The boiler that you rely on to keep the environment nice and warm inside your home or your place of work has been giving you reliable service for several years, but now you are concerned about a decrease in performance. No one wants to see their family or fellow coworkers shivering in the cold because of a malfunctioning boiler.
It’s easy to take our heating systems for granted as long as they are working properly and efficiently. However, failure to do maintenance on a regular basis can lead to problems that will wind up costing much more to take care of than if they had been noticed earlier by a trained professional, who would take care of the issue on the spot.
This means that the total cost of ownership of a boiler will be reduced if you arrange for regular maintenance, cleaning and inspections. Depending on your experience and ability, you may be considering doing maintenance on your own or you are now determining that it’s probably best to instead bring in some professionals.
Basics of Boiler Heating in Richmond, VA
A boiler consists of a large container that stores a supply of water and then heats it up. The resulting steam that is generated pushes through a series of pipes to distribute heat throughout the building, whether it is your home or a commercial establishment here in the greater Richmond, Virginia area.
A nice, warm radiator is a welcoming site when you need to get comfortable while it’s freezing outside. What’s more, water moving through the pipes and into radiant heating loops placed throughout the foundation of the building in modern setups actually delivers heat up through the floor, which is a major benefit for homeowners and commercial establishments alike.
Consider the fact that about half of energy costs in the home go toward cooling and heating. And if your boiler heating system is not working as efficiently as possible, you are basically wasting energy and losing money on your utility bills. Furthermore, if the system has to work harder to produce the same heating results, you are putting more wear and tear on it than is necessary, which can lead to more costly repairs.
Boiler Maintenance in Richmond, VA
With a boiler, which is a dynamic system that relies on a great deal of energy and water that needs to stay heated, you need to conduct maintenance on a regular basis to keep everything running in tip-top shape.
Without a properly maintained boiler, the system is more likely to malfunction or even break down without warning. This could be disastrous for your business if employees find it too uncomfortable to remain on the premises as well as drive out potential vendors or customers. And no homeowner wants to see his or her family shivering because the boiler broke down due to lack of maintenance.
Begin by touring your property, looking for leaks throughout the boiler system’s tubes. If you see any leaks, it’s time to either repair them or to replace any problematic tubes. You should also inspect all the gaskets to see if they are showing signs of wear in case they need to be replaced as well.
A wide range of items needs to be checked during any standard boiler maintenance program, including:
- Gauges for Temperature and Pressure
- Gas Burner
- Pressure Relief Valve
- Water Relief Valve
- Drainage Valve
- Flow Control Valve
- Circulator Pump
- Expansion Tank
- Air Vents
Any or all of these parts may be starting to fail, needing repairs or replacement. This list is by no means comprehensive and is provided here to give you a sense of the many things that must be inspected, preferably by a well-trained heating professional.
Keep an eye out for water on the floor underneath the boiler. A small leak can become a precursor to a devastating accident that harms your property. This is another case when it would pay to bring in a knowledgeable and highly experienced HVAC technician for assistance.
Listen closely as you make your tour. If your boiler is making noises, the problem may be beyond your capability to diagnose, let alone repair. Sounds of gurgling are not uncommon in boilers that are failing or malfunctioning. Banging sounds can be startling, and if you hear this kind of noise, it could be an indication that the pipes were not placed properly, clanging together when water and air start moving through them. They’ll need to be adjusted or refit to prevent any more occurrence of this noise.
If you have noticed that lately heat is not being delivered equally to all parts of your home or facility, this is another sign of a problem that a professional will need to address.
The pilot light flame is another indicator of boiler health and safety. Your boiler’s flame should glow blue. Red flame indicates there is dust, oil or tar in the system. Orange or yellow flame is a marker of fuel inefficiency or carbon monoxide. Call a professional HVAC technician as soon as you notice the flame is not a clear blue.
When a boiler is about to malfunction or is already exhibiting problems, the result can be injury or death if you don’t take care of the equipment. For example, a blockage in the boiler’s gas flue (after gas combustion) can cause dangerous emissions to build up, leading to injury or death from carbon monoxide poisoning. A licensed professional can come out and perform tests to see if the system is safe or not.
Is it Time for an Upgrade?
If your boiler system is old and only uses radiators to transmit heat throughout the home or facility, you may be in the market for an upgrade. You can add radiant heating loops for heating through the floor (which is efficient because heat rises), for example. An older boiler will not be as efficient.
So if you upgrade to a modern boiler, you can count on more efficient heating as well as a break on your energy bills. If you’re a homeowner, you and your family can take pride in doing your part to lower your carbon footprint because you are more energy efficient. And company owners can brag about how they have “gone green” with a more environmentally friendly heating setup.
Get Assistance for Your Boiler Problems Today
In some cases, the issues that come up when doing boiler maintenance will beyond your knowledge and skills, whether you are a homeowner or a facilities manager at a company in the greater Richmond, Virginia area. This is when you don’t want to risk any more downtime with your heating system, for the sake of family or employees comfort and well being. To learn more about our approach to boiler maintenance, cleaning and repairs or to make an appointment for service, please contact Carroll Plumbing today.