As we enjoy these wonderful sunny days, the last thing on our minds is our heating system. But now is the time, before we actually need it, to start checking it over to be sure that it is fully functional before the onset of winter. It will also allow time to get a heating engineer out if necessary, before they get too busy.
There are several things that we can do to maintain our heating systems and undertaking some basic tasks could save problems later. Naturally the type of maintenance required will depend on the system that is installed.
Keep It Ticking Along
There are many simple ways to ensure the continued smooth running of the boiler and the first is very easy – fire it up at least once a month through the summer. This will do one of two things, firstly it will give you forewarning if there is a problem with the system and secondly it will help to ensure that there is not a build-up of dust and grit.
If there is corrosion in the pipework, this can lead to the build-up of unwanted particles which can result in a blockage and affect the efficiency of the pump. Many heating systems have a timer, so you can set this to go off at monthly intervals to give you a reminder.
Opportune Time For Servicing
Should there be any problems starting up the boiler, then this is the time to call out an engineer, because if it is left until the autumn it might be problematic to find a certified engineer who can come quickly due to a probable increase in demand.
It is also a good idea to get your boiler serviced by an engineer during the summer months for the very same reason. As soon as the cold weather begins and you start to use your heating system every day, this is when the problems can start – just when it is needed most.
Another simple step that can be taken is to check all the radiator valves and also to “bleed” the radiators, as this will release any trapped air that will cause the radiators to become potentially noisy and to distribute the heat unevenly.
With regards to the valve, this can seize up, as the packing inside the valve can stick together causing it not to work efficiently. It is something that is quick and easy to check, however if there is a valve that is stuck, then it may be necessary to call in an engineer, unless there is someone in the household who is capable of draining the system.
If there is air trapped in a radiator, this is something that is easily dealt with. Firstly turn off the heating after getting the radiator warm, then insert the special “bleed” key and turn it anti-clockwise. You will hear the air being released and this will be followed by a small amount of water, so have a dish or cloth handy. Close the valve and then run the cold water tap for a minute or so to adjust the pressure.
It should be noted that the average lifespan of a boiler is around 10 years, after which time, professionals begin to recommend a replacement. This is due to energy efficiency, availability of parts, as well as general reliability being better, overall.
However, by following these few simple steps you should at least expect your heating system to run through the cold winter months without the family having to endure any unnecessary breakdowns and subsequent central heating repairs.
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