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General boiler info, Troubleshooting

Should you turn off your boiler in summer

Is it ok to turn off your boiler in summer? The short answer is: it depends on your home and your circumstances. Let’s go through those circumstances, and see which ones apply to you, so you know ‘what to do with your boiler in the summer?'

When is it ok to turn off your boiler in summer?

If you have a modern, efficient combi-boiler, which provides heating to your home and hot water to your taps and shower, you’ll most likely still need to keep your boiler on all year round.

If you have a combi-boiler

Many boilers have the option to keep the hot water on and the central heating off, which is useful for summer when you probably won’t need to have your radiators on for the most part. This option might be available on your digital display (if you have one) or as a dial or knob. If your boiler shows icons, hot water is usually depicted by an image of a tap, and heating by an image of a radiator. Set your boiler to just the tap icon if you don’t need your central heating on.

If you don't need to use hot water often

This is more down to your lifestyle and the appliances in your home, but some people don’t need hot water on constantly. This is true for people with:

  • Electric showers – cold water is heated by the shower itself
  • Modern dishwashers – no need for hot water, unlike when washing dishes at the sink
  • Modern washing machines – cold water is heated by the washing machine itself

So, providing you don’t take hot baths in summer, and your appliances and white goods only need the cold water pipe to operate, this answers ‘should I turn off my boiler in summer?’

It’s worth considering, however, that maintaining your hot water tank to at least 60°C will ensure that harmful bacteria in the water doesn’t multiply. Keeping your hot water at this temperature will reduce the risk of contracting legionnaire’s disease, and other nasty ailments.

Don't keep your boiler switched off for too long

Although you may be saving money by switching your boiler off, over time it may lead to problems. Your central heating system is complex and you will have several valves and pumps that are not designed to stay idle for long. Lack of usage might lead them to seize up and get stuck.

In order to keep your boiler in good shape, it’s worth turning it on every few weeks or so, and leaving on for a short while. Having the water flow freely stops the intricate insides of your system from getting ‘gunked up’ and prevents valves from sticking. This is especially true for older boilers, which need as much if not more care than modern, efficient condensing boilers. This should answer ‘what do I do with my boiler in the summer?’

It’s also worth getting your boiler serviced every year. It doesn’t cost too much, and is worth it in the long run, as it will extend your boiler’s lifespan by potentially, years.

Should I turn off my boiler overnight or when I go on holiday?

In the summer, it shouldn’t hurt to turn your boiler off before you go on holiday. Providing you’re only going for a few weeks, maximum! In the winter, however, you should leave your boiler running. Issues arising from frozen pipes can be a rather expensive headache. It’s not worth the risk of breaking your boiler and central heating, just to save a small amount of money on your bills.

Turning your boiler off overnight won’t, in theory, hurt your boiler too much. It might save a few pennies on your bill. It’s important to consider the age and efficiency of your boiler, however, as constantly restarting or resetting it might put extra strain on older boilers. Modern boilers should be safe to leave on overnight: if you don’t have the heating on during the night, it won’t make too much difference to your bills.

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