You only realise how much you love your central heating system when you have to live without it (even for a day!) in winter. And yet it’s so easy to take it for granted and ignore it.
They’re usually kept somewhere out the way, and you might forget it’s there until something goes wrong. When this happens, things can get dangerous as well as cold, but it needn’t get to that stage so long as you look after it.
How does central heating work?
Air or water is heated at a central point – your boiler or your furnace – then it’s sent through your house via pipes and radiators, which in turn get hot, warming each room. You can use oil, gas, solar or electricity as a fuel source and, depending on which you use, your furnace or boiler could last anywhere from 15 to 30 years.
Repairs, examinations and maintenance
To look after your system and prolong its life, it needs annual inspections from a licensed technician. But you also need to keep an eye on it by checking the heat exchanger isn’t leaking, and by changing the filter every few months. If you find a crack in the heat exchanger it could mean a carbon monoxide leak, which can be deadly, so make sure you get it checked by a professional straight away.
Also, make sure the radiators are working as they should be. If not, it might be time to get the radiators repaired or replaced to improve efficiency.
When’s it time to replace the whole system?
You might find the boiler or furnace is getting noisier, or it’s becoming temperamental. This is probably the time to bite the bullet and install a new system. It’s not worth waiting until it actually packs in before getting a new one. It’s too dangerous, especially if you’re using gas or oil. If you smell gas or suspect a leak, turn the supply off straight away, get out of the house and contact a professional.
We all know how expensive it is to get a boiler or furnace replaced, and this often puts us off purchasing a new one and putting up with the one that’s so near the end of its life. This is very unwise, as the potential dangers are so severe. If you just get it sorted, your pockets may be a bit lighter, but your mind will be at ease.