During the winter months boiler maintenance is needed more than ever. We can explain how to combat the cold and stay warm.
If you have a pay as you go gas meter and accidentally run out of gas, you may see an error code L2 displayed on the boiler. If this happens, please top the gas up by going to your local store that supports gas top ups. Next turn the power off on the boiler and on again. Try to restart the boiler and this should clear the fault code. If doing this hasn’t worked, it means that you need to purge the gas into the boiler by repeating, turning the boiler off and on and resetting the boiler every five minutes. This may take a while to purge the gas into the boiler.
As temperatures reach below freezing it is important to have pipe insulation around pipes especially to those pipes that are hard to reach. If you do, however, have a L2 fault code and a frozen pipe that is safe to reach (below the waist) please do the following:
Lightly tap the condensate pipe outside to see if you can locate where the blockage is; when you find it:
- Boil a kettle full of water
- Add cold water and the kettle water into a watering can or jug, so that the water is warm but not hot and pour over the frozen area to start defrosting the blockage, this can be time consuming, but it will defrost.
- As an alternative, place a warm hot water bottle on the condensate pipe to help defrosting. Please be aware that if it is freezing temperature when you pour water on the pipe that water can ice over and cause slippery surfaces.
If you have a L2 – Ignition Lockout on your boiler during the winter period it is vital to check that the above issues are not causing the fault. The cold weather can be fatal to vulnerable people and a major percentage of call outs in the winter are mainly due to issues that can be fixed without an engineer. As a first point of call, please try and fix the issue yourself with the tips and advice provided.
What to do if your Touch Connect isn’t paired to the boiler
If you have recently replaced the batteries in your thermostat or had a power cut, the boiler may have become disconnected from your thermostat. If this is the case there is a simple solution, place the Touch Connect roughly 2 metres away from the boiler and then put new batteries in the Touch. Leave the thermostat to sync for 15 minutes and this should sort your issue out.
What to do if you think your boiler is leaking water
In the rare event that you experience water dripping from out of your boiler do not be alarmed. It could be that a frozen condensate pipe has filled, and the water is backed-up. But in the event of a leak that is non-condensate pipe related here is what you should do:
If the leak is small you may not have to isolate the boiler. Simply put a container down to catch the water (Make sure this is checked regularly to ensure no over flow) and call an engineer. If the leak is causing damage and there is a lot of water, you will then need to isolate your boiler (Please check your manual on how to do this or contact Ideal Boilers). If the boiler is inundated with water, it may be best to use the stop tap and call an engineer.
If you have a leak coming from external pipework or a radiator this is not a boiler fault. This is a plumbing issue. In this case contain the leak if small. If the leak is causing damage and there is a lot of water, you will then need to isolate your boiler. And if the pipe is burst and flooding with water it may be best to use the stopcock and call an engineer.
It is very important that every household member knows where the stopcock is in case of an emergency.
What to do if you think you can smell gas
If you can smell gas or think there is a gas leak in your property you must act straight away. First, turn the gas off at the meter if you can safely (which is normally found under the stairs or external to the home). Open all windows and doors to the property. If you have children or animals, evacuate them from the house. This is because carbon monoxide is heavier than air, so they will breathe the gas in more due to being lower to the ground.
Do not use anything with a source of ignition if you have electronics that are on, leave them on and if they are off, leave them off. Do not smoke or use anything that can cause a naked flame.
Next call 0800 111 999 which is the emergency gas service. They will then arrange someone to attend your property within 3 hours to make the area safe. If an engineer has attended to work on your gas appliance within 7 days, please let the business aware of this.
Gas leaks can happen to any poorly maintained appliance such as a gas cooker, gas fire or boiler. This highlights the importance of having your appliances serviced annually.
Another gas safety tip would be to have a carbon monoxide alarm fitted, please see the manufacturer’s instructions and British Standards for the most appropriate place to store your alarm.
Heat only boiler with no hot water but heating or vice versa
If you have a heat only or system boiler, they cannot tell the difference between a demand for heating hot water and central heating like a combi can. So, if you do have this issue, you need to call a plumber not your boiler manufacturer. This is because a system or heat boiler only works off one demand and that is to heat water. It is the controls that do the rest.
Going on holiday?
If you are going away this winter and you are not sure what to do with your boiler - this is what you should do.
This question is a common household query, do I leave the boiler on or off?
Always keep your boiler running when you are away, this is because if you are away and there are freezing temperatures pipes can freeze up outside. The best thing to do is to lower the temperature on your thermostat so that there won’t be as much of a demand. If you are worrying about the boiler operating unattended don’t. Any boiler fitted after 1996 must be fitted with a safety mechanism that shuts down if there were any major faults with the boiler. Leaving your boiler on standby mode can also reduce the parts seizing up inside the boiler, which is another reason to why you shouldn’t turn the boiler of as the boiler has its own cycles to prevent the seizing of parts.
If you have a Vogue boiler there is a specific holiday mode on the thermostat (PRT4) that is easy to use and will lower the demand temperature for a specific amount of time.
Bleeding a radiator
If you’re feeling cold in your home, this might be because you have air in your radiator system. (Cold at the top, hot at the bottom) You can tell if there is bair by touching the radiators when they are on. If they are cold in places, then this means that they need bleeding. Here’s what you should do:
When the heating is off, and the system is cool, make sure you have a radiator vent key and towel at the ready. Use the radiator vent key by turning it anti-clockwise to open the valve, make sure the towel is behind the radiator, just in case it sprays hot water. Once you’ve finished, turn the key clockwise to close the valve.
After you have done this check the pressure gauge on your system and make sure it is between 1-1.5 bar. If it is not between 1-1.5 bar, fill the boiler up with the filling loop, usually located under the boiler. (If you have a heat or system boiler, it may be near your cylinder)
If you have too much pressure in your system you can reduce the pressure by bleeding the radiators with a bucket to reduce the amount of water in the system. This is important because if not then this can cause the pressure relief valve to blow open due to the amount of pressure built up.
Should you need any help, please contact our Customer Services team on 01482 498 660.