Emergency Boiler Repair
It can be extremely frustrating when your boiler breaks down in the middle of a cold winter. No heating or hot water and very cold rooms. It's also expensive to get it repaired, especially in the winter when you have to increase your electricity bill by using electric heaters.
In this article, we discuss emergency boiler repairs, the common boiler repair problems and what you should do if you find yourself in this situation.
What is boiler repair?
A boiler repair is when your boiler breaks down and you need to get it repaired. This can be caused by several factors, including lack of maintenance or even user error.
Here are some of the common boiler repair problems:
Boiler stops working in the winter
If your boiler fails in the middle of winter it's probably due to frozen pipes. When water freezes, it expands so if you have a burst pipe it could cause serious damage to your boiler. If you discover the problem early enough, heating up some water and using it to thaw out frozen pipes might do the trick. Otherwise, call a professional as soon as possible before the problem gets worse.
The pilot light goes out frequently
If your pilot light goes out frequently, a professional should inspect your boiler to confirm that no serious damage has been done. This problem could be caused by the pilot not lighting properly, which often happens when sediment builds up in the burner area.
The furnace frequently emits an acrid smell
A burning smell is most likely due to water dripping onto your heating system and causing it to overheat and emit smoke. The best course of action is to turn off your boiler until a professional can look at it to prevent further damage. If you continue using the heater, permanent damage could occur, rendering your unit unusable.
Oil-fired furnaces frequently stop working
An oil-fired furnace might stop working if its nozzle has become clogged. To test this, remove the nozzle and clean it with a wire brush or scouring pad before reattaching it to your furnace. If that fails to fix the issue, you'll need to replace the nozzle for your heater to function normally again.
Boilers emit bangs, pops and rattling sounds.
If your boiler starts making banging, popping or rattling sounds, you'll need to shut off its main valve immediately. Afterwards, call an expert to inspect your unit for cracks and other serious damage. If the damage is bad enough that your heater needs to be repaired or replaced, your best course of action is to contact an emergency plumber.
Leaks in your boiler pipes
Leaks in the supply lines connecting your boiler to its source of water may be well-hidden, but these are signs your boiler may have a problem. For instance, if you see mineral deposits building up around or just below where the pipes connect with the unit, this is an indication of a leak.
Other clues include unexplained spikes in water usage and random puddles of water around your boiler room. Both of these indicate a leak too, and you might even be able to pinpoint it down to a specific pipe if you know where the system's shut-off valves are located.
Is boiler repair an emergency?
If you've recently seen any of the aforementioned signs, then yes—you should call a plumber immediately. The last thing you want is for your system to spring another leak, which could result in severe damage to your home's foundation and other key components like wiring or floorboards. This also increases the likelihood that your boiler will burst into flames, which no one wants.
Boiler repair costs should I be worried about?
Yes, you should definitely be worried if your system is leaking or you've noticed any other signs that something might be wrong with it. Although the average boiler repair cost hovers around £200 to £600, the consequences of not fixing an emergency like this quickly enough can result in a bill that's ten times more.
Who should you call when your boiler breaks?
The best thing to do in the event of a potential boiler repair is to contact your local plumber. The sooner you get this issue fixed, the lower your repair costs will likely be. In addition, hiring a plumber immediately ensures that someone with professional training will determine if there's actually something wrong with your boiler.
How do I repair my emergency boiler?
There are several different types of boilers, but most boilers in the United Kingdom fall into the category of "combination boiler," which means that it heats your home and also supplies hot water to your devices. This makes fixing an emergency like this complicated, because if there is something wrong with your boiler then chances are you will need a new one. A qualified plumber should be able to tell you if your boiler can be repaired or if it needs to be replaced.
Can a plumber fix a boiler?
Yes, a plumber can fix an emergency boiler repair problem. However, if your boiler is more than 15 years old then it might be time to invest in a new model.
What is wrong with my boiler?
If you have determined that something is wrong with your boiler then call a plumber. You can also try to determine what is wrong with your boiler yourself. The easiest way to tell is if the pilot light will not stay lit. This can be a dangerous problem because without a flame the boiler has no way of generating heat. Call a plumber quickly to resolve this.
What can I expect from an emergency visit?
When you bring in a plumber to fix an emergency problem with your boiler expect them to inspect the entire machine and recommend a course of action. They might need to install a new part; they might be able to make repairs on-site, or they might have to replace the entire boiler.
What would an emergency visit cost?
During an emergency, you can expect to pay a premium price. You can expect to pay at least twice as much as you would on a normal visit. Sometimes the problem is more extensive than originally thought and the plumber will need to put in some time to get it working correctly. This could include parts that may be unexpectedly needed.
How should I prepare for the emergency plumber visit?
Make sure that your plumber has access to the entire home while they are working on the boiler. This means making sure that they can get in and out of all of your rooms during their work time. You may also need to make space in some areas for them to store equipment while they are not using it.
What should I expect the plumber to do?
The actual process of fixing a boiler can be very overwhelming and take a long time. In some cases, the plumber must work for several hours before they have completely fixed the problem. They may also ask you were certain valves or levers are located in case they need to turn something on or off. They may also have to remove some panels or equipment to access certain parts that are broken.
What happens if the plumber can't fix it?
If you are unable to get your boiler back up and running, then there is a chance that your plumber will recommend installing a new boiler for your home. Some of the problems that may warrant a new boiler include serious water damage, corrosion to the body of the boiler, fire hazards, and other major issues with it. If your plumber makes this recommendation then you should not try to fix it yourself because you could severely hurt yourself or lower its value as well as inconvenience all of your occupants.
What is the most common problem with a boiler?
The most common problem with boilers is the pilot light going out. This usually occurs from carbon build-up causing a lack of oxygen or if it simply runs out of fuel. In either case, the advice from your plumber should be to call for repairs as soon as possible because you may have serious issues with your boiler if it cannot stay lit.