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9 Common Problems with Heating Pumps and How to Fix Them

There’s nothing more annoying than your central heating not working properly, especially when your system is leaking or making banging and squealing noises.

If you find that you can’t get your radiators warm all over or there is constant noise coming from the system, then you could have a faulty hot water pump. We’ve found the nine most common problems with heat pumps and the best way to fix them so that you can feel confident about getting yours sorted out – take a look now!

Central Heating Pumps – What Are They?

The central heating pump in your system has the job of moving hot water and pumping around your radiators and to your taps and showers. It is an essential component of your heating system and can become an urgent problem when it stops working properly. Some of the main warning signs include banging noises and radiators that do not warm up evenly after the heating has been on for some time.

Where Do I Find My Central Heating Pump?

In the majority of system boiler and regular heating systems, the pump is found next to the boiler in the boiler storage cupboard. However, if you have a combi boiler, then there will not be an external pump as it comes with an integrated pump that pushes water around your radiator system.

The 9 Most Common Central Heating Pump Problems & Solutions

1 – The Pump Appears to be Working, But There is No Hot Water Going Around the System

If you think that your heating pump is running, then you can be certain by checking if it is vibrating, as this shows that it is powered up. If it is running, but the water is not circulating, then there could be a problem with the propeller or the shaft sticking. It could also be that the motor isn’t working properly or working too hard and getting hot. Generally, this issue tends to occur on heating systems that haven’t been used for a while.

To resolve the problem, you can initially just try and gently tap it to allow anything that is stuck to become free – be careful not to hit it too hard as this can damage the pump even more. Sadly, if the tapping only provides a short-term solution that needs to be readministered multiple times, then you will need to think about getting the pump replaced. Replacement and installation will cost around £250 to get a quality pump and a Gas Safe engineer to install it.

2 – There is a Build Up of Dirt Causing a Blockage in the System

No matter how much you spend on your central heating system, dirt and grime will build up slowly over the years. This can then become a problem for the heat pump, stopping it from being able to work properly and sending hot water through the system. In the majority of cases, this problem can be solved by a professional engineer.

To fix the blockage, your Gas Safe engineer will complete a process known as a Power Flush. This process sends chemicals that will dislodge build-ups and clean the system, allowing your pump to get back to work as usual. It’s advisable to get a Power Flush organised on a regular basis to avoid any issues as time passes.

3 – The Pump is Noisy and There Appear to be Airlocks in the System

When air gets locked in the system, it can stop the pump from working properly and cause it to make tapping and banging noises when you least expect it. Many people also report that their heating system sounds like it is humming, which is another sign that air could be locked in the system, reducing the efficiency of your heating.

To fix it, take a bleeding key and slowly open the screw to allow the air to be released. Do not unscrew it too quickly or remove it completely, as the water will also escape, causing a mess. Once you have removed the airlock in each radiator, you should notice less noise, but if not, then you may need to install an anti-vibration bracket to the pump to stop it from being too loud.

4- Poor Installation Service

Sometimes the problem with a heat pump is not because the product is faulty but because it has been poorly installed by an engineer. Problems with installation generally occur when you use someone who is not properly qualified for the job ad who doesn’t know which way to install the pump.

The good news is that this issue is highly unlikely if you used a Gas Safe engineer, but if there is a problem with the way it was installed, then you will need to have it reinstalled by a different professional. Once it has been refitted, the engineer will get the system back up and running, and you should enjoy instant improvements!

5 – The Speed Settings Have Been Inputted Incorrectly

Sometimes when a heat pump is installed, the speed settings can be inputted incorrectly, making your system work too fast or too slow. Generally, the settings should be between one and three, with one being the slowest setting and three being the fastest.

If you have a new heat pump, then it will probably come with speed and flow settings that you can adjust yourself to get the system working properly, but it is also wise to get an engineer to look at it for you first. They will be able to check that there are no other issues that could be causing problems, giving you peace of mind.

6 – Your Pump Has Started to Leak

Leaky boilers are not uncommon, and there can be a number of reasons for this, but a faulty heat pump is most often the issue. Heat pumps can cause leakage for a number of reasons, including being poorly installed, loose connections and even the wrong settings.

To fix the pump, you can first check that everything is securely in place, including all the fixtures and fittings. If this doesn’t stop the leak, then you will need to get an engineer out who can replace the joint or the seals or even install a brand new heat pump if required.

7 – Your Pump Won’t Power Up

If there is no power in your heating system and boiler, but the rest of your property is connected to power with no problems, then you can be confident that your PCB unit has failed. These failures can be as simple as a writing issue or as complex as a leak causing a power outage.

Before you call out an engineer, check that there isn’t an issue with the fuse that can be quickly resolved. If not, then you will need a Gas Safe registered engineer to assess the wiring and provide you with a quote for work. If your boiler is old or there is corrosion present, then you may need to invest in a new boiler.

8 – You Can’t Get Your Pump to Turn Off

Whilst it rarely happens, there are some occasions where a heat pump will run constantly and won’t switch off, causing pressure on the system and resulting in issues with your energy expenditure!

To fix this, you will need to call out an engineer who can complete a number of diagnostic checks to work out what the issue is and then fix it for you. Generally, the problems that cause this issue can include a faulty PCB, a sticking valve or a faulty overrun stat.

9 – Your Pump Has Become Worn Out

It’s not uncommon to find that your pump has reached the end of its shelf life and has run out, especially in older systems or ones that have not been serviced on a regular basis. Most heat pumps can last up to 15 years if they are properly cared for, so if yours is reaching this age, then you may need to think about your next steps.

There is no quick fix for a worn-out pump, meaning that you will need to have it completely replaced. Shop around for a reputable Gas Safe engineer who will be able to complete the work and get your heating back up and running.

Working Out How to Manage Your Central Heating Pump Problem

If you are convinced that your central heating pump is faulty and you want to get it properly diagnosed, then it is time to call in a Gas Safe registered engineer. The engineer will assess the issue and provide you with a quote to fix it. Take your time to shop around to find the best and most affordable service so that you don’t end up spending more than necessary, or make use of our handy quote service to save you from having to make multiple calls and queries.