According to those experts who monitor such things, the average household decides to admit that summer has finally gone and switches on their central heating for the first time on 13th October. As much as I’ve been tempted to switch ours on this week I’ve resisted the urge, but I know it won’t be long!
Since moving house to a more rural location, we’re now on an oil fired system and we’ve had the expense of filling up our tank this month. But once switched on, I know our boiler and heating system will probably be in action every day until Spring arrives.
Is yours ready? Here’s how to make sure…
1) Get it serviced
Very important, and this is one thing you should never try to do yourself. This is especially the case if you have a gas powered system, as it needs to be inspected by a Gas Safe registered engineer every 12 months. Failure to do so could result in deadly levels of carbon monoxide being released into your home – tragically, this accounts for 40 deaths every year in the UK.
2) Check the oil level
If you have an oil boiler, now is the time to check the level in the tank. Most now have a sensor with a remote indicator that you plug into a power outlet, but there are still some out there with the good old fashioned dipstick. If you are using the latter, make sure you wear rubber gloves when dipping the tank, try to minimise any spillage or drips, and make sure you replace the cap securely afterwards. Even if the tank is half full, it makes sense to get on to a delivery company like supersaveroil.ie to order a top up now, as prices will only get higher as the weather gets colder.
3) Check the tank
While you are out there, take a good look around the tank. Clear any weeds and vegetation that has grown around it, and look closely at pipes to check for any leaks. If there is a problem, it’s better to know about it now than when there is a foot of snow and the extended family is visiting for Christmas!
4) Give it a test run
Okay, ready? Let’s fire her up! Switch the boiler on to give it a test run before the weather actually turns nasty. Give all the radiators a chance to heat up, and check whether there are any that are not working properly. If you encounter cold spots on one or more, it means they need bleeding, which is our final step.
5) Bleed the radiators
A radiator key can be bought for next to nothing from any DIY store. Before you start, you need the heating switched off and the radiators cool enough to touch.
Attach the key into the square section in the radiator valve and use a cloth to hold it. Have another cloth or a towel at the ready. Now, turn it slowly anti clockwise. If you hear a hissing sound, that’s great, it is the air escaping. As soon as water starts to leak out, that’s the job done, so tighten it back up quickly.
When you have finished bleeding the radiators, check the pressure gauge on the boiler – if it has dropped, you might need to repressurise it.
Have you switched on your heating system yet?
Post written in collaboration