7 Things to check before calling a heating engineer
Your boiler isn’t working. You need it fixed, quick! It’s the most natural thing in the world to pick up the phone and call the heating engineer. After all, it’s urgent! But it’s all too easy to pay for a call-out fee to get the professional to your home – only to find out that the problem is something very basic you could have fixed yourself!
Here are seven things you should probably check for before making the call.
1. Check the power supply.
Any IT professional could recount the stories of being called to attend a ‘broken computer’ only to find it was unplugged at the wall. This is the equivalent for boilers. If you’re on a prepaid gas meter, check you haven’t run out of credit. Alternatively, make sure the electricity is reading the meter. Check your fuse box to make sure that the power supply circuit hasn’t been tripped. If it has, it’s as easy as flipping a switch to get it back on again. That’s one you definitely don’t want to discover via your heating engineer!
2. Check your timer.
For instance, there can be all sorts of reasons why you might have had a power cut. Some timers will lose the clock settings if that happens, and so the boiler won’t come on when you expect it to. It can sometimes be the case that there is a momentary interruption in power, and some electronic clocks (the one on your cooker, perhaps) manage to hold the correct time while others lose it – so it may not always be obvious if there’s been a minor glitch in power.
3. Check the pressure gauge on your boiler.
If it’s reading one bar or less, it could be that low pressure is to blame. Check the manual for your boiler for the exact details, but for all boilers, topping up the pressure is straightforward and not something you need to be paying a heating engineer to do for you.
4. Reset the boiler.
Again, modern boilers make this easy. Just hit the reset button and see if that solves the problem. For older-style gas boilers, it could alternatively be that the pilot light has gone out, so check that this is on and relight if necessary.
5. If you’re on gas, check that the other gas appliances are working – the cooker, etc.
If they aren’t, then you know you have a gas supply issue not a boiler issue, and can get the right help.
6. Check the thermostat settings
It could just be that the thermostat is turned down quite low, and it doesn’t feel it needs to come on given the temperature of the house. Try turning the thermostat up to a significantly higher temperature to see if that prompts it to kick in.
7. If you’re on heating oil, check that you haven’t run out of oil!
Sounds obvious, but sometimes the equipment can mislead you on thinking you have more than you do. For instance, some older oil tanks have sight gauges (transparent tubes running up the side of the tank showing you the oil level). These often require a lever at the bottom of the gauge to be pulled to allow the oil to settle at the correct level. It’s all too easy to think you have lots left only to discover that you’re running on empty! Sometimes the best check is the ever-reliable stick, inserted into the tank until you see it disturb the surface of the oil!
Checked all those and still no joy? Get the heating engineers in. You can contact us here.