When you’re suddenly the owner of a broken boiler and your running hot water and cosy home disappears, it’s more than an inconvenience – it’s a real emergency.
So who do you turn to in your hour of need? A Gas Safe registered engineer, of course. Many engineers and heating companies offer an emergency boiler repair service on a 24/7 basis so they can respond as soon as possible.
With emergency boiler repair (also known as one off boiler repair) there are no contracts. You simply book a Gas Safe registered engineer to visit your home, assess the problem, quote you a price and carry out the repair.
How Much Does Emergency Boiler Repair Cost?
The cost of an emergency boiler repair will be estimated by the engineer based on how long the job should take and any replacement parts which may be needed. However, in some cases the repair can prove more complicated than originally anticipated and the price can increase. The chances are that if this is an emergency, you probably haven’t budgeted for any repair costs let alone costs that keep going up!
To avoid this you may be better finding an engineer who can offer a fixed fee or fixed price boiler repair. This means that regardless of how long the job takes or any surprises down the road, you won’t be charged any more than the price originally quoted. A fixed price repair can bring great peace of mind during a time which is already stressful.
Remember: You should never attempt to work on your boiler or any gas appliance yourself – you need to find a Gas Safe registered engineer.
Preventing an Emergency
In order to avoid the panic and unexpected cost of an emergency boiler repair, you might want to consider a boiler cover and servicing contract. You pay a monthly fee and, in return, an engineer will service your boiler on an annual basis. Servicing keeps your boiler in the best condition, operating at high efficiency and catching potential issues early on i.e. before they cause a breakdown. In addition, some contracts also include an emergency boiler repair service which means your boiler will be fixed at no extra cost at short notice.
Can you smell gas? Call the National Gas Emergency line on 0800 111 999.
Living with a Broken Boiler
While you’re waiting for an engineer to save the day, it’s obviously important to keep your family as safe and comfortable as possible. Here are some coping techniques you might want to try until your boiler is back up and running.
It may sound trivial, but wearing layers, hats, scarves and gloves is an easy and effective way to make yourself and your family a little warmer at no cost.
Check for draughts
Taping over window seals and blocking the bottoms of your doors can have a surprising impact on the amount of heat you keep inside. Drawing your curtains will also help with this.
Heat only where you need to
When you have a broken boiler you need to focus on heating the rooms of your house that you really need to. You might, for example, want to exclude the bathroom which, as you’re without hot water, you may not be spending that much time in. Taking a hot water bottle or electric blanket to bed instead of heating the bedroom is also an option worth considering.
There are other ways of heating your home which might be useful in the short term. Gas fires, open fires or log burners are the most cost effective options but these may not be realistic options for many people. Electric heaters are the most popular choice for many as they are cheap to buy but remember they can be costly to run. Types of electric heater include fan heaters, halogen and convection heaters.
For those lucky enough to have an electric shower, this will still work. If you have a hot water cylinder with an electric immersion heater while it isn’t heating your radiators you can still use it to heat hot water for your taps. However, if you don’t have a cylinder and you’re going to be waiting for the return of the boiler, boiling kettles and saucepans of hot water is your best plan of action.
Common Boiler Problems
- Dripping and leaking due to a broken seal or pressure valve, corrosion of the pipes or incorrect installation
- Banging or gurgling caused by air trapped in your heating system or failure of the pump. A high pitched kettling noise could be due to a build up of limescale or sludge which restricts water flow in the heat exchanger and causes it to overheat or boil.
- If the pilot light is out it could be a problem with the gas supply or something like a broken thermocouple or a draught blowing out the pilot light.
- Low pressure could be caused by a leak in the system, a broken pressure valve or recently bled radiators.
- A frozen condensate pipe may cause your boiler to stop working.
- A broken thermostat may be inaccurately adjusting your heating or turning the heating off when it’s not supposed to.
- If only parts of your radiator are getting hot you could have a build up of sludge or air trapped.
- If your boiler keeps switching off then there is a very good chance there is an issue with the water pressure which could be caused by a closed valve or pump.
Boiler Error Codes
A broken boiler will usually show an error code when it develops a fault. While these codes are intended to help a professional engineer diagnose and repair your boiler, some can help you identify simple fixes such as incorrect pressure settings. The manual for your boiler will list these codes; you can request a manual from the manufacturer if you don’t have one.