Self help guide to individual heating and hot water problems

Only attempt the following if you feel confident to do so - if not, report the repair to book an engineer
If you have a communal heating system, report the repair - don't try to fix the problem yourself

No heating or hot water

There are many reasons why you may lose hot water and heating. You should check the following:

  • ensure gas, electric and water is on (this is often the fault)
  • if your boiler has a pressure gauge, it should be set to approx 1 bar
  • if you have a permanent pilot light, check if it's on
  • check if the room thermostat and timer are on
  • set the heating to maximum and try to turn it on
  • if you've had a power cut, check if the timer has reset itself
  • if you have a consumer-operated reset switch (not one that needs you to remove any casing), check your user manual usually found on the front of the boiler
  • ensure your pipes aren't frozen
  • check if your gas cooker or fire is affected
  • try turning the electricity supply on and off

Open-vented system boilers

This type of system has a small black tank and is often found in the loft or at the top of a cupboard.

If the ball valve float in the black tank become stuck and the system's water drops, then water can't circulate. If you can safely and easily enter your loft, check if the ball valve is stuck (indicated by no or low water in the cistern). Gently move the ball float valve arm to release it (don't force it). This may solve the problem.

Sealed system or combination boilers

This is a type of boiler without a water tank.

If your system pressure has dropped, this is often caused by water leaks and can stop the system working properly.

Check the pressure gauge (this should be set at 1 bar). A red indicator needle often shows where the pressure should be.

Look in your user manual to see if you can re-pressurize the boiler yourself (instructions are on the rear of the control panel).

If your boiler panel needs tools to remove it, don't touch it and report the repair to book an engineer.

Central heating leaking

  1. If the leak is not coming from central heating, check where it's coming from (for instance, look at the seal around the bath or roof)
  2. If the central heating is leaking, turn off your heating and cold water stop tap to limit damage and report the repair to book an engineer
  3. If you have an open vented system with a cistern in the loft, the leak can take awhile to stop
  4. Consider what the cause may be or if you've done any DIY lately - perhaps the leak is due to wear and tear or a punctured pipe 

Page last updated: 28 October 2022


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