Around half of US homes are heated by natural gas boilers which produce hot water for pipes and radiators. They are effective systems but they do require regular maintenance on the part of the homeowner. It’s important to note that only people who are qualified to work with gas appliances should repair or replace a gas boiler, but there are some simple steps to follow to keep it running at maximum performance. Without the proper maintenance, boilers will break which can be inconvenient, costly and dangerous. Here are 7 essential maintenance tips to help you keep your gas central heating system working effectively, efficiently and safely.
Take out heating protection
Losing your heating can be a real emergency, especially in the middle of winter or when you have children in the house. A protection plan for your heating or home can be a safety net against this kind of emergency. When searching for home protection plans, make sure that it covers your gas boiler so that if it needs a repair or it breaks down completely you aren’t hit with a surprisingly big bill out of the blue.
Get the boiler serviced annually
Boilers need to be serviced by a professional engineer every year just as you service your car. The engineer will check the boiler to ensure it is working safely and efficiently and will identify any small problems which might lead to bigger issues down the road. Regular servicing should also help your boiler to live for longer and keep your gas costs low.
Monitor the boiler pressure
The boiler needs to be set to the right pressure level to be able to circulate hot water through your heating system. You can check the boiler pressure yourself and there will be instructions in your user manual to tell you how to adjust it if it’s too low or too high (which can cause damage to the system).
Bleed your radiators
Pockets of air can build up in radiators over time which can prevent the hot water from filling them. This is why you might feel cold areas on the radiators. You can release this air by bleeding the radiators.
Get the system flushed
If your radiators are cold at the bottom but hot at the top they may have become blocked with debris, rust, or dirt which has formed what is called ‘sludge’ and settled at the bottom. This will reduce the radiator’s capacity to generate heat and could be making your heating costs higher. It is possible to flush the system yourself but it’s often best to contact a professional engineer.
Check the pilot light flame is blue
When gas is burning safely, it will show a strong blue flame. If your boiler’s flame is yellow or orange this indicates that there is a problem and it could be dangerous if the boiler is leaking lethal carbon monoxide.
Keep the boiler and flue ventilated
Make sure the boiler and the flue (the pipe which emits the vapor and gases outside the home) are well ventilated and free from clutter. They should also be easily accessible for maintenance, servicing, and repairs.