Central Heating Maintenance
It’s always worrying when your central heating seems to have stopped working or is being unreliable. There are a number of ways to tackle this yourself as it can often be a simple enough problem to solve; If the radiators are not heating up, first check your timer is set to the right times as you may have mis- programmed it. Also check the thermostat setting is not too low. Next thing to check is the pilot light to see if is still lit, as these often get blown out when it is particularly windy. If it’s out, relight it following the boiler’s pilot lighting procedure.
If the problem is just with one radiator that is not warming up, or is only partly warming up, then it may be that it needs air bleeding out, you just need the right radiator bleed key to gradually allow the air out at the top of the radiator until water starts to come out, then you know all the air is gone and you can close it off. Your radiator should heat up all the way to the top now.
Air in the pipes or boiler can account for banging and gurgling noises coming from the system, and, apart from bleeding what air you can from the radiators, the only other course of action is to call a gas safe professional to check it out for you.
If all else fails, and you need to call a professional to fix the problem for you, they will be able to test everything for safety and get your central heating working again, one way or another. When the central heating seems sluggish and not working very well this can be due to the build up of sludge, which is a combination of particles of rust, sand, grit and limescale that needs to be removed from the system as soon as possible, also the cause of it needs sorting at the same time. The best way to do this is by having a powerflush (link to powerflush article) and maybe even get a Magna Clean installed to catch all the metallic particles magnetically, thereby preventing them from damaging the pump and giving you improved energy efficiency.
It’s always advisable to get your central heating inspected once a year as leaks can be dangerous in the case of Carbon Monoxide (getting a detector fitted is recommended) and can do a lot of damage to your house if it’s water. Leaky radiators and pipes should always be fixed as soon as you notice the problem. Another common problem is the thermostat developing a fault and either needing a reset or replacing completely.