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Top Tips to Maintain your Boiler

Boiler maintenance is so important but unfortunately overlooked by many homeowners. Boilers can be costly to repair and replace, but when they are not working efficiently they will be costing you more to run. Here is ways to maintain your boiler to try avoid that costly repair bill and to ensure the efficiency of your boiler.

Service your oil boiler once a year

This will help keep your boiler working at its best, prevent breakdowns, maximise its lifespan, keep heating bills low and will ensure it is protected by the manufacturers warranty.

Signs your oil boiler needs serviced

· Staining on or around your boiler (yellow/brown colour)

· Black smoke or a build up of soot

· Oil burner lock-out (shut down of boiler that requires a reset)

· Unusual noises or smells

Any appliance that burns fuel, including gas and oil-fired boilers, can produce carbon monoxide, which can be extremely harmful to your health. Carbon monoxide is a colourless, tasteless and odourless gas, which is why it is important to have a detector in your home. When you have a 12 month service, the qualified technician will check for carbon monoxide leaks on your boiler this helps to minimise your risk of exposure.

Don’t let your oil tank run dry

If your oil tank runs out and your tank runs dry, it can cause a build-up sludge which clogs the filter and prevents the heating system from working properly.

If you run out of heating oil and there is going to be a delay in your heating oil delivery here are some measure you can take to prevent this happening:

· Budget a little away each month for your tank refill. Some oil companies also offer an oil stamp scheme you should ask your local company about this.

· Plan ahead and order when you have at least ¼ of the oil tank left.

· Install a tank monitor to track your heating oil level.

· Have oil tank security measures installed to prevent oil theft.

Bleed your radiators

Radiators need bleeding when they have air trapped inside them. This trapped air stops warm water circulating around your radiator this makes the radiator cold at the top, but warm at the bottom as a result of this your boiler will have to work much harder than it should to warm up your home. Bleeding your radiators removes the air and makes your boiler much more efficient and cost effective.

We advise bleeding your radiators at the beginning of the heating season, before you really need it. Making sure your boiler and heating system is running at its best without any trapped air before you need it.

Here’s a guild on how the bleed your radiators

Tools required:

- A radiator bleed key- used to open up the radiator vent valve (can be purchased at most hardware stores)

- A cloth or towel – to catch drips

Step One – Turn your heating on

Before bleeding, you need to first turn the heating on so all the radiators warm up. This builds pressure up in the radiators that will push the unwanted air out.

Step Two – Identify which radiators need bleeding

Go through your home checking each radiator for cold spots.

The signs that the radiator needs bleeding. If you can hear gurgling sounds, the radiator takes a long time to heat up or there are cold spots then it is likely there is trapped air. This is preventing the hot water from filling the radiator, you will nee to bleed that radiator.

Remember the radiators will be hot, so take extra care with this step

Step Three – Turn off your central heating

You need to switch off your central heating before you bleed a radiator. If your heating is on you will risk scalding yourself and covering the floor with water.

Step Four – Prepare the area

Water may be discoloured when bleeding and old radiator, by putting old towels down you can save a cleaning job later, especially if you have light carpets.

Step Five – Open the radiator bleed valve

Take the radiator bleed key, you’ll need to insert this into the bleed valve. Often the bleed valve (or nipple) is found at the top of the radiator, to the side. It looks like a round hole with a square inside. When you insert the radiator key into the bleed valve, you will feel them lock together.

Carefully turn the valve anti-clockwise – as the air begins to escape you’ll hear a hissing sound. Be careful, the escaping air could be hot.

Step Six – Bleed the radiator

A quarter to half a turn will be enough, never open the valve fully because once you bleed air from the radiator water will come rushing out.

Continue this process, holding the radiator bleed key until the air stops coming out. When only water is dripping from your radiator, then you have completed the bleeding process. Turning the bleed valve clockwise will seal the radiator; take care not to over tighten.

Modern bleed valves may release water as a ‘jet’. Turn your bleed valve key with care, and be prepared to quickly close the bleed valve.

Step Seven – Repeat the process on all radiators

You will need to bleed all the radiators in your home. We suggest starting on the ground floor and working your way up your home because the air rises through the system.

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