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When Should I Fix My Heating System

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  • 19-08-2021
When Should I Fix My Heating System

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When Should Heating Systems be Fixed?

Most complaints brought to service providers are in Autumn; this is often because many homes will turn off central heating in the Summer months, leading to a long idle system that then brings about faults. Therefore, it can be good practice to have central heating intermittently turned on to prevent faults. 

Consequently, it is advantageous to ensure that central heating systems are fully functioning before Autumn and to find and diagnose faults quickly. 

Certain issues can be self remedied, such as cold patches that have different fixes depending on the cold area. The exception is if the radiator is cold in the middle, as this may require a professional's help. Other indicators that fixes or repairs are needed are events such as having some hot and some cold radiators, hearing sounds from the radiators, not having heat or hot water, leakages and non-stop overflows.  

If these are recurring issues, then it is good to know how old a boiler is, as most will have effective lifespans of 10-15 years, after which they may be less efficient and more prone to problems. Therefore, regular servicing can also be beneficial for preventing problems before they spiral. Annual is the recommended schedule.

Signs Your Heating System is in Need of Repair

Cold spots

Small noises

Odd smells 

Cold spots can happen for various reasons, but the trend is that something is stopping the heat from reaching the places it should. A DIY check that can be conducted is finding out whether all the ducts are open. If this doesn't fix the problem, then it means something is reducing the system's efficiency. If there are rooms or areas of a radiator that are too warm, however, it can be a sign that a repair needs to take place. It can also be the case that the system is not suitable for the property.

Small noises are common from heating systems, however clanking, banging, or screeching noises can signal that problems are on the horizon. Loud noises coming from the system mean that a professional should be called to check for any danger or imminent danger. They can often be caused by a part deteriorating or loosening, so quickly checking the potential issue is vital in stopping complete failures. 

O dd smells can be a sign of an issue with a heating system if they persist. When initially turning it on, dust burning off can cause a smell that may last for a couple of hours; however, if it doesn't leave, it can be a sign of damage to an electronic or mechanical part. Changing air filters can be a way to remove the smell if the issue is solely dust, however, persisting or frequent should be an alarm that something could be wrong and that the system needs attention. It is imperative not to ignore potential issues as it can cost a lot to fix complete breakdowns, and fires can start in the worst case.

If there is an unforeseen rise in energy bills, it can indicate that there is some problem with the system. If so, then asking a specialist to check may be the best option, as a repair or replacement will likely save you money in the long-term, as it will then be more efficient, leading to reduced bills.

How to Fix Common Central Heating Problems


If thermostat controls aren't working, the first thing to check is that the thermostat itself is enabled and switched on. 

If it is on, and the set temperature doesn't reflect the actual temperature, then enable both central heating and hot water from the programmers. 

If this doesn't remedy the issue, then checking the electricity supply, specifically whether the heating fuse is intact, can help some problems. If that doesn't work, then next is to check the motorised diverter valve and turn it off and on again. 

If none of the above work, then there is a chance for the pumps to have gone defective. This is frequently from blocking or mechanical failure. Clogging also can be done. 

Where the pump is turned off, then dirt is removed from the inside of the pump. There is also potential for there to be excess air in a system, which can be released. Once fluid comes out, the nut can be closed, and the system turned on.


If the radiator is solely warm at the bottom, then you can bleed the radiator. First, the pump is to be switched off. Then an empty bucket goes at the corner bottom of a radiator, next a radiator key (available at local hardware stores) is used on the square nut of a radiator until hot air escapes. As this is happening, dirty water is deposited into the bucket. 

Once this process is complete, the valve is to be closed and ensure there is no additional leakage. 

Mould is primarily a result of a sludge build-up within the radiator itself. Dismantling the radiator from a wall and flushing it with running water should solve the problem; if it doesn't, it can signify blocked pipes, broken pumps, or an inferior heating system. 

This sludge build-up can happen as metal pipes and radiators can rust over time, which gets collected by water and can create blockages. This sludge can also lower the maximum capacity of heating from a radiator.


Strange noises can happen, but the context is important. If there is a noise when the pilot light is first ignited, it could mean there is trapped air. If this is the problem, then excess air can be vented through the air bleed screw. 

If that doesn't remedy the problem, then there could be an issue with how much water gets into the boiler tank. Noises can also happen due to the system's pressure; ensuring it is at the right level could help prevent these issues. Noise can also be resultant of build-up, which can be fixed by flushing the system. 

Noises from a boiler are also known as kettling due to the semblance with a kettle boiling. A reason for reduced water getting to the tank can be from leakages relating to the boiler or the pipework. Therefore, checking pipework around radiators can also help with diagnosing the kettling. 

Still, if a manual search doesn't show any problems, and neither do the aforementioned steps, then a professional may have to be the next point of call to stop problems from spiralling. 


For problems with over-flow with water tanks, it can often be caused by a ballcock getting jammed, creating this continuous overflow problem. Therefore, it becomes important that this ballcock is unjammed. 

However, if this problem occurs with an immersion tank, only a plumbing professional or expert should fix the issue. Having lapses in heating system pressure can happen for various reasons. It can be a sign of water leakage, problems with pipeage, excess air being taken out when bleeding radiators. 

Therefore, it is good to know if any work or adjustments have been made recently to the system and topping up the water within the system, which can be done through the filling loop.

As there is a lot of ambiguity with the problems that can cause this, especially if you aren't comfortable, contacting a professional can be a good idea to fix any potential underlying issues. Breakdowns with central heating can be costly. 

If this happens where it can interfere with Winter heating, then contacting a professional heating engineer is furthered as an option, as it will likely be the most time-efficient solution.

Do you need a emergency plumbing call out in the Southampton and Hampshire area? For more information or advice about plumbing and heating call out, follow the link below.