Homeowners Professionals

Does a boiler need electricity?

The rising costs of fuel and the increased need to reduce energy usage at home could be making people think more about the electricity and gas their home consumes. If you’ve ever filled the kettle with the amount of water you need instead of filling it to the top, then you’ve been making changes at home to cut back on energy wastage, too.

But do you know how much electricity or  gas your boiler uses? Understanding this could be an important step towards reducing energy usage in your home.  

Do boilers use electricity?

Boilers only use a minimal amount of electricity, but it is still needed to make certain functions work. Display screens, back-lighting bulbs and smart thermostats will all use electricity to help keep your home heated and supplied with hot water.

Electricity is required to ignite the boiler. If you’ve ever heard your boiler make a click when it starts up, this is the ignition that lights the gas to create a flame. A very minimal amount of electricity will be used for this task, meaning it shouldn’t cost very much.

The main features of a gas boiler that use the most electricity are the central heating pump and the boiler fan.

Some older boilers may use a gravity-fed system. These systems rely on gravity to pump water around the radiators without needing an additional pump. However, many modern heating systems will use a central heating pump. These devices use electricity to operate, however they only require electricity when the pump first switches on. This means they don’t need a lot of electricity and they won’t be using energy the whole time they’re running. This could save you both money and energy.

Most central heating pumps that can be found in a domestic boiler will use around 60 watts of energy, though this could vary depending on the size and speed of your pump. This is less than the amount of energy that’s required to boil a kettle.

It’s important that your central heating pump is sized correctly for your home. A pump that is too small might not be able to produce enough power to push the water through your radiators. A pump that is too big could use too much electricity to do so. Central heating pumps usually have variable speeds. However, increasing the speed won’t necessarily warm your rooms up faster. Doing this will use more electricity and the efficiency of the heating system will be reduced. It’s better to leave your central heating pump alone.

The boiler fan is another feature of your boiler that will use a small amount of electricity. A fan is not used to cool down the components in a boiler, as some people might think. It’s actually used to extract the flue gases to the outside.

The fan must come on before your boiler ignites. This is a safety feature to ensure that all of the gases created during combustion exit your home. If the fan cannot kick in, your boiler will not ignite. Issues such as these are picked up by the printed circuit board (PCB) that controls all of the boiler’s electronic components. It is this device that can determine if the fan is on.

If your boiler’s fan isn’t working correctly, there could be a fault in the electrical connector that provides the fan with an electrical supply from the mains. For Viessmann boilers, this will provide a fault code of FC. This means that you could have a faulty gas valve or that the fan and fan cables need to be checked.

If you’ve recently had a power cut and your boiler doesn’t seem to be coming back on, check the timer. Most clocks, such as those on your cooker, will reset after a power cut and it could be a simple case of reprogramming it manually. If you’re unsure how to do this, check the instruction manual. 

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