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Help! What do I do if I have no heating or hot water?

Published: 22/11/2017 By LBH

So here it is…winter is upon us! The nights are drawing in and it’s pitch black by the time you get home from work. It’s cold and wet but you know that when you get home you can get really cosy and snuggly.

You pull up outside, park up, get your bags and duck out of the rain into your home putting the lights on as you get through the front door. But what’s this? It’s freezing! It’s not warm or snuggly. What’s going on? The radiators are cold, but they shouldn’t be! You run the hot tap. Cold…. Still cold……Still COLD………!

I’ve got no heating and hot water!
It’s 6.30pm and you fear getting this fixed tonight is not going to easy.
Whilst your boiler has been merrily working well all summer long, it suddenly decides that it’s just too tired on these dark, cold, wintery days to bother doing its job anymore and has totally given up!!
So what do I do?

Well firstly - don’t panic!!

There is usually a really easy solution that you can action yourself now – no tools or expert knowledge required – but boy oh boy will you feel proud (and warm again!) once you have done it!!
So here goes…

First, you need to check the pressure on your boiler. Don’t worry – this isn’t as scary as it sounds!

Your boiler will have a dial or display on it showing how many “bar” the boiler pressure is set at.
It should be ideally between 1.5 bar and 2.0 bar. If it is lower than this, the boiler simply won’t fire up and you’ll be as cold as a snow man!
If you notice the pressure is lower than 0.5 bar, this is usually why the boiler has stopped working. It can’t operate with low or no pressure. It’s a bit like a car trying to run without any oil. The good news is that you can top the pressure up yourself easily!

There will usually be a small “tap” on the boiler that you can turn, that will allow water to run into the boiler to increase the pressure. Don’t worry here – this is designed for you to operate. You do not need specialist knowledge or a tradesman for this. The “tap” is usually plastic and usually black. It usually sits on a silver flexible hose and it’s usually beneath the boiler.

If you don’t see it straight away, or if there are more than 1 “tap” or valve, don’t worry.

Now all boilers are slightly different, so it’s best to find the instructions on how to top up the pressure on your boiler first. We advise Landlord's to leave the instructions for your boiler in the house for your reference so often these will be in a safe place close to the boiler, in a house file, or ina kitchen drawer for example. If you're a tenant that we look after, you can't find them and it's during office hours - give us a call and we'll be happy to help. If not  search google for a copy of your user manual for your specific boiler which will show you exactly where this tap is. You’ll need the make and model of your boiler to allow you to find the right manual on line….and make sure you do not touch any moving parts until you are certain you are opening the right tap!

Once you have located the tap, open it up – you will hear water rushing in to the boiler – don’t worry, this is what you want to hear. Watch the pressure rise on the display and when it reaches between 1.5 and 2 bar, turn off the tap and leave it closed as it was before. Take care not to over pressurise the boiler here, don't go over 2.5 bar! If the pressure goes to high it could damage the boiler, so go steady. But don't worry - you can do this!

Following these simple steps should easily solve any simple pressure issues! Yeah!!

If there is still a warning light on the boiler, or if the heating or hot water still doesn’t come on right away, you may need to hit the “Reset” button. If you can’t see it, consult the manual again.

If these steps still don’t solve it, you may need an engineer to attend. (It is worth noting though that if when they do attend, they find it is just an issue with the pressure as already mentions, not only will you feel very silly (oops!!) but you may also be charged their call out fee as topping up the pressure is classes as a normal tenant like obligation, (similar to changing a light bulb – you don’t need an electrician to do it – you can be your own hero!!)

If an engineer is needed, and your property is managed by Dwell Leeds, then just call our office and the team will be able to assist in arranging an engineer. It will be helpful to have the boiler make and model to hand when you call. If it’s outside of office hours, you can consult your move in pack for the emergency number and get in touch. Please let us have your name, the property address, and the make and model number of the boiler so we can help you best.

Oh and one last little festive top tip for you….If you are going away over the holiday season, please make sure you don’t turn your heating off completely! Whilst we understand you may think this is a good idea to save a few pounds to spend on festivities by reducing your utility bills, its actually a really really bad idea!!

Let me explain why…

Frost protection in winter

**IMPORTANT** During the cold weather, the water in the pipes might freeze if they get really cold. The frozen water will then expand, crack the pipes and then when the water does start running again, the water escapes through these cracks and leaks ALL OVER your property! Total and utter NIGHTMARE!!! And flooding your home and all its contents will not be a great start to the new year when you return home! And your Landlord will not be pleased!!!

So please please take care and always leave your heating on low and NEVER turn it completely off!!

We are hopeful this information is useful and allows you to stay warm and cold and flood free over the winter period!

If you like this blog and think your friends just might need some cosy winter advice too, why not share it – we always know that one person who is always FREEEEEZING! So be a great mate and spread the word!