It doesn’t take too long to figure out that you are not getting hot water after powering up your boiler. You can immediately sense that it might be an ignition issue.
If your boiler doesn’t fire up, it can jeopardise the entire day for you and your family. The central heating system will not work, leaving your house cold with no hot water. The problem must be resolved quickly to get your boiler powered up once again.
The first thing to check if you are not getting hot water is the ignition of your boiler. Your boiler might not have powered up because of low pressure, a dead thermostat battery, faulty valves, or frozen pipes. Read about the common causes of ignition failure and their quick resolutions.
If you see an error code for the problem, you might be able to reset your boiler and power it on. However, it might continue to reoccur if the problem is not rectified, and should be diagnosed by a professional at the earliest.
What Does Ignition Failure Of A Boiler Mean?
Your boiler can turn itself off because of issues like low water pressure, no gas supply, or a lack of electricity. You can check the fault code on the screen and what it means in the manufacturer’s manual to decode the problem.
If it is something that you can resolve at your end, like repressurising or fixing a loose connection, then restart/reset the boiler to check if it is working fine. Mostly, the error code will go away, but it can relapse if the underlying problem is not fixed. So, contact a boiler engineer to inspect and resolve the issue.
What Should You Do First If Your Boiler Doesn’t Fire Up?
If your boiler does not fire up, the first thing you should do is check the thermostat. The thermostat’s battery might have gone bad, causing the ignition problem. The thermostat might experience a power surge, a short power outage, or a brownout that can cause it to lose its settings.
If your boiler isn’t powering up and you have tried the obvious things, such as checking the gas supply or resetting it, it is best to call a professional. Because trying to do it yourself can be dangerous.
They might have to remove the boiler’s front cover to access the boiler controls, and you must never attempt to do this work yourself.
What Are The Common Reasons For Your Boiler Not Firing Up ?
Take a look at some common causes of ignition failure in boilers and how to take care of them.
1. Tripped Fuse: It might sound obvious, but many people forget this simple first step. Rectifying this might simply resolve the issue, and you don’t have to go any further.
Solution: Check the fuse box to see whether one of the switches is down. Flick the tripped switch back again to get your boiler up and running.
2. Boiler Has No Power: There could be a number of scenarios when your boiler indicates not getting power, such as:
- Change of thermostat settings
- A power outage due to heavy snow, lightning, or other harsh weather conditions
- Overload in the circuit causing the breaker to trip
- Your home has reached the preset temperature
You will notice several error codes (as per model) on the screen that might indicate this issue.
- Press and hold the reset button on your boiler for around 10 seconds
- Wait for a few minutes and check if the indicator light is green and the error code has disappeared
- Check if the isolation switch next to the boiler is on
3. Pilot light problems: The pilot light on your boiler fails to fire up if debris is blocking it. Dirt tends to accumulate in the small jet of the pilot light.
Solution: This is something that you can try to fix yourself. But, if you are not comfortable, wait for the engineer to come.
- Turn off the gas supply valve
- Remove the pilot light assembly and thermocouple
- Clean the jet with a compressed or wire brush carefully
- Fix them back and try to turn on the boiler
4. Faulty gas valve: Due to regular usage, the gas valves in a boiler can develop several faults. It can be blockages within the pipes, improper alignment, or a problem with the wiring, which can stop the gas flow into your system.
Solution: It is best to get it diagnosed by an engineer. If the issue is related to the gas valve, it might be due to an incorrect adjustment, which they will be able to detect and rectify.
5. Insufficient pressure: It is essential to check the pressure at critical points like in your gas metre, out of your metre, and to your boiler. The boiler metre monitors the amount of gas flowing in and out of the system. It will lock out if there is too little/too much pressure, stopping your boiler from firing up.
It is easy to identify any problems with your gas supply, and the error code will show on the display. Ideally, the pressure needle should be between 1 and 2 bars. Any other minor issues can be detected during the periodic annual checks.
Solution: If you are confident and have done it several times earlier, you can repressurise your boiler and reset it. However, it is best to call an expert so that they can check everything. Ensure that all pipes, metres, and regulators are insulated. During the cold winters, regulators tend to seize up, so insulating them can help to avoid this.
Here are some error codes in popular brands that indicate pressure problems.
|Boiler manufacturer||Error code|
|Worcester Bosch||A1, CE 207, H07, 224 V, 1017 W, 2970 B, 2971 B|
|Vaillant||F.24, F.72, F.22, F.12, F.74|
|Glow Worm||F.75, Red LED On, F9|
6. Blocked/ Damaged Burner: The burner in the boiler can get blocked or damaged due to wear and tear. Boilers produce carbon as the gas burns, which can clog up the burner and prevent them from igniting.
Solution: Cleaning the burner thoroughly can help resolve the issue, but if the burner is worn out or broken, you can look at a replacement. It is expensive, so it might be feasible to change the whole boiler to prevent frequent repairs and related costs. Get it assessed by a professional to find the best solution.
Here are some error codes related to a blockage in the burner.
|Boiler manufacturer||Error code|
|Worcester Bosch||EA 261, F0 238, F0 239, F0 242, F0 243. F0 244. F0 245, F0 246. F0 247, F0 248, F0 249, F0 250, F0 251, F0 252, F0 253, F0 255, F0 259, F0 263, F0 267, F0 272, F0 280, F0 290,EC 256, EH 258|
|Vaillant||S.4, S.24, S.28, S.20|
|Biasi||ER 01 + Reset , Burner ignition (spark), Delayed burner ignition|
7. Electrode/Ignition lead issue: You will hear some noise if an electrode and/or ignition lead fault arises in your boiler. It can be due to parts faltering or the boiler intermittently powering up and shutting down.
Solution: If you hear such noises, contact an engineer who will be able to inspect and tell you if any of the parts need replacement. These are relatively cheaper and affordable to be replaced.
8. Issue with the boiler fan: Boiler fans ensure that residual harmful gases are vented and released safely. If the fan stops working, the boiler will lock out to prevent danger and refuse to ignite.
Solution: When the boiler runs, you will hear the fan running as well. If you don’t hear it, then there could be an issue. Ask the engineer if that could be the issue. Replacement of fans is fairly expensive (£100 to £200), so check with them if it can be repaired for long term usage.
Trying to fix issues in a gas boiler can be dangerous on your own. If the ignition problem persists even after a basic check and resetting, do not attempt to do anything else. Wait for the boiler engineer to come and detect the real problem.
The ignition problem of your boiler might get resolved with a simple service or need a replacement of some part. An Annual Maintenance Service is the best way to take care of some expected causes to prevent ignition issues. For something unexpected, you can always seek help from an expert.