If you have no central heating, don’t panic. If the heating isn’t working, there are a number of things you can check up on yourself before having to call a plumber
No central heating – common reasons why the heating stops working
It may sound obvious, but does your home have electricity? Check other appliances in your home to see if they still work. If not, you could be in the middle of a power cut.
If you have a prepaid meter, do you actually have enough credit? These points may sound too obvious, but it only takes a minute or two to check them, and doing so could save you from wasting a huge amount of time.
If the power supply to your home is OK, check the consumer unit to see if any circuit breakers have been tripped. If the one for the boiler was in the off position, switch it back on.
No central heating due to low boiler pressure
The water in a combi boiler heating system must be pressurised to at least 1 – 1.5 bar when cold. Any lower than this, and the boiler simply won’t come on at all, leaving you with no hot water at the taps either.
If the pressure gauge on your boiler is below 1 bar, this is almost certainly the problem. You can fix it by topping up the pressure yourself via the boiler’s filling loop.
No pilot light
If you have an older boiler with a pilot light, check to see that it’s burning. This is a small flame that’s constantly burning and is the point of ignition for the boiler’s main burner. If the pilot light goes out, the boiler will not work.
Is the gas supply to your home OK? If you have a gas cooker, try turning one of the hobs on to check if the gas supply is good.
If the supply to the oven is good, make sure that the gas valve to the boiler is open. In most cases, this will be the valve with a plastic yellow lever. The valve is open when the lever is in line with the body of the valve and closed when it’s at a right angle to it.
Remember, it is illegal for an individual who is not on the Gas Safe register to work on a gas appliance. If you smell gas or suspect a gas leak or the release of carbon monoxide from a gas appliance, call the Gas Emergency Services number on 0800 111 999. Calls are free and the line is open 24 hours a day.
No central heating selected
Make sure that central heating option on your boiler has actually been selected. On many boilers, there is a dial with three possible settings: off, hot water only, hot water and central heating.
Thermostat too low
Make sure that your thermostat is at a temperature that will actually trigger the boiler to come on. Turning the thermostat up at least a full degree higher than the current room temperature should activate the boiler.
No central heating – thermostat
Pay attention to where the thermostat actually is in your home. With wireless portable thermostats, there is often the temptation to bring them into different rooms. For example, if you bring the thermostat into the kitchen while cooking the Sunday roast with the doors and windows to the room closed, there’s a good chance that the temperature in the kitchen will rise well above the target temperature of the thermostat. As a result, the thermostat won’t see any reason to activate the central heating, and the rest of the house will cool down.
If the boiler recently lost its power supply, the boiler’s clock may have reset itself to a time where there’s no demand for heat. If the time is wrong, follow the manufacturer’s instructions to set the clock with the correct time.
Switch the boiler on and off again
Just like your computer, switching it off and on may resolve any problems and get the boiler going again.