Boiler on the blink? Here are 5 things to check before ringing the engineer

If your boiler has stopped working, save yourself time and money by following these simple steps before calling out an engineer

family looking out of a window in the cold
(Image credit: iStock)

Those who have experienced a broken boiler know the stress of getting home to a cold house or waking up to a freezing shower. However, a lot of common boiler issues can be easily fixed by the homeowner – all it requires is a bit of basic knowledge and taking the time to step back and make a few simple checks.

We talk you through the five things to check before reaching for your phone and calling out a gas engineer.

Step 1: Go back to basics

Your boiler needs gas and electricity to operate – and for you to be up to date on your payments of course. If you are on a prepayment meter, check you are in credit. Also check the gas supply to the house by testing other gas appliances are working such as a gas hob or fire. You then need to ensure your electricity hasn’t tripped, so go to your fuse box and rule out the possibility of an electricity outage.

Step 2: Check your boiler’s timer

If your timer is out of sync or has gone off altogether, this will prevent your boiler from working as it should. This can be caused by a power cut so rule that out. If there has been a power cut, all you need to do is re-programme your boiler to come on at the correct times. Check your user manual for help.

man fixing a boiler

(Image credit: iStock)

Step 3: Turn your thermostat up

Yes, it might seem pointless if your boiler doesn’t appear to be working, but if the predominant problem is your heating, it could be that your thermostat is set too low. Having it set below 21 degrees is a common reason for the heating not coming on, so set it to this temperature which is the recommended level for living spaces. Notch it up a little to check if the heating kicks in – if not move on to the next step.

Step 4: Make sure the pressure is high enough

There should be a pressure gauge on the front of your boiler and if this reads one bar or less this will be why your boiler is failing. Topping up the water pressure is a straightforward job – simply open the two valves below the boiler to increase the pressure to between one and one-and-a-half bar. Be sure to turn them off afterwards so you don’t over-pressure the boiler. Check your boiler manual or follow the steps in the video below if unsure.

Step 5: Press reset

Most boilers made after 2004 can be reset following the steps in your manual. Older models will have a pilot light in place of a reset function, so make sure this is on. If the pilot light is off, relight it safely by following the instructions from the manufacturer.

Still having problems?

If the steps above have not sorted the problem, it is time to call a Gas Safe engineer. Remember, you can book an appointment with British Gas – whether you are an existing customer or not – by using their online booking system.

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