Although many modern gas central heating systems are reliable and efficient from time to time things can go wrong. As with other appliances in the home your boiler can break down and you should be aware of what to do and who to turn to if this happens.
Firstly, you should be fully aware that if your boiler breaks down you should NOT attempt any repairs yourself. It is actually against the law for any person who is not registered with Gas Safe scheme (formerly Corgi) to carry out any repairs, installation or servicing of any appliance connected to the gas supply. If you find yourself without central heating because of a boiler breakdown then contact a central heating installer or Gas Safe registered plumber who will be able to repair the unit or declare it as defunct.
If you are worried about the cost of boiler repairs, or even the cost of a new boiler if yours cannot be repaired then there are a number of insurance schemes on the market. Alternatively, when buying your new boiler shop around for a model with a guarantee. If you were to experience a breakdown during the guarantee period the unit will be repaired for free and replaced if it cannot be fixed.
Keep an eye on your boiler
Whilst you cannot carry out any repairs on your boiler you can carry out routine checks throughout the year to ensure it is in good working order. Keep you eye on the pressure gauge. Typically the pressure should be between 1.0 and 1.5 bar. If you see it dip below or rise above these levels contact a qualified engineer who can make some simple checks to correct the problem.
Also, look for the flame of the pilot light. You may be worried that your boiler has broken but if you cannot see the flame of the pilot light this will be the problem. A boiler cannot work if the pilot light is unlit. Many modern units allow the user to re-ignite the pilot light simply by pressing a button so check this before calling an engineer to your home. If you are unsure of how to ignite the pilot light you should consult the boilers instruction manual.
Before calling a heating engineer to your home you should also remember to check your gas supply. For example, if you have a gas oven try turning it on. If it does not heat up it is possible that the gas supply to your home is not connected. If this is the case you should contact your gas supplier, rather than a heating engineer. They will be able to diagnose why you have no gas to your home and will be able to reconnect it as quickly as possible.
If you can smell gas in your home it is possible you have a leak. In this instance you should immediately call Transco, who are employed to respond to gas leaks throughout the UK. Do not turn on or off any light switches, do not ignite any gas appliances and do not smoke. If possible you should vacate the house until Transco arrive.