What Could It Be When The Pump For Central Heating Is Not Working

Homeowners don’t need to be versed in plumbing or have heating or furnace credentials to recognize when radiators produce no warmth or identify unusual noises coming from the boiler, maybe notice leaking. These are tell-tale signs that the central heating pump is malfunctioning.

When this component is faulty, these are just a few of the results that can crop up. The central heating pump is a primary component of the heating system responsible for transporting the boiler’s hot water throughout the property’s pipework.

A primary red flag that there’s a problem with the central heating pump not working will be unusual noises coming from the system. When troubleshooting the issues, there are a few common problems to look for to prepare for professional service.

Consider these suggestions if you recognize cool radiators, leaks, or unusual sounds developing.

What Could Cause The Pump For Central Heating To Not Work

Knowing your household systems well enough to recognize when something is off is essential. These units, like the central heating pump, will give warning signs that they’re no longer functioning at peak capacity – or at all. 

With this particular component, the signs are relatively straightforward in that your radiators will be cool to the touch, and you’ll either hear odd sounds coming from the system, or there will be leakages, perhaps both. 

When investigating the problem, there are a few common issues that could be the culprit. Knowing what to look for can help you prepare to contact a professional contractor with the details to come and make the necessary repairs. Let’s review some of these.

  • The pump is on, but it’s not performing the pumping action, so the hot water is not moving through the piping system

You’ll be able to tell that the pump is on because there will be a bit of a vibration. The reason for the pumping action to be stalled is likely due to the “propeller” being caught up on the pump.

There are also times when the motor is the issue, particularly if it becomes scalding, which would be considered unusual. The pump motor gets warm, but hot is uncommon unless the system has been sitting for a while.

Sometimes if the shaft is stuck on the pump preventing water circulation, you can try a slight tap to unseize the part. 

If this is something happening frequently, it’s wise to speak with a contractor about the potential for a replacement since the current one could soon fail. Go here for guidance on how to free a jammed central heat pump.

  • Dirt has accumulated in the pump, causing a blockage

With age, accumulations of debris, metal, dirt, and other particles from the pipes and radiators break down and will make their way to the primary parts of the heating system, like the central heating pump. These accumulations can wreak havoc on the entire system, causing a failure if not kept clean.

You’ll be able to tell there’s a problem when the heat is slow to come on, rises slowly to temperature without fully making it there, or doesn’t come on at all.

The course of action when cleaning the system is to use chemicals to “hot flush” as opposed to “power flushing” the debris. Power flushing will increase pressure causing the weakening of components and joints, leading to leaks. 

Once the system is hot flushed and clean, a preventive measure suggestion is to incorporate a “magnetic system filter.” These help to catch the particles to prevent issues in the future. Another preventive is to have the central heating pump assessed with the annual boiler servicing.

  • A noisy central heating pump could be an indication of airlocks issues

Airlocks are another common central heating pump problem due to air accumulating in the component, causing it to stop functioning adequately. Usually, with these parts, there’s a bleed screw to help relieve the air so the pump can operate normally again without a need to replace internal components.

If your central heating pump is unusually noisy, beyond what you would consider as expected, the culprit is likely airlocks. Many homeowners associate the sound as that of a hum when the airlocks are the issue.

In attempting to rectify the situation, the suggestion is to find the bleed screw on the central heating pump but pay attention to the fact the pump is filled with water. This screw should be released gradually and only “less than ¼ turn” to bleed the air. This will probably result in water leaking from the pump as well.

If the noises continue, there’s a possibility the noises are a normal part of the system. With some manufacturers, you’ll find brackets to help with the vibration. With adequate tools, these are relatively simple to install.

  • Inadequate installation could be the issue

If you have never had luck with the system working as it should, the pump might not necessarily be the problem with the heating pump. The central heating water pump installation could be the issue. The pump could have been fitted incorrectly when the system was initially placed.

It’s really unusual for this to happen, but it’s not impossible. When it does, the correction involves switching the pump around. In order for the pump to be removed and turned, the system has to be completely drained and then refit the pump correctly. 

Once that’s done, the boiler’s filling loop will need to be used to fill the system, plus the towel rails and radiators will need to be bled.

Final Thought

When there’s a problem with a system in the home, there will be tell-tale signs usually to give it away. It’s essential to be in tune with each so you’re aware when something’s off, and that includes when the central heating pump is not working. 

These signs and symptoms are just a few common problems to be aware of. It’s important to troubleshoot whatever issue you’re having to see if you can determine the cause. 

If it’s something relatively minor, you can handle the correction, but if you don’t feel comfortable or can’t figure out the problem, contact the professional contractor to address the issue to be safe.

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