Let’s not beat around the bush - your boiler is leaking! What should you do?
Turn off the power (usually a switch near your boiler), water (generally located outside the property), and gas supply to your boiler. Turning off the electricity and gas is done for safety reasons. However, it is doubtful you will get shocked at any point; it’s just a precaution.
Cutting the water supply is done to minimise the damage from the leak. Make sure you make a quick visual check of the area where you located the leak. Also, clean up the water and place a bucket or something similar to catch water from the leak.
If you found out about the leak via an error message on your boiler, rather than a puddle where it shouldn’t be, you must conduct a longer visual inspection of the whole house.
Ensuring you’ve cleaned and prepared the area for work is the next important step, as a dirty and wet working environment increases your likelihood of an accident.
Also, making sure the area is clear means you or a professional can get to work quickly to repair the issue.
The next issue is water wastage, which no one can afford. You can work out how much it will cost via Waterleak UK.
But what are the most common causes of boiler leaks?
The Most Common Causes Of Boiler Leaks
There are a couple of common boiler issues that will result in leaks. While the root causes for these issues vary, here are our top common reasons why your boiler might have developed a leak.
The Boiler Is Leaking From The Bottom Of The Unit
This is a common issue if the pipes underneath your boiler have developed a leak. There are two main reasons for this leak; the first one is incorrect installation.
If you’ve just had your boiler installed and the registered gas engineer was in a rush, they might not have had enough time to check their work. Calling them back to recheck their work is essential, as you need a qualified person to correct it. Or you could reach out to another contractor.
For boilers that are ten years old and older, your boiler might have a corrosion issue. Over time, corrosion can occur inside the system or the boiler itself. This is the main culprit if your system and boiler are not serviced annually.
Other components, such as pipes and valves, can also develop leaks if not treated for corrosion.
The Pressure On The Gauge Is Wrong
Most boilers will have a pressure gauge on display that’s easy to see and understand. If your boiler’s system pressure is too high or low, both can result in a leak. Understanding your boiler’s pressure is essential if you want your boiler to be efficient.
Excessive pressure can cause issues within the system and boiler. Two possible causes for high pressure are a faulty pressure relief valve or an expansion vessel that is faulty.
Both of these are simple tasks to fix for a qualified registered gas engineer. And if there is a faulty valve, the leak will occur close to it.
Low pressure could also be related to a faulty valve or a water leak in the system.
If there is a leak from a valve without a pressure issue, it could be caused by the following:
Broken Seals Or Gaskets
Your boiler needs seals and gaskets like a car’s engine to ensure no large leaks between joins. And every connection needs a seal or gasket.
All seals and gaskets degrade over time. This is due to general wear and tear. When they do fail, it will be evident because the connection point will start to leak.
To fix this issue, you must call a qualified registered gas engineer to replace the seal or gasket.
The next issue is for more modern boilers.
Condensation Pipe Issues
Since 2005, it has been a legal requirement for gas boilers to condense boil (same for oil boilers since 2007). A condensing boiler reuses some of the expelled heat and exhaust gases to heat the water.
These modern boilers have a condensate pipe that removes acidic condensate produced during heating. But these condensate pipes can become blocked by a soot build-up or freeze in extremely cold weather.
You can avoid this issue by ensuring your boiler is installed correctly and serviced annually.
The next problem is a real doozy.
Cracks In The Boiler
If your boiler is ancient, cracks can occur over time. This only happens in very old units. But when these cracks develop, water will leak out.
The cracks result from metal fatigue caused by overheating and fluctuating pressure levels. If you suspect this is the issue, it’s time to consider replacing your boiler.
Now that we’ve addressed the common boiler issues, lets discuss whether a leaking boiler is dangerous.
Is A Leaking Boiler Dangerous?
Yes, a leaking boiler can be dangerous, but it is unlikely to be life-threatening. However, it can cause loads of expensive damage.
Namely, a leaking boiler will cause water damage, affecting walls, floors, and numerous items around the home. Also, in apartment blocks, they can cause damage to your neighbours’ properties, for which you will be liable.
While you can do the repairs to the boiler system, significant leaks can also lead to mould growth. Specific moulds can pose substantial health risks, especially if you or anyone else in the house have respiratory conditions or allergies.
When a boiler does start to leak, another concern is electrical hazards. There are loads of electrical connections within your boiler and home; if mixed with water, they can become a dangerous hazard.
If you’re ever concerned about the potential of an electrical issue, turn off the power.
But the biggest issue with a boiler leaking water is its efficiency and performance is affected. In the current economic climate, getting the most out of your radiator or boiler is essential.
The last problematic issue that a boiler can have is a faulty gas connection. Gas leaks are incredibly hazardous. If you are in doubt and you can smell gas, evacuate the property and call a professional for help.
It’s always a good idea to have a plan in place for the unlikely event of a gas leak, just so everyone in the house knows what to do and where to evacuate.