As landlords we’re always looking for new ways to efficiently run our rental properties. Read on to find out how to deal with a common boiler complaint without the hefty plumber fee.
What can I do if my boiler is losing pressure?
Landlords regularly receive calls from their tenants about their gas boilers losing pressure. A depressurised boiler will not supply water to the household and cannot supply heat to the radiators. While intricate boiler repairs that involve removing the boiler cover should only be performed by Gas Safe-registered engineers, repressurising a boiler may involve relatively simple repairs that a landlord can perform themselves or alternatively can direct their tenants to perform.
How can I be sure that my boiler is losing pressure?
Modern boilers almost always feature pressure gauges, which should typically be at one bar of pressure. The ideal boiler pressure should be clearly marked on the gauge – perhaps there are red marks to indicate when the pressure is too high or too low, or an arrow on the gauge marking the perfect pressure.
Check the manufacturer’s instructions
I recall in my first rented flat that the boiler would lose pressure on a somewhat regular basis. But there was an easy fix – the landlord’s engineer only needed to show me how to repressurise the boiler once and I never needed to bother them again. He showed me the manufacturer’s instructions, which detailed the position of the tap that repressurised the boiler, watched me repressurise it myself, and then left me to my own devices. Bringing the pressure up on a boiler could be as simple as twisting a screw or turning on a tap, and once a tenant knows how to do this, they will be able to fix their boiler pressure without bothering their landlord. You can give a man a fish and you’ll feed him for a day, but you can teach him how to repressurise his boiler and he won’t bother you for months!
Check for leaks
If repressurising the boiler according to the manufacturer’s instructions does not work, or if the boiler rapidly depressurises again, then there may be a leak somewhere in the pipework. It could be obvious where the leak is located; there may be damp patches, dripping water or puddles around your radiators and interconnecting pipework. Unfortunately, some leaks can be far harder to discover, particularly slow leaks in hidden pipes between the floorboards.
Landlords will have to deal with leaking plumbing unless the tenancy agreement explicitly states that this is the tenants’ responsibility. If the boiler is leaking, then you might need a Gas Safe-registered engineer to come round and take a look at it.
Check the pressure release valve
If there are no leaks, and following the manufacturer’s instructions proves fruitless, then unfortunately the problem is within the boiler itself – probably in its pressure relief valve. This valve expels water from the water tank when the pressure inside the boiler is too high, but it might be expelling water continually due to corrosion or damage.
Take a look outside the property and find the discharge pipe leading from the boiler. If there is any evidence that this is leaking, such as staining or pooling water, then you will need a repair or replacement. Repairing or replacing boiler pressure release valves is a dangerous task that should only be performed by a competent and registered engineer.
And if none of the above guidance helps you out, then you’re going to have to call a Gas Safe-registered engineer out anyway.
As a final point, don’t forget to ensure that all your tenants’ gas boilers and other gas appliances are properly serviced every year!