You might not consciously think it, but the humble boiler is probably the heart of your home. It powers your heating, keeping your house warm and cosy. It provides hot water for a leisurely soak in the bath at the end of a long day. Yet it’s one of those things where we only really notice how much we rely on it, when it goes wrong.
Sometimes, faults can go undetected until they start to cause a problem. Sometimes it takes the heating to go off or the water not warming up for us to take notice and recognise there is an issue.
No one wants their boiler to break down – Especially if it happens in the middle of Winter! But it doesn’t just pose an inconvenience – A boiler breakdown or fault can be dangerous too.
So let’s take a look at some tell-tale signs that could mean that your boiler isn’t working as it should and might be in need of repairing or replacing.
How To Tell If Your Boiler Could Need Replacing
1. Radiators don’t heat up as quickly or at all
If your radiators are taking a long time to heat up then it could mean that your boiler is starting to fail. Most modern radiators are capable of reaching the necessary temperature quickly, so cold or tepid radiators could be a tell-tale sign that your boiler isn’t working as it should.
There are other reasons why your radiators might not be heating up e.g. needing to be bled or being full of sludge. However, if these issues are left unchecked they could do damage to your boiler through the dirty water circulating.
The best thing to do is get a Gas Safe registered heating engineer to come and have a look and identify whether you need a new boiler or alternative repairs.
2. There is a bad smell coming from the boiler
It’s never normal for a boiler in good working order to emit any kind of smell. Any odour coming from your boiler needs to be investigated by a Gas Safe registered heating engineer as soon as possible.
A funny smell could indicate that there is a leak somewhere in the boiler system and thus could mean that it isn’t burning properly. This could lead to a carbon monoxide leak, so even though CO is odourless, a funny smell could predict a more dangerous leak.
Warning signs of carbon monoxide leaks to look out for include:
- The boiler burning a yellow flame instead of a blue flame
- Dark, black soot-like stains on or around the boiler
- A pilot light that often goes out
- An increase in condensation on the inside of windows
Always make sure you have a Carbon Monoxide detector installed. You can read more about Carbon Monoxide safety here.
3. An increase in your energy bills
It’s likely that is already happening at the moment, what with the cost of living crisis. But if you’re noticing a steady rise in bills faster than you would expect then it could be down to your boiler working inefficiently. The older a heating system is, the less efficient it is likely to be. This means that the older your boiler is, the more expensive it could be to run.
To check out how efficient your boiler is, look at the rating on the ErP label. All new boilers have to a minimum of 92% ErP efficiency due to the ‘Boiler Plus’ government legislation.
So if you think that you probably do need a new boiler, you can rest assured that it will be more energy efficient than your current one. This, along with other tools like controls, can help you to reduce your heating bills and heat your home with a more sustainable approach.
4. You have a leaky boiler
Obvious signs of a link, like puddles, around your boiler are not okay to ignore – You need to take immediate action to have your boiler looked at by a heating professional engineer.
Leaks could be indicative of faulty internal parts that could even have disintegrated. A leak will also lead to future problems, like rust and corrosion. Also, depending on the severity of the leak, it could cause costly damage to your home.
Don’t forget that a leak also means hot water being wasted, which could cause your heating to be inefficient and costly in terms of bills. Call a heating engineer and have the boiler looked at ASAP to ascertain whether it can be repaired or whether a new boiler would be the better option.
5. Boiler is making funny noises
All appliances make a bit of noise when they are in operation – A normal boiler will make a low hum type noise when it’s firing up. You probably won’t even notice it! However, noises like clunking, banking or whirring are not sounds you should be ignoring.
These noises could indicate heat pump problems or a broken valve. They could also be signs of general wear and tear, and could mean that it’s time to get a new boiler before you start facing more costly repairs and problems.
If you notice a sudden change in the noise your boiler is making, turn it off and call a professional heating engineer right away. This way, you could stop it causing further damage.
What are the different types of boiler and which one do I need?
We’ve written a whole blog on this – You can find it here. In this quick guide to boiler types, we’ll explain the different types of boiler as well as the pros and cons of each one so you can decide which is the best boiler for you and your home.
What to consider when choosing a new boiler type
There are quite a few different factors to consider when you’re choosing what boiler would be best for your home.
- How much space do you have? If you don’t have much storage space and therefore couldn’t house a hot water tank, then that’s a very important factor to take into account when choosing a new boiler. A combi boiler could be a good option if that is the case.
- What is your existing system? It may be easier to choose a boiler that would fit in easily with your existing system. However, if you have an older home then it could be beneficial to change to a more modern system.
- What is your hot water usage like? If you have multiple bathrooms, for example, and are likely to have a need for simultaneous hot water from different outlets then a conventional or system boiler with a hot water tank might be what you need.
- What size boiler do you need? This will depend on your hot water demand, the size of your property and whether heat loss is likely. Generally the more people that live in the household, the higher demand of hot water and the larger the home will tend to be, meaning a larger boiler would be required. Don’t be tempted to oversize your boiler – Advances in technology means that this isn’t necessary to compensate for potential heat loss.
- What fuel type should I choose? The most common fuel type here in the UK is mains gas. Oil and Biomass fuels are also used. You may also want to consider future energy sources if you are replacing your heating system. Heat Pumps (Ground Source or Air Source) could be a viable option for your home.
How do you know which boiler brand is right for your home?
There are a few different things to look up when you’re considering which brand is best for your boiler purchase.
- Reviews – Always read other customer reviews before you buy! You would do it for other devices and appliances – A boiler is no different. Have a look through TrustPilot reviews or similar and see what a particular brands reputation is like.
- Awards – Does the brand have any awards or accolades to its name? Perhaps something like a Which? Best Buy Award.
- Customer Service – It’s not just the boiler itself you want to review, it’s the company’s customer service. How do they treat their customers and how easy is it to contact them if you need to?
- Price Range – Does the manufacturer have a range of boilers, including one that suits your price point?
- Efficiency – What are the efficiency ratings for the boiler in comparison to other makes and models?
Which are the best boiler manufacturers?
Here are our top ten boiler manufacturers – A list based on the above factors.
1 – Worcester Bosch
2 – Viessmann
3 – Alpha
4 – Ideal
5 – Vaillant
6 – Baxi
7 – Glow-Worm
8 – Potterton
9 – Intergas
10 – Vokera
For a more in-depth review of each of these boiler brands, head to a previous blog of ours here.
Trust Aura Gas to Install Your New Boiler
The main factors that we would never compromise on when choosing a new boiler are:
- Warranty period – You want as close to 10 years as possible
- A Which? Best Buy or similar award – You know you’re getting a good product if this is the case
- High ratings on product and customer service on TrustPilot or similar
With this in mind, there are only a few boilers brands that we would trust to perform well in our customer’s homes. That’s why you can rely on Aura Gas to help you choose the right boiler for you.