Are you currently dealing with a boiler not working? If you’re not industry-savvy, trying to figure out why this has happened can be very frustrating. We’re here to help with all the information you need, and we can even help you solve the problem!
Your boiler’s failure to work can happen for several reasons:
- Your boiler is old and due a replacement
- You had a low-quality installation for your current boiler
- Your previous boiler manufacturer hasn’t delivered on service and effective design
Although it’s important you conduct thorough research, it’s also important you choose an installer who has the proper experience and knowledge to provide you with a high quality installation. As an example, Boilerhut have alligned themselves with Viessmann and as such, operate as a premium national installer.
Want to know more? Get in touch via email at email@example.com and let us know your questions! Alternatively, get a free quote for a new boiler by filling in your postcode and clicking the green button below!
If you’ve played your cards right and chosen a premium installer, speaking to a heating expert can help you find the cause of your boiler not working. If you can’t reach the right temperature or your boiler shuts down, you’ll need to know why.
In this article you’ll see common methods for finding the cause of the problem. If it still persists, you may need to consider getting a replacement boiler. The good news, is that this can actually save you money in the long run.
Having an A-rated boiler in your property allows you efficiency levels of around 90% (based on Sedbuk). One of Viessmann’s most popular boilers, the Viessmann Vitodens 050-W has a Sedbuk efficiency rating of 89.5%. However, this can be improved even further with the help of a smart learning thermostat. If you’d like to know more, you can also read our Viessmann Vitodens 050-W review.
One of the best examples of high quality design in this field is the Nest Smart Learning Thermostat. This particular thermostat can learn from your daily living habits and adjust the temperature according to when you’re at the property. By using one of these, you can increase your Sedbuk efficiency rating to 93-95%. For further detail, you can also read our Nest vs Hive comparison post.
One of the highest rated efficiency boilers on the uk market is the Viessmann Vitodens 200-W, boasting an efficiency of up to 98%. Find out more by reading our detailed review.
So along with improved efficiency, as long as you have a high-quality and professional installation, your boiler problems shouldn’t be resurfacing.
If your boiler is too old, it can fail you in several ways such as:
- Your boiler keeps switching off
- No heat/hot water
- Radiators not heating up properly
- Kettling noises
- Low boiler pressure
- Frozen condensate pipe
- Pilot light goes off
- Thermostat issues
With that in mind, let’s take a look at the steps you can take to find out why you have a boiler not working:
Why is my boiler not working?
Check that it’s switched on
This may seem obvious, but checking that your boiler is switched on is a step often overlooked. The switch on the mains supply can easily be turned off if you’re not careful, so it’s always worth having a look. Most boilers will have a dedicated electrical supply, but you should always check your fusebox as well to see if any switches have tripped.
Boilers can be turned off at the mains, but they also have fail-safes ‘lockouts’ that shut them down to prevent further damage. This can happen because:
- Your boiler’s pressure is too low
- The thermostat isn’t working properly
- Your boiler is overheating and goes into lockout
- You have a faulty diverter valve, preventing a decent supply of hot water
Checking the pressure gauge on the front of your boiler not working can help give you some clues about why it has shut down. Check that the radiators are heating up as well. If it’s an old system, you might have leaks that would directly affect the boiler’s pressure level.
Are you running on a gas meter?
Always make sure you have credit in your account for gas. Although we use heating often when we’re in our homes, our gas meter can still be forgotten. As long as you can stay on top of it, this is a hassle-free solution to your boiler not working. However, pay-as-you-go gas meters are not the best choice for combi boilers, as they can be shut down straight away if you have no funds available.
Check your ‘boiler not working’ for low pressure
You can check the pressure of your current boiler by looking at the pressure gauge usually positioned on the front panel.
You may have low pressure for a few reasons, most notably;
- Your boiler is old – frequent drops in pressure show signs of aging
- You have a leak in your current system
- You’ve recently bled your radiators to let out trapped air
To solve the issue, try repressurising the system. For detailed instructions on how this can be done, take a look at our Boiler Filling Loop blog post.
Check the pilot light hasn’t gone out
If your boiler not working was installed before 2004, it could be a non-condensing boiler and may also be using a pilot light.
If this applies to you and the pilot light on your old boiler keeps going out, you’ll need to find a solution straight away. This is because there’s a chance that gas might be released. If that’s the case, then you’ll need to consider the possibility of health and safety being at risk.
Another reason for this happening is that there’s a problem with the boiler’s thermocouple.
Thermocouples are a thermo-electric device that senses heat from the pilot light. When this occurs, it sends a small voltage through to the gas valve which then opens so that the main burner in the boiler can ignite safely. If the thermocouple is faulty, gas will still be released – a big red flag in safety. The only way you can deal with this is to have a professional visit who will then advise you on the best course of action.
Check your condensate pipe isn’t frozen
A condensate pipe’s main function is to transfer acidic waste water produced from the boiler’s condensing process, safely away and out the property via an external drain. As we move into the cold winter season, the chance of this pipe freezing will increase, giving you even more to worry about besides your boiler not working. This is even more likely if the fall isn’t steep, or there’s no lagging on the pipe for insulation. If you ARE able to get insulation over your condense pipe however, we highly recommend you make sure it’s Type O insulation, which has the added benefit of being waterproof as well.
Thankfully, dealing with a frozen condensate pipe is an easy process. You’ll need to pour warm water over the affected area in order for it to thaw. Be careful not to let the water pour over any nearby paths or walkways. This can sometimes go unnoticed and as a result, cause a major slip hazard.
Check your current thermostat
If your current thermostat’s accuracy is degrading and not working as well as it used to, it might be time for a replacement. Even so, it’s always worth checking your manual to see if there’s an easy solution.
If you’ve been smart and chosen a high quality boiler and thermostat, you’ll find that most interactions with the thermostat happen at the start when you’re setting things up. Other than that, you’ll have nothing more than basic seasonal adjustments to deal with.
On occasion, we find that customers can get a little confused because their boiler not working switches off after reaching a certain temperature set on their thermostat. This isn’t neccesarily an error – your boiler is simply following instructions from your thermostat and then turning off once the desired temperature has been reached. It may mean that your property is already hotter than you realise and your thermostat is just working within the parameters set out for it. If this is the case, the parameters can easily be changed to suit you.
Ultimately with any product like your thermostat, one of the best approaches to get direct information is to read the product’s manual.
If this isn’t the cause however and your thermostat is still malfunctioning, there may be more to the issue. You can always get a high quality replacement like the Nest Smart Learning Thermostat which you can read about more in our Nest vs Hive comparison post.
Boiler not working – Kettling Noises
Boiler Kettling is a mix of whistling and bubbling sounds that occur when your boiler not working is operating. While it’s alarming to hear for the first time, solutions are available to help you resolve the issue.
The following problems are the most likely causes of hearing boiler kettling sounds:
- Limescale or magnetite sludge buildup
Limescale or magnetite sludge build up can occur around different areas of your central heating system, but most often in your pipework and radiators. When this happens, the flow of water becomes restricted, causing the heat exchanger to increase in temperature. Once it gets high enough, it’ll start to steam and the water inside the boiler will boil, causing the kettling noises.
While many brands continue to manufacture Aluminium heat exchangers, the German manufacturer Viessmann have been sure to raise the bar in the central heating industry. By using their patented Inox-Radial stainless steel heat exchanger, their boilers have excellent corrosion protection, with a material quality one grade down from surgical steel. This way, you know you’re getting a top-quality product instead of the boiler not working that you’ve already had for years.
If it’s overheating and your boiler is constantly having to shut down, check through your boiler or thermostat manual. If the problem still persists, you may need to call out a Gas Safe engineer.
Leaks can be hard to spot, so it’s important to find them as soon as possible. If any are left untouched, you can cause more damage to your heating system, your property and even your wallet.