The prolonged spell of chilly weather that we have endured this winter has extended into spring, making 2013 one of the coldest years on record. Such a continued period of cold weather has many consequences, particularly for your boiler and central heating system. It means relying on the boiler much more than in an average year which puts a greater strain on the system as well as costing you more on your energy bills. So how can the cold weather affect your boiler, and what can you do to prevent problems from occurring in the first place?
The team at CentralHeatingBoilers.org.uk take us through some of the common boiler problems in prolonged cold spells and what we can do to prevent them in future.
All new boilers are condensing boilers. They are much more energy efficient than old style boilers, which means lower energy bills and a reduction in your home’s carbon emissions. However, there is one respect in which condensing boilers have a problem that the old style did not have, and that is with regards to enduring extremely cold conditions. Condensing boilers work by re-using some of the hot waste gases in order to heat water, this means that moisture in the gases is condensed. In order to expel that moisture a pipe is needed which runs into a drain on the outside of the building. The waste pipe which carries condensation from the boiler to the drain outside is known as the condensate pipe. During long spells of cold weather this can freeze and potentially burst, especially if it is exposed to the air outside. If this happens you can be left without hot water and heating. The good news is that if this problem does occur, it is relatively straightforward to fix. Use a hot water bottle, or heat pads, to gradually unfreeze the pipe. Then hold down the boiler’s reset button and it should come back on.
In order to prevent it from freezing again it is advisable to make sure that all pipes are properly insulated with lagging – which you can buy from a DIY retailer. Another option is to have the pipe rerouted so that it isn’t exposed to the outside air and at risk of freezing.
If you have an old boiler, and it is damaged beyond repair by the cold weather we have been experiencing this year, it is good idea to get a new boiler quote.
Image Courtesy: barnethomes.org, channel4.com