Advice to stay safe during the floods

With serious flooding in some areas of the UK, boilers and central heating systems may not be your first consideration, yet when the floods subside there are some important things to consider to help keep you and your family safe.

Wherever there is water and electricity, it can be a dangerous mix. So it pays to be prepared and know the facts. Here Graham Collins, Training Support Manager at Baxi, offers some advice for homeowners: 

  • The general advice for anybody living or working near the flood waters is to turn off all electrical devices before the waters enter the property. Never touch electrical appliances while standing in any amount of water as this poses a real risk of electric shocks. 
  • When it comes to the heating system, it’s important to remember that the boiler requires an electrical connection to operate and therefore by isolating the electricity, your home will be without heating too. 
  • Even if your home is sufficiently dried out, the danger of an electric shock still remains and it’s important to have the entire system checked by an electrician to ensure the safety and integrity of your home – at no point should the electricity be switched back on without first being check by a qualified electrician.
  • Bear in mind, whilst you may not associate your electricity with your heating supply it does require an electrical connection so when the electricity is turned back on, the boiler will come back on too.
  • To ensure the safety and integrity of your heating system we always advise that the heating system be isolated until a full safety check can be conducted by a Gas Safe registered engineer.

Condensing boilers can fail in flood conditions if the condensate discharge pipe terminates outside. If the condensate pipe is outside, there should be an air break above the drain. In flood conditions the water level can rise above the end of the pipe and cause a blockage. The condensate discharge water then “backs up” into the boiler, causing it to shut down to protect itself. Generally, the boiler can be reset once the flood water level has fallen below the pipe outlet, but it should be checked by a Gas Safe engineer to make sure the boiler hasn’t been damaged.

If you’re a homeowner in a flooded area we recommend you contact your insurance provider in the first instance.