image source: Polly Ivanova Art