Winter is here and you’ve probably already switched on your central heating. It might be working now, but how can you be sure that it continues to do so all throughout winter? By regularly and properly maintaining your heating system and all its parts.
One important thing to note is thatis not as complicated as it might seem at first glance. In fact, maintenance usually only involves small, simple tasks that won’t take a lot of time. By completing these small tasks, your heating system should run quietly in the background to keep your house warm with minimal effort on your part.
This post will show you a few handy tips when it comes to taking care of your. Keep your house warm and cosy by following these 5 tips.
- Look for cold spots on your radiators
The first thing you should do is to go around your house and look for cold spots on your radiators. Turn on the heating throughout your home and go through each room and radiator one by one. If some rooms feel a bit chilly, hover your hand around the radiators and look for spots where the heating is diminished. Over time, air bubbles, sludge, grime, and rust builds up throughout the piping network in your home, especially in your radiators. This effectively reduces the amount of hot water circulating through the radiator, and thus the amount of space heating.
If you find a few cold spots near the top of the unit, then there is trapped air inside and you’ll need to bleed the radiator. This is the process of releasing the air by turning a dedicated valve with a radiator key while your central heating is turned off. If the middle and bottom of your radiator is cold, then you have an accumulation of sludge and dirt. You’ll need to power-flush your system to clear out the build-up. A professional heating engineer is able to effectively handle this task.
- Inspect your boiler
Since your boiler is the central cog in your entire system, you should take proper care of it. Make sure to check up on your boiler every so often to make sure there aren’t any noticeable issues. First of all, look for any signs of leaks or damage on your boiler and connecting pipes. Next, identify any black marks on your boiler unit—these are from soot left over from burning fuel and is a sure sign of incomplete combustion, meaning that it could be leaking dangerous carbon monoxide. Also, ensure that your boiler has proper ventilation. This involves checking that all vents and flues are clear and that there is adequate space around your boiler.
Apart from inspecting the exterior of your boiler, you should also take a look at the interior, if possible. Check your system’s pressure regularly; the gauge should be between 1 and 1.5 bar. If not, consult your boiler operation manual on instructions to top up your system pressure. Examine the pilot light and take note of its colour. A strong blue flame means your unit is burning fuel efficiently and safely while an orange or yellow one indicates incomplete combustion. If the boiler is not operating properly, then it’s time to call in a professional. Speaking of which…
- Arrange for an annual servicing
You’ll need to schedule ato inspect and service your heating system once a year. A heating professional knows how to thoroughly inspect your boiler, radiators, water tanks, and piping. They’ll be able to identify any problems that you would otherwise not think twice about. And if there are any problems, they will tweak, repair, or replace when necessary, ensuring your system is operating smoothly.
When scheduling a service, it is always better to book early. Winter is usually the busiest time of the year for heating companies so try to arrange for a professional servicing well in advance. Also, you might be entitled to a free inspection and service depending on your insurance and central heating cover plan. Make sure to explore all options and that your heating professional is fully certified to take care of your system.
- Lag your pipes
During the winter, there is the risk that your pipes will freeze over. And since the pipes are outside or usually hidden within your walls, it can be easy to overlook them. To prevent frozen pipes, you should lag them. This involves adding insulation around the pipes to stop them from freezing. This is especially important for condensation flues that are routed to the outside of your home, as well as pipes in vulnerable areas such as a loft or basement.
Pipe lagging is similar to the insulation in your home—they can be made out of foam, polyethylene, or mineral wool. You can buy lagging from any home improvement shop. Lagging is an incredibly cost-effective way to stop condensation and freezing, and is easy to install.
- Seal up your home
Another way to keep your central heating in as best shape as possible is to help it out. This comes in the form of ensuring your home is properly insulated to reduce heat loss and draughts. Check that your walls are insulated, replacing or adding any insulation where necessary.
Additionally, close off any gaps where cold air is coming in and warm air is leaving. Apply an inexpensive adhesive draught excluder along the edges of doors and windows, as well as an insulated flap over your letterbox. Seal up any cracks in your walls and apply a expanding filler in between floorboards. Also, repair or replace any windows and doors that are in poor condition.
Taking care of your central heating system doesn’t have to be difficult. By putting aside a bit of time, money, and effort, you’ll do yourself a lot of favours in the long run. Checking up on your system regularly will ensure you identify and fix any problems early. And if you keep on top of it all, you’ll be able to fully enjoy a warm and comfortable home for you and your family.