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Troubleshooting Your Boiler: Common Issues, DIY Fixes, and Prevention Tips

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Common Boiler Issues

Boilers are a vital part of our heating systems, especially during the cold months here in the Lower Mainland, British Columbia. When they run smoothly, they provide the warmth and comfort we rely on. But when they start acting up, it can be a real hassle. 

In this blog post, we’ll dive into common boiler issues, how to tackle some of these problems yourself, when to call in a pro, and how to prevent future issues. Is your boiler not working? Veteran Heating and Cooling got you covered!

No Heat or Hot Water

One of the most frustrating problems you might face is having no heat or hot water. This can stem from several sources, such as broken diaphragms, airlocks, low water levels, or a faulty thermostat. When your boiler isn’t giving you the warmth you need, it’s usually a sign that something’s gone awry internally.

Leaking and Dripping

Leaks and drips are another common headache. These can be caused by anything from a broken internal component like a pump seal or pressure valve to corrosion or poor installation. If you notice water pooling around your boiler, it’s time to investigate further.

Strange Noises

Strange noises such as banging, whistling, or gurgling are typically signs that something’s not right. These sounds might indicate air in the system, low water pressure, or a failing pump. While some noise is normal, if it starts sounding like a haunted house, it’s worth looking into.

Pilot Light Goes Out

The pilot light going out can be particularly annoying. This small flame is essential for igniting the burner, and if it keeps going out, it could be due to a broken thermocouple, a draught, or debris in the pilot light.

Boiler Low Pressure

Low boiler pressure is another frequent issue. If your boiler’s pressure gauge shows it’s consistently losing pressure, there might be a water leak or a faulty pressure relief valve causing the drop.

Frozen Condensate Pipe

During the colder months, a frozen condensate pipe can cause your boiler to shut down. This pipe carries condensation from the boiler to the drain, and if it freezes, it can cause a blockage.


Kettling is a problem where limescale builds up on the heat exchanger, causing the water to boil and produce a kettle-like noise. This not only reduces efficiency but can also lead to more significant problems down the line.

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DIY Fixes and When to Call a Professional

DIY Fixes

  • No Heat or Hot Water: Check the thermostat settings and ensure it’s set correctly. Also, check if the boiler is receiving power. Sometimes, a simple reset can work wonders.
  • Pilot Light Issues: Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to relight the pilot light. Ensure there’s no draught blowing it out. However, if it keeps happening, you might need to replace the thermocouple.
  • Low Pressure: Check for visible leaks and use the boiler’s pressure gauge to see if it needs more water. Topping up the pressure can often solve the problem, but be sure to follow your manual closely.

When to Call a Professional

  • Leaking and Dripping: If the boiler is leaking, it’s best to call a professional. Leaks can be dangerous and may cause significant water damage.
  • Strange Noises: While some noises are due to air in the system and can be bled out, persistent strange noises should be evaluated by a professional to prevent damage.
  • Kettling: This issue often requires the heat exchanger to be cleaned or replaced by a professional. Ignoring it can reduce efficiency and lead to costly repairs.
  • Frozen Condensate Pipe: While you can try to thaw a frozen condensate pipe with warm water, repeated occurrences indicate a need for professional intervention to prevent future freezing.

Preventing Boiler Issues

Regular Maintenance

Preventing boiler issues starts with regular maintenance. Scheduling annual check-ups with a qualified HVAC professional is crucial. These routine inspections can identify potential problems early on and ensure your boiler is running at peak efficiency. Regular maintenance helps extend the life of your boiler and can save you from unexpected breakdowns and costly repairs.

Bleeding Radiators

It is an important task that should be done at least once a year. This process releases any trapped air that can accumulate in your heating system. Trapped air can cause your boiler to work harder than necessary, reducing its efficiency and potentially leading to other issues. By ensuring your radiators are properly bled, you help maintain an even heat distribution throughout your home.

Monitoring Pressure Levels

Keeping an eye on your boiler’s pressure levels is another key preventative measure. Regularly check the pressure gauge and make sure it stays within the recommended range. If the pressure is too low, it can cause your boiler to stop working properly, while high pressure can lead to leaks and other damage. Adjusting the pressure as needed can help prevent these problems and keep your system running smoothly.

Insulating Pipes

During the winter months, it’s important to insulate your external condensate pipe to prevent it from freezing. A frozen condensate pipe can cause a blockage, leading to a boiler shutdown. By properly insulating this pipe, you can avoid the hassle and inconvenience of dealing with a frozen pipe, ensuring your heating system remains operational during the coldest times of the year.

Routine Leak Checks

Regularly inspecting your boiler and surrounding areas for leaks can help you catch small issues before they become major problems. Even minor leaks can lead to significant water damage and can indicate more serious underlying issues with your boiler. By staying vigilant and addressing leaks promptly, you can maintain the integrity and efficiency of your heating system.

By incorporating these preventative measures into your routine, you can help ensure your boiler operates efficiently and reliably, providing you with consistent warmth and comfort throughout the year.

Veteran is a call away

Dealing with boiler issues can be a hassle, but understanding the common problems and knowing when to call in a professional can save you time, money, and stress. Regular maintenance and preventative measures go a long way in keeping your heating system running smoothly.

If you’re experiencing boiler troubles or simply want to ensure your system is in top shape, Veteran Heating and Cooling is here to help. We offer comprehensive boiler repair, maintenance, and installation services across the Lower Mainland, British Columbia. And if you’re considering an upgrade, we can discuss alternatives such as a heat pump or furnace to meet your heating needs. Contact us today to schedule an appointment and keep your home warm and comfortable year-round!