How to help prevent a boiler breakdown

11 January 2024

It’s crucial to ensure your boiler is in working order before the cold weather sets in.

Looking after your boiler not only helps to prevent future breakdowns, but can also increase your energy efficiency and appliance lifespan. Follow our advice below to help prevent a boiler breakdown this winter.

Arrange a boiler service

Customers that have purchased our premium boiler cover plan benefit from an annual service on top of unlimited call outs 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Getting your boiler serviced ahead of winter helps to reduce the chance of a breakdown when you’re likely to need your boiler most. Whether you’re a premium cover customer, or simply wish to book a one-off service, organising this ahead of the winter should help prevent a breakdown later in the year. Take a look at the boiler cover plans we have available here, or book a service using your online customer portal.

Insulate your pipes

Insulating your pipework prevents your central heating system water from freezing when the temperature drops below zero. Condensate pipes are particularly high risk when it comes to freezing. When your condensate pipes do freeze, your boiler will inevitably shut down. When it comes to pipes freezing, prevention is always better than cure and the only way to prevent this from happening is to insulate them.

Switch your boiler on in advance of winter

Many homeowners switch their boiler off during the summer or switch their combi boilers to the ‘hot water only’ setting to save money and energy usage. Whilst this is an excellent way to save a little money on your heating bills, it’s a good idea to wean your boiler back into action slowly, ahead of the colder winter weather. Throughout summer, switch your boiler on every 4 weeks for no more than half an hour at a time so your appliance is ready for when winter arrives.

Clear the sludge with a flush

On top of your annual service, if required, one of our engineers may advise you have a power flush or hot water flush to clean your pipework and system water from limescale and sludge build up. If recommended, it’s highly advised that you carry out the recommended work as this will help improve the efficiency of your boiler and help to prevent a boiler breakdown later in the year. For added protection against limescale and sludge, it may also be a good idea to fit a filter to manage scale and sludge build up in your system. Swale Heating work with leading brands including Fernox and Magnaclean to help keep your heating system in top working order.

Under Pressure?

Monitoring the pressure of your boiler is usually very easy to do. Most modern boilers are fitted with a pressure gauge that display the pressure in your system. It’s common for boilers to stop working as efficiently or altogether when the pressure drops below 1 bar. Keep an eye on your boiler pressure to ensure you’re not left without heat or hot water during the winter months. If your boiler is under pressure, you can increase the pressure yourself by adding more water to the system via the filling loop. If your boiler is over pressurised, simply release water via your radiator valves when the system is switched off and cooled down.

Stay warm this winter by being prepared! For more help and advice, feel free to get in touch with us via our contact form.