Checking in on your boiler as the summer months draw nearer doesn’t seem like a priority on your home maintenance list, but just because it isn’t freezing out doesn’t mean you should ignore it! Maintaining your boiler throughout the year is essential for the colder months, where the last thing you want is to have issues with your heating. Knowing what kind of boiler you have and how reputable heating contractors can help maintain it will keep it in tip-top shape until autumn and winter come around.
Steam and Water Boilers
Many older homes, apartments, and business buildings use steam and water heating systems. This type of boiler heats water using gas or fuel and turns it into steam, which travels through pipes to radiators or convectors. These pipes provide warmth to the rooms. The steam then cools down and condenses into liquid, returns to the boiler, and is heated up again. Hot water heating systems function similarly as water is pumped through the system to heat radiators.
There are several advantages to having steam and water systems, even if they are considered somewhat dated. They don’t have as many moving parts, and proper maintenance will keep them reliable and often more durable than newer and more complex heating systems. Steam and water systems also provide clean and dust-free heat, which is a great benefit for family members who suffer from allergies. They’re also very aesthetically distinct and keep the original appearance of historical buildings and homes.
Forced Air Boilers
This type of boiler system works by heating water and sending it to a hydronic coil, similar to the ones you’ll find on air conditioners or refrigerators. The coil heats up, and a blower distributes hot air throughout the building, after which the water flows back to the boiler to be reheated. Forced air blowers are advantageous since the air that moves through them can be filtered or humidified as you wish. Newer systems are also more efficient than older units, with an Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) rating of 90 to 98 percent.
Maintenance for Your Boiler System
Whether you’ve got an electric boiler, a forced-air type, or the classic steam and water design, proper maintenance is crucial. Start by having licensed HVAC professionals check your boiler system annually. Skilled technicians will be able to make the necessary checks and adjustments to make sure your boiler is operating properly.
Here are other things you can do at home to maintain your boiler system.
1) Radiators that don’t heat up when the boiler is switched on should be allowed to bleed. Using a protective cloth, place it on the floor and open the radiator valve with its key. Let the air come out of your radiator. When the hissing stops and water starts to come out of the radiator, close the valve.
2) Check for blocked air vents and flues. Clean them up to allow air to flow freely.
3) Check your boiler’s water levels. It should always be operating with a sufficient amount of water to avoid damage. If you observe that your boiler never meets the suggested water level, then call in a plumber to check for leaks.
4) Check for dripping water, which usually indicates a defective pressure release valve that needs to be replaced by an HVAC technician.
5) Clear away any clutter around your boiler to allow it to breathe.
6) Ensure that the flame in your boiler is blue. If you see a yellow or an orange flame, it might be a sign that your unit is faulty and needs to be checked.
As a homeowner, preventive maintenance on your appliances and systems where possible is a responsibility you can take ownership of. Not only will it keep your home comfortable and your machines functioning, but it will also save you plenty in the long run. While home boiler maintenance is a good thing to practice, do not attempt to repair the boiler yourself. Getting in touch with commercial or residential plumbing experts is the way to go.
At Soul Mechanical, we aim to provide quality HVAC, refrigeration, and plumbing services to our customers, whether emergency plumbing in Edmonton or preventive maintenance checks. Get in touch with us for a free estimate!