Cup of coffee with Autumn leaves

Keep your oil boiler running efficiently this autumn with these top tips

Taking the time to maintain your oil boiler properly won’t just make sure that your home stays warm as we head into autumn - it will also help you to heat your home efficiently and keep your oil bills as low as possible. Read on to find out more.

Check your oil levels

After what has been an unusually hot summer, the chances are you have not seen much use of your heating, and as a result you likely haven’t been keeping a close eye on your oil levels. As the mornings and evenings begin to turn cooler you’ll likely soon be starting to use your heating. Allowing the oil level in your tank to get too low can lead to problems for both the boiler and your heating system, so it is highly recommended that you take a moment to check if you have sufficient oil reserves now.

Check your fuel level guage

Although modern oil storage tanks usually have a visible fuel level gauge, some still require a manual check. Now is the perfect time to make sure you are familiar with how your tank works. We’d also recommend you check that your fuel gauge, if you have one, is actually working - it may seem obvious, but a quick check now can help prevent you from being left in the cold later!

Avoid running dry

It is important to be aware that if you do run out of oil, you risk causing damage to the system as a result of sludge that gathers in the tank over time. You will also need to bleed air from the oil line to get your boiler to start again. The simplest way to prevent this from occurring is to check your levels now, before you start to use your heating on a daily basis.

Check your system’s water pressure

Most modern oil boilers work as part of what is known as a sealed heating system, which requires the water pressure to be correct in order to function properly.

It is recommended that you routinely check the system pressure on the pressure gauge. This gauge can usually be found on the boiler control panel but in some cases may be located elsewhere on the system. If you are not sure where to find your water pressure gauge, your installer can advise you.

When to check your water pressure

The best time to check the water pressure is when the system is cold. It should usually read at around 0.7 bar for a bungalow and around 1.2 bar for a two-storey house. As with your fuel oil levels, now is the ideal time to perform these checks.

If your pressure has dropped below the recommended level, you will need to bring it back to the correct pressure. To do this, follow the instructions in your boiler handbook. If you find that your oil boiler pressure drops regularly, this may indicate a leak that will need to be dealt with. Contact your installer or service engineer for assistance.

Prevent corrosion

Treating the system water to help prevent corrosion within the radiators, pipework and boiler can significantly improve the lifespan and efficiency of your boiler and heating system. Build ups of corrosion can reduce efficiency and therefore result in you burning excess oil and paying more than you need to to heat your home. Longer term, corrosion can costly damage to your system, as well as increasing the potential for leaks to occur in your radiators or boiler.

Having a magnetic filter fitted in the system pipework can significantly help reduce the amount of debris in circulation within your system, while periodic power flushing can also help to maintain the quality of your system water.

Understand your boiler settings

Understanding the optimum settings for your oil boiler will help you to get the best use out of your boiler and heating system, so that you can you to maintain a warm and comfortable home while keep heating costs to a minimum.

If you have a traditional two-channel programmer, setting the times when you want your heating and hot water heating to operate means that rather than running all the time, your system will turn on when you want and need it to, reducing unnecessary usage.

Smart technology for oil boilers

Many modern oil boilers are now compatible with smart technology such as the Google Nest learning thermostat, which offers a far greater level of control for even greater comfort and efficiency. Thanks to intelligent features and the option to control your system via app wherever you are, you can make significan energy savings.

Smart valves for precision control

Room thermostats and thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs), can also be converted to smart controls if you wish for an even greater amount of control. TRVs are fitted to all or most radiators and allow the individual temperatures in each room to be set at a desired level. It is worth noting that that they are intended to be used to adjust the room temperature and not for use as an on/off switch for radiators.

Finally, do not be tempted to adjust the main boiler temperature control. This is something that is set by the engineer to provide the optimum level of heating from your home and shouldn’t be used to reduce the temperature of your home.

Book your oil boiler service

In order to maintain a safe and reliable heating system, it is recommended that domestic oil boilers are serviced every year. If your oil boiler is covered by a warranty or guarantee, this will also ensure it remains valid. If you haven’t already had your boiler services this year, now is the ideal time to get it booked.

What does an oil boiler service include?

During a service, a qualified engineer will conduct a thorough examination of the boiler. The boiler and burner will be cleaned and the burner combustion will be reset to allow the boiler to continue operating as efficiently as possible. The boiler and flue system components will also be checked and consumable parts such as the nozzle or flexible fuel hose will be replaced as necessary. This will further ensure the safety and reliability of the boiler’s operation. Learn more about what is involved in an oil boiler service.

Always ensure that your oil boiler engineer is OFTEC registered, and ideally manufacturer accredited.

For all your oil boiler installation and service needs across North Wales, speak to the experts at D.R. Plumbing & Heating today. Call now on Wrexham 01978 291 923 or Mold 01352 620 125 to find out more or request a free, no-obligation quotation.

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