Common central heating pump problems

shutterstock_243811762The central heating pump is the beating heart of your central heating system. You can find out more about boilers and central heating systems here. But how do you prevent problems from occurring, and how do you deal with them if they do?

Always disconnect the pump from the electricity supply before inspection, carrying out repairs or attempting a replacement.

Pump Not Starting

Is the spindle turning? If not, use the manual handle or a screwdriver inserted in the shaft to start it. Other fixes include increasing the pressure and flushing with water. Do not submerge the pump.

If the central heating system is not calling for the pump to start or a fuse has gone, call a qualified professional to check the wiring.

Humming in the System

The most common cause is vibration from an incorrectly seated pump. Turning the pump down may fix the problem. If not, tighten the bolts. Remember that a correctly running pump will vibrate slightly.

Radiators Heating Unevenly

If the radiators are hot downstairs but not upstairs, your pump could be jammed. This problem commonly occurs when the heating has been turned off for a while – over the summer, for example. You’ll need to locate your pump, which is usually near the boiler.

A gentle tap with a hammer should kick-start it. Otherwise, proceed as for a non-starting pump.

Jammed Propeller

If you’re having work done on your central heating system, then foreign bodies can enter the water supply and jam the propeller. You’ll need to open the pump and thoroughly clean it.

Over the years your system can accumulate grime that can affect the running of the pump. You’ll need to give the entire system a power flush to clean it. Allowing the water to deteriorate and become sludgy can severely compromise the life of your pump.

System Airlock

If air gets trapped in your central heating system during a refill, it can result in no heating. First bleed the radiators with a radiator key, and then locate the bleed screw on your pump.

Slacken the screw, but don’t undo it completely. You’ll hear any trapped air escape, accompanied by a trickle of water. Close the screw and top up the system.

Does My Pump Need Replacing?

There are several instances when your pump cannot be fixed and will need replacing. Internal corrosion will stop your pump’s components working. Corrosion occurs more quickly when a central heating system has not been in use for some time. Make this a priority check when buying an older property.

If the pump is leaking, then it may need to be replaced. This is almost certainly as a result of corrosion which can’t be fixed. If brown liquid is leaking from the start capacitor, or it looks burnt out, you can replace this part only.

If the pump is no longer circulating, the gate valve could be faulty. If this is the case, you will need to replace the pump. If the pump is on but not circulating water around the system and feels hot, the motor may have failed.

How Can I Remove My Old Pump?

If your pump has failed, you will need to remove the faulty pump and replace with a new one. Choose a reputable brand like Grundfos, and make sure it matches the size of the pump you’re replacing. This avoids the need for any adjustments to pipework.

First disconnect from the electricity supply. Then turn off the water supply to the pump by closing any isolation valves. If these are not fitted, make sure you do so for future ease of pump maintenance. Then drain down the pump.

Finally, remove the union nuts, clean the valves and replace the washers.

Fitting a New Pump

Ensure that the direction of the flow markings on your new pump matches the previous fitting before attaching the valves and checking for leaks. Now, with the pump switched off, release any trapped air. Then rewire and switch on the pump.

Throughout this procedure, ensure that everything is dry and there are no leaks.

Service Regularly

Your heating pump will give you several years of service if you keep it and your central heating system well maintained. As it’s the heart of your system, consider replacing an older pump with a newer, more energy-efficient model.

Following this simple checklist will enable you to easily solve most common central heating pump problems and keep your system running at maximum efficiency for years to come.

Common Water Leaks in the home!


Water leaks in the home can be from a variety of sources, from dripping taps to leaking toilets. Water leaks can be costly, so looking after your heating and water system correctly should be a priority. Many properties use macerating pumps such as the Saniplus. These should be regularly maintained to avoid any leakages.

Even if a leak is relatively minor, it may still cause plenty of damage over time, and if you’re on a water meter it could cost a lot too. Fixing a leak will save you money and avoid damaging your property any further. Here are some of the most common water leaks found in the home.

While some will require the services of a professional plumber, many can be dealt with by anyone with some competent DIY skills.

Dripping Taps

Possibly the most common water leak is the dripping tap, usually caused by a washer wearing out. There are several reasons a tap may become leaky: they are not turned off properly; over-tightening of a tap; turning a tap off with force which can cause wear to the tap washer; a quarter-turn tap may develop a leak due to debris becoming wedged in the quarter-turn tap valve or water being too hot. Turn off the water supply before investigating.

Leaking Radiator

This is often discovered around October time when the heating is turned on and radiator valves have become stuck over the summer months from lack of use. Replacing the valve is a fiddly job and best left to a professional, but it is a good idea to check if tightening up the coupling nut will solve the problem first. Corrosion of the pipes is also common, as they are permanently exposed to water.

Leaking Toilet

Possibly the most irritating water leak is from the toilet, and this can leak in several ways. A crack in the tank or bowl must be replaced immediately. A damaged or broken ballcock and float valve can lead to an overflowing cistern. A faulty fill valve or worn feed line can cause water to constantly drain into the cistern. Combine this with a blocked overflow pipe and the tank may overflow.

Leak Under the Bath

A leak from the bath, especially in an upstairs bathroom, can cause some very serious damage to ceilings and floors, so it is essential to not only spot it early but to get it fixed immediately. A leaking bath can be caused by poor seals around the wastes (overflow or plughole), the sealant around the bath failing or leaking pipes which may require the side panel of the bath to be removed to spot the issue. Bath leakage is commonly identified by damage and staining to the ceiling of the room beneath.

Leaking Shower

A leaking shower hose is very common and generally occurs when the hose has exceeded its life expectancy (which is normally long). It is easy to replace with a new hose. Enclosed shower leaks can be similar to bath leaks. Check the pipe work and sealant joints. Pipes can be hidden behind tiles so are harder to get at. Look for signs of damage such as tiles lifting. Shower pumps can help improve the performance of your shower and increase the water pressure. High-quality pumps have good safety and durability records and continue to improve, but there is always a chance that a pump valve is the cause of the leak.

Leaking Sink

This is normally caused by one of the following three issues: a leaking water hose that causes lots of mess, spraying water everywhere; a leaking drain line that can be identified by letting water run down the drain or emptying a full sink; a faulty drain seal around the plughole that is easily identified by filling the sink and leaving it and seeing if the level drops or if moisture appears beneath the sink.

Leaking Pumps

You may have booster pumps, domestic sanitary pumps or heating circulation and hot water pumps in your home. It is always best to use high-quality pumps that are known for their durability and safety records. Cheap, low-quality pumps may be the cause of leakages in the home. Pumps are becoming increasingly more reliable, but leaks do occur, mainly due to the vibration they produce when the power shower or central heating is on.

Leaking Boiler

This is possibly one of the most expensive leaks to fix. A boiler can leak at any age, but cheaper boilers are more likely to leak than more expensive ones. There are many boiler parts that can go wrong and start to leak, and it is advisable to call out a professional plumber if your boiler is leaking.

These are the most frequently found water leaks in the home. If you discover a leak, you should try to ascertain where it is coming from. Turn off the water supply to prevent more water from leaking. Then either attempt to fix it if you feel it is something you can do, or call out a professional plumber to carry out the repairs. The quicker you deal with a leak in your home, the less damage it will cause and the cheaper it will be.

The disturbing effects of water pollution and how you can help!


Water pollution is a problem the world over, and its effects can have a detrimental impact on the environment and our health. There are lots of ways that water pollution can be reduced, by making changes to the products we use, and how we dispose of them. Making use of water treatment systems, domestically and industrially, such as Grundfos pumps, can also help to win the battle of reducing the disturbing effects of water pollution.

Damage to ecosystems

One of the most serious consequences of water pollution is its negative impact on aquatic ecosystems. Fish and other marine life exposed to dirty water full of contaminants and waste can be susceptible to disease. In many cases, they may die.

Pollutants in our seas and rivers can increase the growth of toxic algae. When fish and marine animals are exposed to toxic algae and other pollutants, such as lead or cadmium, their health is compromised.

Water pollution can upset the delicate balance of our ecosystem, and may cause a decline in certain species. Many birds, fish, dolphins and other sea creatures washed up on beaches often perish due to the effects of exposure to pollutants.

Harm to human health

The real danger of contaminated fish exposed to pollutants is if they end up in the food chain. When humans consume these fish, they can become ill. Poisoned seafood, especially raw shellfish, can cause hepatitis and typhoid in humans, for example.

It’s not just eating fish polluted by dirty water that can cause ill health to humans. Swimmers, surfers and fishermen who come into contact with contaminated water can experience a number of health issues. Ear infections, skin problems and stomach upsets are frequent complaints that are often the result of human exposure to water contaminants.

In poor countries, the technology and resources aren’t always available to supply clean, drinking water. When pollutants contaminate drinking water, the consequences can be devastating. It’s estimated that around 14,000 people die or suffer disease annually from drinking polluted water.

Careful disposal of waste

Fortunately, there’s a lot we can do to reduce the disturbing effects of water pollution. One of the most important ways to reduce pollutants from entering seas and rivers is to be more mindful about how we dispose of waste.

Items such as wipes, medicines and nappies should never be flushed down a toilet. There is the risk that they can’t be filtered properly by waste disposal systems. The end result is that they make it into our rivers and seas, causing potential harm.

Chemicals, such as paints, cleaning products and cooking fats should also never be poured down the sink. You can usually dispose of these safely at waste recycling centres.

Avoid chemicals

If we become less reliant on chemicals, there is less chemical waste to pollute our waters. Find ways to reduce your reliance on chemicals, whether at home, in the garden or at work.

There are many natural products that can be used for cleaning that are just as effective as some of the more hazardous items. Lemon juice, bicarbonate of soda and vinegar make excellent ‘green’ cleaning agents. If you buy cleaning products, choose environmentally-friendly options.

Adopt an organic approach to gardening. Avoid using pesticides and chemicals to control aphids. Instead, consider companion planting and biological controls, and create a compost pile for disposal of kitchen scraps.

Reduce and save

Think about ways you can reduce and save. Reduce your use of chemicals, plastic, packaging or other items that may harm the environment and end up in our seas.

Save water. If you use less water at home or work, it can help to safeguard this scarce resource. It can reduce the amount of contaminants entering the water system.

Consider installing a water efficient toilet with dual flush or an efficient shower pump. Only use the dishwasher or washing machine when it’s full, and select economy modes. This saves water and electricity.

Be clean

Being careless with litter and waste increases the risk of it ending up in rivers and seas. Dispose of litter carefully if you visit a beach, in particular. Try to recycle as much as possible.

If you have a dog, always pick up and dispose of pet waste, to avoid it running into drains and water supplies. Maintain your car, so that it doesn’t leak oil or chemicals onto driveways that could get washed down drains.

If you’re a homeowner or business that uses water or waste systems, make sure you install efficient pumps. These can help to keep systems clean and avoid contaminants entering the wider water supplies. Even if you have a tank, pool or pond, a submersible pump can help to keep systems clean and avoid dirt and pollutants entering drains.

Upgrade systems

Inefficient or outdated waste or water disposal systems at home or work could contribute to the rising pollution levels in our water, so upgrade your systems if necessary.

The price you pay will be minimal, compared to the importance of protecting the environment and safeguarding our seas. If you’re thinking of buying a new pump for domestic or industrial purposes, this is a great way to save water and keep it clean. 

Save money by Winterizing your home in Summer!


It may seem a bit early to be thinking about getting the house ready for winter, but bit of work this weekend could save your a lot of money later, here’s why;

Insulation – Dull but Vital

If your roof insulation is on the thin side, you may get a better deal by upgrading it before the really cold weather comes in. It can make a colossal difference, turning a draughty terraced house into a cosy nest. Double-glazing windows pays dividends not just in reduced heating bills but in cutting down noise too.

Remember to lag pipes that are exposed to the cold, because in a severe winter you’ll get the misery and expense of burst pipes or even just the blockage that results when cold water freezes and you have no water coming out of the tap. For more advice on how to prevent frozen pipes click here.

Autumn Gales

All around England, Scotland and Wales, autumn sees the gales come in, especially around the coast. This is why you need to think about weather-proofing your house early on. The same double-glazing that keeps the heat in and the noise out will also stop your windows rattling in high winds, ensuring a better night’s sleep.

Take a look at the pointing on your chimney: it may need redoing to stop bricks being dislodged in high winds. This can be an expensive job if you need to put scaffolding up, so it’s better to do it at the same time as any other roof repairs you need. TIP: It might be worth checking with your neighbours as they might be willing to share the cost of scaffolding if they are planning any work, always worth a try.

Wind gets under any loose bits of wood, roofing felt or tiles and within minutes can rip a flat roof off, so make sure that everything is securely nailed or fixed down. Check fencing is secure, and take stock of the garden, checking that no loose items such as light garden chairs are likely to be picked up by the wind, causing damage to the house. Check shrubs or large bushes near the house, and trim back any branches that could fall or break off in high winds.

Clear the Gutters – They Can Be Full of Surprising Things

Rain can sometimes mean that a lot of weeds etc have taken root in the gutters and are spreading happily, ready to block the down pipes once the winter starts and they die down. They need to be taken out. Also, all kinds of objects can end up blocking guttering and downpipes – things like balls or other dropped by seagulls if you’re near the coast.

For the Elderly or Disabled

If you have vulnerable people living with you that might have trouble using steps, adding a grab rail is a must for the winter months! Slippery steps can be really dangerous for people with slower reactions or decrease strength. Rock salt is another essential to keep in the home ready for the freezing weather, it is best to pick this up now and have it in storage as it is difficult to predict when the icy storms will hit.

Fit Draught Excluders

It’s much easier to do jobs that involve having the front or back door open before the winter starts. So fit draught excluders now. Stick-on versions are available, so this is a much easier job than it used to be.

Empty the Pool

If you have a swimming pool, then it’s time to think about draining it, pumping out the excess water and cleaning it. It’s another job best done before the cold weather sets in. Think about upgrading to a more efficient swimming pool pump, which will help to get the job done more quickly with less power consumption and far less noise.

Boilers and Central Heating Explained


It’s easy to overlook your central heating system until something goes wrong. But understanding the way boilers and central heating pumps work will help you make informed decisions about maintenance and future upgrades.

Open vs Sealed Systems

If you have a header tank in your loft and a hot water cylinder, then you have an open vented system. Heating flow from the boiler is pumped into a motorised valve and then into the radiators or to the hot water tank.

A sealed system works in a similar way without the need for a header tank. These systems need topping up occasionally but are cheaper to fit than open vented systems.

Combination System

Most modern systems work from a combination boiler, which provides both heating and hot water. These systems are cheaper and simpler to fit and can be cheaper to run but can involve higher upfront costs.

Fitting a New Boiler

The boiler is the workhorse of your central heating installation. With an estimated 55% of an average household’s budget going on heating and hot water, the boiler you choose can make a huge difference to your bills – and be cleaner and greener, too.

A new conventional boiler can be fitted with an electrical immersion heater as back-up in case your boiler fails. This is the smart choice for a larger home with multiple bathrooms, as you’ll experience no drop in water pressure if more than one tap is in use. However, you will have to wait for hot water once the supply is exhausted.

But if your basic water pressure is good and you’re interested in making significant savings, then a combination boiler is the smart choice. If space is a consideration, then a combination boiler does away with the need for a header tank and hot water cylinder. But if you utilise solar power, be aware that many combination boilers are not compatible.

Improve Your Energy Efficiency

Always look for a boiler that is A-rated and above, indicating an energy-efficiency of at least 90%. The average yearly saving for replacing your outdated boiler can be in excess of £500.

Newer boilers are of the condenser type with larger heat exchangers to recover more heat from burning gas.

Upgrade Your Pump

If a boiler does the hard work, the central heating pump is the real heart of the system. Without the pump, the water heated by your boiler cannot circulate through the system. A central heating pump utilises 15% of the energy of the entire system, so ensure yours is as energy-efficient as possible.

A new water circulating pump can improve the system’s performance by up to 30% for a relatively small outlay compared to a new standard boiler. It’s important to have your pump serviced at the same time as your boiler to check for variables outside the normal performance range. In replacing your pump, look for one that is A-rated to improve efficiency and reduce emissions.

Quick Fixes for Big Savings

According to the Energy Saving Trust, there are a number of quick fixes that can save you money and reduce your carbon footprint. Installing a new room thermostat and thermostatic valves and regulating them correctly can save up to £165 and 680kg of carbon monoxide.

A new room thermostat will be far more accurate and can be fitted relatively easily. Turning down the room temperature by just one degree can make a significant saving on your bills and reduce your emissions by up to 360kg a year.

Play It Smart

Smart controls allow you to control your heating remotely from an app on your mobile or tablet. These can save you money by giving you total control of your central heating system from any location, allowing you to make adjustments at any time.

By upgrading and regularly servicing your boiler, installing an efficient pump and using smart heating controls or a more accurate thermostat, you can save energy and money. And you’ll be cutting your emissions whilst enjoying a warmer and more welcoming cold-weather environment.