Common Boiler Problems – Do You Need To Call An Expert?

By Guest Contributor Dakota Murphey

Common Boiler Problems – Do You Need To Call An Expert?

(Image: iStock)

Boilers. Like many household appliances, we tend to ignore them until we need them. Regular maintenance of your boiler is essential, otherwise it can be a tricky and even expensive appliance to fix. Still, when it comes to common boiler issues, it is important that you know exactly what it is that you are dealing with.

Dakota Murphey, independent content writer in a project with iGas Heating, have put together a list of common boiler issues that you want to look out for, including issues that need attention from a specialist.

Frozen Pipes

During harsher winters, your pipes can freeze, making your central heating work harder or not work at all. To defrost frozen pipes, you will want to apply a hot water bottle or a heat wrap to the frozen pipe section. You can also pour hot (not boiling) water over the frozen section to help the icy blockage along. Then simply run the boiler as normal and repeat the process if needed. You can help to prevent the pipes from freezing in the first place by wrapping them in insulation piping and foam. 

Call An Expert? – It is not always necessary to call an expert when dealing with frozen pipes. If it’s an isolated incident, in many cases, you can solve this issue yourself. However, if it keeps happening, or the frozen pipe sections are inaccessible, you may need a plumbing and heating engineer to deal with it for a longer term solution.

Thermostat Showing Incorrect Reading

Thermostats on older boilers can easily become faulty over time, so try to monitor the thermostat to see if there are any inconsistencies with the timing of the thermostat. Remember to factor in daylight savings time and don’t forget to reset your thermostat following a power cut.

Call An Expert? – With faulty thermostats, you can normally solve the issue yourself, so there is not much need to call a professional. However, if the problem persists despite your best endeavours, the faulty stat may need replacing, and that’s a job for the professionals.

Leaky or Dripping Boiler

The cause of a leaky or dripping boiler could be down to any number of things, from broken boiler parts to condensation issues to loose connections inside the boiler itself. If you suspect a leak, try to inspect your boiler properly before calling an expert, as it may simply be a spill or condensation in the local area and not the boiler itself leaking. 

Call An Expert? – If your boiler is leaking you should definitely call an expert, as this type of fault can only be fixed by a qualified engineer. Water leaks can damage the boiler as well as the walls, floors and ceilings of your property if left undealt with.

Radiators not Heating Up

If a radiator stays cold despite the central heating operating as normal, it may simply need bleeding. Sometimes, your radiator may be hot at the bottom and cold at the top, which in itself may not be a boiler issue; there could be air trapped in the system. It could also be due to a build-up of rust or sludge in the pipes. An instant way of detecting the source of the problem is to bleed your radiators to attempt to remove any air that is trapped in the system. This is a fairly straightforward process, simply requiring a radiator key to open up the radiator and ‘bleed out’ any trapped air. If the radiator still does not work, you may need to check your boiler, or you may need a power flush.

Call An Expert? – If bleeding the radiators does not solve the problem, a professional will need to come and take a look. Your plumbing/heating engineer may recommend a ‘power flush’; a procedure designed to clean your central heating system by removing any rust or debris built up over time.

Noisy Boiler

The most common cause of a noisy boiler is ‘kettling’, where a build-up of limescale in the heat exchanger starts to cause a rumbling, banging, gurgling or whistling in the system – a bit like an old kettle. Both annoying and potentially harmful to your central heating system, it is important that you take care of this as soon as possible. 

Call An Expert? – You can sometimes reduce the noise in your system by bleeding your radiator. If it continues, you will need to book in for a repair call out.


Dakota Murphey; BA (Hons) Marketing graduate, freelance writer and Photoshop dab hand. When she's not running around after her two kids, you’ll find her relaxing in a nearby coffee shop, watching the world pass her by. If you enjoyed this article, see what else she's been up to on Twitter - @Dakota_Murphey.

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