8 Reasons Why Your Boiler Is Not Firing Up and Instant Fixes

8 Reasons Why Your Boiler Is Not Firing Up and Instant Fixes

boiler is not firing up due to low gas pressure

A boiler not firing up is a common occurrence. A boiler that won’t ignite is a major issue at the best of times. Your central heating system won’t work, and you won’t have access to hot water until the underlying cause is resolved. During the summer, this isn’t ideal. In colder months, it’s a major headache. 

Thankfully, most ignition obstacles are relatively easy to diagnose and fix. When it’s safe to do so, you can even attempt to perform DIY fixes yourself. However, there will be times when you’ll need to call in the services of an RGI-registered plumber. Below, we’ll explore some of the most common causes of boiler ignition problems and some simple solutions.  

Why Is My Boiler Not Firing Up? 

  1. You’ve Got a Blocked Burner

Carbon is produced as your boiler burns gas. Over time, the burner can become clogged, leading to inefficient performance. A boiler not firing up is a clear sign that the problem has gotten out of hand. In this worst-case scenario, you won’t be able to access hot water or operate your central heating system.  

How to Fix It 

Although a damaged burner will need replacing, most burners can be cleaned to get rid of any accumulated carbon. Minor blockages should be flagged during a gas boiler service. 

But, how often should you service your boiler? To identify any issues before they become major complications, boiler service should be carried out annually. 

However, if your burner needs replacing, it might not be cost-effective to replace it if your boiler system is out of warranty. In these cases, the cost of replacing a gas boiler is a better option in the long term.  

  1. There’s a Fault with the Fan

The gas valve is a critical component of any boiler system. The valve ensures that dangerous gases are removed from the boiler and directed to the flue. A boiler not firing up could be an indicator that there’s something wrong with your fan. This automatic safety feature prevents your boiler from igniting when it would be dangerous to do so.  

How to Fix It 

In this situation, replacing a fan is usually the best way to go. However, installing a new fan can be expensive, even though it’s much cheaper than a full gas boiler replacement. To control costs, talk to a professional about fitting a new fan motor, rather than replacing the fan unit entirely.  

  1. There’s an issue with the Ignition Lead and Electrode

Are you experiencing boiler ignition problems? If you’re noticing clicking sounds after adjusting the thermostat, there could be a fault with your initiation lead and electrode.  

How to Fix It 

Unfortunately, this is one issue you can’t fix yourself. Only a plumber will be able to diagnose the problem. In rare cases, these components can be reconditioned. However, it’s often cheaper to replace them entirely.  

  1. Problems with Pilot Light

If your pilot won’t ignite or keeps going off, debris might be blocking the jet. This jet is incredibly small, meaning even a small amount of debris can cause a blockage.  

How to Fix It 

Fortunately, remedying this problem is straightforward enough. Once removed, most jets can be cleaned and reinstalled. Sometimes, a jet may need to be replaced entirely. However, replacement components are very affordable.  

  1. Trapped Air in Your Heating System

Trapped air in your heating system can also cause problems with your boiler. Even small pockets of air can lead to an inefficient central heating system.  

How to Fix It 

Bleeding your radiators is usually sufficient to remove air pockets and have your boiler firing up again. If your boiler is particularly noisy, blocked radiators might be the cause. If you know how to flush radiators, you can usually fix the issue yourself. If it’s been many years since you last flushed your system, it’s best to call in the professionals to perform power flushing 

  1. Gas Pressure Levels Are Too Low

boiler is not firing up due to low gas pressure

A boiler not firing up could be receiving insufficient gas pressure. This tends to be more common in the winter months when freezing conditions can spell trouble for gas meters.  

How to Fix It 

An RGI plumber will be able to perform extensive gas pressure tests. They’ll look at pressure levels running into and out of your gas meter, as well as to the boiler itself. These tests will quickly identify exactly where the issue lies. If your gas meter is struggling in colder temperatures, an easy fix is to apply insulation. Lagging your meter and regulator will ensure they continue to perform well, even when the temperature plummets.  

  1. Issues with Your Thermostat

Thermostats can also be the reason for a non-firing boiler. Older thermostats aren’t particularly reliable when it comes to temperature readings, often leading to ignition issues. What’s more, you’ll encounter initiation trouble if your thermostat is set to a low level or exposed to a heat source.  

How to Fix It 

You have a few different solutions here. First, check that the time on your boiler is correct. Next, you might want to try resetting the thermostat timer. Just make sure you set it to the right time after you’ve done this as it will restore the default settings. You can also try turning up the thermostat. If your thermostat is currently positioned near a radiator or heat source, consider moving it.  

  1. Frozen Pipes Are the Problem

A key component of your boiler system is the condensate pipe. This pipe drains wastewater from your boiler, removing acidic compounds. If the condensate pipe is connected to an internal drainage system, you shouldn’t encounter any difficulties. However, most condensate pipes are placed outside. During the winter, it’s possible for pipes and condensate to become frozen. If your boiler sensor detects this, it will prevent ignition as a safety measure.  

How to Fix It 

Most condensate blockages occur in pipe bends. This makes it easy to identify the location of a blockage yourself. You can apply heat in the form of hot water to attempt to thaw the blockage. However, you should never use boiling water for this as you run the risk of damaging the plastic pipe housing. To prevent freezing in the future, think about adding foam insulation to your pipework. It’s also worth talking with an engineer about adjusting the configuration of your pipework.  

Boiler Not Firing Up? Call in the Professionals 

Struggling with a boiler that won’t ignite? Thankfully, many boiler breakdowns can be handled with DIY fixes. Simple thermostat adjustments are often sufficient to restore your hot water supply, while pipe insulation can help protect your system during the winter months. Still, having trouble? Now’s the time to call in the experts.

At Complete Plumbing Solutions, our expert team of plumbers will get to the root of the problem and have your boiler running like new in no time. Our team quickly finds the underlying cause of your boiler ignition woes, providing you with a range of solutions. Sometimes, restoring your boiler is as straightforward as cleaning or replacing individual components. Other times, it might be more cost-effective to invest in a brand-new boiler.

We also offer a full range of plumbing solutions. Need a plumber in Mallow to tackle a pipework emergency? We can help. In need of a plumber in Cork for pump services or power flushing? Get in touch with the team today. Alternatively, send us an email at [email protected] or drop us a call at (085) 169 4244.