Boiler Maintenance

Should you switch your boiler off when on holiday?

Published on
August 14, 2023
Middle aged grey man and ginger woman walk through a modern bright house with two grey bottom wheeled suitcase

Preparing for a holiday involves numerous decisions, and for homeowners, the boiler's operation is a significant one. The energy crisis and cost of living crisis is still an ongoing, pressing issue for many UK homeowners, so is it worth turning off your boiler before you jet across the globe? Will it actually save you money, or could it cause more harm than good?  At Padly, our experts have taken the time to dissect this topic, layer by layer, to provide you with the most comprehensive guide. Here's our detailed breakdown:

Safety considerations

Gone are the days of turning your boiler off when you're away over fears of safety that could result in undetected leaks or hazards.

Modern boiler features

Self-diagnostics: Contemporary boilers are equipped with self-diagnostic tools that monitor internal functions. They can detect irregularities and adjust or shut down operations to prevent potential hazards.

Automatic shutdown: Advanced sensors in modern boilers can detect issues such as gas leaks, carbon monoxide build-up, or significant pressure drops, triggering an automatic shutdown to ensure household safety.

Regular maintenance & checks

Annual servicing: Regular annual servicing ensures that all components are in optimal condition, reducing the risk of malfunctions during prolonged operation.

Certified technicians: Always ensure that a certified technician inspects your boiler. They can identify and rectify minor issues before they escalate, ensuring your boiler's safe operation during your absence.

The threat of frozen pipes

Not having your boiler running whilst your away may seem like a safe bet, but it can lead to serious issues within the pipework of your boiler.

The science behind It:

Expansion & pressure: When water turns into ice, its volume increases by about 9%. This expansion can exert immense pressure on the confines of a pipe, leading to potential cracks or bursts.

Boiler's role in prevention:

Continuous circulation: Even when operating at minimal settings, boilers ensure a continuous flow of water, preventing stagnation and freezing, especially in vulnerable external or exposed pipes.

Temperature regulation: Modern boilers can be set to maintain a specific minimum temperature, ensuring that the water never reaches freezing point.

Energy consumption and efficiency

The current energy crisis has left many homeowners wondering if there's a way to save money on expensive bills if they're not occupying their home.

Initial energy surge:

Cold start vs. warm start: A cold start requires the boiler to heat water from a much lower temperature, consuming more energy. In contrast, maintaining a warm start uses less energy during reactivation.

Optimal settings for efficiency

Frost protection mode: Many modern boilers come with a 'frost protection' mode, which keeps the system just warm enough to prevent freezing, ensuring minimal energy consumption.

Smart thermostats: Integrating smart thermostats can allow homeowners to monitor and adjust their home's temperature remotely, ensuring optimal energy usage.

Home comfort upon return

Reheating time: A completely cold home can take several hours to reheat, especially in larger homes or during colder months. This ultimately will cause a higher need for energy making your boiler work overtime and likely surging the price of your monthly bill.

Consistent warmth:

Baseline temperature: Maintaining a baseline temperature ensures that the reheating time is significantly reduced upon return, ensuring immediate comfort.

Health benefits: A consistent temperature can also prevent dampness or mould growth, which can be exacerbated in cold, unheated homes.

Boiler longevity and health

You can ensure you evade breakdowns and faults with your boiler by following the advice below;

Operational strain: Constantly turning the boiler on and off can strain its components, leading to potential malfunctions or reduced efficiency over time.

Stable operations: A consistently operating boiler experiences fewer sudden temperature changes, reducing the stress on its components and potentially extending its lifespan.

Lubrication and movement: Continuous operation ensures that internal components remain lubricated and in motion, preventing potential seizing or rusting.

The intricate dance of boiler operation during holidays is multifaceted. While the specifics can vary based on individual circumstances, the overarching recommendation from our experts at Padly leans towards maintaining a reduced, consistent operation. This approach offers a harmonious blend of safety, efficiency, comfort, and boiler health. Before making a final decision, we always advocate for a personalized consultation with a boiler professional to cater to your unique home and boiler setup.

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