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Boiler 101: How to Keep Your Boiler at Its Best

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Your opinion of boilers may include the “out of sight, out of mind” philosophy. However, you can avoid repairs and replacements to your boiler by keeping it in good condition. Not to mention, you will save money by cutting down on energy bills with an efficiently running boiler.

Luckily, boiler maintenance isn’t difficult, especially if you follow these tips.
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Schedule Annual Inspections

The key to maintaining a reliable boiler is annual check-ups. Schedule a professional to come service your boiler once a year. They will inspect for efficiency and clean for safety. Try to schedule your appointment before the winter months. This will ensure your boiler can handle the cold weather. Keep in mind a technician’s busiest time of year is fall. You may want to schedule before then to avoid the peak season.
Schedule an inspection even if you don’t see or hear obvious problems. Your inspector will notify you of developing problems or boiler inefficiencies.

Lubricate the Boiler

For ease of operation, your boiler should undergo regular lubrication from a professional. They should lubricate areas in your boiler that experience repetitive motions, like fans or pumps. Lubrication increases efficiency and working capacity.

Bleed the Radiator

Radiators that feel colder at the bottom than at the top have air trapped in the system. The trapped air makes the boiler work harder than it needs to – and wastes your money. To prevent this, have your HVAC professional “bleed,” or release, air from the radiator.
To bleed the radiator, technicians turn your heating off and put your radiator key into the bleed valve. They then turn the key counter-clockwise until they hear a hissing sound. Typically, this sound occurs after a quarter of a rotation. Once water starts to drip, technicians turn the key back to its original position. Finally, they check the pressure valve to make sure the boiler doesn’t need more water.

Check for a Blue Flame

Your boiler flame should appear blue. In some cases, yellow or smoky flames may appear. If your flame is not blue, call a professional as soon as possible. If left untreated, the flame may give off carbon monoxide or damage your boiler.

Check the Pressure

If your boiler loses pressure, it won’t run efficiently. In fact, low water levels can lead to unrecoverable damages. To prevent loss of pressure, check the pressure gauge on your boiler regularly. For instructions specific to your container, turn to your boiler manual. Your manual will tell you the recommended pressure for your boiler and where to locate the pressure gauge. If levels are low, call a professional to resolve pressure issues.
Always check your pressure before you start your boiler for the cold winter months. Additionally, check every month after that to ensure efficiency.

Check for Damages

Along with the pressure gauge, look for leaks, damage, or cracks. Problems in your boiler can develop during normal usage. Gas and fuel could leak from valves. If you see any signs of damage, call a professional to take care of the problem.

Clean Outside the Boiler

Boilers need ventilation and air, which they can’t get in a cramped boiler room. Keep your boiler room clear of coats, shoes, bags, or any other clutter. Boilers may cause fires if you store clutter too close. Keep flammable materials like papers, paint cans, gasoline, and aerosol cans away from the boiler.
A clean boiler room also ensures that you have easy access to your boiler. Clean the clutter so you can get to the boiler quickly in case of an emergency. If you’re unsure if your boiler has enough space, talk with your maintenance professional. They can advise you whether the area around your boiler is clear enough.

Clean Inside the Boiler

After you clean around your boiler, clean the inside of the boiler as well, including the air vent hamper and flues. You will avoid dirt clogging your system and keep your boiler running at its best.
Additionally, hard water may cause lime-scale in the boiler and affect the heating capacity. Call a professional to de-scale your boiler. This will save you from overworking your boiler.
Protect Boiler Pipes from Freezing
Temperatures below zero may cause external pipes to freeze. If pipes freeze, most boilers will shut down automatically as a safety feature. To melt the ice on the pipes, pour warm water onto the pipe. To avoid freezing, insulate pipes and keep the boiler running on low.

Clear All Water

Once the temperature begins to rise again, consider clearing all water from your boiler. Clearing your boiler after winter helps clear dirt, lime-scale, and grit. These substances may accumulate from your boiler working at full capacity. Clear the water, then thoroughly clean the interior. If possible, add new gaskets. Then refill the boiler.

Occasionally Turn On Heat

Running your boiler every few months will protect it from seizing up. Professionals recommend heating every so often during the summer months for 10-15 minutes. This will check for problems and keep the boiler operative.
Now that you know the basics to keep your boiler at its best, check out our other blogs for more HVAC tips and tricks, and feel free to contact your experts at Shorty’s Plumbing Inc.