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Common causes for boiler breakdowns

Boiler breakdowns are never a fun experience for any customer. There is always a slight element of panic as most of our customers are unsure why the breakdown has occurred and worry it may take a long time to be repaired. We want to try and put our customers at ease and share knowledge around the most common causes for boiler breakdowns, so that if you ever experience such a thing you know that it may well be easier to fix than you thought.

With any of the issues outlined below, our trained Gas Safe engineers will know exactly what to do and can talk you through the best possible solution to get your boiler back up and running as quickly as possible.

  • If you are experiencing a complete lack of hot running water, or central heating, it can be the most daunting problem as it may seem like the entire system is broken. However, this may not be the case. A whole system breakdown could be caused by one small part within the system breaking. Once that part has been identified a replacement can be sourced and then it is just a matter of installing it.
  • You may have noticed your boiler pilot light is going out, causing your boiler to turn off unexpectedly. The most common cause for this problem is a buildup of soot and dirt on the boiler’s internal parts. A trained engineer can take a look and then carefully clean the soot away and this will usually get your boiler back up and running again.
  • During winter months, several boiler breakdowns are caused by frozen condensate pipes. As the temperature outside drops below zero, if there is any excess condensation still in the pipe, it can freeze and block the pipe. This blockage will prevent the boiler from turning on as it can’t send the waste gases outside. Thawing out the pipe is likely to resolve the problem, however, get an engineer to do so in case there is further damage that isn’t visible to you.
  • You may or may not know, that your boiler has its own pressure gauge. Your boiler will only operate at certain pressure levels, and some boiler breakdowns are caused by low boiler pressure. Low boiler pressure is normally due to a leak somewhere in the system. Your engineer is trained to locate the leak and fix it for you, bringing the boiler pressure back up and getting your boiler running again.
  • Boilers can sometimes make a whistling type noise whilst they’re on. This is called kettling, and if left ignored can lead to boiler breakdowns. Kettling is the term used when there is a buildup of limescale within your boiler’s internal heat exchange which leads to blockages and boiler failure. Kettling is not uncommon as most of us live in hard water areas, so this is something that our engineers can resolve for you.
  • Finally, boilers have their own thermostats to control the temperature within the boiler. If these ever break, it could create faulty readings, making the boiler think it’s warmer than it is, and turning itself off when it shouldn’t. This is something your engineer will check, and if they notice the thermostat is broken, they can simply install a new one and your boiler will be working properly again in no time.


Whilst we’re confident our team of experts will be able to repair your broken boiler in reasonable time, one thing our customers can do is try to be more proactive in their boiler care. Ensuring you carry out an annual boiler service is the best way to help prevent boiler breakdowns as it gives you the opportunity to check that all your boiler’s parts are still in good condition and if there are any signs of deterioration, new parts can be installed before a breakdown occurs.

If you are interested in any of our boiler services, contact us to see how we can help!