3.5 Common Heating Problems

Well winter has finally hit us. It really looked touch ago at the beginning of December but now we’re in the 1st few days of the new 2012 we’re finally feeling the cold bite and can hear the rain falling outside. Its lucky that our heating and hot water systems are working… Isn’t it?

If you are even slightly worried here’s a small list of things you can check yourself to make sure the rest of the winter goes without any hitches.

1. The Pump

No not the shower pump although that is important. Im talking about the heating pump.

Grundfos pump

In most residential houses you’ll have a Grundfos 15-50 or 15-60 pump. They will be red and have a slot in the centre where a large flat head screwdriver can fit. Just like the picture. They’re normally in the hot water cylinder/ airing cupboard and they are meant to pump the heated water in the pipes around towards the radiators/cylinder.

If this fails the boiler will overheat and shut down. If you listen to the pump for just 1 minute you’ll be able to tell if it’s working correctly or not. If there’s a low whooshing sound then water is flowing nicely along and there are no problems. If you can hear aloud whooshing noise then there’s probably some air in the pipes. You’ll need to vent the radiators. If you need tips on that just have a look at the video below where I show you how to vent a radiator…

Most pumps are C Rated pumps and are therefore costing you more than they should. With a small investment you can upgrade to an A Rated pump that will save you money in the medium term (3 years or so). Just call us and we’ll come over and quote.

2. The Tank (AKA The Cold Water Storage Cistern)

Upstairs in your loft you’ll have a black plastic or silver metal tank. This holds the cold water going to the cold taps everywhere in the house (apart from the kitchen tap traditionally) and the Hot Water Cylinder and from there to your hot water taps. Inside there’s a ball valve similar to the one on your toilet. It works on washers and if the washer fails it’ll drip or flow until the tank is nearly full. The vast majority of houses has an overflow pipe to drain the water away but you might not know about it until you have a look. If you find there is a leak then call us and we’ll see if there’s a quick fix we can do.Ball valve with float

3. The Radiators

These are fun. We often get customers calling because a radiator wont heat up. This is sometime because the valves on the side of the radiators have been turned off at the end of the winter 6 months before and not been touched. Now 6 months later they turn them on nothing happens! Normally the fault is a TRV or Thermostatic Radiator Valve. These have a small wax capsule that melts when it’s heated releasing a pin to go up and the water to flow through. This can sometimes be repaired by knocking the pipe VERY GENTLY until the pin pops up by itself. The radiator should start to heat up within a few minutes.

3.5. The Radiators part 2

You’ll also find that sometimes a radiator is cold on the top but hot at the bottom. This is caused by air and you can see how we vent radiators HERE.Venting a Radiator

Lastly you may sometimes find that the radiators are cold at the BOTTOM but hot at the TOP. This will be caused by sludge and you’ll need a powerflush to remove that. Give us a call and we’ll happily come over top help you out.