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  • Writer's pictureRob Mitchell

Boiler maintenance you can do

Winter is approaching, this is a perfect time to perform a boiler maintenance check. Boiler systems are known for their efficiency and their reliability, but only when well maintained. Just like your car, your hot water system will perform more efficiently with regular service from a professional. And, just like your car, you can handle a few basic maintenance steps yourself. Proper care and routine checks can help prevent a boiler breakdown in the middle of a cold night.

Boiler Panel

First, familiarize yourself with the manufacturer’s manual for your specific boiler. This will give you important information on how to properly operate and maintain your boiler.

If you have radiators, it is recommended that while not in use, any thermostatic heads be opened all the way to ensure their longevity.

Boilers need to breathe. Whether tucked in a closet or placed in a basement, ensure your boiler has adequate airflow for efficiency and safety. Keeping surroundings clutter-free also aids in servicing.

Inspect the outside of your boiler to see if there are any signs of cracks or leakages. Do your best to check out the back of the boiler too, where it may be difficult to inspect. Check piping for any signs of leakage or deterioration. Get rid of calcium deposits or rust accumulations using a vinegar and baking soda solution. You can also utilize other approved cleansers and a gentle scouring tool.

Check the air vent and intake pipe for any blockages and clear if necessary.

Investigate the condensate drain line, PVC fittings, drain system, and drain trap for any blockages.

Turn the boiler on and check the color of its flame. It should be a clean blue color. If it’s yellow or smoky, your burner system is malfunctioning and needs immediate attention. Delaying this repair can result in a fire or carbon monoxide poisoning.

It is a good idea to turn your heating on, on a regular basis, even when it is warm out. Don’t get caught unprepared by a boiler issue. Test it about once a month, for a few minutes, to make sure it’s working. This is also great for spotting problems early before they develop into major issues.

Listen for any unusual noises or vibrations that may indicate poor water flow or overheating. A range of noises could indicate a problem, such as buzzing, rattling, banging or gurgling. If you hear your boiler making these sounds, you may want to call us to come out to diagnose the problem.

Check the boiler water pressure. If your boiler’s water level gets too low, it cannot handle the heat it generates. Confirm that the system’s water is always filled to the right levels. The boiler should be at 12 psi when the water is cold and 18 psi when the water is hot. If the pressure is below 12 psi while cold, you need to add some water to the system. Each boiler will have specific ways to increase the pressure so consult your owner’s manual.

Check the temperature readings. The temperature tells us if the boiler is operating properly. If the temperature is too high, this could result in the boiler overheating and water pressure increasing, which may cause a leakage.

Older boilers may have a circulating pump that needs to be lubricated. This can be accomplished by taking a 3-in-1 oil and pouring it into the oil cup of the system. The oil will penetrate down into the pump and help to keep it running smoothly. This should be done at least once a year.

Check your carbon monoxide detector(s). As with all gas-burning appliances, boilers can produce carbon monoxide, a dangerous gas that is colorless and odorless. Every home should have a carbon monoxide detector. Make sure you have one and it is working properly.

Consider scheduling a boiler “Clean & Check”. Our maintenance visit will be more than just a quick once-over. When you choose Elbert Heating & Air to maintain your boiler, you can expect us to address your system’s unique needs. Every tune-up is a little different, but this is what it normally involves.

Clean and inspect the heat exchanger for wear and tear

Clean and inspect the burner assembly

Test low-water cutoff

Examine the system’s wiring to ensure continuity and conductivity

Confirm joint/pipe connections are secure

Check all valves in the system for proper operation

Test water pH levels to make sure they are in a safe range

Clean, flush and inspect condensate systems

Check the venting system for deterioration, corrosion, or blockage

Check settings and test safety and operating controls

If system water is dirty, power flush the system piping to maintain efficient water flow

Check for correct boiler operation once the boiler has been cleaned and examined

When the temperature plummets outside, the last thing you need is a boiler that isn’t working. Unfortunately, your heating system is most likely to fail when you need it most. To avoid waking up in the middle of the night to a freezing house, schedule a “Clean & Check” now. We may be able to catch developing problems early, resolving the issues before they lead to mid-season breakdowns and costly repairs.

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