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As a child, winter is a wonderful time of the year, filled with snow days, presents and cosy blankets.
For adults, however, winter can be a little trickier with heating bills hiking up, the boiler packing in and forking out to buy all the presents for your family and friends. It’s an expensive time of the year which typically results in a lot of stress.
So, gear up, get prepared and tackle winter head-on.
One of the biggest costs around this time is heating – as your gas bill could double or even triple! But what if we said it doesn’t have to? To help you combat the winter blues we’ve put together some top tips to prepare your central heating system and help you save every penny possible.
BLEED YOUR RADIATORS
One of the most common complaints from homeowners – when it comes to them switching their central heating back on for winter – is that their radiators aren’t heating up as well as they should be. Often, if a radiator has cold patches, it just needs bleeding/Venting which is a simple task and usually, there’s no need to call out an engineer.
1. If you don’t already have one, get yourself a bleeding key. They’re available at most hardware stores and cost very little.
2. Have a cloth or small tub to hand.
3. Make sure your boiler is turned off, Its best to bleed the radiators when they are cold and the air has settle to the top
3. At the end of your radiator, there will be a slot that you can fit your key into. On newer radiators there is a slot where you can use a small flat screw driver.
4. As you turn the key you will hear a hissing noise which is just the built-up air in the radiator releasing. This will be followed by water, so ensure that you have your tub or cloth up to the end.
5. Close the radiator and repeat across all the radiators in your home.
Ensure that you check your boiler after bleeding all the radiators as your pressure could drop and may need topping up.
TURN YOUR BOILER ON BEFORE IT GETS COLD
Most of us have our boiler switched off throughout the whole summer period, dependant on the lovely British weather of course, but even if you’re tempted, it’s probably not the best idea to turn it back on to full power when it gets a bit colder.
Your boiler builds up a lot of dust and grit as it sits unused throughout the summer and shocking the system by putting it on full blast, after months of inactivity, is a sure-fire way to result in heartache and unneeded stress.
Turning your boiler on even once or twice a month – in the months leading up to the cold snap – can help you avoid having issues when you’ll rely on it most. Another benefit of doing this is that it will highlight any issues with the boiler before you need it the most (in winter), giving you a chance to save or get any necessary repairs or replacements sorted in good time.
PROBLEMS WITH WATER PRESSURE?
Is your boiler pressurised correctly? To ensure that your central heating system is working correctly, the boiler needs to maintain pressure. Quite often if you are having issues with your boiler pressure this is an indication that something is wrong with your boiler system such as a water leak , an issue with an expansion vessel or problems with valves.
Check you boilers pressure gauge, ideally when boiler is cold. its should read around 1 bar on the gauge. if its below and you know how to re fill the boiler. top the pressure back up to 1 bar
Our previous tip of turning on your boiler prior to the winter months will help you diagnose this issue before your boiler is a necessity. Issues with your water pressure can usually be fixed by repairing any of the problems mentioned above, but in severe cases, you may need to purchase a new boiler.
GET YOUR BOILER SERVICED ANNUALLY
Just like a car, your boiler also requires a bit of TLC to keep them ticking over nicely and functioning as well as they should. It’s something people tend to overlook or feel that they will be fine without doing, but that’s often not the case.
Boiler Services prolong the life of your boiler and central heating system and often it doesn’t cost as much as you would think. Having an annual service is often required to keep your manufacturer warranty valid, but that’s not the only reason you should ensure you do it.
A service will ensure that your boiler is tested for efficiency, checked for leaks, the clocks are adjusted and your water and gas pressure is as it needs to be. It’s recommended that you should have your boiler serviced in summer, so when it comes to winter everything is ready and in tip-top shape, avoiding any unnecessary expense.
When having your boiler serviced, always use a Gas Safe Registered engineer.
YOU’VE PAID FOR IT, SO KEEP THE HEAT IN…
It seems like a no-brainer. You’re paying for your home to be heated, your boiler to be serviced and you’ve taken the time to bleed your radiators in preparation for the winter period, but have you made sure that you’re keeping that heat in?
There are several inexpensive things you can do around your home to keep the house warm, this ranges from advice like turning down your heat by one degree to covering your radiators in foil.