By Sam Bishop, managing director, Bishops Group:

With winter just around the corner, many households will rely on gas boilers and gas fires to keep their family warm. As the temperature drops and more and more people turn their heating up and this increased usage can put a strain on gas appliances, leading to them breaking down.

Check your appliances

Any gas appliances including boilers, warm air heaters, cookers and fires should be regularly maintained, and safety checked once a year. Not only does this help keep them working safely and efficiently, if they are not maintained properly, gas appliances can produce deadly carbon monoxide. These checks must be carried out by a qualified gas engineer and the engineer must be Gas Safe registered.

Insulate your pipes

When the weather drops below zero degrees, the water in your plumbing system can freeze, expand and burst your pipes – leaving you with no running water. The best way to prevent this from happening is to wrap your pipes in insulation. Similar to the material used in your loft, the insulation will minimise heat loss, helping to keep the water in your pipes flowing properly.

Check your boiler pressure

Often, the most common reason for loss of heat is a result of the boiler pressure dropping. If it has dropped, you will probably experience a reduced supply of hot water around your system. Boilers will usually have a pressure gauge with a green zone highlighted and the pressure gauge should be between one and 1.5 bar. Topping up the pressure in your boiler can be quick and easy to do, but it’s best to speak to an engineer if you’re not sure how to do it.

Bleed your radiators

If your radiators are cold towards the bottom when you turn the heating on, it could mean that there is trapped air within the radiator. To remove this, all you need to do is bleed the radiator. Before you bleed your radiators, you’ll need to turn off the heating, otherwise you could end up with a lot of water on the floor. Next, find the radiator key and fit into the valve which can be found at the top of the radiator. Twist the key slowly until you hear the air escaping. When you can’t really hear it anymore, quickly do the valve back up. When you turn the heating back on, you should feel a significant difference but if not, there could be something else wrong that requires an engineer.

At Bishops Group, all our team are on the Gas Safe Register meaning that we can provide professional installation, maintenance and repair of gas and heating systems in Brighton and Hove and throughout Sussex.

To book a visit before the winter truly sets in, please visit