Do you know what to do if your boiler breaks down?

boiler breakdown cover image
May 13, 2016

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It’s safe to say that if you’re a homeowner you will probably have had to deal with a broken or faulty boiler at some point.

When we say ‘deal with’, what we really mean is having to call someone out to fix it – or in worst case scenarios have to go the whole hog and get a new boiler installed.

A lot of time that is exactly what is required, but there are some things you can do if your boiler breaks down that could save you a bit of money.

To help you with that, the experts over at have put together the below checklist so you know what to do if your boiler breaks down.

boiler breakdown guide

Boiler breakdown – do’s and don’ts

DO call out a Gas Safe Engineer if your boiler needs repairing

DO check if your insurance or boiler payment package covers breakdowns and emergency call outs

DON’T attempt to carry out any work on a boiler or other gas appliance yourself

DON’T panic – there are boiler engineers on call 24/7 across the UK

Five quick boiler checks you can make yourself

Does your boiler have a reset button or on/off switch? If so, try resetting the boiler

Are the power, gas and water supplies still on (or have credit if you use a prepayment meter)?

Are the heating controls and thermostat set and working correctly? Is the thermostat in the ‘on’ position? Is the thermostat set lower than the current room temperature (the heating won’t switch itself on if it’s not)?

Is the pilot light out? If so you can try to relight it CAREFULLY by following the manufacturer’s instructions

If you have a combi boiler, is the pressure above 1 (check the indicator on the boiler)? If not then you may need to re-pressurise it with a filling loop, again following the manufacturer’s instructions

Is your condensate pipe frozen over? This is the pipe travelling from your boiler to an outside drain. There may be a fault code for this showing on your boiler. If it is, pour warm (not boiling) water over it until defrosted, then restart your boiler.

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How much does it cost to repair a boiler?

The average cost of a boiler repair in the UK is £314.

34% of homeowners are able to pay this with money they have set aside, whereas 11% of homeowners have to put the cost on a credit card.

Did you know? There are specialist boiler insurance policies that can cover the cost of boiler repairs

Most common boiler problems

No heat or hot water – caused by broken diaphragms and airlocks, failure of motorised valves and issues with the thermostat or low water pressure

Pilot light goes out – caused by a broken thermocouple which stops the gas supply to the pilot light, a draught blowing the pilot light out or a deposit built up in the pilot light

Boiler keeps switching off – caused by a low water pressure, a problem with the thermostat or a lack of water flow due to a closed valve or the pump not circulating the water in the system properly

Radiators not getting hot – caused by sludge build up or air in the radiators preventing a free flow of hot water

Strange noises i.e. banging – caused by air in the system, low water pressure or kittling from lime scale build up. Imminent pump failure could also be responsible for banging noises

How to prevent a boiler breakdown

Get an annual boiler service – make sure your boiler is healthy and working safely with a regular boiler service from a Gas Safe registered engineer

Bleed your radiators – healthy radiators mean less strain on your boiler. Bleed them yourself (or get a professional in to do them if you’re not sure) if you notice any cold patches on them

Keep your heating on in the summer – don’t turn your heating off for the whole summer, run it for at least 15 minutes every month to make sure some parts don’t seize up through inaction

Have a powerflush – this will clear the debris and sludge that build up over time throughout your central heating system and keep it running efficiently

Find out more: Does home insurance include boiler cover as standard?