With winter just around the corner, it’s time to check up on your central heating system. Making sure your heating is running smoothly and safely is better done early—wait too long and before you know it, you’ll be freezing inside your home on a chilly morning and the heating engineers are all booked up!
By inspecting your heating system early, you’ll avoid any cold mornings, headaches, and high repair bills. To keep your home nice and warm, make sure to follow these 6 steps.
Check your radiators for cold spots
Switch on your heating, let the system run for a few minutes, and check all your radiators. Are all of them completely warm or are there cold patches? Cold spots indicate a build-up of air bubbles, scale, or sludge in the radiator pipes.
If the radiator is cold at the top, you’ll need to bleed the radiator by releasing the trapped air. If the middle or bottom is cold, you’ll need to clear out the accumulated scale or sludge. This requires a thorough cleaning after removing the radiator or a flush of the system.
Examine the pilot light
If possible, look at the pilot light when you fire up your boiler. Is it a blue flame? This means that the fuel is burning cleanly and efficiently. However, if the pilot light is orange or yellow, the flame is cooler and indicates that incomplete combustion is taking place. This could lead to soot build-up, smoke damage, and the release of carbon monoxide. In this case, you’ll need to call a heating professional for servicing.
Prevent frozen pipes
When the temperatures drop significantly below 0 degrees for long periods of time, one issue is the risk of your pipes freezing. To prevent this, lag your pipes, which means adding insulation. Ready-made lagging is available for purchase and is fitted directly to your pipes. Not only will it help protect against freezing, it also keeps the hot water hot and prevents condensation. Lagging your pipes ensures you enjoy hot water and space heating throughout your house.
Maximise your insulation
Staying on the topic of insulation, it’s also time to insulate the rest of your house! Or at least make sure everything is properly sealed. This is because even though your heating could be running without any problems, all of this would be for nothing if your house is leaking that warm air easily.
Check that your windows are in excellent condition, and any gaps are sealed off. Draught-proofing strips are cheap and easy to install for windows, doors, and loft hatches. Your fireplace is also a big culprit when it comes to draughts—a chimney draught excluder should fix that. Put filler in cracks in your walls or floorboards; use a filler that can expand, contract, and move with the floorboards.
You should have your boiler and heating system serviced once a year by a certified engineer. This is to make sure that everything is working properly and to prevent any problems, both big and small. With a regular service, your heating engineer will inspect all parts and fix any issues, providing the level of expertise that’s needed when dealing with something as complex as your central heating.
Winter is usually when heating companies and professionals are at their busiest. That’s why it’s so important to arrange for a servicing as early as possible, if you have not done so already. Beat the rush and you’ll make sure to avoid the hassle of finding an engineer if you encounter a boiler or a heating malfunction!
Look for ways to increase efficiency
In some circumstances, you might be looking to improve the efficiency of your heating even more after completing maintenance. There are several small things you can do that, altogether, will boost the efficiency of your heating significantly.
Install a magnetic filter inside your heating system to keep rust and sludge build-up to a minimum. Place radiator reflector sheets behind the units to ensure that the heat is not lost through the wall. Time your heating to match your schedule—have heating and hot water ready when you wake up or arrive home, and lower the temperature while you are away.
Finally, you might even want to upgrade to a more efficient model. Modern boilers reach efficiency ratings greater than 90%, saving you more money. You might even get some help with government grants that are pushing for more environmentally friendly heating systems!