With the cold weather creeping in, now’s the perfect time to test if your boiler is working correctly before things really start to take a turn. This is particularly true if you haven’t switched on your central heating since before the summer, giving your system the chance to wake up before what’s expected to be a frosty winter.
It can be very worrying if your boiler breaks, so we’ve compiled a comprehensive guide of what to do if boiler breaks, how to keep warm when a boiler breaks and tenants rights if their boiler breaks down to ensure you have a good understanding of your first port of call should anything happen to your boiler.
What To Do If Your Boiler Breaks
- Remain calm
Your boiler breaking is not ideal, especially if you have children or a jam-packed calendar that’s meant to be full of festive fun. With that in mind, the first thing to not do if your boiler does break is panic. Just because your boiler has broken doesn’t necessarily mean that it will take weeks to fix or to get a replacement and, should you be struggling significantly, remember there are alternatives available to you. Though it’s not ideal, you may be able to use a family member or friends’ hot water for the time being. If you live further away, a local gym or leisure centre could be your next best option.
- Identify the signs of a poorly boiler
There are some tell-tale signs that your boiler is no longer correctly working, and it’s important to know what to do if that’s the case to prevent further hazards from occurring, such as fire or even illness. If you answer ‘yes’ to one or more of the below questions, switch your boiler off completely. This will help to ensure no further damage occurs prior to when an expert is able to take a close look at it and diagnose the problem.
- Is an orange/yellow pilot light or flame visible?
- Is your boiler making significant banging sounds?
- Is your water pressure significantly high or irregular?
- Has the condensation in your home increased?
- Has your gas use risen?
- Evaluate the situation and your safety
Most of the time, boilers stop working due to old age or because of a lack of maintenance. But there is also the chance that it could cause further illness, fire or even death if not treated correctly. Whilst it’s unlikely, it’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with the danger signs to make sure you and your home are kept safe.
I can smell gas…
The smell of gas or fumes may be related to a gas leak. If you think this may be the case, call the Gas Emergency service as quickly as possible. If you believe it to be necessary, get everyone out of the property until you are advised by an engineer that it is safe to return or once the boiler has been repaired.
- Contact an engineer
Finally, contact a reputable engineer to help you repair or replace your boiler. They will be able to provide more insight into the problem, explaining how your boiler has come to break whilst ensuring the surrounding area is safe and you can continue to reside at the property as repairs are taking place. If you are a tenant, contact your landlord or lettings agent to advise you on the next steps. More on this below!
How To keep Warm When a Boiler Breaks
Keeping warm when your boiler breaks is key, particularly during the winter months as temperatures plummet below zero. This is especially true for families with children, elderly people, and those with chronic conditions where pain may be more prominent in cold temperatures. Here are a few helpful ways on how to keep warm when a boiler breaks.
- Wear layers – Layering up is the best way to keep warm when your boiler breaks. The more layers, the better! Think scarfs, jumpers, hats, and gloves. Keep your feet warm by wearing boots or slippers too.
- Close curtains and doors – Closing the curtains and door in your home will help to maintain the warmth. Consider closing either at different times of the day such as keeping the curtains and doors in your bedroom closed during the day as you’re unlikely to spend as much time in there during daylight.
- Eat warm food – Warm, comforting food such as soup is a great way to keep your body and hands warm. If soup isn’t one of your favourites, consider anything that requires heating up to not only warm your insides but throughout your home due to the heat generated by cooking.
- Use an electric heater – With energy bills going up, you may not want to use an electric heater all the time but it’s a good option for those who suffer from the cold.
Tenants Rights If Your Boiler Breaks Down
‘What are tenants rights if their boiler breaks down?’ is a question we see getting asked a lot, and rightly so. No one purposely wants their boiler to break so understanding where you stand if it does happen can help to put your mind at ease. As a tenant, you have the right to request repairs in your property, including your boiler. Under Section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, your landlord is required to carry out repairs within a ‘reasonable time’. If your broken boiler means that you have no access to hot water or heating or there is a chance that it’s faulty and could cause danger to life, your landlord should immediately arrange for an engineer to meet you. Regardless, be sure to speak to your letting agent or landlord directly as soon as you notice anything wrong with your boiler. This is because it’s their legal responsibility to ensure you are safe in the property. Hot water and Gas Safe heating are both a part of this.
Even though you now understand what to do if your boiler breaks, we recommend not letting it get to that stage if you can. Through arranging an annual boiler service, an engineer may be able to pick up on an underlying problem, helping to make sure you never have to go without hot water or central heating. Even though it comes at a cost, it’s well worth it and can even help to improve the efficiency of your current set up, helping you save money in the long run.