If you want your boiler to last as long as possible and save money at the same time, then you need to carry out your regular maintenance checks on your unit. We may be in summer now, but the winter is fast approaching and you don’t want to be left without heating in the coldest months and repair charges you can hardly afford.
- Save on high cost fixes with annual boiler servicing
You should get your boiler serviced annually to ensure its longevity and avoid high costs from part replacement. For many, the only time your boiler will be serviced is when it’s installed. This can lead to more complex issues with your boiler, ultimately meaning you have to deal with the significant cost of emergency callout and a new boiler. Keeping on top of your boiler’s system health will mean savings in the long term as you’ll avoid costly, sudden breakages and an unexpected boiler breakdown.
Local boiler experts LS1 Boiler Installation recommend regular maintenance checks for your boiler. They suggest booking at least one check up a year, but that ideally you will have your boiler checked every 6 months for normal wear-and-tear. They also advise that the best time to book is around September when installers are less busy.
When booking your boiler check it is important that you use a Gas Safe Registered Engineer who will not only carry out the basic safety checks, but will also perform pipe maintenance tests, as well as being able to repair faults if necessary.
- Keep the heat on to stop boiler breakdowns
Summer is the last time you would expect to have the heating on, but it might benefit you in the long run to keep it running. Experts recommend that, especially for boilers that are 15 years or older benefit from being turned on regularly during summer to avoid the valves seizing.
Many newer boilers will work use less energy on “standby” mode, as opposed to being turned on and off, so if you are using a more energy efficient boiler, keeping it on will actually cost you less in energy bills.
- Know what kind of boiler you have and how to use it best
Boilers account for around 50-60% of your energy bills, so it is essential that your boiler is working efficiently. In order to understand if you are using your boiler correctly, you need to know what kind of boiler you have. The two most common boilers for homes are: conventional boilers and combination boilers. Understanding how each works will help you heat the right amount of water, at the right times, leading to more efficient energy use and lower bills.
If your conventional boiler has a hot water tank with a thermostat, set it between 55 and 60, then you can adjust your boiler temperature to maximise energy efficiency. These boilers will have a hot water tank, typically found in a loft, and can heat many taps at once. Maintaining a regular temperature will ensure you always have the hot water you need, as you need it.
If your combi boiler has two dials, set the heating control at a high setting of 80 degrees. For hot water, set the water control to the lowest setting that you can set it to, but high enough to meet your hot water requirements. If your boiler has one dial, set it to the maximum which in this case is 80 degrees during the Winter months or when it is very cold so you always have hot water available. When you don’t need the heating on, set the temperature from 55-60 degrees and you’ll have hot water for washing and cleaning, without wasteful heating of water you won’t use.
- ‘Bleed’ your radiators so your boiler doesn’t overwork
Your boiler will have to work that much harder to heat your home if you’re radiators aren’t warming up. If your home isn’t heating up but your boiler appears to be working, then you might consider whether your radiators need bleeding. If you don’t bleed them, you’ll end up increasing the heat or forcing your boiler to overwork, which can cause damage, as well as you energy costs to skyrocket.
The need for radiator bleeding is easy to identify. If your radiators are colder at the bottom than the top, then there is trapped air in the system. To resolve this, you need to ‘bleed’ the radiators. You can do this easily using a radiator bleeding key. One should be available in your home. If not they are cheap to buy from any hardware store.
To begin bleeding, slot the key into the bleed valve. Turn the key anticlockwise for a quarter of a rotation and you should hear a hissing sound like a balloon as the air escapes. Have a towel ready for when the water starts dripping, then lock the valve. You may need a small tray to collect water from the radiator if it is full so bear that in mind before you start.
- Use a smart meter that flags boiler inefficiency
A smart meter is the latest gas or electricity meter which is digital and connected to the internet. This means it can communicate with your energy supplier, so you won’t have to submit a meter reading again. It also means you won’t get any more estimated bills because your provider will always know exactly how much energy you are using. In other words, you will pay for what you actually use.
With a smart meter,you can keep an eye on how much energy your boiler and other household appliances are using. Such information will help you reduce your energy bills much more easily. If you have a smartphone you can always download the latest energy apps to help you keep track. Central heating is one of the biggest energy costs for homeowners, so if you want to save as much as possible on your boiler, be sure to keep up with regular maintenance.
If you don’t already have one, smart meters are a game changer to understanding how much energy you use, how you can reduce it or adjust it, if it turns out your boiler is wasting energy. The good news is that the government wants all households to have a smart meter by 2020, and they will be installed completely free by your energy provider so check with your supplier before paying to get one installed.