It’s time to prepare your plumbing and heating for winter

They say, “You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.” It’s a phrase that applies to many customers who get an unwanted surprise when they turn their boiler back on as the temperature drops in the autumn. No-one wants their boiler to let them down when it’s time to put the heating back on.

You can do your best to prevent this by taking care of your boiler throughout the year.

Here are some maintenance and energy saving tips that could save you time, hassle and money.




Why you should get your boiler serviced in the summer?

Heating engineers get crazy busy with repairs as we head towards the winter and, because of their full diaries, some even turn down boiler service requests at this time, which can be very frustrating for you and can also invalidate your warranty – a potentially costly situation that you can prevent if you think ahead.

Also, getting your boiler serviced gives the boiler a good clean which will make it work more efficiently through the winter, using less gas and therefore reducing your energy bills.



Preparing your heating system for winter

Regularly check your boiler when your heating isn’t being used

Every month or so, during the summer period when most people’s heating won’t be on and therefore your boiler will be standing idle, it’s really important to turn your heating on. Just for 30 seconds, to get the boiler ticking over. You don’t need to wait to get the house hot, just give it long enough for the boiler to kick in. This will move the valves within the boiler and stop them seizing up.

If your valves have seized up, you’ll want the heads up when you don’t yet have a need for your heating, rather than only finding out when you realise the house is freezing, decide it’s time to turn the heating on, only to find out it’s not working and you’re left in the cold.



Check your pressure levels

As well as turning your boiler on a few times over the summer, to stop moving parts like valves from seizing up, you should also keep an eye on your boiler’s pressure levels. If you’re on a combi boiler or a system boiler the pressure can sometimes drop, which is normally a sign that there’s a small leak somewhere in the heating system. You can top this back up manually, keeping the pressure level between one and one and a half bar.


Bleed your radiators

Quite often, air can somehow get into your heating system which will then make the top of your radiators cold. If you’ve ever touched one of your radiators and the top was cold but the bottom was hot, it’s likely to have been caused by trapped air, which you need to release by bleeding your radiators. Bleeding your radiators is a good practice to do regularly, whether you’re feeling cold spots or not, to prevent air building up as it makes your heating system more efficient if the whole radiator is heating the room, not just the bottom half of the radiator.


Update your boiler and heating controls

Old controls are literally just turning your boiler on and off. Modern, new controls are more sophisticated, with Load compensation and weather compensation functionality that modulates your boiler and helps to reduce energy usage.


Clean your radiator system

This procedure is normally called a power flush or a chemical clean. It’s another effective way to help you save on your energy bill, as it gets rid of any sludge that’s built up in the radiator system – a cleaned out heating system works more efficiently, just like walking down a clear path uses much less energy than us having to move obstacles out of the way to let us get through. 


Time your heating

It makes no sense to spend money using energy to heat your house when you’re not there. Being clever about timing your heating to come and on and off in sync with the timing periods you’ll be in and out of your house is a no-brainer. 

Another tip that will help massively with your energy saving mission, is to turn down the temperature of your boiler. Rather than change the times your boiler comes on and goes off, you can turn down the temperature gauge on the front of your boiler to three, on the one to five scale. The boiler isn’t having to work so hard and is therefore using less fuel, which costs you less money, but the radiators will still get hot enough to heat your rooms.


Choose which rooms to heat

Most homes’ radiators will now have thermostatic radiator valves fitted to them. This valve has a moveable scale numbered one to five, which means that you can control each room or each radiator individually. This enables you to turn the valve right down on the radiators in rooms that you’re not using.


Consider investing in a new boiler

If you can afford to, it makes long-term sense to replace an old non-condensing boiler with a new condensing boiler. Condensing boilers reuse the heat that’s going out of the flue, and they’re self-cleaning, too. Both these attributes make the boiler more energy efficient.



What to do if your heating doesn’t come on

The most likely reason for your heating not coming on will be a stuck valve that’s seized up through lack of use. You’ll need to arrange for a gas engineer or heating engineer to come round and change the valve for you, or diagnose the issue if it wasn’t the valves.

JPS Plumbing, Gas and Electrical are experts in emergency repair work and will be quick to respond if you get in touch with us, changing valves or carrying out any other works needed to get your boiler fully up and running efficiently again. We provide a 24/7 service, giving you the ultimate flexible service.


What to do if your heating isn’t working

The first thing to do is to have a good look at your boiler. If it is a modern boiler, there should be a panel on the front which will display an error code. Note the error code down for future reference, then reset your boiler. This works in most cases and resolves most issues but, if the problem keeps happening and the same error code keeps popping up, contact JPS or another gas or heating engineer so we can visit, diagnose and fix the problem.


Who to call out for a plumbing emergency

At JPS, we understand that broken down boilers need to be repaired or replaced as soon as possible, to minimise the discomfort and inconvenience in your daily life. That’s why we are available 24 hours, 7 days a week, to respond to you as quickly as we can.

We support a wide geographical area with our emergency callout service – Winchester, Southampton, Eastleigh and the surrounding areas. We also cover Andover and Basingstoke.


How quickly your boiler can be repaired

Most repairs that JPS carry out can be done on the same day or the next day, because we have arrangements with many local suppliers who reliably stock most parts that we need to get the job done fast. If the part isn’t already in stock, it generally arrives the following day.


How JPS can help

We can service your boiler, replace your old boiler with a new, more efficient one, we can help you to set up all your controls correctly and we can carry out a full radiator system power flush.

If you need an emergency repair,  we will generally get out on the same day or the next day. We will either fix it on the spot or diagnose the problem, giving you a written quote for the repair in advance.


How you can contact JPS Plumbing, Gas and Electrical

Call us on 01962 448019 or send us an email at whenever you need us for any heating or plumbing needs. 

Our qualified, knowledgeable, experienced and friendly team at JPS Plumbing, Gas and Electrical will be more than happy to help you.


If you’d like to know more about Boilers, we have a boiler guide here.