If you have a relatively modern home or have had a heating system upgrade then the chances are you have a gas boiler at the heart of your central heating system.  The modern gas boiler is a sturdy piece of equipment that doesn’t require fixing very often but there are some problems that can mean you need to call a heating engineer to inspect and solve the problem.

No Heat Or Hot Water

It is most common for boilers to break down in the winter – this is when they are used the most often, after all.  And the extremes of temperature can accent problems that might go unnoticed during warmer months.  Top of the list of common problems is that you have no heat or hot water in your home.

There are lots of reasons why this can happen and is definitely a job for a gas boiler approved engineer to fix.  It can be something as simple as a problem with your thermostat or the pressure within the boiler but could also be a broken diaphragm, an airlock or valve problem and any of these will require replacement parts.

Water Leaks

Water leaks are another vague result of one of a number of problems and the location of the leak can give a hint as to the nature of the problem – if it is the boiler itself that is leaking then that’s where the problem is.  However, if it is a pipe somewhere away from the boiler that is leaking, then the boiler probably isn’t the cause and the pipe itself is at fault.

Boilers can experience leaks due to corrosion or if there have been any faults in the original fitting process.  Be very careful around leaks near the boiler as the water can be hot or even boiling hot so exercise caution when looking at the leak.


Boilers do naturally make some noises and this doesn’t mean they need fixing but strange banging, whistling or gurgling noises can indicate a problem.  It might be something like the water pressure in the system is too low or there could be a pump that is failing, a common problem with older systems.  If the boiler sounds like it is imitating your kitchen kettle, then this is a specific problem and you can tell the heating engineer what you have heard – the nature of the noise often indicates the nature of the problem.

Other Issues

The pilot light is an indicator that the boiler is working and if it goes out, then the boiler isn’t working.  This can happen in high winds but can also be a sign of a problem.  It might mean there is an issue with the gas supply and if you think you can smell gas, you should always ring the emergency gas helpline to get someone to the property quickly.

Boilers also have pressure gauges and the wrong setting can mean it isn’t supplying enough water to the system.  You can check the setting on the boiler but if changing this doesn’t solve the problem then there might be a bigger issue to fix.

Declan Small is the Marketing Manager at Plumbmaster, expert plumbing merchants with branches throughout the UK.