It’s the middle of winter and the heating has gone wrong. It is something we dread, but winter is the most likely time for a boiler breakdown.
Some people are super-organised and well-prepared for whatever is coming up – including the weather!
The rest of us have lengthy “to-do” lists on which we do the most immediately urgent and other things slip ever downwards.
So with winter coming in due course, we’ve put together a checklist of things you need to do before the cold weather sets in, if you haven’t done them already!
Try firing the boiler – so far this year, it has not been so cold that we have needed to run the heating, so it is worth doing a test run before it becomes crucial. You should run your heating for at least an hour so that any problems will be obvious and can be investigated.
Check the radiators and pipework for leaks and cold spots. Cold spots in radiators may mean they need bleeding or they may mean that your heating system needs a power flush. It’s a good idea to get it booked in sooner rather than later as they can take several hours and gas engineers tend to get busier as the autumn and winter progress.
Book that boiler service. We have mentioned before that a service is advisable at least once a year and in any case if your boiler did fail during the winter and you have emergency insurance cover one of the conditions is that boilers must have been serviced within the last 12 months and remember to keep the certificate somewhere handy as the insurers may ask for proof.
Insurance cover – check your policy to ensure that it is up to date and covers the eventualities you will need in an emergency. Terms and conditions can be changed come renewal time.
Check external condense pipes – are they free from blockages, such as debris blown in during the summer? Are they adequately lagged so that they don’t freeze up?
Tank-stored fuel supplies. If you live in a rural area and your energy supply is stored in tanks, whether it is oil or LPG, check whether you have enough fuel as running out when there is snow and the deliveries may not be able to reach you is everyone’s worst nightmare.
It is important to not run down the levels too far in an oil tank because sediment can build up and cause problems in the pipes.