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Why Is My Boiler Not Working?

Winters in Cambridge can get chilly and there’s nothing more frustrating than waking up to a cold house and a boiler that's refusing to fire up. Sound familiar? If you’re wondering why your boiler isn’t working, this article is for you.

Read on as we shed light on this all-too-common issue and offer some handy tips on how to get your heating system back up and running. From simple DIY fixes to knowing when it's time to call in the experts, join us as we answer “why is my boiler not working?”

Common causes of boiler breakdowns

First, let’s spotlight some of the most common causes of boiler breakdowns:

Lack of maintenance

It's easy to forget about your boiler when it's working well, but neglecting regular maintenance can lead to trouble. Contaminants like dirt, debris and limescale can build up inside your boiler over time and cause it to work less efficiently. In a worst-case scenario it might break down altogether.

Pilot light problems

If your boiler's pilot light goes out, it won’t be able to ignite the gas and heat your home. Failure to ignite could be due to a faulty thermocouple, a build-up of dirt or simply exposure to draughts.

Low water pressure

Your boiler needs a certain level of water pressure to function. If the pressure is too low, it can cause your boiler to shut down as a safety measure. Common causes of low water pressure include leaks in the central heating system or bleeding radiators.

Frozen condensate pipe

Why is my boiler not working after a cold snap? Sudden drops in temperature can cause condensate pipes that carry wastewater away from your boiler to freeze. This can cause blockages and prevent your boiler from firing up.

Faulty thermostat

Sometimes, the problem isn't with the boiler itself, but rather the thermostat that controls it. A faulty thermostat may send inaccurate temperature cues to your boiler or fail to communicate with it altogether.

Troubleshooting tips

Now you know more about why your boiler is not working, let’s take a look at troubleshooting tips.

Check the thermostat

Make sure your thermostat is set to the right temperature and is functioning properly. Sometimes it may have moved without you noticing which can cause your house to cool down unexpectedly. If your thermostat is battery-powered, try replacing the batteries to see if that resolves the issue.

Inspect the pilot light

If your boiler has a pilot light, check to see if it’s lit. If not, follow the manufacturer's instructions to relight it safely. If the pilot light won’t stay lit, it could be a sign of a more serious problem.

Check the pressure gauge

Find the pressure gauge on your boiler and check it’s within the recommended range. If it's too low, you may need to repressurise the system. Depending on your level of confidence this can be a DIY job or one best left to the experts.

Thaw frozen pipes

If you suspect a frozen condensate pipe is the culprit, carefully thaw it using hot water bottles, warm towels or a hairdryer on a low heat setting. Avoid boiling water as this could damage the pipe or cause burns.

While a malfunctioning boiler can be a major inconvenience, it's not necessarily cause for panic. By familiarising yourself with the common causes of boiler breakdowns, having some troubleshooting tips up your sleeve and knowing when to seek professional help, you can minimise downtime and keep your home warm all year round.

When to call in the experts

Why is my boiler not working? Sometimes fixing the problem is as simple as relighting the pilot light or checking the thermostat. Other times your boiler may need professional TLC. If you've tried the above troubleshooting tips and your boiler still isn't playing ball, it’s time to enlist the help of the experts.

The importance of boiler maintenance

Remember, prevention is key when it comes to boiler maintenance. Schedule regular servicing appointments to keep your boiler in tip-top condition and avoid nasty surprises when you least expect them. Yes, we’re talking about those frosty Cambridgeshire mornings when the last thing you need is a broken boiler!

While it's tempting to adopt an “out of sight, out of mind” approach to boiler maintenance, the truth is that regular servicing plays an important role in preventing breakdowns. A proactive approach to maintenance can also extend the lifespan of your boiler and save you money in the long run.

Here's why scheduling annual boiler servicing should be at the top of every Cambridge homeowner's to-do list:

Safety first

Your boiler may seem like a silent hero, quietly chugging away in the background to keep your home cosy. But like most machinery, it requires regular maintenance to ensure safe operation. During a standard boiler service, an engineer will inspect components for signs of wear and tear, leaks and other potential hazards. They'll also check for carbon monoxide leaks, which can pose a serious threat if left undetected.

Efficiency matters

A well-maintained boiler is an efficient boiler, and an efficient boiler means lower energy bills. Over time, pollutants can accumulate inside your boiler, compromise its efficiency and force it to work harder to heat your home. Regular servicing helps keep your boiler performing at its best and can save money on your energy bills in the process.

Warranty protection

Many boiler manufacturers require proof of annual servicing to honour the terms of the warranty. Skimping on maintenance could void your warranty and result in costly repairs or replacements down the line.

Fire up your boiler with Plumbox

At Plumbox, we have the knowledge, experience and tools to diagnose all kinds of boiler problems, from simple hiccups to serious issues. We specialise in boiler repairs, servicing and new installations for homeowners in Cambridge and the surrounding areas, taking pride in our prompt and reliable service so you can stop wondering “why is my boiler not working?”

Feeling the chill? Get in touch with Plumbox today and we’ll get to work troubleshooting. Our team of skilled plumbing and heating engineers is on standby, ready to diagnose the problem and get your boiler back on track in no time. Remember, a cosy home starts with a reliable boiler – and Plumbox is here to make sure yours stays that way.

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