Is your Ideal boiler showing the L9 fault code?
What you do next will depend on the model of your Ideal boiler, since the meanings have changed over time with the evolution of the Ideal boiler range.
This guide will help to determine why the Ideal L9 code is showing and what steps you need to take to fix it to get your central heating system back up and running, however, this boiler fault is likely to need a Gas Safe engineer.
What does the L9 Error mean?
Fault code L9 is an indication that the plate heat exchanger has been overheated in older models.
The L9 error code means your boiler’s plate heat exchanger allows hot gases to heat water without mixing in a condensing boiler.
The boiler will shut down if it senses that the unit is operating at too high a temperature.
This code is for newer models. It means that the printed circuit board (PCB) has a fault or is not configured properly. The PCB controls all electrical operations necessary to keep the boiler operating.
Before the next step can be allowed to occur, each step is checked with the PCB.
It can’t perform this function if it doesn’t.
What causes the L9 Error in
The Heat exchanger is damaged or blocked
To safely heat the water, cool water must flow freely to the heat exchanging unit.
Limescale and heating oil are two common causes of this blockage. Both can build up naturally from prolonged boiler use.
Limescale, a chalky mineral deposit, can be left behind if water has flowed. This is especially true if the water is “moderate” to “hard”.
If limescale builds up on the heat exchanger, it can cause water to stop flowing safely. This is known as “kettling”.
Limescale can cause severe damage to boiler components. This issue must be addressed immediately.
The heating process produces central heating sludge and a build-up of limescale.
This happens when tiny bits of dirt and rust are removed from radiators and pipes by hot water, forming a thick mixture that can block some parts of the system.
The boiler’s filter is there to keep this from happening. However, if the filter isn’t maintained regularly it could overflow and cause it to stop working.
You may notice a tapping sound or scratching sound if sludge is causing boiler problems. This could be because bits of rust are trying to move through the system when hot water is circulating.
A cracked heat exchanger can result from prolonged exposure to limescale and sludge. This could cause damage to other parts of the boiler unit and limit water flow.
How to fix if the Plate Heat Exchanger is Broken or Blocked
Your plumber can flush the system if the blockage is caused by limescale or heating oil.
This involves flushing the system with water and commercial cleaning agents to break the blockage.
They can choose to have the water drained using high pressure or use a chemical flush that relies on products being introduced.
This procedure costs will vary depending upon how many radiators are installed in your house. However, an estimate price for a house with 6 radiators would be £400.
As a preventative measure, it is recommended that your boiler be treated once every five years. This will make your home more efficient and increase the life expectancy of your boiler.
The engineer will have to install a new heat exchanger if the heat exchanger has become too damaged to repair. This is often the case when limescale buildup has gone unchecked.
This service, which includes labour, costs an average of £550. It is the most expensive component in the boiler.
Water Pressure Not at the Correct Level
A cracked heat exchanger can cause water pressure to drop continuously, which is a sign that there is a leak. Check the pressure gauge in the first instance.
The water content of the system is what the pressure gauge measures. If water is lost through a crack or heat exchanger, the boiler won’t be able to supply enough water to maintain the required pressure.
If you suspect this is the particular boiler fault, the regularly checking the pressure gauge is a good idea.
Fixing The Water Pressure Is Not at the Correct Level
An engineer will replace the component if it is caused by a heat exchanger crack that has sprung a leak.
If that is the case, they will determine the source of the leakage or obstruction to regular pressure.
The cost and time it takes to complete this task will vary depending on which parts need to be replaced.
A Fault in the Central heating System Pump
The central heating system pump is the heating system component that circulates hot water throughout the house and returns any excess water to your boiler for heating. A low domestic hot water flow rate and low water pressure will give this away.
It is typically located outside the boiler, near the boiler or water tank, in conventional boilers. Combi boiler pumps are usually located inside the boiler or very near it.
The pump can become stuck or seized and stop water from flowing at the recommended pressure causing the L9 error code. This can lead to the heat exchanger overheating if hot water builds up and there is no place for it to go.
Fixing A Fault with the System Pump
The engineer will inspect the pump to see if it has become stuck or is completely broken.
Repair costs are usually very low if a blockage can be easily removed.
If a complete replacement is required, labour and parts costs can be as high as PS150 to 350 depending on your boiler model.
Incorrect Installation of the PCB (printed circuit board)
It is possible that your boiler was incorrectly connected after it has been installed or replaced with a PCB.
It could be, for example, that some connections are not possible, leading to an incomplete circuit.
The boiler will not be able to operate without the correct PCB, and this fault is likely to be obvious very soon after the work has been completed. Rarely, an engineer might have installed an incompatible PCB accidentally.
Fixing an Incorrect Installation of the PCB
You can contact the same person if your boiler has had recent work done or a new one installed to resolve this problem.
They will quickly be able to identify the areas where their installation is failing and fix it.
A Fault with the Boiler Chip Card
The PCB component is usually generic and compatible with multiple types of boilers. A boiler chip card (BCC), is necessary to ensure that it works with your particular model.
The boiler unit won’t recognize the PCB if it doesn’t have a properly installed BCC. It will also not function correctly because it is dependent on this BCC.
An example of this is an organ transplant. In order to avoid rejection, both the donor organ and recipient body must be matched up.
The BCC can have common faults, such as improper installation or becoming loose from vibrations in the boiler. However, the component could also stop working over time.
How to Fix A Fault with the Boiler Chip Card
The same engineer can correct any mistakes made by the BCC installer if it has been installed recently.
If the unit has become loose, they can move it around, but they also need to check the boiler for loose wiring or damaged connections.
They will replace it if it is broken. Most cases retail for less than £50
How can I fix my own Ideal boiler with an L9 error?
The Ideal L9 fault code is a sign that there is an issue within the boiler’s internal parts. There aren’t any steps you can take at home to fix it legally and safely.
Although you can reset your Ideal boiler by using the control panel at the front, it is likely that the boiler has already identified an issue and will not continue its normal functioning.
You could risk causing it to run at unsafe pressures or temperatures, which could lead to leaks or even explosions.
Ideal boiler models that show L9 Error code
- Ideal Icos
- Ideal Isar
- Ideal Istor
If you have one of the following models, the L9 code refers to an unconfigured PCB:
- Ideal Logic MAX HEAT
- Ideal Logic + SYSTEM
- Ideal Logic MAX SYSTEM
Do I need a new boiler?
Nowadays a faulty heat exchanger in an Ideal boiler is usually a sign that it’s time for a new boiler. If there has been a build-up of sludge and limescale in the heat exchanger, you can guarantee that the rest of the boiler is too. You can get a replacement boiler in under 60 seconds online now including full installation and boiler finance if required. Click get a quote now