How To Prepare Your Boiler For Winter

Winter is when your boiler is used the most to keep your house warm and cosy due to the decrease in temperature. Due to this, it is essential to maintain and look after your boiler to make sure it works effectively throughout the winter. In this blog, we will explain multiple ways to prepare your boiler for winter to reduce the chances of the boiler breaking.

Service your boiler

The most effective way to prepare your boiler for the winter is to service your boiler during the summer annually. You should service your boiler in Summer as you can identify any threats or potential future issues with your boiler to be able to counteract them before you need your boiler in the winter.

There are a variety of reasons to service your boiler annually, including:
-Detect issues
-Safety
-Legal requirements
-Extending the lifetime of the boiler
-Saving money
If you are unsure why you should service your boiler, check out our in-depth blog about why it is significantly important to service your boiler here.

Complete an unofficial inspection

Before servicing your boiler, it is useful to conduct an unofficial inspection of the boiler. You should look for any obvious cracks and leaks, rusting and oxidation, and any signs of evaporated water on the inside of the boiler. You should also check the flame colour; if it is the standard blue, then it is healthy. If it is orange/yellow, it is likely a serious issue and you should contact Bradford Boiler Company immediately for advice.

Testing

In the lead-up to the winter, you should try to test your boiler for roughly 15 minutes every night to make sure that it works efficiently. Before it gets too cold and the boiler is in use more frequently, you should test it to make sure it heats your home fast. Sometimes, a boiler may stop working well if it has not been used for a while, so it is advised to test it during periods of little use.

Check your boiler’s pressure

The average boiler pressure should be between 1 and 1.5 bar. If your boiler pressure is too high or low, you can attempt to change the pressure yourself. If not, you can contact Bradford Boiler Company to seek advice and support. One way you can reduce the chances of the pressure changing is to turn your boiler on, even when it is warm. During warmer periods, you should turn your boiler on for roughly 15 minutes just to check that it works well.

Bleed your radiators

Bleeding your radiators can increase the efficiency of your boiler. If your radiators feel cold at the top when the heating is on, you should bleed them to release the trapped air in the system.

Insulate your pipes

In the winter, sometimes pipes may start to freeze, causing blockages and decreasing the efficiency of your boiler. This is caused by the water being left during the condensing process. Pipe insulation reduces the chances of freezing, but if your pipe still freezes with the insulation, you can defrost the pipe by using lukewarm water.

Check the thermostat

An incorrect reading from the thermostat can be a problem for a variety of reasons. The thermostat could be producing inaccurate temperatures, which could affect the temperature of your home. This can be by either overheating the house or by it simply not turning on. By testing your thermostat before the winter season, you can identify any issues and resolve them before you need your boiler.

Install a carbon monoxide alarm

Installing a carbon monoxide alarm is not just useful for the winter; it will help to keep you safe, regardless of the time of the year. Carbon monoxide is a deadly gas that is colourless and odourless, which can make detecting it without an alarm very difficult. To read more about the dangers of carbon monoxide, and how to protect yourself during a carbon monoxide leak, click here.

If you have any concerns or would like to have a new boiler installed, please contact us at info@bradfordboilercompany.co.uk or 01274 317168.

Energy Efficient Boilers

When looking to purchase a new boiler, energy efficiency is often an overlooked part of the decision as it is not often fully understood. An inefficient boiler can lead to lukewarm radiators and increased bills if not properly maintained or replaced, if necessary.

Energy efficiency refers to the amount of energy used to heat your home. An efficient boiler will use less energy to heat your home, which is very cost-effective. Less efficient boilers will require more energy to heat your home, which will cost you more.

What causes a boiler to be inefficient?

Naturally, boilers will never be 100% efficient as some heat is lost through hot gas through the flue. In addition to this, boilers will naturally become less efficient the older they get, which can often be a reason to purchase a new boiler.

Older models of boilers are often less efficient as they are often not built as condensing boilers. Condensing boilers are one of the best types of boilers for efficiency due to condensing vapour, which preserves more energy.

Energy ratings

In the UK, there are two types of energy ratings you may encounter: ErP and SEDBUK. Depending on the age and where the boiler was manufactured will affect which energy rating you encounter.

ErP

Energy-related Products (ErP) are a measurement used by the European Union to measure the efficiency of water heating systems, including boilers. The ErP scale ranges from A – G, with A being the most efficient and G being the least. A-rated boilers are at least 90% efficient, while G rated boilers are less than 70% efficient.

SEDBUK

Seasonal Efficiency of a Domestic Boiler (SEDBUK) is a measurement used in the UK to determine the efficiency of a boiler made in the UK. There are two versions of the SEDBUK, the 2005 version is a scale from A – G, with the 2009 version replacing the A – G grading with percentages. Since 2015, both of these versions have stopped being used; they have now been replaced with the ErP measurement.

Benefits

There are variety of benefits to getting a more efficient boiler, including:
-Reduced bills: As the boiler is more efficient, this means less energy is required to heat the home. This consequently decreases the bills.
-Carbon footprint: Due to less energy being required to heat your home, this improves the carbon footprint of your home.

How to maintain efficiency

Over time, a boiler’s efficiency will decrease due to ageing. To maintain the efficiency and reduce the decline, you should:
Service your boiler – Boilers should be serviced annually to check for faults and potential issues. By regularly servicing your boiler, you can avoid any faults that may affect how efficient the boiler is.
-Bleed your radiators when needed: From time to time, your radiators may need bleeding to improve the efficiency of the boiler. If your radiators take a while to heat up or have cold spots, you should bleed your radiators.
-Test your heating monthly: Even in summer, you should test your heating monthly for a few minutes to make sure it is still working with no issues. This is especially important as it will allow you to check for faults when waiting for the next service.

If you have any questions or would like to replace your current boiler with a more efficient boiler, contact us today at info@bradfordboilercompany.co.uk or at 01274 317169.

Should I Repair or Replace My Boiler?

Having a boiler breakdown, especially during colder periods of time, is a nightmare; you are left without heating until your local boiler expert can fix it. If it’s just a one-off repair, then it is inconvenient, but if it is recurring, then it might be time to consider replacing the boiler.

Sometimes it can be difficult to decide whether to repair or replace your boiler as it could just be an occasional repair or service it may need, or it could be a financial nightmare with regular repairs required. In this blog, we will review when it might be a good idea to repair, or replace your boiler.

DIY

Sometimes when a boiler breaks down, there can be small DIY fixes that can be used to reduce the chances of needing a boiler repair expert. A few fixes that you can do include:
-Thaw any frozen pipes using hot water.
-Bleed your radiators.
-Ensure the thermostat is set to the correct time. If you own a smart thermostat, you should check that it is connected to the boiler.
If none of these fixes works, then you should contact your local boiler repair experts to fix your boiler.

Efficiency

Newer boilers have been ranked on an efficiency scale, from A – G. A-rated boilers are the most efficient types of boilers, averagely being above 90% efficient. Meanwhile, G-rated boilers are the least efficient types of boilers, averagely being below 70% efficient.

One reason you may wish to replace your boiler is if it is rated lower on the efficiency scale. Not only is having an efficient boiler more environmentally friendly, it is also cheaper to run long-term.

Frequency

Boilers, from time to time, will break down. The seriousness and the frequency of the breakdown will affect whether you should repair or replace your boiler. If the boiler is regularly breaking down, then you should replace your boiler as this will reduce costs long term. If the boiler rarely breaks down, then you should look to repair your boiler by contacting your local boiler company.

Warranty

It is important to check your warranty; you should always check to make sure you are still under warranty, and follow all guidelines set in the contract. If your boiler is still under warranty, then it is worth getting your boiler repaired as it will usually cover the costs of new parts, and potentially even the labour costs.

Future

When debating whether to repair or replace our boiler, you should think about the future: how long will this boiler realistically last? If the boiler has very minor faults, then you may think it’s better to repair your boiler since it’ll likely last for years. If your boiler realistically won’t last longer than a few years without regular repairs, then it is best to replace your boiler. In addition to this, you may also need to consider the boiler’s age; will there likely be easily accessible parts available in the future?

Costs

Purchasing a new boiler can be expensive as they are a long term investment. This reason alone is why many people are hesitant to replace their boiler when they identify problems with their current boiler. When you are considering whether to replace your boiler, you should identify any long term costs; will you often have to pay for repairs? If you think that long term the cost of repairing your boiler will be larger than the cost of purchasing a new boiler, then you should consider replacing your boiler.

Parts for repairs

As a boiler model begins to age, parts for repairs can become progressively more difficult to replace. This means that sometimes a boiler repair expert may tell you to replace your boiler to ensure that long term, you can access parts required for any future boiler breakdowns.

Warning signs

There are certain warning signs that you should look for when it comes to your boiler. Some of these signs can be fixed, however, a replacement might be on the table depending on the damage:
-Unusual sounds – Boilers can make sounds when starting up, but if they start to make unusual banging, gurgling or clunking sounds, then it is important to call a local boiler repair expert to identify any issues. The expert may suggest that the boiler should be replaced if the boiler is very damaged.
-Bad odours – Naturally, boilers do not create an odour, so if you notice a faint bad odour from the boiler, you should immediately call a boiler expert. A smell from a boiler is likely a carbon monoxide leak. Despite carbon monoxide gas being odourless, a leak does have a smell due to the boiler not burning properly. We have written a blog about signs of a carbon monoxide leak, and how to deal with one. Read our blog here.
-Radiators – One common detected issue with boilers as they start to age is radiators taking longer to heat up. There are multiple reasons why radiators can start to take longer heating up, including age, or your central heating system is full of sludge. You should contact your local boiler repair expert to find the cause of the issue. They might be able to flush your central heating system if sludge is present, but they may suggest replacing your boiler if it is down to age or wear.

Conclusion

In conclusion, it can be difficult to determine when to repair or replace your boiler. Depending on the state of the boiler, sometimes it is financially beneficial to purchase a new boiler.

Repair:
-Younger boiler
-Highly efficient boiler
-Under warranty
-Minor faults

Replace:
-Older boiler
-Bad sounds or odours
-Costs of repairs
-Regular breakdowns
-No warranty

Please be aware that there are given circumstances where these may not apply. If you are unsure whether to repair or replace your boiler, you should contact us at info@bradfordboilercompany.co.uk or at 01274 317169.

Take a look at our range of boilers.

5 Tips To Purchasing A New Boiler

Once a boiler breaks or becomes ineffective, you will have to buy a new boiler to replace your current one. As buying a boiler can be costly and difficult, we are exploring useful tips to find the perfect boiler for your needs.

Reliability

Finding a reliable boiler is essential; as boilers are a long-term investment, the brand and model must be reliable to make it worth it. If the company or the model are very unreliable, the likelihood is that the boiler will frequently break down or will stop working after a small period. If you buy a boiler from a respectable brand, you will reduce the chances of having to pay for frequent breakdowns as they will be made with higher quality materials and made to last longer.

If you are unsure if a brand or a product is reliable, you should look at reviews to understand what others think about the service or the product.

Types of boiler

There are multiple types of boilers, which are created differently to meet the different requirements and needs of the user. The main types of boiler are:
-Combi (combination) boiler: Combi boilers do not need a storage tank as they only heat the water you will use, often meaning they are cost-effective and efficient.
-System boiler: System boilers store hot water in a storage tank, but get their water supply directly from the mains.
-Conventional boiler: Conventional boilers use a separate water cylinder to store hot water.
We have explained each type of boiler, and its advantages and disadvantages in further detail here.

Sizing

Another issue that may arise is the size of your house. Depending on the size of the house and how much water will be used, there might be less of a selection to choose from. A combi boiler is often suited best for smaller properties with one bathroom, or for people who live by themselves or with one other person. System boilers are considered best suited for larger properties with larger water demand.

Efficiency

Every model of boiler has a different efficiency rating, based on how much waste product is produced. Boilers are rated from A – G, with A being the most efficient and G being the least efficient. When purchasing a new boiler, you should consider the efficiency rating it has; not only can a more efficient boiler be cost-effective, it is more environmentally friendly.

Warranty

Boiler warranties are essential when getting a new boiler; they cover you when your boiler unexpectedly breaks down or malfunctions. This means that the manufacturer can replace your boiler if it breaks during the warranty. It is important to thoroughly read through the terms and conditions for the warranty to ensure you are meeting the requirements set. This often includes getting your boiler serviced annually.

If you have any questions regarding boilers or would like a boiler installed, please do not hesitate to contact us at info@bradfordboilercompany.co.uk or 01274 317169.

A Guide To Oil Combi Boilers

Oil combi boilers are an efficient type of boiler that run on the burning of oil. The heat produced from the burning of oil heats the water, which is used across your home to warm up the environment.

What is a combi boiler?

A combi boiler, also known as a combination boiler, is a water heating and a central heating unit, combined into one. Due to the small nature of combi boilers, they are best suited for smaller houses.

An oil combi boiler may seem similar to a gas powered combi boiler, but there are a few big differences. For example, an oil combi boiler has instant access to water as it is directly connected to the water mains supply. In addition to this, an oil boiler requires an oil tank to store the oil in.

Advantages of an oil combi boiler

There are multiple benefits to having an oil combi boiler, including:
-Instant water access: As the boiler is connected to the water mains, it has instant access to water to heat up.
-Efficiency: Oil has a better return on every unit of energy used than gas, meaning an oil boiler is more efficient as it has a reduced amount of waste products. Newer models of oil boilers are estimated to be 92 – 95% efficient.
-Accessibility: For those who do not have access to the grid, particularly in rural areas, having an oil combi boiler is a great alternative.
-Size: Oil combi boilers are generally smaller than most types of boilers, meaning they take up less space in your kitchen or utility room.
Build-ups – Calcium, dirt and scaling build-ups are less likely to happen with an oil combi boiler as no hot water is stored.

Disadvantages of an oil combi boiler

Like all boilers, oil combi boilers also have some drawbacks:
-Oil prices: Oil prices fluctuate a lot, meaning there might be a period of time where oil combi owners are paying a lot more for the same amount of oil.
-Timing: Despite having instant water access, oil combi boilers provide hot water slower than gas boilers.
-Breaking down: If an oil combi boiler breaks down, you will lose both hot water and heating.
-Water pressure: The water pressure may decrease if multiple appliances are using the hot water at the same time.

Oil Combi Boiler Models

There are a variety of oil combi boiler models, which will perfectly fit your home and your needs. A few models we recommend are:
Worcester Bosch Greenstar Heatslave II
Grant VortexBlue
Firebird Envirogreen Combi
Warmflow Agentis Combi

Conclusion

In conclusion, oil combi boilers are efficient boilers that are perfectly suited for small houses, especially for those who do not have access to the grid. Despite having to pay for oil and the potential decrease in water pressure for multiple appliances, oil boilers are estimated to be 92 – 95% efficient bringing costs down and have instant water access when required.

If you have any questions or would like a boiler installed, please contact us on 01274 317169 or at info@bradfordboilercompany.co.uk.

Find out more about how Bradford Boiler Company can help with your oil boiler here.