We’ve all heard horror stories of people waiting days with no heating or cold water because their boiler has broken down in the middle of winter, and all the engineers are busy. It makes you shiver just to think about it. Unfortunately, the central heating is something most of us don’t think about until something does go wrong and it’s too late – here are some tips for ensuring that you’re best prepared for the winter months and potential central heating disasters.
Electrical shortages almost always mean central heating will fail, even if it runs on gas. A back-up power generator is a wise investment, particularly if you live somewhere remote.
When water freezes in a pipe it expands and can exert pressure over 2,000 pounds per square inch, enough to burst open almost any pipe, so be aware of sudden cold snaps. Pipes most at risk are external pipes and pipes located in unheated crawlspace. It is possible to thaw out pipes if they have frozen but not burst, although it’s also worth calling in the experts if you’re not confident doing this, or if the pipe is in a hard-to-reach location. You’ll be able to tell if the tap serviced by the pipe isn’t letting out water, and it will appear to bulge.
Central heating servicing is essential as we approach the winter months. From time to time, every boiler is going to break down, so it’s best to make sure you’re covered for emergency call-outs, and get your boiler serviced regularly (it’s a good idea to do this before the really busy season starts to avoid a lengthy wait).
If your central heating does break down in the middle of winter, it is a good idea to have back-up options for keeping warm, such as electric heaters or a combustion stove. It’s not safe to run ovens or stoves continuously, but leaving the oven door open as it cools after you cook a meal is a way to get some heat out into a room (as long as there are no small children around). Running your electric tumble-dryer is also a way to warm up a chilly room.
Be sure to weather-proof your house as much as possible by taking advantage of insulation offers and having double glazed windows fitted. And don’t forget tips and tricks like putting up heavy curtains and a draught excluder – and throwing on an extra jumper!