It’s every homeowner’s worst nightmare, finding out that your boiler stopped working in cold weather.
Just when you need heating the most, your boiler (which could be too old or incorrectly installed) fails at the one thing it was designed to do. As a result, you’re either going to have to get a replacement boiler entirely or a repair. This doesn’t have to be the stressful nightmare you may be anticipating. In fact, if approached correctly, you could come out of this situation not only with a new boiler to see you through the winter (and the next 15 years), but your energy bills will be lowered as well!
Happy days for everyone!
At this point, you might be curious how a change like this can even occur. How can energy bills be lowered, if you’re dealing with the expenses of a brand new boiler installation? Modern condensing boilers all have impressive efficiency ratings (The Viessmann Vitodens 050-w has a Sedbuk efficiency rating of 89.5%, for example – check our review).
Because of this, you know you’re getting a good boiler if you go for a replacement.
However, an entire replacement doesn’t have to be your only option. There are several checks you can carry out straight away to help find the source of the problems. Examples of these include checking:
- Gas supply
- Power supply
- Water supply
- Condensate Pipe
You’ll need to learn how to prepare for the winter to prevent these kinds of problems happening, so we’ve stuck all that info in here as well!
There are always signs to look out for when it comes to your boiler’s lifespan. For example, if it has a noisy fan or pump, it could be an indication that your boiler is on its way out. However, if your boiler has truly ‘kicked the bucket’ and you’re desperate for a replacement, you can skip the slow parts and get an online quote from us directly. One of our heating experts will then be able to discuss your options with you.
All you need to do is enter your postcode in the box below, then hit the green button!
What to do if your boiler stops working during cold winter weather
Your current boiler is more likely to experience a fault if it’s during the winter. If this is what you’re currently going through, talking to the right people can get the problem solved.
If your boiler stopped working in cold weather, contact your installer or local professional for an assessment. Identifying the cause of a breakdown sometimes takes particular knowledge and experience, so unless you’re fully confident (and happen to be a Gas Safe engineer), avoid trying to fix anything yourself. You not only might make things harder for visiting professionals, but invalidate your warranty as well. If we’re dealing with emergency breakdowns, an invalidated warranty is the last thing you want.
Ultimately you need to contact your installer straight away, as they’ll be able to determine whether you’re looking at another costly repair, or simply an entire boiler replacement.
How can I stay warm if my boiler stopped working in cold weather?
If you’re right in the middle of this situation, then you’ll need quick answers for ways to keep warm. As a result, that’s exactly what we’ve given you! The following points are steps you can take to keep warm:
- Contact a professional – Although previously mentioned, calling a qualified professional is one of the best things you can do. Speak to your installer for advice on how to proceed as well as some much-needed reassurance.
- Retain the heat you already have – Although your boiler has stopped for now, you can continue keeping your house warm to a degree by using the heat already present. Small steps like closing the curtains or using draft excluders will help contribute to this.
- Layer up – You can avoid losing natural body heat by ensuring you have a decent amount of layers. Wearing extra jumpers, socks or a blanket are a good solution.
- Hot food – For the same reason as layering up, this is will help you keep your natural body heat.
- Seek alternative sources of heat – It may be a brief while your boiler situation is being worked on, but stocking up on other sources of heat like hot water bottles and electric blankets will help. This is even more important if you have any children or elderly residents in the property – They’ll be far more susceptible to the harsh cold of winter.
My boiler has definitely stopped working…now what?
If you know your boiler is broken, there are a few things you need to check before moving on. Avoid making any repairs yourself – not only because of the danger you can bring as an unqualified individual, but you’ll also invalidate your warranty, which can be fatal.
Check your gas supply
First things first, check your gas supply. There are several ways you can do this, but one of the easier methods is to run your cooker to check for gas. If you’re doing this, make sure you don’t have any isolation valves that are turned off. After checking the supply, always make you’ve turned the cooker back off.
Do you still smell gas? Call the National Grid gas emergency line on 0800 111 999 – this is the best and quickest way to respond.
Check your power supply
You’d be surprised by how much this step gets overlooked.
If there’s a problem with your electric connection, your boiler will fail to ignite and heat your property. An easy way to check this is by looking at the control panel. Many like the Viessmann Vitodens 100-w will have an LCD screen display. If this isn’t lighting up, then your boiler isn’t receiving any power and needs to be reset. If you’ve got a Viessmann Vitodens 050 specifically, then you can learn how easily this can be done by watching the short video below:
Check your water supply
Much like the power supply issue, this isn’t the most obvious thing homeowners look for when their boiler stopped working in cold weather.
You need to check that your water supply is turned on. If this isn’t the case and your boiler stays off, then you’re losing pressure in the system. Check your taps as well, if there’s anything wrong with your water supply then you’ll need to contact your provider. If you’re unsure who your water supplier is, you can click here to find out.
Check your thermostat
Your thermostat plays an important role in heating your home.
Make sure that it’s currently in the ‘On’ position. If the controls are time-based, double check that the clock has been set correctly. People can sometimes get confused about their thermostat – what they initially think is a breakdown is nothing more than the boiler reaching the temperature you’ve set for it. Once it reaches this temperature, the boiler doesn’t need to work on the heat anymore, so the boiler no longer needs to heat the water until it drops below it again. With this in mind however, it’s easy to see how the mistake can be made.
Check your boiler pressure
Checking the pressure is an important step to finding out why your boiler stopped working in cold weather. A lot of things can cause the pressure to drop, and it’s down to you to monitor it.
Most modern boilers require a pressure level between 1 and 1.5 bar. If you find that it’s over or under, you’ll need to carry out one of the following next steps. Click on the link to find out more information from our other blogs.
- Bleeding your radiator
- Repressurise your boiler
My boiler isn’t broken yet…how can I prepare?
The good news is that winter doesn’t have to be a season full of surprise bills and unexpected breakdowns. If properly prepared, anyone can make sure they get through the winter comfortably. You just have to make the right kind of preparations. Whether these are small every day habits you can take on or much larger adjustments is irrelevant – every one of them will help you through this challenging season.
So what sort of things can you do to prevent your boiler stopped working in cold weather? Below is a list of what you may need to consider:
Having a decent set of curtains (or fabric of any kind) covering your windows is an excellent way of retaining the heat you already have in the property. The same principal applies to your front and back door.
Carry out regular radiator bleeds
While this should be regularly checked anyway, bleeding your radiators is very important during the winter. It’s very easy to do, and will help keep your home heated as much as you need. For a detailed guide on how to bleed a radiator, click here.
Keep your boiler ticking over
As we approach winter and temperatures drop more and more, make sure your boiler is ready to do all the work. You can do this by having your boiler heat your home for one hour, every day. In doing so, you make sure things can run smoothly and is very easy to do.
Regularly check boiler pressure
While carrying out steps like the radiator bleed, keep an eye on your boiler’s pressure level. Most modern boilers work best at just over 1 bar. If you’re unsure where you can check this, it’s the small pressure gauge that’s usually positioned near the front panel of your boiler.
Check your condensate pipe
This is one of the more common causes if your boiler stopped working in cold weather. Your condensate pipe is usually mounted on the outside of the property to allow acidic water to safely escape. Because of this position, it gets exposed to low temperature which sometimes causes it to freeze. Unsure about what the condensate pipe is? Click here to read our detailed breakdown.
To prevent your condensate pipe from freezing, try adding some sort of waterproof insulation or lagging. Anything beyond this will need to be checked by a professional. The condensate pipe is still part of your overall system, so any alterations to the pipe itself must be made by a Gas Safe engineer.
Alternatively, if your condensate pipe is already frozen you can pour warm water over the pipe to thaw it out. Be careful not to get any on the ground below, otherwise it’ll freeze and create a major trip hazard.
Service your boiler
Having a Gas Safe engineer inspect your boiler and carry out a professional service is one of the best ways to ensure you’re kept warm throughout winter. It’ll be in the best possible condition, and maximise its efficiency and reliability.
While the service is carried out, the engineer will be able to check on the quality of all internal components like the heat exchanger or diverter valve. Any worn or damaged parts will get reported and replaced, as well as any cleaning required. To learn more about particular components, you can also read some of the following articles:
Check your thermostats
Faulty thermostats can cause a room to be too hot or too cold. If it’s faulty, it can’t send a signal to the boiler for any changes in temperature.
You can test for a faulty thermostat by setting it as ‘on’ on the timer. From there, turn the thermostat down to minimum and see if the boiler switches off. If it does you should be fine, but if not, turn off the boiler’s time clock. Test the process again and if the boiler fails to respond, it’s probably worth getting help from a Gas Safe engineer.
Boiler not working – Conclusion
Manufacturers will always do what they can to make the neccesary changes to improve their products. Problems such as those listed above can still resurface sometimes, and it’s important that you know how to deal with these issues yourself. However, having the support and experience directly from an installer is also important in ensuring your problem gets solved – even if it means a boiler replacement.
This is something that Boilerhut is proud to be able to help you with. We’re a premium Viessmann installer working all across the UK. To get a free, no-obligation quote from us, all you need to do is enter your postcode in the box below, then hit the green button