If you live in a typical household, your house probably uses central heating. Central heating uses a boiler and if that boiler is not performing at an optimum level, it could lead to higher heating bills, as an inefficient boiler is not able to heat your home properly. If the factors leading to these issues are not rectified, the whole system might fail. Fortunately, doing a few checks and maintenance tasks can get your system working as it should.
Plan Regular Checks
A boiler should be treated like any other mechanical device. Therefore, you should plan regular servicing to ensure your boiler, as well as all other parts of your central heating system, keep running at optimum levels. Essentially, you should plan for annual servicing. Get a registered engineer or contractor to check your boiler to prevent it from seizing up when it is used for long periods like in the winter. The engineer will also detect minor issues and rectify them before they become a problem.
Keep the Boiler Clean
Although it might not be obvious to many people, keeping your boiler clean is one of the best ways to keep it working optimally. Keeping the boiler dust-free will prevent the pipes and tubes from becoming clogged as this can hamper its efficiency leading to higher heating bills.
To ensure dust does not build up on the boiler, wipe it down when cleaning the house. A word of caution though, do not attempt to clean the interior yourself and instead let a professional take care of that for you.
Bleed Your Radiators
Bleeding a radiator involves letting air out of the system. One way of finding out if your radiator needs bleeding is if the top half of the radiator feels colder than the bottom or if there are cold spots on the radiator. When air gets trapped inside the system, it causes the radiator to warm up much slower than it should. This means it will not do its job properly, and because of the energy wasted to get the radiator to an optimum temperature, it could lead to higher bills without any upside.
Bleeding a radiator is relatively easy as all you have to do is prepare the area around the radiator by laying some towels down and opening the bleed valve or nipple. Remember to switch the central heating off and ensure that the radiator is cold before you attempt to do this. If you do not, hot water and air might shoot out of the valve leading to burns.
Stabilise the Pressure
Because central heating needs cold and hot air to flow around a circuit and through radiators, the pressure in the system should be stable. If not, the radiator will not be as efficient as it should be. The pressure should be around 1.5 bar. If the pressure falls below this level, you may have a leak or may have bled the radiators recently. If you have not bled your radiators recently, then the culprit is one or several leaks in your system. Find and fix them as soon as you can.
Flush the System
If you have done all the above and your radiators are not heating up, you should try to find out if there is sludge in the system. Deposits can build up in your radiators and pipes over time and when they start clogging your system, your boiler can no longer work as efficiently as it should. Besides reducing the efficiency of your boiler, these deposits might cause corrosion which is very expensive to repair.
A certified engineer or contractor can use pressurised water to flush your system. This water passes through the system at a high pressure, dislodging deposits, debris and rust.
When you insulate your pipes, there is very little heat lost and your boiler will not have to work too hard to heat your home. By using foam tubes that reduce heat loss, the water in the system can stay hotter for longer leading to much more efficient heating.
When All Else Fails
If you have done everything you can to ensure your boiler performs as efficiently as possible and it still does not, it is time to consider getting a new, high-efficiency boiler. The good news is that a new boiler cost has fallen over the past few years. Because you may not have shopped around for a boiler in years, you can get an idea of the costs in this guide. The handy guide linked will give you a good feel for how much it will cost to get a new boiler installed in your home.
If you want to reduce your energy costs, you should ensure that your boiler works as efficiently as possible. There are simple ways to do this, but remember that if you have to take anything apart, it would be best to ask a professional to check your heating system for you.