How to Fix a Timer on a Boiler: Quick Fix Guide

Last updated: November 15, 2023

When a boiler’s timer doesn’t work it may stop the boiler from working completely resulting in a cold house, which no one cherishes especially in the middle of winter!

This guide will run through what a working boiler timer should be doing as well as providing some troubleshooting tips for when things aren’t running correctly.

However, we will also highlight the situation when it is best to escalate the matter to a specialist Gas Safe engineer.

What a Boiler Timer Should Do

A working boiler timer should enable a schedule to be set that controls when the heating and hot water are turned on.

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The schedule can usually be set to match the household requirements on a daily and hourly basis and provides energy to be saved compared with the boiler running all the time.

Common Boiler Timer Faults

There are a handful of very common reasons that a boiler timer may not have either performed as expected or does not have power at all, however often they are easy to fix.

Here are a few common scenario’s that may result in a boiler timer not working as planned:

  • The clocks changing – Our clocks change twice a year, however, if your boiler’s timer doesn’t automatically adjust for the time difference, the set schedule will go out of sync. Thankfully this should be an easy fix by manually changing the time on the timer unit on the boiler. Should you need further guidance on how to change the time, refer to the boiler’s manual.
  • A power cut – Some devices may require resetting following a power cut. Again, should you need further assistance on how to reset the boiler’s timer, refer to the boiler’s manual for exact instructions?
  • A tripped boiler fuse – Another common issue is a tripped boiler fuse. In the first instance, check the household fuse board and if you notice one of the switches is down follow the instructions to switch it back on again. If the fuse keeps tripping, there could be a fault and therefore the next step would be to call a heating engineer to isolate the boiler and explore the issue further.

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How to Reset the Boiler Timer

Should you need to reset the timer on your boiler, the following steps may help.

Firstly, select which type of boiler timer you have and follow the guides, however, if you are in any doubt refer to the boiler’s specific manual.

Standard Timers

With a traditional dial timer, the first task would be to turn the dial clockwise to set the current time.

To set a programme, move the switch to the clock setting, then review the pins around the outside of the dial and make any changes as required by pushing the pins up or down.

On most dial timers, each pin represents 15 minutes, therefore if you want the boiler to operate for an hour before work 4 pins would need to be up within the hour timeframe, you’d want the boiler to operate within.

Review the whole circumference of pins to ensure the programme is correct and once complete move the switch back to ‘1’ move the boiler out of programming mode. If there is any doubt, check the boiler’s specific manual for further guidance or if you don’t have a copy of the manual, research the boiler model online.

Digital Timers

Digital timers are often more user friendly these days, and they often provide further scheduling options, such as a different pattern for a weekend example.

Firstly, check that the boiler is showing the current time. If not, make the adjustment as required by using the buttons on the device.

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To do this you will need to select with the set time, set clock or programme options however as there are many different makes and models of digital timers, all with slightly different options and operation buttons, we can’t explain the exact steps for each digital boiler timer.

Therefore, please refer to the boiler’s manual if you have it, if not, research the specific instructions by searching for the boiler model online.

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You may also find our review of the best eco-friendly boilers of interest.

If the timer runs a 12-hour clock, already remember to check the settings whether the schedule is in AM or PM.

How to Fix Broken Timer on Boiler

As we have briefly mentioned, there are many different types of boiler timers and therefore we cannot be specific regarding the steps to fix each type of make and model, however, there are some general tips we can advise depending on the type of boiler you have installed.

Combi Boiler

Combi boilers are popular in smaller properties and supply both heating and hot water. They are usually fairly modern devices and therefore should come with extensive manuals to reference should there be a problem.

Once the boiler timer has been checked, the next step would be to ensure that the thermostat is set appropriately. If this is set too low, the boiler will not power up to heat the house.

Due to the complexity of combi boilers, other than simple troubleshooting, for any further investigation, it is always recommended to call out a qualified heating engineer to safely diagnose the source of the problem and provide quotes to get the matter fixed.

Got a common boiler problem? Check out our quick fix guide on boiler lockout, boiler ignition faults, boiler PCB faults, faulty diverter valves and boiler timer issues.

Standard and System Boilers

Standard and system boilers are often found in larger properties due to the space requirements, or properties with low water pressure.

Timers can fail or simply age, as can the thermostats and require being replaced.

Again, it is highly recommended to seek the advice of a professional to ensure the source of the matter and quote for any replacement parts needed.

Unfixable Timers

Unfortunately, nothing lasts forever and if the boiler’s timer has been checked over by a professional, but it cannot be fixed, you will need to source quotes for a new timer.

If the prices are high and the boiler itself is also ageing, it may be more economical to replace both the boiler and the timer.

What size boiler is right for your home? If you are thinking about a combi boiler, it is largely determined by the number of radiators in your home. Check out our complete guide to new boiler installation here if you are wondering about the best type of boiler for your home. 

How much may a new boiler cost? Are you considering converting from a conventional to a combi boiler? Use our boiler installation cost calculator to get an estimation.

How to Fix the Timer on a Boiler Summary

We have explored a range of common issues with boiler times, including providing some troubleshooting tips in order to get the timer back on, and subsequently the boiler back up and running again.

However, there are many makes and models of boiler timers available and therefore for specific advice, we would suggest firstly, checking the boiler manual or if this is not an option searching the internet for your boiler model for specific further guidance.

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If problems persist, always request a call out from a qualified heating engineer who will be able to safely investigate the matters further.

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