The pressure on my boiler keeps rising and then dropping

Discussion in 'Plumbers' Talk' started by petertheplumber, Apr 15, 2013.

  1. petertheplumber

    petertheplumber New Member

    This happens because the water in the heating system expands when hot and contracts when cold so on a sealed system or combi an expansion vessel is fitted the pipework in the boiler or outside the boiler. The expansion vessel is made in two halves and joined together in the middle with a rubber diaphragm. One side of the diaphragm has water in it and the other side has air. The air is given a pressure of ¾ to 1 bar or approx 14lbs/insq as the water expands the air is compressed and the gauge shows a small increase in pressure. If the air pressure is too low or no pressure because the tyre valve has leaked the air out, then when the water expands there is nothing to absorb the expansion since the diaphragm just gets pushed to the back of vessel, then the pressure climbs to 3 bar and the pressure relief valve (PRV) opens and lets the water out of boiler until pressure drops below 3 bar. Then system cools down and the pressure drops too low and boiler won?t fire until pressure is increased with filling loop; this makes the cycle start all over again.  The first thing to do is remove the plastic cap covering the valve on the top of the expansion vessel and press in the pin to release some air the same as you would with a car tyre, if only air comes out stop releasing it and check the pressure of the air, if pressure is ½-1bar the its ok and it may be that the tube connecting the vessel to the boiler is blocked. The rubber diaphragm may have failed or split or the air it needs re pressurising back to 3/4-1 bar this is done with a foot pump when no pressure is in the system, his means bleeding a radiator of water until the water stops coming out and the gauge reads zero this MUST happen first, before using the foot pump. The tube that connects the boiler to the expansion vessel may be blocked with sludge. And cause the same symptom.
  2. joinerjohn1

    joinerjohn1 Screwfix Select

    You forgot to add, that as a very short term quick fix (if the rubber diaphragm has split) you could drain  about 1/4 of the water out of one radiator, which would then sort of act as an expansion vessel. ;)
  3. petertheplumber

    petertheplumber New Member

    I was concentrating on getting across the fundamentals of why it drops rather than  how to bypass the problem but since this is being used as a general forum of replies suggested alterations to comments  Im am going to delete my answers and let someone else have a go. Since this is going to work for the benefit of the forum if we keep finding fault with other people work.
  4. joinerjohn1

    joinerjohn1 Screwfix Select

    Peter , please don't delete your most helpful posts, I only mentioned the draining down a 1/4 of the water in one rad as a temporary fix, perhaps if this happened to the OP on a Saturday afternoon and they couldn't get a plumber till Monday and didn't know how to re-pressurise the expansion vessel. ;)
  5. Liza Gomse

    Liza Gomse New Member

    This is really a good question. Everybody should know about this process. Constant water pressure is essential to the efficient functioning of your boiler system. Low pressure is relatively easy to diagnose, as most boilers have a built-in pressure gauge. A number of things can cause pressure to drop. It may be that there is a leak somewhere in your boiler system. Or, if you bled your radiators recently, it may be that pressure was lost then. Tru-Steam Boilers & Services have a number of locations across the country and are the leading boiler manufacturer in Australia. They offer fully qualified and experienced electrical and mechanical technicians for routing maintenance. I am also very happy with their service. 6 months ago I faced this kind of problem but this company helps me out to recover the problem.

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