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How to Prepare your Boiler for Winter

With winter just around the corner, it'll soon be the time again when we rely on our boilers to keep us warm and cosy as temperatures start to drop. To make sure our boilers and central heating systems don’t fail, there are a few things you can do to ensure everything is running as it should be.

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Why do you need to prep your boiler for winter?

Preparing your boiler for winter, and in turn keeping it healthy, will help to keep your home safe and warm as the colder temperatures approach. Preparing your boiler for winter also gives you the chance to check everything is working correctly and safely. 


Not only this, but your boiler will also make for a more cost effective heating system as it should be running efficiently and effectively. 


How to prepare your boiler for winter

Preparing your boiler for winter may not be one of the first things on your seasonal to-do list, but it is an important job to do to ensure you have a lovely and warm home this winter. 


We recommend completing the following steps around the start to mid autumn to ensure you’re ready for winter:


Check the boiler pressure 

Low boiler pressure is a sign of a loss of efficiency. If your boiler has lost some pressure, don’t worry, you can easily top it back up. Turn on your kitchen taps and wait until the pressure reaches 1.5 bars, maximum. The pressure should adjust either way when you turn your heating on. 


If you’re experiencing high water pressure, we recommend getting in touch with our Gas Safe heating engineers who can inspect the problem for you. 


Bleed your radiators 

Bleeding your radiators means replacing the air with water and making sure the system is working as it should. Make sure your radiators are hot at the top and bottom, and check for any areas with cold spots. 


Sludge can build-up in radiators, causing them to be cold at the bottom. If this is the case, we recommend speaking to one of our team as cleaning radiators can be a tricky job. 


Have a boiler service

To ensure your boiler is properly functioning, providing plenty of hot water and warms your home, it is vital you have your boiler serviced annually. At Lacey Plumbing & Heating, we can provide you with annual boiler service plans, ensuring your boiler is working in excellent condition all year round.

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What to do before turning the boiler on in winter

One of the first things you should do before turning your boiler on is checking if your thermostats are in the right place. If they’re not located effectively, your central heating may kick in at the wrong time, which will waste energy and increase your bills. Make sure they’re positioned away from draughts and windows so they can accurately gauge the right temperature. 


If you think it’s necessary, you could also get a power flush to clean your central heating system. If your heating system is dirty and contains sludge, this can cause your boiler to work much harder than it needs to be. Removing all the sludge and grime with a power flush will help your boiler to work properly, ensuring it isn’t overworked or using too much energy. 


What temperature should you set your boiler to in winter?

We all want to be cosy and warm in the winter, but unfortunately there is no universal temperature that will be perfect for all of us. 


However, 65°C is a good temperature to go for if you’re looking for a balance of warmth and efficiency. Setting it a few degrees higher won’t cause too much of a difference cost wise, but try not to set it too high, as this can overwork your boiler. Try not to set it any lower than 65°C. Lower temperatures can cause bacteria to grow in the water, such as Legionella.


How do you prepare central heating for winter?

Once you’ve prepared your boiler, it’s a good idea to test your central heating one or two times before the nights get cold. This is a good way to tell if something is functioning as it should be, whether that’s your actual boiler or other parts of the heating system. 


This will also give you the chance to look for any error codes that may appear on the display screen. Some issues that may be shown will include temperature, pressure levels and any other problems with the boiler. If you do happen to see any error codes, make sure you review your boilers manual so you can determine what the issue is. 


If you don’t think your heating is warm enough, this could be a tell-tale sign that something is wrong with the boiler and/or heating system. 


Top tips for preparing your boiler for winter

Insulate your pipes 

Standing water can freeze in your pipes in the colder months. When water is frozen, it expands, which can cause your pipes to burst. If your boiler pipe freezes, it can cause your boiler to completely stop working. 


One of the best methods to prevent pipes from freezing is by insulating them. Ideally, you should be insulating any pipes that are outside or in cold areas of the home like garages or utility rooms. 


Check your carbon monoxide alarm 

One thing you may forget to look at is your carbon monoxide alarm. Most alarms will have a test button on the back of them that you can press to test if the alarm is loud enough and still working. If you press the test button and nothing happens, you will need to replace the whole alarm. 


It is vital that you have a working carbon monoxide detector, as they can save lives. Thankfully, they cost as little as £15-25. 


How to minimise fuel costs over winter

As well as getting your boiler and central heating ready for winter, there are some other things you can do yourself to minimise your fuel costs this winter.


These include:


  • Keeping the boiler thermostat at one temperature, ideally of which is a comfortable heat and energy efficient.
  • Keeping curtains open during the day to let sunlight in your home and closing them at night to keep the heat in.
  • Using things like draught excluders to prevent cold air from entering your home.
  • Keeping large items away from radiators so they don’t block/absorb the heat.
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