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Boiler Not Working: 7 Common Problems and How to Fix Them
If you have just found out your boiler isn’t working, you are probably in a bit of a panic. After all, no working boiler means no hot water and no central heating.
Keeping warm, washing, and lots of everyday tasks suddenly become a lot harder.
The first bit of advice is don’t panic. A lot of boiler problems are much more minor than you might think and some you may even be able to fix yourself. In this article, we are going to give you a rundown of the most common causes of boiler breakdowns along with some simple fixes you can try yourself.
If it is something more major, we’ll help with boiler quoting and delivery service that can get a new boiler installed and working as quickly as the next day.
This is the essential and detailed guide on what to do if your boiler is not working. So, take a breath and keep on reading. With a bit of luck, by the time you have finished this article, all your boiler problems will be sorted.
Table of Contents
Worst case scenario
The chances are that your boiler has stopped working because of a relatively minor issue. But before we start to detail a few fixes you can try that should resolve some of these, let’s give you some reassurance by explaining what you can do if your boiler really is beyond repair.
Boilers do have a life-span, they do break down, and many people will not be aware that their boiler is dying until it has died.
This creates a big problem as without a boiler you will have no hot water and no central heating. This makes life difficult for everyone but if there are elderly people or children living in the house, it can be doubly difficult.
So, what are your options?
You can try calling a local plumber to install a new one. You might get lucky and find one with the time to do the job. But, with the number of plumbers in decline, they are getting busier and finding one to come and do a job quickly is a rather thankless task.
It is possible to buy a boiler online yourself, but in no circumstances should you try and install it yourself. Boilers run off gas or LPG and should only be installed or tampered with by a trained gas engineer.
The best option for you in this situation is to turn to BOXT.
How BOXT can get you a new boiler with next day installation
BOXT is a boiler quotation and delivery service. It was started by the former owners of Help-Link, a large UK boiler servicing, repair and installation company, who felt there was a market for a fast online boiler quotation and installation site.
BOXT is part-owned by Bosch, which also owns the Worcester Bosch boiler brand. You will notice that BOXT always quotes for a Worcester Bosch boiler and this is the reason why.
The good news is that Worcester Bosch is one of the best and most reliable boiler manufacturers. And if you buy through BOXT, you can get them for super-low prices too. The exact price will depend on the type of property you live in and the type of boiler you need. BOXT will ask you to fill in a detailed form giving all the relevant information and will then recommend the best boiler to suit your needs.
What kind of fuel does your boiler use?
Grab your fixed price online by 3PM, and get next-day boiler installation.
You will save money on your installation costs, too. BOXT installation quotes are, on average, a third cheaper than a regular plumber. There are even finance plans available starting from just £11.61 per month meaning you don’t have to find a huge chunk of cash up-front either.
Get an exact quote in 90 seconds by filling this online form from BOXT
If you want to know what other people think of BOXT, look no further than Trustpilot. They rank BOXT number one in the UK for both gas installation services and heating services. BOXT has a trust score of 5/5 and from more than 4,000 reviews, there is a 98% 5-star review score.
BOXT mainly offers gas boilers, so if you need an LPG quote, you will need to contact them directly. They will be able to help.
Why is my boiler not working?
While you might find you need to turn to BOXT to buy a new boiler, more often than not it is a minor issue that has caused your boiler to stop working. These will usually require relatively minor fixes and often you will be able to do these yourself.
In the rest of this article, we will detail some of the most common reasons why a boiler might have stopped working and also detail what fix is needed:
1. Is the boiler switched on?
It might sound like a stupid thing to start with, but it is amazing how often plumbers are called out to fix a boiler that is just not switched on.
Most boilers have a mains power source and if this has been switched off, accidentally or on purpose, the boiler will stop working. A lot of boiler problems stem from people accidentally turning the boiler off instead of the toaster or the kettle.
Another issue can be power cuts. These can trip the fuses in your house or simply switch your boiler off leaving it not working until you manually switch it back on.
Fix: Check that your boiler is switched on, the main power source is connected, and none of your fuses have tripped.
2. Has your gas supply been interrupted?
If your boiler is connected to the mains gas supply, it is dependent on this source to work. If there is a problem with the mains gas supply, this will cause your boiler to stop working.
Obviously, you should not mess with mains gas yourself unless you are a qualified gas engineer. But there are some simple ways you can test to see if the gas supply has been affected.
Check other appliances in the house that use mains gas to see if they are still working. This could include things like a gas hob or a gas fire. Alternatively, check your gas suppliers’ website. They should detail any service issues there. You could also contact their customer support team to ask for the information too.
Fix: Check to see if your gas supply has been interrupted by tested other appliances that use gas or checking with your provider. If the supply is the problem, you will have to wait for your gas provider to resolve the issue, then your boiler should start to work again.
3. Have you paid your gas bill?
A common reason for your gas supply being interrupted is falling behind with your payments.
If you receive gas bills and pay as normal, your gas provider should contact you plenty of times to tell you about any payment issues and will offer a variety of support services if you are struggling to keep up with payments. Cutting off supplies is always a last resort for them.
If your gas provider is not helpful, you can always talk to services like Citizens Advice for support with payment issues.
Having your supply cut is a far more common problem for those who use prepayment meters. If you use one of these, check you have enough credit on your meter and if not add some. This should get your gas supply back fast.
Fix: Ensure you have sufficient credit on your prepayment metre. If you are in financial difficulties, talk to your gas provider or other support services to arrange a feasible repayment schedule. This should get your gas supply reconnected.
4. Is your boiler low on pressure?
Boilers can lose pressure from time to time for various reasons, which are usually nothing to be worried about. But if your boiler’s pressure drops too low, it will stop working properly.
Fortunately, it is quite easy for your check your boiler’s pressure and increase it without needing to call on a plumber.
Firstly, check your boilers pressure gauge. This will either be a clock-like feature on the front of the boiler or a digital setting that can be easily found. If it is reading one bar or less, you will need to top up the pressure.
You will find instructions on how to do this in your boiler manual or alternatively read our guide.
Boilers can also have too high pressure as well. This is also an issue you can usually fix yourself. Again, take a look at our guide to help you.
Fix: Check your boiler’s pressure gauge to make sure the pressure isn’t either too low or too high. If it is, follow your boiler manual’s instructions or our guides to correct the issue.
5. Is your thermostat set high enough?
If your heating hasn’t come on, it could be that your thermostat isn’t set high enough and as a result, your boiler isn’t being told to switch on.
Have a thermostat set to lower than 21 degrees can stop your heating from coming on. It’s not a problem with your boiler as such and the fix is simple.
Increase the temperature on your thermostat to 21 degrees on higher and your heating should kick in once again.
Fix: Simply switch your thermostat to 21 degrees or higher.
6. Has your pilot light gone out?
All boilers contain a pilot light, which is a small internal flame. It indicates that the boiler is active. If the pilot light has gone out, the boiler will not be working.
Sometimes, the pilot light can go out accidentally. Innocuous things like a strong draft can be enough but once it is out, your boiler will not work until it is relit.
In an older boiler, the pilot light is usually visible through a little window. Newer boilers tend not to have this, but there is still a simple solution.
With an older boiler, you will just have to reignite the pilot light. There is usually a single switch or button for this. Check your boiler manual if you aren’t sure which one it is.
For a newer boiler, try restarting or resetting your boiler. If the problem is that the pilot light has gone out, this should reignite it and get things going again.
If your pilot light still won’t light, unfortunately, you will need to call in the assistance of a heating engineer.
Fix: Reignite your pilot light by using the reignite button (on older boilers) or restarting the whole boiler (for newer models). If this doesn’t work, you will need to call out a plumber or heating engineer.
7. Has your condensation pipe frozen?
If the weather outside is wintery, this can cause the water in your boilers condensation pipe to freeze.
This pipe usually connects your boiler to the nearest outside wall and is how excess liquid (condensation) which can gather in your boiler is removed.
But if the water in this pipe freezes, this excess water has nowhere to go. Your boiler will quickly detect this and it will cause it to stop working.
This problem is easily resolved. Pour some warm water over the exposed end of your condensation pipe. This is where the freeze is likely to be located and the warm water will quickly melt it.
Once it has melted, reboot the boiler and it should quickly start working again.
Fix: Pour warm water over the exposed end of the boiler condensation pipe to melt the freeze. Then restart your boiler and it should start working again.
If your boiler has stopped working, it doesn’t have to be the end of the world. Often the problem is a very simple thing that you can quickly resolve yourself without the need for a plumber or heating engineer.
In this article, we have highlighted the seven most common causes of boilers not working and explained how you can fix them yourself.
If the worst has happened and your boiler has given up the ghost, you will need to buy a new one. As we have explained, BOXT is the best way to find a cheap quote for a new boiler and get it installed as soon as the following day.
Are there any other simple reasons why a boiler might stop working that we haven’t mentioned in this article? If you can think of anything we’ve missed, why not share it and the fix with our readers in the comment section below?