How to deal with an inactive boiler

Many of us switch off our boilers over the summer months to save energy and, ultimately, money. But how does leaving your boiler inactive for several months affect its performance, and is there anything that you should do before you bring it back into full use for winter? We take a look at how to care for an inactive boiler to ensure that you don’t find yourself shivering at the first sign of a morning frost. 

Which types of boiler are affected, and how?

Summer is the obvious time of year to turn your boiler off to save money on heating your home. However, if your boiler is off for too long then that can lead to problems such as valves sticking or pumps being obstructed or seizing up. Because combi boilers are used for both hot water and heating, then this does not usually arise as an issue for homes with this kind of system as they are used all year round for hot water; problems that arise through inactive boilers are mostly a concern for system and regular boilers that are being used primarily for heating.  

What should you do to keep your boiler in good health during months of inactivity?

Simply turn your inactive boiler back on every few weeks for a few hours just to make sure that everything is still working optimally. This process also allows for debris to be flushed through. 

How should you prepare for winter months?

  • Check the system pressure of your heating system, which should usually be between 1 and 1.5 bar. Low pressure can be resolved by using the filling loop.
  • Check your radiators. Switch the system on and let it come up to temperature, then check each radiator for cold spots. These cold spots are likely to be either trapped air that can be released by bleeding the radiator, or, if the cold spot is located at the base of the radiator and bleeding doesn’t resolve the issue, it could potentially be a build up of sludge and debris in which case you should schedule in a flushing of the system with an engineer.
  • Service your boiler. An annual boiler service is key to ensuring your boiler is in full working order. The engineer will check the components of your boiler for any faults or wear, then they will inspect your heating system for signs of damaged radiators and pipework. Ideally, a boiler should be serviced every year and summer is the perfect time to schedule this work – not only does it mean that you can have your boiler serviced without interfering greatly with its usage when you need it, but heating engineers tend to be extremely busy once the weather starts to cool down; make the most of their flexibility during the warmer months.

Dealing with your inactive boiler with toasti

If you would like to book a service with a heating engineer before winter sets in, or if you have concerns about the way your inactive boiler has responded to being switched back on, get in touch with the team at toasti who would be happy to take a look at your boiler and give it a full health check. Read our collection of blogs on all things boiler related, from how to drain a radiator to our top 5 boiler maintenance tips.