Central Heating Not Working? Here Are 6 Common Problems & Solutions

Central Heating ProblemsAs the UK winter fast approaches and cold weather begins to settle in, the last thing you and your family need is to find your central heating not working.  Whether it’s banging or clanging pipes in the night; cool, seemingly useless radiators that don’t heat up or a faulty timer that doesn’t ever seem to perform;  gas central heating problems can be difficult to endure. So, you probably want to get in a boiler contractor to fix things as soon as possible. That said, professional repair isn’t always necessary, and to help you save time and do everything you can before calling out for an expert, we’ve outlined some of the more common central heating problems and solutions that could be keeping you from getting the heat and warmth you’re paying for.


Common Central Heating Problems & Solutions

  1. Human Error – sometimes it might appear that your central heating isn’t working simply because of a mistake you or a repairman or someone else in the home might have made with the switches and settings. First of all, check the pilot light is switched on. Next, check that the thermostat is turned up to the required temperature. If both of those are fine, see if the pressure is high enough on your boiler – it might need turning up to ensure water is being heated properly. Finally, make sure the timer settings haven’t been altered, as these can be changed easily simply by following the provided instruction manual. It may sound silly, but checking these before looking into fixing a boiler could save you a lot of time and money in potential repairs or call-out services.
  2. Trapped Air in Radiators – if the hot water is working fine but heat simply isn’t being emitted from various radiators in the home (or if they have cold spots in some parts and not others), then you might simply have a case of trapped air, one of the most common forms of central heating radiator problems. This can easily be dealt with, simply by bleeding your radiators. All this involves is the loosening of the valve on the side of the fitting, and letting out any excess air until you catch the overflow of hot water with a damp cloth – a sign that the trapped air has been successfully removed!
  3. Sediment Build-Up – if bleeding your radiators proves unsuccessful, then you might have a significant accumulation of sediment and sludge in the fittings that’s preventing hot water from circulating properly. Unfortunately the only real solution for this central heating problem is to hire a plumber to carry out a professional ‘power-flush’ of your system.
  4. Faulty Timer/ Control Panel – sometimes you might find that your radiators are working erratically, and that every now and then your boiler does fire-up successfully – just not always when you need it. If this is the case, then you may have central heating timer problems. This can usually be solved by simply pushing the reset button, but if this doesn’t work you should call the helpline of the boiler manufacturer to go through any instructions you might have missed.
  5. Leaky Pipe(s) – if you hear pipes banging, clanging or even ticking throughout the night, then it might be that you have a central heating leak in one of the major parts of your system. If you don’t mind peeling up a few floorboards you could check to see if it’s just a case of the pipe-work being installed too close to another surface (hence the cause of the banging), but if you need an immediate repair or proper structural redesign then you me be better off waiting until a professional plumber comes and takes a look for you.
  6. Old Boiler – if, after testing for all the above, you still have problems with central heating, then it might simply be that you have an old, tired, outdated boiler that needs replacing. After all, they don’t last forever, and only installing a new boiler provides the streamlined energy-efficiency that is guaranteed to keep you and your family warmer for longer.

Richard Aspden says:

I’ve a problem that is baffling me.
The water in the header tank is hot and steaming.
The system has been power flushed and the radiators now get hot, but the header tank is still hot and steaming. It is also bubbling (but probably not boiling)
Any ideas?

mjackson says:

Hi Richard,

This could be down to a number of reasons.

We would recommend getting advice from local contractors who should be able to diagnose the problem for you.

Should you be interested in receiving up to 4 free quotes , please complete our online heating repair form and we will ask that the contractors contact you directly in order to arrange free visit.

We hope this helps.


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