That's why it is so important to look after your boiler. By treating it the right way, you can significantly reduce the likelihood of the system packing in just when you need it most.

Your boilers will arguably be the most important appliance in your house during the winter months, but there is no reason why you can't keep an eye on it at all other times of the year to make sure things are working as they're supposed to be.

One of the main things to remember when it comes to boiler maintenance is regular servicing.

Try and have this done around once a year and always be sure to use a Gas Safe engineer. What's more, don't forget that any problems with your boiler should be seen to by the professionals. Boilers are not the kind of appliances that you want to be messing around with, even if you do think you know what you're doing.

Having said that, there are certain steps you can take to keep the risk of boiler faults arising to a minimum.

We've put together a rundown of the different ways you can care for your boiler - so follow these simple steps and your days of leaping into a freezing cold shower could become a thing of the past.

1 - Run the heating regularly

It is understandable that some of you will be a little reluctant to do this when you feel your home is warm enough. An uncertain economic climate means many people will be looking to cut down on their bills. However, performing this task can prove cost-effective in the long run, as running your heating will make sure the system is working at its most efficient level by keeping the boiler pump free of any grit. While turning the heating on may be the last thing on your mind during the summer months, you should run it at different times throughout the year to make sure everything is working as it should be.

2 - Keep your boiler free from blockages

Leaving items that block parts of your boiler can be a particular cause of problems for your system. This is easy to address, as you simply refrain from leaving anything by the setup that might pose an issue. For instance, make sure you leave the appliance uncovered and don't block off any of the air vents. You should also check to ensure there isn't anything obstructing the outside flues.

3 - Don't let the system freeze

With particularly cold days and nights comes the risk that the system might freeze. If condensate pipes do freeze, the whole boiler system may stop working properly. And while a heating engineer should be called to deal with any problems of this nature, you could always try pouring hot water on the frozen pipe or placing a hot water bottle over it.

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