Late night boiler fixing explained :)

As a woman, living up north, I sometimes wonder if I push myself too hard. Common stereotypes and tropes aside, us northern ladies are made of tough stuff. Okay nevermind that I was born in Luton but you get the idea. 🙂

So what does a gal do when her boiler doesn’t work suddenly during a national lockdown? That’s right – check YouTube and get the toolbox out. There’s NO WAY I’m paying for a plumber to come out and infect me and my family with the plague aka COVID-19.

YouTube is awash with silly videos by Americans who talk about ‘furnaces’. I wanted a simple, easy fix for my combi boiler. The problem was a simple one: it would not fire up.Turns out that I needed to “bleed” it, as mine’s in fact an oil burning boiler.  Did I mention I was Northern now?

As well as noticing a lack of heat or hot water within your household, there are some additional common boiler problems to look out for, including:

  1. Unusual whistling, banging, or tapping noises – diagnose a noisy boiler with Homeserve here
  2. Higher than average gas usage indicates the boiler is not performing efficiently
  3. The pilot light or flames are orange/yellow in colour, which should normally be blue
  4. It will show a high system water pressure instead of continuing at a steady pressure
  5. A leak has developed around your system’s pipes
  6. Your boiler won’t turn on

Next time I think I will just get boiler cover, though. Honestly life is too short. Compare monthly prices on boiler insurance at websites like USwitch or CompareBoilerCover if you’re not looking to get ripped off by British Gas for £80 a month… 🙂

Has the Fuse box tripped?

Let’s start with the basics. Number one is to ensure a switch hasn’t tripped in your fusebox, as this may impact your boiler. If you’ve recently had a power-cut, it may have caused the timer for your boiler to reset. Check that the clock display matches with the current time. If it doesn’t, it’s time to reprogram.

You can usually find the relevant instructions in the programmer manual; if you don’t have a copy available, tracking one down online is often very straightforward.

Prepaid meter?

If you’re running a prepaid meter, then running out of credit will cause your supply to be cut off and your boiler could even stop working.

Be aware of your rights here – Martin Lewis has a good forum page on it.

Ignition lead is buggered?

The ignition lead is vital for your boiler to ignite. If, when trying to ignite your boiler, you hear clicking noises, then a faulty ignition lead or electrode may be to blame. You may also find that the boiler can ignite, but then quickly goes off again. If you have a newer boiler, a fault code will typically appear. Of course, a Gas Safe Registered engineer will be able to test and replace these parts relatively cheaply.


  1. In my country, we don’t have boilers. I am not sure why woman is moaning about conditions in UK. Can she tell me, why this is? Where I come from, it is just fact of life.

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