How to set the timer on a boiler

If you want to save money on your heating bills without being left in the cold, then learning how to set the timer on your boiler will be incredibly useful.
Taking the time to understand your boiler’s timer, and how this should fit around your daily routine, can help you heat your home more efficiently — and use less energy. In this guide, we’re going to explain how to use your boiler timer and take a look at some common boiler timer issues that might stop it working correctly.

  • What is a boiler timer?
  • How does a boiler timer work?
  • How to set boiler timer pins
  • How to set a digital timer
  • Common timer problems

What is a boiler timer?

A boiler timer is a device in-built into most boilers that allows you to control when your central heating comes on and goes off. This is incredibly useful as it means you can schedule your heating around your life, ensuring that your home is always warm when it needs to be, and your boiler isn’t heating your home when nobody is there.

How does a boiler timer work?

There are typically two kinds of boiler timer: digital and analogue. More modern boilers will use a small digital screen to display and set the time, whereas older devices will use a more basic mechanical dial with pins to set the time.

Mechanical timers typically have three settings: on, off, and timer. The timer itself is a dial that represents a 24-hour clock with pins that signify roughly 15-minute intervals and an arrow that points towards the current time. These simple devices are easy to use, but they are limited in their functionality, meaning you have to manually adjust the timer if your routine changes each day.
Digital timers, on the other hand offer much more flexibility, allowing you to program different heating patterns for the whole week. You can also get a thermostat and connect it to your boiler, allowing it to kick in whenever the temperature gets below a certain point. Some of the newest boilers even come with apps that allow you to control your heating from the palm of your hand.

How to set boiler timer pins

To make sure your timer works as intended, it’s important to check that your boiler is set to the correct time. If it isn’t, twist the dial until the arrow on clock face is pointing to the current time. On the outside of the dial you will find a series of timer pins, with each one setting the timer for roughly 15 minutes. To set the timer, slide in the pins at the time you want the heating to come on. Finally, ensure that your boiler is set to timer mode and you’re good to go.

How to set a digital timer

Digital timers are much more versatile than their mechanical counterparts, allowing for more complex settings. As above, you need to make sure the boiler is set to the correct time before setting the timer — although more modern models will set the time automatically. Every model is different, but most digital displays are fairly intuitive to use.
You will typically find a ‘programme’ option that should allow you to set your desired schedule. This will allow you to choose different times for specific days using the buttons or arrow keys on your device. Once you have selected your desired times each day, there should be a ‘confirm’ button to save your schedule.
To find out how to set the digital timer on your specific model, it’s best to check the manufacturer’s manual. That way, you can be sure you’re using everything your boiler has to offer.

Common timer problems

If you’ve followed the above advice and your boiler time still isn’t working, or it’s making noise, then you’ve got a problem. Below we will outline some common timer problems and how you can fix them.

Why is my boiler timer not working properly?

If your boiler timer isn’t working properly, the first thing to do is check that it is set to the correct time. If your boiler is switched on but the timer doesn’t appear to be working, try resetting your boiler. If this doesn’t work, you likely have a more serious problem and will need professional help. If your boiler is old, it could be more worthwhile to find a new boiler.

Why is my boiler on when the timer is off?

If your boiler is set to timer mode but is firing up when the pins or digital timer is not set, then the timer is broken and it will need to be replaced. This can happen for a number of reasons, including a short circuit in the system, or just general wear and tear. If you have an old boiler, it is recommended that you upgrade to a new one, rather than just replacing the old timer.

Why is my boiler timer not turning?

If you have a mechanical timer, you will have to turn the dial in order to set it to the correct time. If it won’t turn and appears to be jammed, your timer will need to be replaced. This can happen for a number of reasons, and is more common in older boilers.

You now know how to use your boiler timer, whether that’s setting the mechanical pins or using the digital display, allow you to use less energy and save money. You can find out the best times to heat your home and other ways you can save energy and money in our how to use your boiler efficiently guide.

All England Gas works with homeowners and landlords to find a boiler that best suits their needs. We also offer fantastic deals on boiler cover, keeping your boiler in top condition and protecting you should the worst happen.

Still have questions?

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