New homes

What to do if your central heating isn't working

December 3rd 2023
Someone warming their hands on a radiator

If you're a tenant and your central heating or hot water isn't working, try the steps below. But if your boiler panel needs tools to remove it, don't touch it, call an engineer.

What to do:

  • Check the gas, electric and water supply is turned on
  • Check the room thermostat (if you have one) is turned up and the clock timer is on
  • Check your boiler's pressure gauge (if you have one) is around 1 bar, you should find it on the front panel
  • If your system has a permanent pilot light, check it hasn't gone out
  • Try putting your heating on full for a while to see if this triggers any heat
  • Check the boiler timer's set to the right time
  • Set your heating to come on in 15 minutes - if there's been a power cut recently, your central heating timer might have returned to its factory settings so you'll need to reset it
  • See if you have a reset switch on the front of your boiler. You can check your user manual to see what to do
  • Try turning the boiler on and off. The switch is usually nearby or in an airing cupboard
  • Check your pipes haven't frozen. If it's been very cold, the condensate pipe of your boiler can freeze
  • If your boiler has a small plastic or steel tank in the loft, it will likely be an open vented system boiler, and you may need to check if the float ball valve has got stuck. If you can safely get to it, you'll find it in the small plastic or steel tank which will have low, or no, water. Gently move the float ball valve arm to free it but don't use force. If you free it, your water should begin to circulate again
  • If you have a sealed or combination boiler, see if the system pressure has dropped and stopped it working. This is sometimes caused by water leaks:
  1. Check the pressure gauge on your boiler is set at 1 bar. A red needle might show the original position it was at when it was installed.
  2. Look in your user manual to see if you can re-pressurise the boiler yourself - you can also find instructions on the inside of the control panel.

Check out our What to do in an emergency guide for further information