Tips On Maintaining Your Central Heating System

This is one of a series of articles provided by the Plumber Chelmsford blog.
With the price of gas and electricity reaching record level it has never been a better time to ensure that your central heating is working efficiently. All homes with central heating should have their boiler and heating system serviced every year to keep it running efficiently. This must be carried out by a Gas Safe engineer who will also carry out safety checks on the boiler. If you live in rented accommodation, the landlord is responsible for making sure all gas appliances are safe. They are required to have each appliance checked annually by a Gas Safe engineer who will also issue a safety certificate.  
You should also have a carbon monoxide alarm fitted at your home. They are very reasonably priced, available at all DIY stores and could save your life. Carbon monoxide is known as a silent killer .It does not smell and you cannot see it. Test the alarm once a week to make sure that it is working properly. A faulty gas appliance with incomplete combustion taking place can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning without anyone being aware of it.
If you can see the flame in the boiler it should be a strong blue flame. A yellow, flickering flame indicates a problem which should be investigated. It can be a sign of incomplete combustion and could lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. Whether this is being caused by an obstruction in the flue or some other fault, it is important to get it checked out.
It is important to switch on your heating system for a short while even during the summer. If you do this every 3 or 4 weeks it will help keep the heating system in good working order and reduce the chance of any problems developing with pump which are prone to seizing up.
Your boiler should be controlled by a timer or programmer. Set your programmer so that the heating comes on half an hour before you want it. So, if you get in from work at 7pm then set it to come on at 6:30pm. Similarly, set it to turn the heating off half an hour before you go to bed. This will reduce waste and reduce your bills. Turning your thermostat down by just one degree could make a welcome reduction in your gas bill of around £60 per year.
Check the temperature set on your cylinder thermostat. The average setting is around 55 - 60 degrees.  60 degrees is about the highest temperature of water you could possibly need. Having it set higher than this does not, contrary to popular belief, make the water heat any quicker. It just means you will have to add cold water to your bath to bring the temperature back down to an acceptable level. The same principle applies to room thermostats i.e. turning it up higher does not make the room heat up any quicker.
If you have problems with some radiators heating up and others remaining cooler, the system may need balancing. Radiators close to the pump may be getting more than their fair share of water resulting in insufficient water reaching radiators further away.
Check your attic space to make sure that you have the recommended level of insulation. The amount of heat that will escape through an un-insulated or poorly insulated loft is surprisingly high and it is simply throwing money away. You should also draught proof windows and doors. With the ever rising cost of gas and electricity it is essential to do what you can to make savings.
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