It can happen, you’re getting ready to have a shower, have a bath, or do the washing up and… no hot water! No need to panic, here’s what to do in case of your boiler breaking down.
Boiler breakdown: who is responsible for the reparations
A boiler breakdown doesn’t always require the intervention of a specialist, but when this is inevitable it’s good to know who is responsible for the bill. As tenant it is your responsibility to ensure the upkeep of your boiler and the replacement of any small parts if necessary. This means it is at the tenant’s expence to replace the water container, seals of gas appliances, to ensure the replacement of bell joints of flush mechanisms and the cleaning of the heating element. If the applicance requires changing it’s for the landlord to take care of. However, if the deterioration of the boiler is due to the negligence of the tenant it is their responsibility to assume the costs. Negligence can be failure to have the annual servicing of the boiler, or not following recommendations for the upkeep of an electric boiler.
The type of breakdown
If when you turn on the tap the water runs with a normal flow, but the water is cold, it is surely an electric breakdown. When the flow of water is weak, or the water does not run at all, it is a hydraulic breakdown. In this case, you will most often need the help of a plumber.
In the majority of cases you will be able to resolve an electric failure yourself. Start by checking that your programmer, if you have one, is working normally and your boiler is correctly plugged in. If not, it is possible that a short circuit has caused the failure of your boiler. Test the circuit breaker and fuses linked to the boiler. If you do not manage to solve the issue using these steps you will need to contact a specialist. Of course, if your neighbiours are also without electricity, you have no option but to wait for the electric current to return to your neighbourhood…
If the breakdown is not electric, it is possible that the problem comes from a thermostat failure or from the resistance of your boiler. If the thermostat has simply been disarmed you just need to press of the thermostat button to restart it. This often requires opening up the bottom cover. Be careful as to where you place your fingers, or call a specialist! If the thermostat is out of service, and not only switched off, you will need to replace it. Don’t worry as this does not cost a lot.
The breakdown can also be because your resistance has failed. This is what raises the temperature of the water to the desired temperature. If it is covered in limescale the heating of the water can be inhibited. However, if it is defective it will need replacing. It is handy to know that the price of the resistance if often half the price of a boiler, so if the latter is quite old it is often worth thinking about replacing the boiler unit.
Tank full with air
If your tank is filled with air you will need to open the tap. This will allow the rest of the water and air present to evacuate that are inhbiting the heating of the water. After this, your tank will refill as normal.
It is obligatory to have an annual service on your boiler, if it is a gas boiler. This needs to be carried out by an approved and qualified heating engineer. This visit is indispensable whether you are the tenant or landlord, but in the case of an unfurnished rental is it at the tenants expense. By respecting this oblilgation you reduce the risk of an unexpected breakdown of your boiler. There is no obligatory upkeep of an electric boiler.
Caution! Before any intervention, ensure to turn off all taps, the electricity and the gas tap.