Why my boiler breakdown made me appreciate my home more

January is probably the worst time of year to be without heating, right? It’s frosty outside today, I shivvered my way around the shops yesterday and the wind is whipping around the house. However, now that I’m indoors with the heating on, I’m grateful to be cosy despite the cold temperatures outside. But that was a completely different story last week when our boiler broke down…

To be fair, there’s probably never a good time for your boiler to be out of action, whether it’s winter or not. Because, if you’ve put the heating on or run the hot water, it’s probably because you need it at that moment. So it can be rather frustrating when the boiler just doesn’t come on. Argh – no bath tonight! You don’t really notice it when everything is going well, but when it’s no longer available to you, you really start to miss it. I’ve been so concerned with reducing my heating bill that I didn’t really think what I would do without it!

I noticed the problem last week when our heating kept turning itself off. I could manually turn it on and wander off for a bit, then I would hear a distant beep and the heating would go off completely. I thought there must be a problem with the controls or the thermostat or something, so I checked my boiler insurance policy to see if I was covered. Thankfully, I could get an engineer to come out to take a look at the problem with no call-out charge, phew.

When the heating did stay on, after a short while it would be accompanied by a buzzing noise coming from the boiler. The first time I heard it I was in the kitchen (the furthest point from the boiler) and I thought to myself ‘how can there be a mosquito in the house in the winter?’ Then I followed the sound until it became louder and discovered the source inside the airing cupboard. Uh-oh.

The buzzing was quite loud and the only way to make it stop was to turn off the boiler completely. Which isn’t the best option when it’s winter and only a few degrees outside. Brr. I begin worrying about the cost of replacing the boiler, eek. Luckily the engineer was able to come to take a look at the problem that same day so I cleared a space to the boiler (moving those towels out of the way) and left them to it.

It turns out that the boiler needed a new pressure valve and a new motherboard – that sounds serious, doesn’t it?! Thankfully, because the boiler that the previous owner installed was a good great quality Vaillant unit, all the parts needed are still in production. It was easy to look for Vaillant boiler parts online and once the bits were ordered it didn’t take long for the repair to be completed the following day.

In truth the physical repair only a took couple of hours and we were only without hot water and heating for a day in total. Now, the boiler is running perfectly and I haven’t heard that buzzing noise since. And you can bet that we really appreciated our hot water and heating once we had it back. You really don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone, do you?!

What started as a big worry of not having heating in the winter, ended with gratitude for the roof over our heads, the insulation in the walls and the heating system that keeps us cosy in the icy temperatures. And it’s even made me appreciate the heating system in my car more! With many people not able to afford heating in their homes, or not even having a home of their own, I certainly feel lucky to have all these things that keep me safe and well.

Let me know in the comments below what things you’ve appreciated more in your home (or car) after losing them for a short while. I’d love to hear what you’re grateful for this January, whether it’s DIY/home related or something else that you’re happy about 🙂

This article is sponsored collaboration. The pink links in the content indicate a sponsored link or information source. The blog post reflects my own experience and the sponsor hasn’t had any control over my content 🙂


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Cassie is a freelance writer with a Masters degree in lifestyle promotion studies. She loves to 'get the look for less' so regularly shares thrifty fashion posts, DIY interior design ideas and low-cost recipes on her blog.

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