Boiler Problems: Everything You Need To Know About Oil Boiler Lockout

November 8, 2016 | Boilers/Agas/Rayburns

With winter just around the corner, and heating switched back on – there’s a greater chance that you could be impacted by one of the most common boiler problems: ‘Lockout’.

What is ‘boiler lockout’?

Boiler Lockout is quite a common problem

When a boiler has a fault, the system has a mechanism to automatically lock-down to prevent further damage. This safeguarding is referred to as boiler lockout.

As well as preventing further problems, the lockout also means you cannot use your oil supply. If your oil fired boiler is in lockout then it will need to be reset.

If you you’re unsure if your boiler is in lockout mode, check for these signals:

  • The display could show an error code
  • You may notice a flashing red or green light
  • Causes of oil boiler lockout

Typically, older boilers are more prone to boiler lockout due to general wear and tear. Having your boiler serviced regularly can help support the safeguarding of this issue.

Another cause could be anything that may impact how high / low the pressure is, for example anything blocking the system. Sludge can be a factor in low boiler pressure. To counter the negative effects of sludge in your tank, consider using heating oil additives, which are chemically designed to enhance boiler efficiency and reduce the buildup of sludge.

There is a chance that lockout occurred due to a more serious issue, which could include faulty safety controls. If, after following the steps outlined below, you still experience lockout on your boiler then we recommend contacting a professional.

What to do when your boiler locks out

  1. Check the fault code

This will help clarify the problem, and confirm whether you are experiencing boiler lockout or if there is another fault at play.

  1. Reset your boiler

    Once you have confirmed boiler lockout, the first thing you’ll want to try is pressing the reset button. This is usually found near the light, though if you’re not sure you can always check your boiler manual to find its location.

  2. Check your oil levels

    If pressing reset doesn’t work, the next thing to check will be your heating oil tank. Boilers often lockout if the oil supply is very low to prevent any debris from being pulled into the system.

  3. Hire a professional

    If your heating oil tank isn’t running low we’d recommend booking a repair service with an OFTEC registered technician. The good news is it’s likely caused by blocked nozzles, dirty filter, or even trapped air – all easy issues to solve for a professional.

How to prevent boiler lockout

There are a few essential things you can do to ensure you don’t get this problem.

  1. Turn off your boiler during a delivery

    Deliveries can disturb any debris that has collected in your tank which can clog up your system.

  2. Service your boiler annually

    Every boiler should be serviced at least once a year. An engineer will examine the boiler, release trapped air, check that the nozzles are clean and replace any dirty or faulty filters.

  3. Use oil additives

    Heating oil additives can help to break down pesky tank sludge and greatly reduce the chances of debris being pulled into your system.

  4. Don’t run out of oil

    Your boiler will automatically lockout if you run out of oil, so the best way to prevent this is to monitor your oil use carefully and order regularly.

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