Is your heating ready for winter? - 7 checks for customers

Underfloor heating blog

A quick guide to getting your heating system ready for winter

The weather is cooling and the nights are drawing in, meaning it’s only a few weeks before we all start reaching for the thermostat and turning our heating back on.

Unfortunately, after months with our thermostats turned right down, it’s inevitable that for some homeowners, turning their boilers back on will lead to them discovering problems just when they need their heating the most.

October and November are among the busiest months in the calendar for plumbers and heating engineers as you deal with these emergency call outs, often resulting in long hours as you try to get to as many people as possible. While there isn’t much you can do to prevent the late-night call from a customer whose boiler won’t turn on, there are things that homeowners can do to help keep their underfloor heating in tip-top condition, minimising the risk that they might need to make that urgent call.

We’ve written the text below so that you can copy, paste and send it out to your regular customers to remind them that it’s time to give their heating a quick once over. It might be just the thing that makes sure their underfloor heating works perfectly right through the winter – and they’ll definitely appreciate the reminder.

Seven quick heating checks you can do today

  • Visual check: Find the manifold, then have a good look at it and the surrounding pipework. If you see any sign of a leak or anything you are not sure about, take a photo on your phone and send it to your plumber. Use a torch if you need to check those hard-to-see areas.
  • Tissue check: If you think you have a small leak, clean off the area with some tissue, then wrap a clean bit of tissue around the point so it doesn’t fall off. Check the area every day or so. If the tissue paper is wet again, there’s a leak.
  • Pressure check: This is simple to do. Find the heating system pressure gauge (this could be next to the expansion tank, which is usually a big red cylinder the size of a beach ball, built into the boiler, or sited close to the boiler). The gauge should usually be in the range of 1 to 1.5 bar. If it’s higher or lower, contact your plumber.
  • Check the batteries: You may have thermostats with batteries - check and replace them if necessary.
  • Turn it all on: Turn the system on by turning up the thermostat to create a demand for heat. Open up all the thermostatic radiator valves and turn any time switches to 24-hour operation. Check all your radiators for any leaks.
  • Listen for noises: Can you hear any strange noises when you turn the system on? What sort of noises are they? Do they stop as the system heats up? Can you locate where the sound is coming from? All this is useful information for your plumber.
  • Book a service for the whole system: This is the best way to prepare for winter, but your heating engineer will quickly get busy as the weather cools. Book a service early (like now), so you can look forward to a trouble-free winter. Having the service done early means that if anything needs mending or replacing, you have the time to fix it before it gets really cold.

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