Most boilers these days are very reliable and can work for many years without breaking down. If a fault should occur there are a couple things that you, as the homeowner, can do. Firstly, if its a sealed system such as a combination boiler, check the pressure of the system. Normal operating pressure for a gas boiler is between 1-1.5 bar, if the pressure falls below this then top the pressure the back up using the systems filling loop, this should have been shown to you when the installer carried out the hand over during the commissioning process. Make sure that if yo do top the pressure up that you properly turn off the filling so you don’t just keep filling the system. These faults on boilers are easy to rectify and the boiler restarts itself once its back up to normal operating pressure.
Other faults may include out of gas problems. This may be because there has been work carried out on the gas network in your area and the gas supply has been temporarily switched off, or you have a pre-paid gas meter and its run out of credit. In this case check gas supply at another appliance if you have one such as a gas hob or gas fire. If they ignite then you know gas is present. On the boiler there will normally be a reset button or a knob that you can hold in a reset position, reset the boiler and it should try to ignite, providing there is a demand. Most problems with a boiler can be rectified, albeit temporarily by resetting the boiler.
During colder periods then 90% of call outs are for frozen condensate pipes that are run externally. Normally, as installers, we would always try and run a condensate pipe internally but sometimes this isn’t possible and it needs to be run externally, in these cases the condensate pipe should be run in 32mm pipe, insulated and be no longer than 3m metres, however during extreme cold even when these precautions are taken the pipe can still freeze. If it is possible to do so then you could carefully peel off the insulation and poor hot water over the pipe, it may take a few tries but this should defrost the pipe and clear the blockage. Once this has been done reset the boiler and try to ignite by placing a demand on it, either for heating or hot water.
If there is a persistent fault or you can not reset the boiler then always get a Gas Safe qualified engineer out to diagnose and repair the fault. None Gas Safe engineers are not permitted to work on boilers as they will not have the appropriate knowledge to work on a gas appliance safely. If you are unsure if someone claiming to be a Gas Safe engineer actually is then ask to see their current ID card, as engineers we should carry them with us at all times. Alternatively you can verify engineers using the Gas Safe website.