Boiler broken? Here are 5 things to try before you call the repair man.

Boiler broken? Here are 5 things to try before you call the repair man.
Written by Mark Grimley
Published on 2nd October 2018
Updated on 16th October 2018
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Winter's coming and with it the cold weather. Boiler breakdowns are more likely to happen, but before you start dishing out cash on a repair, there’s a few things you can do that could save you money.

It’s getting a bit chilly in here.

When the weather gets cold, boilers are much more likely to break down. It’s not just because we’ve all got the heating on so they’re working harder, but it’s because the water in the pipes can freeze. It’s the absolute worst time for it to happen, and although you’ll want to get it sorted quickly, you won’t want to spend loads doing it if you don’t have to.

Depending on the repair it could cost anywhere from £85 to £259, and a new boiler is likely to be in the thousands. So, if you’re boiler is on the blink, what can you do before you start looking for plumbers?

1. Is everything as it should be?

Check three things to start with:

  • If you’re on a prepaid meter, have you got credit? If not, top it up.
  • Has a fuse tripped in the fuse box? Flip it back in line with the others if it has.
  • Check another gas appliance like a hob to see if the gas is working.

2. What’s happened recently?

A power cut can reset the timer on your boiler, so if you’ve had one recently, you might just need to set those times back up.

3. Under pressure.

On your boiler should be a gauge starting from zero. If the bar is pointing under one, then the pressure might be too low for your boiler to kick in. You can top up the pressure yourself but as every boiler is slightly different it’s best to check your manual booklet or contact the manufacturer to check how it’s done.

4. Turn up the heat.

Turn your thermostat to lower than 21 degrees. Anything above this could be stopping the heating from kicking in.

5. Turn it off and on again.

It’s the classic one, but it could help, so grab the manual and reset your boiler. If your boiler is older it could have a pilot light, so check to see if that’s on, or follow the instructions to relight it.

There’s still nothing happening.

Ok. If these five steps haven’t helped then it might be time to call in someone else. Before you start searching for a professional are there any friends or neighbours that are a dab hand in the home? It’s much cheaper to pay in a cuppa and maybe a takeaway than it is to pay cash!

Where can I find a professional plumber?

If you’re not lucky enough to have someone to help, then it’s probably time to call in a professional. Before you pick one at random, stop. You’re going to need to find one that’s reliable and won’t rip you off. Sites like Checkatrade, Yelp and Which? have reviews from other customers so you’ll be able to find one in your area that you can trust and you can usually get in touch with them through the websites.

How can I pay for a boiler repair?

First of all, is now really the time to get your heating fixed? If it’s one of the warmer months and you’ve still got hot water and an electric oven, then you could wait and save up while you don’t need the heating. It might be that you do need to get it repaired right away but you’re really strapped for cash. If you’ve tried everything else and have no other option that you might need to look at taking out a loan.

The Choose Wisely unique loan search can help you find a lender that fits with how much you earn, your credit score and how long you’d like to pay it back.

A broken boiler can be an expensive nightmare, so make sure you’re getting yours serviced each year to help cut the risk of it breaking down, these can cost a one-off fee between £65-80. The best thing about an annual service is that you know when it’s going to happen, so you can make sure you’re setting cash aside throughout the year and spending the time finding a reliable plumber too.

Mark Grimley
Written by
Mark Grimley
Head of Partnerships & Take Control Author at Choose Wisely

Mark joined Choose Wisely in 2015. He continues to work in close contact with the providers, brokers and journalists operating in the world of consumer credit.