Central Heating Problems


Gas central heating is a very safe, cheap and reliable system when it’s properly maintained. However, central heating problems can still arise from time to time. Not all central heating problems will require a professional; there are some common issues that can be dealt with without calling out an engineer.

In this article we will go over some of the common central heating problems that homeowners may come across, how to solve them, and when to call in a professional.

Central heating problems – The boiler is working, but the radiators are cold

The most likely cause of your radiators not working is a faulty pump, or faulty central heating controls. You might be able to check for yourself if the boiler pump is working – check your boiler manual to find out. If it does need replacing, you will need to call in an engineer to do so. Do not attempt to replace the pump yourself unless you are qualified to do so. Be sure to also check the thermostat and the timer. Again, you will need to call in an engineer if either of these are faulty.

Air in the central heating system can also be a cause of radiators not heating properly. Before calling in assistance, bleed your radiators and see if this corrects the issue.

Central heating problems – noisy boiler or pipes

Unusual noises coming from your boiler should never be ignored. A noisy boiler is likely to be a sign of a fault developing which could lead to a very expensive repair or even a breakdown. Hissing and banging noises from your boiler or pipes should be dealt with as soon as possible.

Noises in the pipes could be caused by something as simple as a scale build up. Scale in the system can cause air bubbles which in turn cause banging noises. Chemical descalers, found in DIY stores, treat the problem effectively and may save you money versus paying for a callout.

Another common cause of strange noises from a boiler is the water pressure having dropped below a certain level. Increasing the water pressure is easy – there will usually be a tap under the sink (or similar, check your manual) with which you can refill the boiler. However, falling water pressure can be a sign of another issue, and if the pressure continues to drop on a regular basis the problem should be investigated by a professional.

Central heating problems – total loss of heating

If your heating isn’t working at all, you should check the following –

Pilot light – if this has blown out, you can relight it using the instructions in your boiler manufacturer’s manual.
Gas/oil supply – you will be able to find out if there is a problem with your gas supply by contacting your supplier for more information. If you have an oil fired boiler, check the gauge.
Programmer – check that the programmer is on, and that the thermostat is turned up high enough.