10 Central Heating Pump Problems & Fixes

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Boiler breakdowns can be down to many issues from corrosion to pressure issues and part failures. Central heating pumps and associated parts are moving elements within boilers and therefore are more liable to wear and tear issues which can also cause overall system breakdowns.

With an array of parts that can cause a boiler fault, diagnosis of the error is a priority. During this article, we will run through the common problems caused by central heating pumps as well as explaining the checks that can be done yourself to identify issues.  We will also highlight when it is best to escalate to a specialist engineer.

Basic Central Heating Pump Checks

If it is suspected that the heating pump on a boiler is playing up, there are a number of simple checks that can be done to triage the issue.  Sometimes heating pumps can stop working due to something as simple as a tripped wire, and therefore is confident enough to perform the checks, do so as follows:

  • Check that the power is working to the pump and is turned on
  • Check that the power supply has not tripped
  • Reset the pump by turning the power off for a few seconds

Common central heating pump issues

My boiler is not pumping water around the system

Sometimes the central heating pump hasn’t stopped working, it is still running but the problem is that the pump has stopped pumping water around the system.  In this scenario, the issue could be with the propeller on the pump.

Often propellers can become blocked over time with debris or become damaged.  Unfortunately, a damaged propeller will result in a replacement pump, however, the only way to decipher if the pump is blocked or damaged is to get inside and have a look.  If you do not feel confident with investigating the issue inside your central heating pump, call an engineer to do this for you.

If you need to reset your boiler too often, it may be a sign of a more significant fault, such as a faulty PCB, a boiler leak and if your boiler isn’t firing up for central heating or your boiler isn’t igniting, it may be time to consider getting a new boiler quote.

My central heating pump is blocked with debris

Over time copper pipework can erode and start to rust due to the constant use of water and metallic debris running through the system and pipework.  This debris makes itself back to the boiler and will build up in the pump.  Eventually, the debris build-up will slow the water movement down and ultimately prevent the pump from working.

Similarly, to the first fault discussed, it is possible to explore the condition of the pump and remove any debris blockages yourself, however, should you require assistance, always call an engineer.  If the problem persists you may wish to look into deep system cleans such as the use of chemical flushes.

Related boiler problems:

My central heating pump is very noisy

Every boiler system will make some noise however if your system is making excessive noise then it’s often a sign that something is wrong.  Commonly, the noise coming from the central heating pump is due to an airlock in the system which stops the water flowing smoothly.

Bleed screws are often included on heat pumps for this reason; to be able to remove air from the pump.  In this situation, refer to the manufacturer instructions to locate the bleed screw and undertake the process.

My central heating pump is leaking

Should a central heating pump spring a leak, this could lead to a serious issue and will therefore require immediate attention. Leaks could be the consequence of a number of issues from incorrect installation to corrosion or even pressure issues that result in a seal being blown.

If the pump has become loose, tightening the bolts could resolve a leak issue, however, if there is something more serious such as a blown seal the best approach would be either to contact the pump provider directly or a specialist engineer.

Central heating pumps often come with a warranty between 2 and 5 years, therefore depending on the age of your unit and the type of damage, the part may be covered.

Is your boiler losing power? Or is your boiler pressure too high? If your boiler is old, past its warranty, it may be time for a new boiler replacement.

My central heating pump has no power or intermittent power

Should the rest of the property have power, along with the system itself with exception of the heating pump, there could be a loose or damaged wire resulting in a power failure.

Other sources could be a damaged thermostat or water originating from a leak.  If water gets into the electrical wiring of the unit then the pump will shut down.

Depending on the reason behind the power failure, the repair process will vary. However, due to the potential seriousness of the problem an engineer would be required to investigate.

My central heating pump is suffering from low pressure

If the pressure isn’t being added to the system from the pump, there are two common reasons why:

  • Airlocks

As previously discussed, airlocks can cause water to stop flowing around the system, causing both noise and system performance issues. Once the troubleshooting has been undertaken from the section above, refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for additional hints or tips to overcome the issue or escalate to a specialist engineer.

  • Frozen pipes

A sudden spike of cold weather when the system has not been in use can result in frozen pipes which affect the pressure. Should the system pipes freeze, heat sources such as storage heaters will need to be applied to thaw them out?

Another indication of low-pressure issues can be if not all of the radiators heat up when the heating is on. In this case, the first approach would be to try to add pressure slowly into the system via the pressure dial. Should this not resolve the issue, debris could be causing partial blockages and therefore a system flush may be required.

If none of these suggestions overcome the pressure issues, a heating engineer or plumber will be required to diagnose the reason behind the performance issue and make recommendations to fix it.

Related reading: 

 My central heating pump is getting too hot

Central heating pumps will produce a low level of heat when working however if the heat is excessive or the pump is too hot to touch, this could be a warning sign of an issue.

If a heating pump is getting too hot, is likely to be showing signs of ageing and therefore will often require replacing at this point. In this situation, it would be worth checking the warranty of the unit to see if the pump is covered before replacing it.

Central Heating Pump Problems Summary

An array of faults can occur on heating pumps, some are simpler to overcome than others. However, if in any doubt, always seek professional advice to confirm the diagnosis and the correct plan of action to repair or replace.

Boiler brand faults: 

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