• Have you ever wondered why your boiler breaks down when you need it the most?

    This may sound strange but the boilers of today don’t like the cold weather. They liked to be kept warm to function properly. Let me explain.

    Any new gas boiler installed now days is a highly efficient condensing boiler, designed to be better for the environment, as well as cutting down on the running costs.

    The efficiency rating of these boilers is now around 90%, compared to the older type boiler, which was running at around 60%. As you can see, that’s a big difference,  30% saving on those fuel costs.

    Here lies the first common boiler breakdown problem.

    Condensing boilers produce condense that needs to be discharged into a drain. The preferred method to discharge the condense is somewhere internal, but this is not always possible.

    Now the condense has to discharge into an outside drain.

    When the weather becomes severe/y cold the discharge pipe will start to freeze, once frozen the boiler will go to lock out due to the build-up of condense.

    To avoid this problem the discharge pipe should be protected from the cold weather by good quality insulation. The bigger the discharge pipe the less chance of the pipe freezing, but saying that it all depends on how bad the weather is.

    Should your boiler break down and the condense pipe is located externally you will need to try and remove the build-up of ice from the pipe.

    To do this you should pour warm water over the pipe, not boiling water, only warm.

    If this does not solve the problem you should call in a local gas safe registered company to come along and sort this for you.

    Another reason for the boiler to break down is lack of maintenance.

    Gone are the days of leaving the boiler until something happened, boilers need to be serviced at least once a year.

    Today’s boilers are now more compact and have many internal parts that need to be checked regularly. This ensures everything is working to its full potential.

    One of the main reasons to have the boiler checked over is Safety.

    Let me explain. The condense these boilers produce is acidic, should the condense start to leak inside the boiler it will cause many problems.

    Over time it will corrode anything metal that it may be dripping onto. Keston boilers were prone to this. The condense use to drip onto the internal gas pipe, eventually causing a gas leak.

    The most important check though is the boiler flue, making sure it is 100% secure and safe. The condense has been known to eat through the flue due to a seal letting bye.

    Should this happen, the products of combustion could start to leak into the room. And we all know that carbon monoxide is lethal to life.

    Other boiler breakdowns when it’s cold, tend to be down to the user.

    Just recently we went out to a boiler breakdown only to find the user had closed off all the radiator valves thinking he was balancing the system, as well as partly closing the boiler valves.

    The boiler kept going to lock out because it had no circulation.

    He started to complain that the boiler was just a heap of rubbish and would never buy that brand again.

    After 10 minutes we got it all working again, his wife was not happy.

    By trying to do it himself he could have damaged the boiler because he had no knowledge of how modern boilers work.

    Always be safe and have an annual boiler service carried out by your local gas safe engineer.