As seasons change, so does the care required for our boilers. To ensure their optimal performance and pre-empt any issues during the demanding winter months, it's sensible to conduct regular boiler maintenance checks.

Here are 8 valuable tips to help maintain your heating system, ensuring your home stays warm and energy costs stay low throughout the winter months.

Monitor Water Pressure (Monthly):

Low water pressure is a common culprit behind boiler troubles, potentially causing inadequate heating or even giving the impression of a malfunction. Yet, often, the solution is a quick adjustment that you can make in under a minute. Whether you have a manual or digital gauge, the pressure should consistently fall within the 1 to 1.5 bar range when the system is cold.

Prevent Condensate Pipe Freezing (Every Winter)

During cold winters, boilers may cease functioning due to frozen condensate pipes. If your boiler is susceptible, a recommended energy-efficient measure, endorsed by the Heating and Hot Water Industry Council is to maintain low, constant heating. Although this might incur slightly higher costs, it can ultimately save you both money and the inconvenience of your boiler breaking down.

Radiator Bleeding (Twice a year)

This maintenance tip applies year-round, but it's particularly vital as autumn and winter approach and you gear up to use the heating system again after months of dormancy. Radiator bleeding involves releasing trapped air from each radiator individually — a natural occurrence in gas central heating systems as air accumulates over time. If you notice cold spots at the top of your radiators, it's a clear indicator that bleeding is due.

Ventilation Check (Every few month)

Ensure proper airflow around your boiler, especially if it resides in a confined space or necessitates dedicated ventilation. Keep air vents clear of debris like cobwebs and ensure no obstructions hinder the ventilation. Avoid using compartments housing boilers for storage purposes, especially combustible materials.

Monitor Inhibitor Levels (Annually)

Regularly assessing inhibitor levels in the heating system is critical to forestall corrosion and the formation of magnetite, colloquially known as sludge. A professional engineer can easily evaluate inhibitor levels during your annual boiler service. Maintaining adequate inhibitor levels within the system helps ward off costly breakdowns and the need for remedial actions like system cleansers or power flushing.

Radiator Valve Inspection (Annually, Pre-Winter)

It's wise to evaluate the functionality of radiator valves before the onset of winter. Checking your valves annually can help you spot and address minor faults, potentially sparing you from costly service calls.

Annual boiler service (annually, pre-winter):

It's highly advisable to schedule an annual boiler service to be conducted by a Gas Safe registered engineer. A comprehensive examination by a seasoned professional can detect and address minor issues before they escalate into major, costly problems. For landlords, an annual Gas Safety Certificate is also mandatory - separate from the service.

An annual service is a crucial aspect of maintaining a healthy boiler. It helps reduce the risk of unexpected breakdowns, particularly during periods when heating is vital. A Gas Safe registered engineer can identify and address minor issues that might otherwise go unnoticed, enhancing both your safety and potential long-term cost savings. Furthermore, an annual service often preserves the validity of your boiler manufacturer's warranty, if applicable.

To ensure your boiler is primed and ready for the impending winter, we recommend booking the annual service in September or October.

The clocks are changing - reset your heating’s timer (Annually, Pre-Winter)

In the UK the clocks go back 1 hour at 2am on the last Sunday in October. It is therefore important to confirm your boiler has the ‘date & time’ set correctly.

Modern variances are likely to automatically update themselves, however you may need to manually change older boilers yourself to avoid any confusion and ensure your heating systems are automatically turning on and off when you intend.