How to Fix the Timer on a Boiler: What You Should Do

Last updated: May 10, 2024

Has your boiler’s timer stopped working and are wondering what to do? Here’s how to fix the timer on a boiler and regain control of your home heating and hot water supply.

In addition to having a minimum performance standard of 92% ErP, Boiler Plus standards also require boilers to have timer functions to control your home heating and hot water.

A boiler timer is crucial as it lets you control when heating and hot water come on and when it goes off.

With a timer, you can ensure your home is warm and comfy when it needs to be and save on energy to reduce costs when you don’t need heating and hot water.

The boiler timer is crucial for your central heating so it can be frustrating when it stops working as expected.

This guide will help you understand how your boiler timer works and provide some tips on how to fix the timer on a boiler when things aren’t running correctly.

How to fix the timer on a boiler
Image by Worcester Bosch

Key Takeaways:

  • Resetting your boiler can help fix the timer on your boiler.
  • The timer controls when your boiler comes on or goes off.
  • Factors that can cause issues with the timer include inaccurate time settings, power supply issues, a tripped fuse or a broken timer.
  • If power is on and resetting doesn’t fix your timer, it’s advisable to consult a registered heating engineer to diagnose the issue.

How Does the Timer on A Boiler Work?

The timer on your boiler plays a critical role in scheduling heating cycles based on your chosen settings.

You can set a boiler timer to automatically turn the heating and hot water on or off at specific times.

This allows you to program the central heating to match your household’s needs and requirements daily, weekly, or hourly.

Boiler timers help enhance energy efficiency and make it easier to manage energy costs while maintaining a comfortable home environment.

For example, instead of wasting energy in periods of inactivity, you can program the heating system to switch off when you don’t require heating or are not home.

You can also program it to turn on when you’re about to get home from work and want the house warm and cosy when you arrive.

What Are The Common Types of Boiler Timers?

Boiler-timer technology has evolved over the years, with different types featuring unique features to suit specific needs.

The most common types include:

  • Mechanical timers – If you have an older boiler, it will likely feature a mechanical timer resembling a small clock in front of the boiler. Mechanical timers have simple switches or dials to set the desired heating schedule.
  • Digital programmers – Digital programmers feature a more intuitive and user-friendly interface. They offer more advanced programming options with small LCD screens for more straightforward configurations.
  • Smart heating controls – Smart heating controls combine time and temperature controls in a single unit. They also offer more functionality through internet connectivity. Smart heating controls provide sophisticated features to improve energy savings and convenience. These include:
    • Turning the system on and off remotely using your smartphone when not at home.
    • Learning your habits and preferences over time and adjusting controls to match. Smart heating controls can, for example, heat the hot water when you’re most likely to bathe.
    • Tracking your location through geofencing. For example, the heating can turn on and heat your home or hot water when you’re about to reach home from work.

What Are The Common Boiler Timer Modes?

Boiler timers offer you different modes to choose from depending on your heating and hot water needs. Using timer modes is one of the best ways to ensure you get the most out of your boiler.

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Some common boiler timer modes include:

  • On – In the ‘on’ mode, your heating system will operate continuously until you manually switch it off.
  • Off – The ‘off’ mode will shut down your heating system and keep it off until you turn it back on.
  • Auto – The ‘auto’ mode allows the timer to follow the programmed schedule and turn the boiler on or off according to your preferences.

Why Is The Boiler Timer Not Working?

The timer on your boiler can stop working for several reasons. Here are some common scenarios and how to fix them when they’re DIY-suitable:

Inaccurate Time Settings

Accurate time settings are crucial to ensure no disruptions in your heating schedule.

Inaccurate time settings can cause your boiler to turn on or off incorrectly, resulting in energy wastage or discomfort.

Regularly check and adjust the time settings on the boiler timer to avoid such issues, especially when daylight savings begins or ends.

Clocks change twice a year. If your boiler’s timer doesn’t automatically adjust for the time difference, the set schedule will go out of sync.

Ensuring the boiler timer reflects the correct time can help maintain a consistent and reliable heating schedule.

Some modern boilers adjust the time automatically, but you may need to do it manually with others. If you need further guidance on changing the time or encounter difficulties, refer to the boiler’s manual.

Power Supply Issues

Your boiler’s timer can stop working if there’s a power cut. Checking if there is a power supply issue is one of the first things you should do when determining how to fix the time on a boiler.

Ensure there is a secure electrical connection to your boiler and no power cuts or other electrical problems in your area.

If the power went off and on again, it may have reset your boiler, and you may need to reset the boiler timer again.

A Tripped Boiler Fuse

A tripped boiler fuse is a common issue that can cause your boiler timer to malfunction.

Check the household fuse board, and flip it back up if you notice one of the switches is down. Your boiler should regain power, and the timer should work correctly again.

If flipping the fuse doesn’t fix the problem, you may be dealing with a blown fuse.

Fuses protect electrical devices from power surges, so it’s worth inspecting the fuse that relates to your boiler to see if it’s damaged or blown.

You can replace a damaged fuse with a screwdriver with the right skills and knowledge.

Turn off the main power supply for safety, remove the faulty fuse and insert a new fuse with the same rating. You can then turn on the main supply and test if your boiler time is functioning correctly.

Wondering which boiler manufacturers performed best? Check out our best boiler brands guide for the full rundown and if you are trying to determine who the best boiler installation company is, check out our Warmzilla and Boxt reviews.

Frozen Screens and Unresponsive Buttons

A frozen screen on your control panel or unresponsive buttons can also affect the functionality of your boiler timer.

You can try gently tapping the screen to see if it responds. Sometimes, debris and dust can accumulate behind the buttons and make them stuck or unresponsive over time.

You can try cleaning around each button with a damp cloth if tapping doesn’t work. Avoid excessive moisture or harsh chemicals to ensure you don’t damage the control panel.

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Check if the timer is operating correctly once cleaned. If the screen is still frozen or the buttons are unresponsive, it may be time to seek professional help.

A qualified technician or heating engineer can help diagnose the problem and provide their expertise to fix the issue.

How to Fix the Timer on A Boiler

Resetting the timer on your boiler is a helpful method to help restore your settings and get your boiler and timer functioning normally again.

The following steps can help you reset the timer on your boiler.

Firstly, select which type of boiler timer you have and follow the guides. If you’re in 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 program, move the switch to the clock setting, then review the pins around the outside of the dial. 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 timeframe you want the boiler to operate within.

Review the whole circumference of the pins to ensure the program is correct. Once complete move the switch back to move the boiler out of programming mode.

Remember to check the boiler’s specific manual for further guidance. If you don’t have a copy of the manual, research the boiler model online.

Digital Timers

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

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

You must select the set time and choose a clock or program option to do this.

However, there are many different makes and models of digital timers, all with slightly different options and operation buttons. Therefore, they can’t all use the exact steps for each digital boiler timer.

Ensure you refer to the boiler’s manual if you have it, or research the specific instructions by searching for the boiler model online.

Did you know the efficiency of your boiler can impact the amount of energy it uses and ultimately impact your heating bill costs? Check out our guide to the best condensing boilers if you want to learn more. 

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

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

How to Fix The Timer on Different Boiler Models

As we have briefly mentioned, there are many boiler timers, so it’s impossible to be specific regarding the steps to fix each type of make and model.

However, there are some general tips we can advise you on depending on the type of boiler you have installed.

Combi Boiler

Combi boilers are popular in smaller properties and supply heating and hot water. They are usually fairly modern devices and 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 you set it too low, the boiler will not power up to heat the house.

Due to the complexity of combi boilers, other than simple troubleshooting, it’s always recommended to call out a qualified heating engineer for any further investigation.

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They can safely diagnose the source of the problem and provide quotes to fix the matter.

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

Due to space requirements, standard and system boilers are often found in larger properties. They’re also popular in properties with low water pressure.

Timers can fail or simply age, as can the thermostats, and you’ll need to replace them.

It’s 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. If the boiler’s timer has been checked over by a professional but cannot be fixed, you will need to source quotes for a new timer.

If the prices are high and the boiler is ageing, replacing both the boiler and the timer may be more economical.

What size boiler is right for your home? If you are considering 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 to get the timer working correctly and have your boiler back up and running again.

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

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

Frequently Asked Questions on How to Fix the Timer on A Boiler

How Do I Know My Boiler Timer Is Not Working?

You may notice your heating or hot water isn’t turning on when it should when your boiler timer isn’t working. You may also notice error codes displayed on the timer screen or be completely blank. These codes can provide valuable information about what might be wrong with the timer.

Can I Fix Boiler Timer Issues Myself?

It’s possible to fix some boiler timer issues by yourself through a simple reset. You can also check the power supply and fuse, ensure correct time settings, and adjust heating and hot water settings. However, seeking professional help is advisable if such steps don’t resolve the problem.

Is It Cheaper To Have My Boiler On All The Time?

No. Some people believe heating your boiler from a cold start uses more energy than always having your boiler on. However, it’s usually not the case. Keeping your boiler on always uses more energy in the long run. A cheap way to run your boiler is to use a timer to control when your boiler goes on or off and maintain the required comfort levels.

Sources and References

  • https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/611b9287d3bf7f63b086cb04/boiler-plus-policy-review.pdf

Further reading: