How to prevent a boiler breakdown

Sep 10

It’s coming up to that time of the year again where homes all across the country depend more and more on their boilers to keep the cold at bay.

We take boilers for granted in the summer, blissfully showering under hot water, not needing the heating on and generally ignoring the big white box in the cupboard.

Then when the temperature drops and our boilers start getting used they fail when we need them most, and then we are stuck with a potentially huge bill! (repairs cost UK homeowners £175million last year!)

Fear not though, because there are some steps you can take to prevent a boiler breakdown catastrophe!

1. Regular yearly service 

Let’s start with the easiest and most obvious pointer. Getting a regular yearly service from a Gas Safe Registered plumbing and heating engineer will identify any minor issues and repairs that need to be done to prevent larger, more expensive ones down the line.

For reference, you can see our servicing and breakdown plans here.

2. Protect your pipes.

Frozen pipes are one of the biggest causes of boiler breakdowns, as most condensing boilers (the most common kind of boiler in the UK) have a condensate pipe that runs outside to a drain. To prevent it freezing, set your thermostat on a low temperature while you’re out and that will stop ice building up.

If you want to go the extra mile, consider insulating your pipes with insulation that can be picked up from a DIY store!

We also have a helpful video that will show you what to do if it has already frozen, which you can find here:

3. Bleed your radiators.

Bleeding radiators releases trapped air which can prevent the whole radiator being heated. If they are not and this air is preventing circulation this puts added strain on your boiler, causing breakdowns!

You might also want to check your boiler pressure after you’ve done this to make sure it’s not too low. If it is, you can just top it up again using a filling loop.

4. Get familiar with your boiler.

Reading your boiler’s manual could help you perform simple repairs, but it will also give you a better understanding of how it works and what the warning signs are of any problems.

This means you’ll be able to recognise danger early on and get it repaired quickly before costs escalate.

5. Pay for a powerflush.

This is almost a “last resort” option as it can be quite costly. A powerflush is essentially a deep clean of your heating system that removes any build-up of sludge and dirt.

This can cure cold radiators and noisy boilers and pumps, and while it is more expensive than some of the other options, it is less so than getting a whole new boiler!

Check out our power flushing video:

So, now you’re armed with some handy tips and tricks that could spare you the discomfort of suffering a boiler breakdown this winter! If you have any doubts though and you think you might need more expert help, it’s best to get in touch with us on 01424 200005 or email