After what must be the strangest summer that we’ve seen in many years, in terms of the weather at least, autumn really is just around the corner. Before it turns too chilly, now is the ideal time to check that every part of your heating system is working properly. This will give you a chance to organise any repair works or carry out any essential maintenance that needs to be done before the cold weather begins.

Service your boiler

Now is the perfect time to arrange your annual boiler service. It will ensure your boiler is in tip-top condition ready for the work it’ll need to do over the long winter months. It will also flag any issues that could potentially cause a problem when the weather is at its coldest… which, of course, is the time you most need it to be working properly.

Make sure you choose an engineer who is Gas Safe registered. If you are unsure what a boiler service involves, the consumer association Which? has published a handy checklist of what your engineer should be looking at.

The heat is on

Check that everything is working OK by putting the heating on for a few minutes. Make sure the radiators in every room are turned on, and then check that each radiator has an even heat from top to bottom. If a radiator gets colder the higher up you go, this means air has become trapped and it will need bleeding in order to get the air out of the system.

Bleeding your radiators

Before you start bleeding the radiator, turn the heating off and let the water in the radiators cool down. Then, making sure you have an old cloth to hand, use your radiator key to loosen the bleed valve, which you’ll find at one end of the top of the radiator. Do not take the screw out – all you need to do is turn the valve a little way until you hear the hiss of air escaping. When little bubbles of water start appearing around the bleed screw, tighten it quickly to stop any more water escaping.

When you turn the heating back on, the radiator should be warm all over. If your radiators are still cold after you’ve bled them, there may be a blockage, so you’ll probably need to get a professional in to take a look.