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Boiler Repair: Common Issues & Solutions
- Published: Jul 14/2021
- Last update: Apr 18/2023
- 7min read
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A boiler is an essential part of every household, and, as such, it should be serviced and maintained properly. Boiler repair shouldn’t be taken lightly – a faulty boiler, be it electric or gas-fuelled, can cause many problems for homeowners, including, but not limited to:
Some of these problems are not that serious, but you should exercise caution when you notice anything wrong with your boiler. If you know a bit about boilers, you can at least inspect and try to diagnose the problem before you seek a specialist. So, keep reading on to learn more about the common boiler problems and the possible solutions.
The two common boiler types used in Australian households are electric and gas-fuelled. Based on which type you have, a boiler can heat water using different methods.
Electric boilers come with various ways to heat water – solar energy, common electric heating elements, or heat pumps. They make up for roughly 52% of all the boilers in Australia and 77% of the boilers in New Zealand.
Electric water heaters use a heating element inside their tank to warm the water. Some of them don’t even have tanks, as they are made of just a heating element installed along with your plumbing only to produce warm water when you need them to.
Gas-fuelled water heaters can work with either reticulated natural gas or LPG (Liquid Petroleum Gas). They make up for about 48% of all the boilers in Australia and use a gas burner to heat the bottom of their water tanks.
Boiler systems are complex and a repair could involve water, electricity or liquid petroleum gas under pressure. Boiler technicians are trained to quickly locate and properly fix issues with hot water systems so calling an expert is always the safest choice. On top of that, a licence is required in order to repair any type of water heating system, so meddling with yours could get you into trouble and pose a risk to your health.
Whether it’s a simple or a more complex boiler issue, you can turn your boiler off to do a simple check of the appliance to get a better idea of what is causing the problem. And we can help by giving you a few pointers. So without further ado, here are some of the most common boiler problems and tips on what to do if you encounter them.
There are a lot of reasons why you might encounter water leakage around your boiler. While some problems can be diagnosed and fixed by a non-pro in a matter of minutes, others might require a professional touch. The most common causes for boiler leakage are:
Both electric and gas boilers suffer from insufficient pipeage insulation after a while. Due to the constant warming and cooling, boilers and their tubes repeatedly expand and contract, shortening rubber seals’ lives. If your boiler is leaking, the joints and seals could be causing the problem. Here’s what you can try:
It’s frustrating to turn your shower on and find out your water is boiling hot. If your boiler is gas-fuelled, all you need to do is reduce the heating flame. But with electric boilers, things are slightly different.
Some electric boilers are designed to turn on and start heating water up as soon as you consume hot water. In that case, the most efficient way to manage your hot water temperature is to turn your boiler on when you go to bed and turn it off when you wake up in the morning. By doing that, you have your boiler turned off during the day, so it doesn’t overwork, but you also save money on your electricity bill due to using your boiler in off-peak hours. Kewl, right?
The other type of electric boiler is the one with thermostats, which regulate the temperature inside the water tank and only turn the heating on when the water temperature drops below a specified level. If that’s your boiler, then you could check the thermostat settings and adjust accordingly, but only if you can do so without disassembling any covers.
Turn the boiler off and let it cool down.
If you can access the thermostat without removing the cover panels, then check the heat setting.
The temperature setting on your thermostat should be around 65C.
If the temperature is too low – increase it accordingly.
Turn the power back on and wait for the water to heat up.
Fill a glass with hot water and use a thermometer to check its temperature.
If your hot water doesn’t get any hotter, then the problem is more complicated and you should have somebody over to check what’s going on.
On the other hand, a cold shower can also be a pretty unpleasant surprise if you didn’t plan to have one. But when it comes to that problem, the issue might be lying somewhere else – if you don’t use hot water efficiently, no matter how much work the boiler does, it won’t be enough. Not to mention the electricity and power bills at the end of the month.
The general rule of thumb is that one person’s daily needs include about 30 litres of hot water. So, if your family consists of three people and you have a 100-litre boiler tank but still don’t get enough hot water, then your household can use some water efficiency changes! Here are three easy ways to increase your hot water use efficiency:
Coming home after a long day of work to find your boiler tank making noises can be annoying. Usually, the noise comes from water on the inside boiling. Contrary to what the name suggests, though, a boiler is not supposed to boil water – it is only supposed to warm it up.
Over time, sediment can build inside the boiler, due to the calcium and magnesium deposits, which are naturally present in tap water. The sediment usually builds up on the bottom of your boiler, making it work harder to heat water. This, in turn, can lead to water boiling and pressure problems.
Once again, the best course of action is to call a boiler technician to check the problem out. In the majority of cases, the most basic solution they’ll provide you with is to drain the boiler tank and try flushing the sediment out.
In a nutshell, your boiler technician will:
Water can tell you a lot about your boiler’s condition and whether you need any boiler repairs. If your water is coming out with a colour – brown, yellow, green, red, and so on – that means that rust and dirt build up inside your water heating unit or your home’s plumbing system. In case the boiler tank is the source, flushing it could fix the corrosion issues.
On the other hand, if the water is clear in colour, but gives off a foul smell of rotten eggs, or sulphur, then the cause is simple: you have a high level of hydrogen sulphide along your pipework. That is usually the result of bacterial growth somewhere inside your pipes or your boiler.
However, these problems require a more sophisticated approach and are beyond the DIY skills of regular homeowners. In this case, your best bet is a professional plumber, but before you decide on hiring help, here’s how to find what is causing the smelly water:
The best way to avoid boiler problems is by servicing and maintaining your water heating unit properly. There are several things to look out for to extend the life of your boiler. Here are a few tips for practical boiler maintenance:
Disclaimer: We are a commercial home maintenance service provider. Our purpose with this blog is to provide valuable and accurate content for solely informational purposes. We strongly advise our readers to consider all the risks and health concerns before taking a DIY project. We also highly recommend you get fully informed about the laws and regulations regarding electrical, plumbing and other work in the different states of Australia.