Boiler operation and maintenance are critical aspects of ensuring the safe and efficient functioning of any residential home.
As Calgary Plumbing and Heating veterans, we have installed many boilers all across the city.
Boiler operation involves controlling various parameters such as pressure, temperature, and water level to ensure safe and efficient operation. On the other hand, boiler maintenance involves regular inspection, cleaning, and repair to prevent breakdowns and extend the equipment’s lifespan.
Boiler maintenance involves regular inspection, cleaning, and repair of components such as boiler tubes, burners, controls, and safety devices.
Regular inspection helps identify potential issues before they become major problems while cleaning helps remove dirt, debris, and scale that can reduce efficiency and cause damage to the equipment. Repair involves fixing any issues that are identified during inspection or cleaning to ensure safe and efficient operation.
Monthly Boiler Maintenance
As Calgary’s Boiler Experts, we at Instant Plumbing would like to share some tips about boiler maintenance. We often get asked the question around the topic of how to maintain your boiler.
If you heat your home using a residential boiler, there are a few things you should know about maintaining it to keep it at peak performance. By paying attention to the right things and scheduling your regular annual maintenance, you will avoid potential problems and ensure that your boiler lasts as long as possible.
There are two main potential problems to watch for on a regular basis, ideally checking monthly at least.
Check for leaks
The first is for any leaks, no matter how small. Even the smallest leak, where droplets of water are slowly escaping from the system, is allowing fresh water to enter the system at the other end.
Check for rust
Fresh water is oxygenated, and this oxygen will allow rust to form. Allowing a leak to go unchecked in your boiler is a lot like leaving a bicycle outside over the winter — it’s a good way to allow major damage and see the appliance rot away quickly.
If you see even the smallest leak, call to have it looked at and fixed as soon as possible.
Confirm glycol is present
The second regular check-up applies if you have a closed hydronic system. In this case, you must confirm that there is sufficient glycol in the system at all times, as without it the system will lose pressure and shut down.
This can cause major damage to the internal working parts, such as the cast iron heat exchangers which will rust, the resulting iron deposits then clogging the whole system.
Annually Service your Boiler
Like all gas appliances, boilers require regular, professional maintenance every 12 months. Conveniently, this means you can schedule your boiler’s yearly maintenance for the same appointment as your furnace maintenance. This regular maintenance will include a professional combustion analysis — this is not something you should worry about on your own.
You may have also heard about the need to flush out your boiler. This is only required for instant hot boilers, and even then only if you do not have a water softener installed.
This is not something you should do yourself; the process involves specific chemicals to break down calcium magnesium build-ups and is something that your certified plumber will do as part of your regular maintenance.
Long-Term Boiler Care
As important as it is to maintain a boiler in the short term, long-term care is equally crucial. Here are some tips to ensure your boiler lasts as long as possible:
- Regular maintenance: Just as with short-term care, regular maintenance is key to long-term care. Schedule annual check-ups with a professional to ensure that your boiler is running efficiently and effectively. This includes cleaning, inspecting, and repairing any issues that may arise.
- Water quality: The quality of the water that goes into your boiler can have a significant impact on its lifespan. Hard water, for example, can cause mineral buildup inside the boiler, which can lead to corrosion and other issues. Consider installing a water softener to combat this problem.
- Ventilation: Proper ventilation is essential to a boiler’s long-term health. Ensure that your boiler room is well-ventilated and that there is adequate airflow around the boiler itself.
- Insulation: Proper insulation can help prevent heat loss and increase your boiler’s efficiency. Make sure that your boiler and its pipes are properly insulated to keep the heat where it belongs.
- Shutdowns: If you plan on shutting down your boiler for an extended period, it’s important to take the proper steps to ensure its long-term health. This includes draining the boiler and properly storing it to prevent corrosion.
By following these tips, you can help ensure that your boiler lasts as long as possible, saving you both time and money in the long run.
Troubleshooting Common Boiler Issues
As with any piece of machinery, boilers can encounter issues from time to time. Here are some common boiler issues and how to troubleshoot them.
Radiators Not Heating
If you notice that some radiators are not heating, it could be due to a few reasons. First, check that the radiator valve is properly adjusted. If it is not, adjust it to allow more hot water to flow into the radiator.
If the valve is properly adjusted and the radiator is still not heating, check the water level in the tank. If the water level is low, add more water to the tank.
Another possible cause of radiators not heating is a buildup of sludge in the pipes. To check for this, release the air out of one of the radiators. If the drained water is dark, that indicates there is buildup inside your pipes. Contact a professional to have this sludge removed.
Boiler Not Turning On
If your boiler is not turning on, check the power source. Make sure that the boiler is plugged in and that the circuit breaker has not tripped. If the power source is fine, check the thermostat. Make sure that the thermostat is set to the appropriate temperature and that it is functioning properly.
If the thermostat is functioning properly, check the pressure gauge. If the pressure is too low, add more water to the tank. If the pressure is too high, release some of the water from the tank until the pressure is at the appropriate level.
No Heat or Hot Water
If your boiler is not producing any heat or hot water, check the pilot light. If the pilot light is out, relight it according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
If the pilot light is on and the boiler is still not producing heat or hot water, check the pressure gauge. If the pressure is too low, add more water to the tank. If the pressure is too high, release some of the water from the tank until the pressure is at the appropriate level.
If you hear strange noises coming from your boiler, it could be due to a few reasons. First, check the water level in the tank. If the water level is low, add more water to the tank.
If the water level is fine, check for any air in the system. Bleed the radiators to remove any air pockets.
If neither of these solutions works, contact a professional to diagnose and fix the issue.
Remember, regular maintenance and inspections can help prevent these issues from occurring in the first place.
Book your Boiler Maintenance
Due for your annual boiler maintenance? Call today to book your appointment!
Thank you to our Journeyman Plumber Jason M. for providing the insight and expertise for this post! Trained in the UK, Jason displays a great knowledge of heating and indoor air quality products and how to best integrate that into residential use to improve customers’ overall satisfaction with their home environment.