Central heating

Guide to Central Heating Pump Problems

central heating pump problemsIs your central heating system is suffering from irregular noises, erratic timing or general poor heating performance? Are radiators heating up in some areas, but not others? Or just in some rooms but not all of them? Or is it just a case of the control panel never seeming to do as it’s asked? If any of those statements apply to your current central heating issues, then it’s more than likely that you have a central heating pump not working to its maximum capacity or efficiency.

Central Heating Pump Problems

There are several ways of fixing many of these problems, depending on how serious the damage is and whether or not the pump truly is faulty. The following guide outlines the methods of dealing with each individual problem, and should help you eliminate the possibility of any human error before you look into replacing a broken pump.

Cold/Lukewarm Radiators

Cool radiators that aren’t warming up properly could be caused by a number of different things. Firstly, check that the pilot light in your boiler is switched on – this controls the flow of heat around the home, so it’s important that this is always visible if you’ve turned the heating on. Next, check the thermostat – it’s often simply the case that is has been accidentally turned down by someone else in the home. If that’s all okay, then you could always increase the central heating pump speed by changing the central heating pump speed setting, either by turning up the pressure or altering the internal settings.

If your radiators still don’t work, then they probably need bleeding, which you can do yourself by releasing the valve on the end of the radiator and letting out any excess air until warm water appears (which you should catch with a cloth at the ready). If the radiators are still not heating up properly, then they may have a build-up of sediment that needs de-clogging with a central heating power flush – for which you will have to get in touch with a professional plumber.

Faulty Timer/Control Panel

Many homeowners may find working out the control panel and finding the perfect settings for a boiler timer tricky, but there are ways around what might seem like internal faults or problems to the system. Sometimes a simple power cut or blown fuse can automatically reset the panel, in which case all you have to do is re-enter the timings you had before. Most modern combi boilers change the clock settings for daylight savings too, but with older systems this isn’t always the case – you can change the current time by following your usual instruction manual.

If the heating doesn’t correspond to what the settings you’ve input, then you might have a faulty panel which can also be replaced by a professional heating engineer, and sometimes for free by the company that installed the boiler in the first place – check your guarantee before you hire someone new!

Unusual Noises/Banging/Clicking

draining central heatingNoisy central heating is a common problem. Any banging, humming, clanging or clicking sounds are not
normal, and should be investigated immediately. If you think the sounds are coming from radiators they are probably being caused by trapped air – in which case bleeding the radiators should solve the problem.

If not, then the boiler itself or the central heating pump might be ‘on its way out’. Sometimes loose pipes are also to blame for an unusual clanging or clicking noise that can be heard throughout the night – if you don’t fancy looking ripping up the floorboards yourself, a professional plumber should be able to locate and fix the problem for you.

Other Heating Pump Problems

Sometimes the sources to central heating water pump problems aren’t always obvious. If you have hot water but no central heating and your pump and/or boiler is fifteen years or older, for example, then it might simply be a case of an old system that has run out of steam – in which case you will have to purchase a replacement boiler.

If you have any of the problems outlined above but they can’t be solved as we’ve recommended, then you could have a blown fuse or a more fundamental problem with the electricity/gas supply, or the structural design of your system. Again, the best way to get to the bottom of things is by hiring a fully qualified central heating engineer, who can save you a lot of time by locating the problem and treating it as soon as possible – often giving you back effective central heating in a matter of days!

Useful Resources

Heap pump systems from Energy.gov

How heating pumps work

How to diagnose and fix cold radiators

Central heating faults & fault finding

Troubleshooting Central Heating

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