An unexpected boiler breakdown can be extremely upsetting and can cause considerable inconvenience at this time of year.

Unexpected drops in boiler pressure are one of the leading causes of breakdowns, leaving your home without heating or hot water services.

Have you been regularly having to adjust the pressure in your boiler?

1. Unusual Smells

Many people don’t realize that boilers can produce unpleasant odors. These smells could be an indicator that something is amiss with your boiler and could endanger your safety.

If your boiler emits an unusual odor, this could be indicative of either bacterial growth or gas leak. Furthermore, lack of oxygen in the system could contribute to corrosion and sludge build-up which ultimately leads to its malfunction and subsequent corrosion of components within.

Burning smells are common with boilers and don’t necessarily need to be taken seriously, provided that it dissipates within 30 minutes after turning on your system. Over time, dust may collect on various components that then burn when activated; similar incidents often happen with furnaces which indicate that everything is operating as it should.

2. Uneven Heating

Uneven heating throughout your home is an issue with any boiler system and could be caused by any number of issues ranging from pilot light issues to corrosion of essential system parts.

Uneven heating can also be a telltale sign that your zone controls aren’t functioning as they should or the dampers in your air ducts have closed or become blocked, potentially blocking airflow to its destination. Adjusting your thermostat timer schedule might help, but should the problem continue, it would be prudent to hire professional assistance.

Heat rises, so the upper areas of your home should always be warmer. But if there are cold spots throughout, this could indicate there is something amiss with your boiler, such as airlocking, broken motorised valves or leakage in the system – all signs which require professional inspection from a gas safe engineer – though many problems can be prevented with regular maintenance checks.

3. Water Leaks

Water leaks can be the telltale sign of an ineffective boiler. Depending on where and how widespread these leaks have spread in your home, immediate action may need to be taken in order to mitigate further damage.

Leaks around your boiler typically occur because of damaged seals. While this process occurs naturally over time, heat or pressure can hasten it along. Once worn-out seals cause leakage into areas surrounding your boiler and cause wet spots or puddles around it.

Leaks around your boiler could also be caused by corrosion on its pipes or tank. While this is a common problem, it should only be resolved by a Gas Safe registered heating engineer – otherwise if corrosion progresses too far your entire boiler may need replacing entirely.

4. No Hot Water

If your boiler has stopped producing hot water, fixing the issue can often be relatively straightforward. Start by checking to see if its pilot light has gone out; this can usually be easily restored by following instructions in your boiler manual. If it keeps going out again then there may be an carbon monoxide leak present that requires immediate action to be taken against.

Your boiler may also be suffering from low pressure levels – this is particularly common among older open vent or sealed system boilers. Checking water pressure is easy – use a manometer gauge located where your supply pipes connect with the boiler. Aim for 1 to 1.5 bar water pressure levels when checking pressure.

Finally, it’s wise to ensure your boiler is still plugged in and turned on – an unexpected power cut may have reset its settings back to their default configurations, in which case consulting your boiler manual can help restore timer options if applicable.