As the winter bite kicks in, it’s more important than ever to make sure your boiler will survive the coldest months of the year.

Not only that, but surveys show that only 21% of home insurance and 24% of building insurance include boiler breakdown cover as standard. That means if your boiler does malfunction, you will be charged emergency rates without compensation.

The good news is there are precautions you can take to protect your boiler through the winter months. Alternatively, don’t risk hefty fees and take out boiler cover which includes parts and labour.

Keep An Eye Out For Warning Signs

Like most mechanical appliances, boilers show signs of wear and tear before they completely break down. Keep an eye out for cracks, leaks and unusual noises coming from your unit or pipes.

Also, check your boiler regularly to ensure there are a pilot light and no error codes. Also check the pressure gauge is between 1 to 1.5 bar. This means your boiler is working efficiently.

Check For Cold Spots On Your Radiators

Cold spots on your radiator are caused by one of two things; either air is trapped in the pipes or sludge.

The former is easily fixed. All you have to do is bleed your radiators and let the air out. Sludge, on the other hand, requires removing the radiator and washing the pipes through with a hose to remove contaminants.

You can learn how to clean sludge out radiators here, but the smart move is to contact a trusted gas safe engineer and get a professional flush.  

Insulate Your Pipes

Pipes freeze easily in the winter and if the water freezes over it could spell disaster. Check for dripping taps or leaky pipes. If there are any problems, get them repaired at the earliest convenience.

To prevent a burst pipe, wrap lagging around the network of pipes that are in unheated rooms such as the garage, basement or under the stairs. Pipe lagging is inexpensive and available for most DIY stores.

You may also want to consider installing double glazing windows. Cold draughts coming in through doors and windows can cause pipes to freeze, incurring unnecessary expenses.

If you have a system boiler with a water tank in the loft, make sure it is insulated with good quality lagging.

To avoid frozen pipes you should also leave your heating on at a low temperature when you are not home or at regular intervals.

If your pipes do freeze over, turn the water off at the stopcock and wrap a towel around the pipe. Soak the towel in boiling water.

In the event of a burst pipe, turn off the water at the mains together with your central heating. Open all the taps to drain off excess water.

Call a professional plumber to repair the damage.

Service Your Boiler

It’s a good idea to have your boiler serviced before the onset of cold weather. Contacting a Gas Safe registered engineer to ensure your boiler is in a good working condition not only gives you peace of mind but could save you the cost of an emergency call out.