Gas Safe Registered Engineers
We work across the Highlands keeping your heating system healthy and happy.
We strongly advise you to have your boiler serviced every year. The best time to have a boiler service is during the warmer months when engineers have more availability and the boiler is not working as hard as it does in winter. The service engineer will pick up any potential problems, and your boiler will be left operating at optimum efficiency, clean and raring to see you safely through the winter.
Anything that isn’t used for a while becomes stiff and rusty, so it’s recommended that you don’t forget about your trusty central heating when you’re enjoying the summer. Make it a habit to turn on the heating every few weeks, just for around 20 minutes, to check that all’s well. While it’s on do a visual check of the pipework and radiators, and make sure they’re heating up as they should.
Before the onset of winter it may well be necessary to bleed your radiators. This isn’t as painful as it sounds, but it will make sure that your radiators heat up evenly for maximum heat output.
Bleeding radiators releases trapped air or gas that prevents the hot water from circulating right around the radiator. A sure-fire indicator that a radiator needs bleeding is when it is cool at the top while hot lower down.
Bleeding the radiator is easy – turn off the heating and use a radiator key to turn the valve 180 degrees in an anti-clockwise direction. You’ll likely hear a hissing noise as the air escapes. When water drips from the valve close the valve again with the key.
If bleeding radiators doesn’t resolve the issue of them failing to heat up, or heating up patchily, it’s best to call in a professional to find and fix the problem.
The dead of winter is not a good time to have your central heating system start showing signs of ill health. Symptoms like leaks, clunking noises, and sooty marks somewhere in the boiler, pipes or radiators are a red flag, but when everyone’s heating is working overtime, it will probably be difficult to book a busy heating engineer before your system fails and leaves you in the cold.
You can avoid a heating crisis by keeping a weather eye on your heating system. Make sure a regular central heating health check is on your “to do” list all year round so you’re not caught short in the dark days of winter.
Checking your heating system is a simple process. If you notice something amiss get it attended to by a gas safe registered engineer right away and avoid potentially costly repair bills down the line. Keeping your heating system healthy will also make it more energy efficient, saving you money in the long run.
The central heating system is sealed and pressurised. A stable pressure is necessary for the hot water to be circulated through the radiators efficiently. If the pressure drops too low your boiler could stop working completely – there’ll be no hot water and cold radiators.
To check the pressure of your system, find the pressure gauge or digital display on your boiler which indicates the pressure. Your boiler handbook will assist you with this if you are unsure.
The reading should ideally be between 1 and 2 bars – it could be as high as 2.5 bars if your central heating is running.
Anything below 1 bar is cause for concern. Low pressure is caused by losing water from the system, so check all the system pipes and radiators for leaks. If you have been bleeding your radiators the pressure will drop too.
Your boiler’s manual may give you instructions on how to fix low pressure yourself, using a component called a filler loop which connects to the mains water supply to top up the water pressure. If you’re not confident at managing this, or if the pressure drops again after you’ve performed the correction, best call in a professional.
If the pressure is too high (above 2.75 bars) it’s best call a heating engineer because there is likely a fault
Central heating systems tend to accumulate a build-up of sludge – a combination of corrosion and debris – that eventually causes problems.
The symptoms include cold spots at the bottom of radiators, and taking a long time to heat up. You may also notice the radiators are cold but the pipes hot. The boiler itself can also be affected and suffer frequent breakdowns. A good trick is to try attaching a magnet to the copper pipework in the system – if the magnet sticks, there is iron sludge inside the pipe.
The cure is a jolly good clean! Central heating engineers can send water through the system at a high velocity to flush out the muck with a special machine. After a powerflush your central heating system should operate far more efficiently unless it is very old and heavily silted up.