Month: September 2016

Common central heating pump problems

central heating pump problemsThe 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!

Common Water Leaks

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.