Easy DIY gas central heating fixes.

With all the drama during this recent cold spell I thought to start a thread with some easy DIY fixes, so hoping others will contribute.

For starters:
During this cold spell if you find the central heating will not fire up then check the condensate pipe particularly if it is on an outside wall. If it has frozen then the boiler may not fire up. To fix get a couple of jugs of hot water and pour over the pipe to thaw it. Much cheaper to check this before you pay for call out charges as it only takes a couple of minutes.

Disclaimer: I am not a gas engineer, and will not be held responsible if you scold yourself attempting the above. :slight_smile:

What a good idea for a thread.

Just an addition to your comment:

During this cold spell if you find the central heating will not fire up then check the condensate pipe particularly if it is on an outside wall. If it has frozen then the boiler may not fire up. To fix get a couple of jugs of hot water and pour over the pipe to thaw it. Much cheaper to check this before you pay for call out charges as it only takes a couple of minutes.
Once you've thawed out the pipe, you may have to reset/restart the boiler. This is different on all boilers but modern ones tend to have a power switch that you can hold down to turn it on, and then again to turn it back on. Older ones may require power cycling via other means (isolation switch or similar).

Bleeding your radiators can make a big difference, especially if they haven’t been done for a while.

Be aware that after bleeding the system, you may need to increase the water pressure in the system. Most modern boilers have an inbuilt filling loop, and older ones tended to have this separate. Familiarise yourself with the setup of your system before you bleed out the air, otherwise your boiler may shut off due to low water pressure with no knowledge of how to increase it again.

On that note, if your water pressure has dropped since you last looked and you haven’t bled your radiators (and the system is at the same temperature), this may be indicitave of a leak, or a failing expansion vessel. Both of these would be best left to a heating engineer unless you’re very good at DIY (and then this thread likely isn’t telling you anything new).

And finally a simple one: if your electricity goes off, your gas boiler and heating will do too. All systems require electricity to pump the water around, ignite the gas, and run the controls (timer/thermostat). Not much you can do about this aside from check that the boiler is working again once the power comes back on.

Good Morning All,

As I commented elsewhere recently I am absolutely gob smacked that condensing boilers are still fitted with 20mm plastic pipe condensate drains which are piped externally.

We had what was at the time, a state of the art, German manufactured, LPG condensing boiler in 2002. I came downstairs one morning to find the boiler showing a flame failure alarm. A couple of attempts to re-start the boiler were unsuccessful prompting further investigation. It didn’t take too long to discover that the external drain was iced up.

The second time this happened I piped the drain internally. It was pretty crude as it rested on top of the radiator mounting brackets around the back of the washing machine and properly plumbed in to the sink drain. This remained until the upgraded the Utility Room when the pipe was ‘buried’ in the wall (photo’s taken so we knew where it was in case we had to do any drilling!).

I don’t know what the standard fitting instructions were for this boiler in Europe but I doubt it involved external drains.

So here we are, 16 years on, and I find condensing boilers are still being fitted with such drains and, at the risk of upsetting any professional boiler installers on here, that installers aren’t aware of these issues. I’m sure the Gas Safe Register should be and there should be approved methods of installation.

I was reading the other day that a significant number of condensing boilers aren’t actually being operated in a condensing mode i.e. at temperatures less than 57 degrees C anyway which kind of negates the point of fitting them.

I’m going to get off this ‘hobby horse’ before I do upset somebody…

Regards

Richard

As I commented elsewhere recently I am absolutely gob smacked that condensing boilers are still fitted with 20mm plastic pipe condensate drains which are piped externally.
Same here!

Mine comes out of the boiler at 22mm (IIRC), then after 8 inches (inside) turns into a 32mm waste (also inside), which joins into the waste coming from the kitchen (outside).

at the risk of upsetting any professional boiler installers on here, that installers aren't aware of these issues.
There are cowboys in every trade. The only people you might upset are people that you don't want anywhere near your boiler.