What To Do When the Boiler's Not Working

Woken up to a freezing cold house? Don't worry, our guide will help you find out what to do when the boiler's not working.

Woman outside Wearing Hat and Blowing on Hands

There is nothing like waking up on a chilly Saturday morning, the winter sun is peeking through the windows and the alarm is off. You get out of bed, and then you realise - it's cold!

You crank up the thermostat, run to the shower, and ... there is no hot water. And then it becomes clear - the boiler's not working.

We've all been there, and there is nothing to ruin your winter weekend (or week) quite like a temperamental boiler. But don't panic just yet - there might be a few things you can do, if your boiler is not working

Check It's Definitely the Boiler's Fault

Top up smart metre with the key

Yes, you might think this is obvious but sometimes it's worth checking the basics before you start calling around for a proper fix. If your boiler is not heating up, and you're on a prepayment meter, make sure you haven't run out of credit. Most prepayment methods offer an emergency credit before they run out, so if that's the case, then you'll have some negative credit to cover as well.

If you recently had a power cut it's worth checking your boiler's timer. Sometimes a power cut will restore the timer to factory settings and it might not be heating your home at the right times. If that's the case, you're in luck - just reprogram it with the correct date and times.

As a third check, make sure that your gas supply hasn't been interrupted. Turn on another gas appliance, and check your fuse box, in case it's tripped.

Top Up the Boiler Pressure

Boiler pressure relief valve

A culprit we often forget about is the boiler pressure. Check your boiler's pressure gauge (it would be at the front of your boiler, but it's sometimes covered by an easy to remove panel) and if it's lower than the 1 bar then you might need to top it up for it to function correctly. Not to worry, it's a job you should be able to do on your own, but if you'd rather trust a professional, Rightio's heating engineers are always here to help.

Reset the Boiler

a male engineer looking closely as the boiler controls panel

Resetting the boiler can sometimes resolve an underlying problem. Your boiler manual should have all the information and steps on how to do that. If the boiler was made before 2004, then you'll need to check the pilot light and relight it (again using the boiler manual).

Check the Condensate Pipe

a condensate pipe

If it's frosty outside, then your condensate pipes are at risk of freezing, as they take out the excess liquid caused by condensation from your boiler, outside of the house. The liquid is normally slowly dripping near your exterior walls (just check the exterior behind your boiler to find it). If you find that your exterior pipes are frozen, all you need to do is thaw them, using warm water.

Check the Thermostat

a man adjusting his thermostat

Even if you haven't had a power cut, your thermostat might still be misbehaving, and it could be the reason your boiler's "not working". Make sure its switched on and the batteries are working, check the WiFi connection, and make sure the time and day schedule is correct. Make sure your thermostat is not close to a radiator or a hob, as this could impact its performance.

Bleed the radiators

a radiator key with a dish under to catch any water

It's possible for the boiler to work, and yet for your radiators to remain cold. This is often a sign that there is a sludge and grime build up in your central heating system. To remedy this, you can bleed your radiators, it does take time, but you'll thank us when you're warm! If the bleeding doesn't help but your radiators are still cold, your heating system might be in need of a powerflush.

Call an engineer

a male plumber shaking a female customers hand infront of a boiler

If you notice a puddle around your pipes, strange noise coming from the boiler and you can't find an obvious cause the boiler's not working, but your heating and hot water are still not on, it's time to call a certified heating engineer. In this case, the problem is most likely within the system, due to a faulty and/or broken part and you should never try to resolve it on your own. Trying to open your boiler and perform a repair can pose a serious health and safety damage to you and your household.

Need help with your home maintenance? At Rightio we can help repair heating, plumbing, drainage, locksmith and electricity issues. To find out more about our products and services that could save you money visit visit the Rightio home page and explore what we can offer you.


Facebook icon - transparent F in white circle
Twitter icon - transparent bird in white circle
LinkedIn icon - transparent in with white rounded square background

Related advice

There are plenty of actions you can take to help keep your home in check. Take a look here for the latest guides, advice and tips from our experts!

View our latest advice
Niceic 1
Dand G Logo
Worcester Logo 1
Trustpilot Top100 1
Safe Contractor Web
Rightio Gas Safe E140595653129511 1