When the boiler is not firing up, it can ruin your whole day. You will be without hot water and heating. You must get the boiler operational as quickly as possible. You can perform some simple checks on your own to ignite the boiler again. For that, it’s imperative to know the fault.
Boiler Not Firing Up OR No Ignition? Here Are Some Common Faults
Blocked Burner: When a boiler burns, it produces Carbon Dioxide. If CO2 gas clogs the burner, the flame will be inconsistent. Therefore, you won’t have hot water or heating. Cleaning up the carbon build-up should fix this issue. You may also need to replace it if there is any kind of damage.
A Fault with the Fan: When you consume hot water or use heating, you will notice a fan starts to operate. This fan is not for cooling down the boiler. Its purpose is to create a draught to push harmful gases away from the boiler and into the flue. Then, these gases safely exit from your house.
If the fan is not operational, the boiler won’t ignite. This will make the boiler lockout instead. It is not advisable to switch on the boiler in such a case, as it can be dangerous.
Insufficient Gas Pressure: Sometimes, the gas pressure is not enough because of which the boiler is not firing up. The gas pressure must be tested to determine where the problem lies.
It’s possible that your boiler doesn’t ignite in winters only. In that case, the gas meter might be the culprit. Gas meters can freeze up at low temperatures.
Faulty Gas Valve: A gas valve controls the supply and flow of gas. Whenever the boiler needs more heat to operate, the valve opens automatically to provide more fuel.
If the boiler is not igniting, there is a possibility the valve is blocked, seized or there is damage in the wired connections.
No Pilot Light: When the boiler is not igniting and the pilot light has gone out, this usually means debris has blocked the jet. Even the smallest speck of dirt can block the jet and make the pilot light go out. Ultimately, the boiler does not ignite again.
Lack of Credit in the Pre-Paid Meter: If you have a pre-paid meter installed on your property and it does not have credit, your boiler won’t ignite. There is no technical fault with your boiler.
Tripped Fuse Box: Sometimes, the boiler is functioning properly and the main fuse box has tripped because of which the boiler isn’t firing up.
Frozen Pipes: If they are not correctly installed, they tend to freeze in extreme weather conditions. This could prevent the boiler from firing up.
The condensate pipe travels from the boiler to the outside wall. The excess liquid created by condensation deposits here. If the weather is cold, even a small amount of water could freeze hence causing your pipes to block.
Trapped Air: Bleeding refers to letting the air out of the central heating system and radiator. If the boiler is not igniting, chances are air is trapped in the central heating system and hence the radiator is not running efficiently.
Bleeding the radiators removes pockets of air trapped inside the heating system and make your boiler functional again.
Low Thermostat: The boiler may not fire up if the thermostat is set too low. Your heating system won’t start until the temperature of the environment is below the temperature set on the boiler. Increasing the thermostat will solve this problem.
Electrical Fault: A boiler is a gas appliance but it has some electrical components too. Electrical energy is required to operate the boiler just like a car needs a battery for ignition before it uses fuel. Sometimes, the boiler is not firing up because of an electrical fault. This could be a faulty plug or a blown fuse. You won’t be able to identify the problem on your own. You must call a professional engineer to inspect the boiler for electrical faults.
Try These Common Fixes before Calling an Engineer
You can perform certain fixes on your own to make the boiler functional again. Here is what you can try if your boiler is not firing up:
Check the basics: Make sure you have enough credit in your prepayment meter. Check whether other appliances that operate on gas are working fine. Check the fuse box to make sure the switches are not tripped.
Reprogram in case of power cuts: If you had a recent power cut, chances are the timer of the boiler reset itself. All you have to do is re-program it with your time zone and it will start working again.
Check the pressure gauge: Check the pressure gauge of your boiler. How many bars do you see? If it is showing one bar or less, the pressure is low. Just increase the pressure and the boiler will fire up again.
When the indicator is below 1 that means water pressure is too low. To re-pressure, the boiler, look for the filling loop. It is usually located at the bottom of the unit. While you are changing the pressure, make sure you turn off the boiler first. Open the valve and you will hear water filling into the system. This should increase the pressure indicator. Close the valve as soon as the pressure reaches 1.5. Now turn on the boiler.
Increase the thermostat: If the thermostat is lower than 21 degrees, this could stop the boiler from heating your home. Turn it higher than 21 degrees. The boiler should start working again.
Reset the boiler: Sometimes, all an appliance needs is a reset. There are no breakdowns or mechanical faults. The appliance simply needs to sleep for a few seconds. Turn the power supply off and wait for 60 seconds. Turn it on. The boiler should start working again.
Bleed the radiators: To perform this repair, first switch off the central heating system. All the radiators must be cool. Use the radiator key and attach it to the valve. Take a piece of cloth and rotate the key anti-clockwise slowly. You will hear a hissing sound. This means gas is escaping from the radiator. Once you are done, close the valve again.
When to Call the Gas Safe Registered Engineer
Boiler repairs are not that simple. You don’t always get to ignite the boiler with these simple fixes. Let’s say you have performed the above-mentioned fixes but your boiler is still not igniting. In that case, don’t touch the boiler or any part of the central heating system. It might be time to call the experts.
Call a Gas Safe registered engineer when you encounter the following problems:
Pressure Issues: Boilers work on pressure. If the amount of pressure is not balanced, the boiler won’t function properly.
When the pressure is not adequate, the boiler will fail to provide sufficient heat and hot water to the home. If the pressure is too high, your boiler won’t be able to heat water thoroughly. It will simply put pressure on its parts.
To see if your boiler is not working because of the pressure issue, check the pressure gauge. It should not be under or above the green zone when the boiler is off. It should not be in the red zone either.
Water Leaks: When there is a leak somewhere in the heating system or boiler, the pressure starts dropping. Check for dripping water underneath the boiler and pipes.
No Power at All: If the boiler is not working and you have tried resetting it multiple times, it is likely because of an electric issue. Chances are the circuit board is down.
You can’t fix such an issue on your own. You will have to call an engineer to inspect the boiler and diagnose the problem.
Don’t Try to Fix the Boiler Yourself
It is tempting to get your toolbox and tinker with the boiler. Finding a reliable engineer is a time-consuming job, which is why homeowners try fixing the issue on their own.
Attempting to fix the boiler on your own can make the problem worse. In some cases, it can cause injury as well. These are the reasons why you must avoid it at all cost:
A gas boiler can be dangerous: It is illegal to carry out repairs on gas appliances if you are not a Gas Safe certified engineer. Unqualified attempts can cause gas leaks, carbon monoxide exposure and in severe cases, cause explosions. Carrying out self-repairs is not safe for you or your family.
It invalidates boiler warranty and home insurance: Boilers come with a manufacturer’s warranty. For an extended cover, most of us have taken out home insurance. If you end up fiddling with the boiler, you invalidate the cover as well as the warranty.
Even opening up a boiler is considered working on the appliance. Therefore, don’t attempt to touch the body of the boiler. Call a Gas Safety engineer to perform inspections.
You can cause more damage to the boiler: Most of us don’t know what we are doing when it comes to fixing the boiler. Therefore, it’s better to let professionals handle the job.
Experts know how the internal parts of the boiler work. They have years of experience handling different types of boilers from different brands. Unless you are not well versed with the boiler, you could end up damaging parts of the boiler or the unit altogether.
Tips to Choose the Right Engineer
Hire a professional and certified individual to perform the diagnosis and fix the issue. Tap onto these tips to search for the best engineer:
Call a Qualified Engineer: You must hire a Gas Safe certified engineer. Such an individual is experienced to deliver effective solutions, perform the job safely and help you save energy bills. They are qualified for performing repairs on different boilers. Their expertise is proven already. You can rely on them to fix the boiler efficiently.
Check Their Reputation: The large boiler repair companies have engineers with years of experience. They have a well-established reputation, which makes them credible to perform the job. Homeowners must choose engineers from such companies.
A trusted company is the one that provides consistent training to its engineer. They perform the repairs with dedication and care. They are experienced in handling complex repair jobs. They will fix the boiler within a short time.
Cost of Repairs: Cost of repairs matters when you are choosing a boiler repair service. To find the most affordable deal, get quotes from 3 different providers. Compare the quality of their services and settle on the one that can repair the boiler at the most cost-effective rate.
Get Written Quotes: Always get quotes in writing so that you don’t have to pay more than what’s stated if you choose to hire the services of a particular provider.
Ask them questions: When an engineer visits your property to provide you with a quote, it is time to assess their skills.
Ask them questions about the repairs. Certified engineers are always eager to answer the concerns of their clients. The way they address your query will tell you about their customer service skills and experience in the industry. They might sign off by giving you a few tips to look after the boiler and the heating system.
Choose insured engineers only: Apart from checking their Gas Safe certification, make sure the engineers are insured as well. Never hire an engineer who does not have public liability insurance. If they are insured that means in case the repairs, they performed caused any damage to your property, you will be compensated for it.
A boiler might not ignite due to various possible reasons – insufficient pressure, blockage in the burner, faulty valves, frozen pipes etc. Sometimes, you can fix the problem on your own. In other cases, you don’t have any choice but to call an engineer. In such situations, always choose a Gas Safe certified engineer with insurance to perform the job.