5 common boiler problems

Game Of Thrones may be over, but one of its most iconic quotes still rings true… winter is coming. This, coupled with the looming price increases due to the energy crisis, means there has never been a better and more important time to ensure your boiler is working efficiently.

With this in mind, let’s look at five of the most common boiler problems and their possible solutions. If any of these ring a bell, it may well be worth booking in a service, before you risk reaching the point of your boiler needing to be entirely replaced due to a breakdown.

No heating or hot water

Quite possibly the worst and most inconvenient problem is a lack of heat and hot water. Never (seemingly) will this happen in the height of summer, but it is practically guaranteed during the depths of winter, turning the average three bed semi into a walk-in freezer.

As common as this problem is, the causes are numerous, and given the dangers associated with gas, it is best to call in the professionals in these cases. After all, no hot water is always better than no roof!

Water pressure

The ideal pressure for a boiler is between 1 and 2 bars. A low-pressure problem is indicated by a longer amount of time to heat up both your water and the radiators. Thankfully, this is something that you can safely check and increase yourself.

There should be a pressure gauge on your boiler, usually found underneath. Make sure to consult the manual that came with your boiler for how to adjust according to the model, as each is different. Keep an eye on the gauge when you’re doing this to make sure it doesn’t go over 2 bars.

High pressure is also fixable without the aid of a plumber, but requires the bleeding of radiators, which can be a little trickier and needs a radiator key.

Hard water

This isn’t so much a boiler problem as it is a geographical one. You’ve no doubt heard of hard and soft water, and which of the two you have is dependent on where you live. But what is the difference and what does this mean for your boiler?

All water contains minerals such as calcium and magnesium, but hard water has a significantly higher amount of these than soft water. This leads to a build-up of limescale. That’s right, the same stuff that ruins kettles and cups of tea can also ruin your central heating. The build-up can result in damage and corrosion to the pipes, ultimately leading to boiler breakdown.

If you’re in a hard water area, which is particularly common in the capital, it might be well worth contacting a reputable boiler engineer in London to request a service.

Frozen condensate pipe

Another issue mainly occurring in the colder months is a frozen condensate pipe. The condensate pipe is responsible for directing excess water to an external drain. The excess water produced during the condensate process is acidic, hence why it needs to be disposed of outside.

As the pipe is outside, the water travelling through can freeze during cold weather, particularly if unprotected. Should this happen, the entire boiler will shut down as a safety precaution. So long as you’re sure the fault is truly with the condensate pipe, you can tackle this as a homeowner.

Essentially, you want to defrost the pipe. This can be done using warm water, pouring over the frozen part of the pipe. Making sure the water isn’t boiling as this could actually cause damage to the pipe, the aim is to gently thaw it out. A hot water bottle can also be used, wrapping it around the pipe. Future issues can be prevented by investing in some insulation that will offer protection going forward.


Rounding out our list today is an issue similar to the first in that it is immediately obvious, whereas the solution isn’t. There can be several different reasons for a leak and it can cause a lot of problems. Aside from a lack of heating, your property could end up with serious water damage.

Even more concerning would be any gas leak. For these reasons, a leak should always be treated with urgency and by a professional. Anything that requires examining the boiler’s internal components is best left to those who know what they are doing.

This list is not exhaustive but is a starting point in identifying common boiler issues. Remember: the most important thing to take from this post is that if you are in any doubt, contact a boiler engineer. Guarantee warmth as well as peace of mind by checking that they are Gas Safe registered.