Boiler Pressure Explained

What should your pressure be? 

The ideal boiler pressure should be between 1 to 1.5 bars on your pressure gauge when your heating is switched off. Around 2 bars is a normal pressure level when your boiler is active/heating up. Anything below 0.5 is too low and must be replaced. 

Is Your Boiler Pressure Too High Or Low?

Sometimes it can seem overwhelming when it comes to making sure that your boiler is kept in tip-top shape. Even if a boiler is relatively new, there are still things that can go wrong every now and again – usually through no fault of your own.

Fortunately, most boiler issues could be down to your boiler pressure.

Without the build-up of water pressure inside your boiler, it simply won’t be able to heat water. Whereas on the other hand, if there is too much pressure your heating system will also fail.

No hot water means cold showers and a chilly home – everyone’s worst nightmare.

Don’t panic though. Once you understand how to identify any potential issues, keeping on top of the pressure of your boiler is not a difficult task. Luckily, most of the time you don’t need to be a gas engineer to notice when your combi boiler pressure is not at the correct level.

It’s important to remember that if handled the wrong way, a boiler can be a dangerous appliance. Always take extra care and ensure you don’t touch internal components and pipes. Doing so could result in serious injury or death.

If you’re ever in doubt, contact a professional.

What is boiler pressure?

All boilers need the right amount of pressure to operate safely and effectively. If it’s not at the right level, your boiler won’t have the ability to do its job properly. Boiler pressure is measured by a pressure gauge, usually situated inside a panel or underneath your boiler. 

Whilst problems with the pressure of your boiler tend to be easy to diagnose and fix, it’s best to tackle any issues as soon as they crop up. Most pressure issues won’t stop your boiler from working completely, but you don’t want to risk it cutting out.

Checking the pressure of your boiler?

Most combi and system boilers these days will have a built-in pressure gauge, so you can easily keep a check on your pressure levels. Your gauge may display pressure using a dial (pressure gauge) or, if you have a modern boiler installed, it’s probably a digital version. Either way, there will be a clear display of any warnings when your boiler pressure appears abnormal.

Don’t get straight on the phone to your engineer if you see your pressure changing temporarily as this is completely normal. Combi boiler pressure increases when the heating is on as your boiler heats the water – this increase in pressure is natural. If your boiler is behaving as it should, the pressure will stabilise again once the system is switched off and cooled down.

If your boiler pressure is between 1 and 1.5 bars this is a normal pressure level when your central heating is switched off. However, when your heating is on the pressure at the boiler should be round 2 bars.

If your boiler pressure match as above, then great! There’s no need to be concerned.

If not, and you have noticed your central heating cutting out unexpectedly, your pressure levels are probably below 1 bar (too low) or around the 3 bar mark (too high). Don’t worry just yet as fixing your pressure levels can be simple.

If your boiler pressure too high.

Firstly, check that the pressure valves, usually found underneath your boiler, are closed tightly. Even if the valves haven’t been used recently, they may have come loose or been knocked accidentally. If the pressure filling valves are closed then most likely there’s a problem with the boiler itself, at this stage its best to call out for a gas engineer.

If your boiler pressure is too low.

Is your boiler pressure too low or has it notably decreased? There are several reasons why your boiler may be losing pressure.

You could have a leak, look around your home for any damp patches. A leak will cause the pressure to drop but, once you’ve spotted the source, they are easy to fix with the help of a professional. Sometimes, a leak may occur inside the boiler itself, in which case you should call for a gas engineer.

Whilst bleeding your radiators every now and again is important, doing so will cause your combi boiler pressure to drop. Again, this is normal, you just have to increase the pressure to the correct level.

If you have noticed a leak coming from the boiler, there nothing else you can do, turn off the power switch to the boiler and call out for a gas safe engineer. 

Re-pressurising your boiler

This is a job you can easily do yourself by following these steps:

  • First off, make sure your boiler is turned off and completely cooled down.
  • You’ll then need to attach the filling loop. Different boilers require different methods here. Most boilers have a filling loop, which will simply require you to open the pressure valves on the filling loop to add more water to your system. The filling loop that resembles a hose, which is connected tightly to the two valves of your boiler. If you are unsure about the kind of filling loop your boiler has – check your boiler manual.
  • Depending on your boiler type, you can open the valves to allow cold water from the mains to fill the boiler.
  • You should allow the boiler to fill up until your pressure levels appear normal and, hey presto, your boiler will be re-pressurised.
  • All that’s left to do is give your boiler a quick reset then prepare to have a cosy home.

Noticed that your boiler pressure keeps dropping or your boiler pressure keeps rising?

Sometimes, problems with boiler pressure are more serious. Even the big brand and high-quality boilers can have their faults, so if you have noticed that your boiler pressure is continually wreaking havoc, it’s worth getting it checked by a professional.

If your boiler pressure keeps dropping.

If your boiler pressure keeps dropping, give your engineer a call to avoid any further damage to your heating system, or worse, your lovely home. Causes for consistent drops in boiler pressure could be a faulty valve on your boiler or a leak. Either of these can be fixed but will require a professional to make sure the job is done properly and won’t creep up again.

Unfortunately, leaks can be hard to find as pipework tends to be hidden in the walls. Look out for swelling, bubbling, or flaking of wallpaper, and skirting boards. These are good indicators that water is escaping somewhere in your system.

If you can’t find a leak anywhere, that’s good news, but now focus on the boiler itself to pinpoint why your combi boiler is losing pressure. There may be a faulty valve that needs replacing – or the issue may lie with a component inside the boiler itself. It is best to allow your engineer to take a closer look in this case, as a component may need replacing as soon as possible to avoid further damage.

If your boiler pressure keeps rising?

Are you finding the opposite problem? Does your boiler pressure keep rising, even once you have checked your valves are tight and bled your radiators? This may also gloomily be due to a more serious fault.

Call your engineer out to take a look at your boiler pressure release valves or expansion vessel, as they could be the culprits, if they aren’t doing their job correctly. Their purpose is to release any excess pressure and prevent your boiler pressure from rising and becoming too high. If there is nowhere for the extra pressure to go, it can cause problems for the health of your boiler – so get professional help and call out an engineer.

Think Your Combi Boiler Problems Could Be More Serious?

Sometimes, problems with a boiler’s pressure aren’t so easy to solve. In these cases, it may well be time to take the plunge, use our boiler installation quote tool and invest in a new boiler.

There are plenty of brands out there with high-quality components and an almost guaranteed lifespan. so, it is definitely worth an initial investment to make sure your boiler lasts many years.

We provide a quick and easy way to choose a boiler that suits your needs, compare boiler prices, and find one that is perfect for your home.

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