3 reasons boilers break down
Boilers often break down when you least expect it. You may be in the middle of a hot shower or wake up on a cold winter’s day and realise the heating never switched on. Without early warning signs, it’s almost impossible to tell when (or if) your boiler will let you down.
There are various reasons why boilers break down. We’ve listed three, so you know what to look out for.
The age of your boiler
If your boiler is older than 15 years, it may be time for a replacement. Rust and corrosion build up and spread over the years – damaging boiler components, pipes and connections. Boiler parts go through severe thermal and mechanical stress, and if they’re rusted or damaged, will stop working or start leaking.
Your boiler will also collect dirt and debris as time goes by. This accumulation of dirt will affect the mechanics of your boiler or restrict the flow of water.
If your boiler is dripping or leaking, you first need to figure out where the water is coming from. Generally, leaks are the result of a damaged pump seal, pressure valve or another internal component.
You can try to adjust the boiler pressure – if this is set too high, water will leak from the valve controlling the pressure.
If water is pooling around the pump seal, it may be time for a new one. Pump seals mostly break because of wear and tear. If your boiler is leaking around the heat exchanger, you’ll have to get a replacement boiler.
If you’re not sure where the leaking water is coming from or how to fix it, call a [qualified engineer](/heating) to help you identify the problem. They’ll also recommend the best way forward.
The pilot light is out
If your boiler’s pilot light goes out, your gas supply is not getting to the burner. Most of the time, this is due to a worn thermocouple or the buildup of debris around the pilot assembly. Working with gas poses many safety risks so we recommend getting a Gas Safe registered engineer out to diagnose and fix the fault.
If you or an engineer cannot find or fix the problem, it may be time to get a new boiler.