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What Causes A Boiler To Breakdown

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  • Boiler Breakdown, Boiler Repair, What to do
  • Posted date:
  • 09-10-2022
What Causes A Boiler To Breakdown

What causes a boiler to breakdown? Find out how to prevent problems before they become an expensive repair job. 

Boiler Breakdown due to the Age of your Boiler

One of the biggest factors in experiencing boiler breakdown tends to be old age. Over the years, corrosion and rust begin to spread and build up, causing your older boilers, their pipes, connections and broken internal components to deteriorate. 

Your components experience mechanical and severe thermal stress, resulting in failures or difficult leaks, putting you in quite a detrimental position without heat or hot water. 

Throughout the years, your boiler may accumulate acidic water, dirt and debris that could prevent your boiler's mechanic from functioning efficiently, as the corrosion build-up restricts your household water flowing. 

No Hot Water Or Heating

Complete boiler breakdown is often related to a lack of hot water or heating, and a range of issues causes this. For instance, if your notice its motorised valves and pilot light fail because of debris in your system or the motor that drives your diverter valve open and shut requires replacing, this will impact the amount of hot water or heat produced. Another prominent problem is airlocks which are generated by various issues, including the following:

 Your system is sucking air in the system, including the pipework and radiators.

 The system's magnetic sludge is developing methane curating airlocks. 

Dripping Or Leaking

Suppose you find yourself experiencing leaking or dripping coming directly from your boiler; it is a sign that your boiler is damaged. It can be challenging to determine the cause of the drips or leaks; however, it's best to find out the whereabouts of your water leaks. If you're struggling to identify the source, you can contact a trained gas safe engineer or installer, and they'll be able to help you.

Such an issue is typically developed through damage to the internal components, for example, a damaged pump seal or pressure valve. It could be that your boiler's built-in pressure gauge has been left on too high of a setting instead of your desired temperature, which is the source of leaking.

Finding your leak source is the seal around the heating system's pump often means it's broken or experiencing natural wear and tear and needs to be repaired. Sometimes boilers can leak in areas surrounding the heat exchanger, yet this is the worst-case scenario - if your heat exchanger ever leaks, you must contact a gas safe registered engineer immediately as this is a result of corrosion. 


One of the unavoidable happenstances that you can encounter with a boiler is the build of limescale. For those located in high mineral water supply areas, kettling can be a notable problem. When chalk deposits, gypsum and limestone accumulate over time, hard water is formed, resulting in boiling and overheating.

Hot water evaporates and leaves behind mineral residue, which is when kettling starts to develop. Kettling is responsible for decreasing your boiler's lifespan; however, it can raise the costs of your energy bills as it requires your boiler to put in the extra effort. 

Radiator Not Heating Up

There isn't much use in a cold radiator, especially in the autumn or winter when you require heat more than any other season. The reason for cold heaters is often down to rust, sludge or air built up in your central heating system.

The build-up causes cold patches formed from an ill distribution of heat that will require bleeding out to relieve the pressure. However, if your issue persists, as this signals an underlying, most significant problem, you need to leave it to a plumbing and heating professional. 

Boiler Switching Off

For those with boilers that are frequently switching off, this is a sign of multiple issues, such as a blockage in the pipes that prevent sufficient water flow. It could be that you're experiencing low water pressure, or there could be a malfunctioning pump seal that causes your water to struggle when circulating. 

Should I consider a boiler replacement?

Often, when you've experienced so many faults that require repairing when dealing with the same boiler, sometimes the wisest financial decision is to get a replacement boiler with a brand new model.

As boilers age, you'll find that they become much less reliable and encounter more faults that need to be repaired by professionals.

Boiler bills then gradually add up, and there is always a point when boiler replacement becomes the most cost-effective option.

Installing a brand new boiler into your household or property can range from prices around £1,000-£3,750, depending on the type of boiler model you decide on.

To a certain extent, when compartments keep breaking or faulting, purchasing a new boiler would be wise to make a more long-term investment.

Paying continuously to replace certain parts can cost a price range of several hundred pounds each time, and buying a more efficient boiler would be better.

Of course, suppose your boiler is over 8-10 years old, and its breakdowns are more frequent than most. In that case, it can be challenging for qualified engineers to find replacement parts that accurately match older models, and your heating bills will be exorbitant. 

 What Causes A Boiler To Breakdown

Would it be Cheaper to Replace a boiler or Repair It?

Gas, oil, and electric combi boilers are some of the most complex appliances you can find in a household or property. Therefore, annual servicing is paramount to ensure it is in good condition and runs safely and efficiently. If you keep your warranty valid by upkeeping your annual gas or oil boiler service before the cold weather comes, you can get by with repairs now and then.

However, suppose you're experiencing common faults. In that case, low performance and boiler breakdowns more frequently, we encourage you to upgrade to a high-efficiency condensing boiler instead of continuing to rake up your bills by repairing and servicing.

What Causes A Boiler To Breakdown?

Boiler Breakdown, in most cases, comes without warning. When your boiler runs correctly and all is good in the world, it is easy to take it for granted. You expect it will always provide you with hot water and heating when needed.As the winter months approach, the skies darken, and the temperature drops; this is the time of year when we most value our heating to prevent freezing with draughts blowing.

Unfortunately, after months of being left unused, it's also the time of year when our boiler is most likely to break down. It's a cruel irony that prompts many to have their boilers serviced during the summer, ready for the colder months.

If you've had neither the time nor the foresight to carry out essential maintenance and find yourself with a leaking, noisy boiler making gurgling or banging noises or temperamental boiler, check our list of common causes of boiler breakdown.

If your boiler never entirely produces enough heat for your home, then it's pretty likely that your thermostat is the issue. They are delicate pieces of kit and can lose accuracy over time. A slight knock or simple wear can require a boiler engineer to calibrate your thermostat, or you can buy a newer, more energy-efficient thermostat at little expense.

The newer type of condensing boilers has a condensation pipe at the back of the unit, which can, if improperly insulated, become susceptible to freezing during colder seasons like winter. Frozen condensate pipes will cause your boiler to cease working properly, and it could burst pipes altogether. Enlisting the help of our professional repair services means we can safely defrost your piping and get your boiler up and running again.

Pilot lights shut off to prevent an explosive build-up of gas supply caused by leaking gas pipes. If you smell gas, you should immediately call a boiler engineer rather than attempt to relight the pilot light or have the assembly inspected.

Leaking water pipes and pressure loss indicate that you must replace the pressure release valve. Check the pipes for apparent signs of leakage; attempting to resolve this yourself can lead to further boiler damage.

Mainly caused by air entering the system, but it can also indicate that your boiler pressure is low. Check for leaks, and call a gas safe engineer to rid you of those night-time noises.Hampshire Emergency Plumbing and Heating has many years of experience successfully repairing, installing and enhancing central heating systems. Call us today for a free quote and some friendly expert advice.

If you require Emergency Boiler Repair in Southampton and the surrounding areas, contact our specialist heating engineer today. Follow the link to find Boiler Repair near you.