Guide to Central Heating Pump Problems

Central Heating Pump ProblemsIs your central heating system is suffering from irregular noises, erratic timing or general poor heating performance? Are radiators heating up in some areas, but not others? Or just in some rooms but not all of them? Or is it just a case of the control panel never seeming to do as it’s asked? If any of those statements apply to your current central heating issues, then it’s more than likely that you have a central heating pump not working to its maximum capacity or efficiency.


Central Heating Pump Problems

There are several ways of fixing many of these problems, depending on how serious the damage is and whether or not the pump truly is faulty. The following guide outlines the methods of dealing with each individual problem, and should help you eliminate the possibility of any human error before you look into replacing a broken pump.

Cold/Lukewarm Radiators

Cool radiators that aren’t warming up properly could be caused by a number of different things. Firstly, check that the pilot light in your boiler is switched on – this controls the flow of heat around the home, so it’s important that this is always visible if you’ve turned the heating on. Next, check the thermostat – it’s often simply the case that is has been accidentally turned down by someone else in the home. If that’s all okay, then you could always increase the central heating pump speed by changing the central heating pump speed setting, either by turning up the pressure or altering the internal settings.

If your radiators still don’t work, then they probably need bleeding, which you can do yourself by releasing the valve on the end of the radiator and letting out any excess air until warm water appears (which you should catch with a cloth at the ready). If the radiators are still not heating up properly, then they may have a build-up of sediment that needs de-clogging with a central heating power flush – for which you will have to get in touch with a professional plumber.

Faulty Timer/Control Panel

Many homeowners may find working out the control panel and finding the perfect settings for a boiler timer tricky, but there are ways around what might seem like internal faults or problems to the system. Sometimes a simple power cut or blown fuse can automatically reset the panel, in which case all you have to do is re-enter the timings you had before. Most modern combi boilers change the clock settings for daylight savings too, but with older systems this isn’t always the case – you can change the current time by following your usual instruction manual.

If the heating doesn’t correspond to what the settings you’ve input, then you might have a faulty panel which can also be replaced by a professional, and sometimes for free by the company that installed the boiler in the first place – check your guarantee before you hire someone new!

Unusual Noises/Banging/Clicking

Noisy central heating is a common problem. Any banging, humming, clanging or clicking sounds are not normal, and should be investigated immediately. If you think the sounds are coming from radiators they are probably being caused by trapped air – in which case bleeding the radiators should solve the problem.

If not, then the boiler itself or the central heating pump might be ‘on its way out’. Sometimes loose pipes are also to blame for an unusual clanging or clicking noise that can be heard throughout the night – if you don’t fancy looking ripping up the floorboards yourself, a professional plumber should be able to locate and fix the problem for you.

Other Heating Pump Problems

Sometimes the sources to central heating water pump problems aren’t always obvious. If you have hot water but no central heating and your pump and/or boiler is fifteen years or older, for example, then it might simply be a case of an old system that has run out of steam – in which case you will have to purchase a replacement boiler.

If you have any of the problems outlined above but they can’t be solved as we’ve recommended, then you could have a blown fuse or a more fundamental problem with the electricity/gas supply, or the structural design of your system. Again, the best way to get to the bottom of things is by hiring a fully qualified central heating engineer, who can save you a lot of time by locating the problem and treating it as soon as possible – often giving you back effective central heating in a matter of days!

Don’t forget to find out whether you’re eligible for a central heat grant before you get any repairs or replacement work carried out.

Alan Dodds says:

My radiators upstairs are red hot but the rads downstairs are only warm. I have turned off all of the rads upstairs, but the downstairs still remain warm. I can touch then with my forearm without getting burnt. My water temperature is 80 degrees “c”. Can you help. Heating is a system boiler and storage tank, with one cold water tank above. Thanks Alan

mjackson says:

Hi Alan,

Thanks for your post.

A number of things ranging from pipe problems to pump issues could be the cause of your problem so you may need a professional to come in and take a look at your system.

We would be happy to assist you in getting some quotes from local contractors should you wish.

You can do so by filling in our online form and we will aim to match your request with up to 4 local plumbers who will each contact you in order to make the arrangements.

Thanks again and we hope to be of more assistance in the future.

Mark @ ServiceMagic

Megan Hepworth says:

Our house only 4 years old so know everything in working order but… i think we have knocked something out of sync in the airing cupboard where the water tank is because…we have to keep turning up the tank thermostat to enable the HW and CH to come on as when it reaches a certain level it goes off.. the tank thermo can end up a 90 degrees whereas it starts at 50. Also the CH will not come on unless the HW on. I know it must be something simple and reluctant to pay a call out charge and maybe a ‘part’ if that is the case. So willing to try DIY first!

mjackson says:

Hi Megan,

Thanks for your post.

First – check whether you are signed up to any homecare contract as this type of work will be covered.

Failing that – We recommend getting a professional to take a look and offer you a quote on any work you need doing as an incorrect DIY job could result in the problem becoming worse.

If you would like some free quotes, please fill in our online heating form and we will aim to match your request with up to 4 local contractors who will each contact you in order to offer a free quote on the work you may need doing.

Thanks again for your post and we hope to be of more assistance in the future.

Mark @ ServiceMagic

Leona says:


I work in the energy sector and we have new instructions to find out the date of central heating pumps post 2013, can you help on how to identify this? I have just had a new hot water and pump installed and the only thing I have is the leaflet saying up 2015. Puzzled can you help?

mjackson says:

Hi Leona,

Thanks for your comment.

This subject is something that we have very limited knowledge on therefore we would recommend that you contact a local heating engineer or the Gas safety register who should be able to advise further.

Janine says:

I have a vailant ecotec pro that is i ly 3 years old. In the last few days the heating cuts out after an hour or so but comes back on a little while later and then cuts out again. Today it has cut out after just 5 mins. The radiator in my hall wall has stopped working as well. I bled it till water dropped out but it still wouldn’t heat up. Even when I try and over ride the heating it still cuts out. The hot water is fine though.

Bev Trew says:

I have a cylinder in my airing cupboard there was a clicking noise for a few days which has now stopped. However my heating is not coming on even though timer says it is x it comes on intermittently for a short time at random times x the upstairs radiators do not get hot though . It can be off for days at a time x I was wondering if I think this could be the pump any advise would be helpful at this time of year as myself and my kids are freezing
Thank you

kama says:

Hi,I have problem with my boiler.Water is lukewarm and heating is on every time I have turned my water on.What could that be.I have combi Domplex Boiler.
Thank you for your advice

stevecotton says:

Can Get hot water to taps but the pipes from the boiler to the cental heating are cold, can’t hear noise from the pump but there is power to it, would we still get hot water to the taps if the pump wasn’t working, the boiler is not showing any faults

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