NEW HOMEOWNERS: CONSIDERATIONS FOR YOUR BOILER

25 June 2020

When moving house, there is always a long list of tasks that need to be completed before you can settle in; from changing your contact information with your providers, to enrolling your children in new schools, to setting up new home and contents insurance policies – the list is endless. However, the safety and efficiency of your new household heating system should not be overlooked. At Alpha Heating innovation, we have compiled a list of things to consider to ensure your boiler is working properly when you move into a new home.
Safety check when you first move in
When you first buy a property, it is important for you to check that the boiler in the home has a gas safety certificate as this will indicate that the boiler was installed correctly and by a qualified professional. You should be able to obtain this certificate from the previous owners. If the previous owner cannot provide these records, or it has been over 12 months since the last check, do not hesitate to contact a Gas Safe registered engineer, who can ensure that your boiler system is fitted correctly and functions properly prior to you moving in. Alternatively, if you are renting a property, the landlord is legally required to provide a Landlord’s Gas Safety Record.
All registered engineers should have a Gas Safe ID, indicating that they are certified. It is important to only use a registered engineer so don’t be afraid to ask to see an individual’s Gas Safe ID card if it is not provided. Their ID should also inform you on the scope of works that they are permitted to undertake such as refitting a boiler or servicing a water heater.
Checking pipework for leaks, blockages or damage
As the homeowner, it is your responsibility to repair and maintain any pipe work connecting your home to your water network, this includes pipes running both inside and outside of the home. If your property is over 20 years old, we recommend that you find out the condition of the pipework. Some older piping systems may have been neglected, which can not only affect the water supply, but damaged pipes can also incur a host of issues in the future such as flooding, blockages and discolouration of water.
The importance of an annual boiler service
Regardless of the age of your boiler, it is important to get it serviced annually. If possible, it is a good idea to have your boiler service in the summer months as the demand on the heating system will be lower and any maintenance required will not cause as much inconvenience. A standard check includes a safety inspection, testing, cleaning and the diagnosis of any damage within the system. An annual inspection is also important because it will have an impact on how efficiently your boiler is working, which in turn can affect your energy bills. To further improve the efficiency of the system it is also good to get your heating system treated to clear out any sludge build-up from the radiators and pipework. The more efficient the heating system is, the less it costs to operate and in addition this will reduce the carbon footprint of your home.
Lastly, having your boiler serviced annually ensures that you and your family are safe. Without realising it, your system could be releasing carbon monoxide into your home, due to an incorrectly installed or badly maintained boiler. To prevent any ill-health or even fatalities, make sure you have your boiler serviced annually without fail so that an engineer can assess the situation and find any faults within the assembly of your boiler. Additionally, it is also a good idea to install a carbon monoxide alarm.
How to identify the symptoms of a faulty boiler
Between annual services, there may be times when you encounter an issue with your boiler. To help you identify the symptoms of a broken or faulty system, we have compiled a list of possible faults that may occur.

The pilot light is burning with a yellow flame instead of a blue – a yellow light could indicate that carbon monoxide is being produced by the system.
The pilot light keeps going out – the most common reason for this is that the thermocouple, a small probe that extends into the flame of the pilot light, needs to be replaced. The pilot light is an important component of an older boiler as it is a small blue flame that’s kept alight at all times to ignite larger gas burners within the boiler when heat is required. The thermocouple is also essential as it designed to shut off the gas valve when the pilot light goes out, ensuring that gas is not building up inside the system.
You have noticed that your heating is not as effective, or you are experiencing condensation or damp build up on your walls and windows – this could indicate that your boiler’s condensate pipe, which is used to drain excess water produced from the boiler, is blocked or leaking.
Black, sooty marks or stains appear on or around the boiler – this could indicate that there is a possible leak around the flue. Leaking boiler emissions could cause carbon monoxide poisoning.
Your carbon monoxide alarm is sounding – this indicates that there is carbon monoxide present in the air in your property. Carbon monoxide is odourless so you will not be able to smell it in the air. If this alarm sounds, leave the house as soon as possible and call an emergency engineer immediately.

If your boiler is experiencing any of these symptoms, do not attempt to fix it yourself. Call a local registered engineer to fix the problem for you. If you don’t have one you use regularly, we recommend checking the Gas Safe Register to find one in your area. Alternatively, our Alpha engineers are always available to assist if you experience any difficulty with your Alpha boiler.
 
To help you make the necessary home safety checks, download our Home Safety Checklist.
 
For more advice take a look at the Useful Information section of our website.