The HVAC industry recommend that you schedule boiler maintenance every year. The U.S. EPA recommends routine boiler maintenance as well. Most experts agree that the ideal time to schedule is typically in the fall before you need to turn on your heat. Despite these recommendations, many homeowners still aren’t sure why it’s necessary and whether it’s worth the additional expense. Let’s dive in and explore the importance of annual boiler maintenance.

Keep Your Family Safe

The good news is that the modern boiler is much safer than older systems were. Manufacturers now design them in a way that makes explosions due to pressure exceedingly rare. That said, it’s better to be safe than sorry by having a plumber check your system. An annual inspection also protects you against fires that can originate with either the fuel or ignition system.

There are also additional safety concerns if you have a boiler that burns natural gas, heating oil, or propane. The plumber needs to ensure that the boiler is venting properly and that there’s no backdraft. That’s where gases can reenter the home through other ventilation. You should also test your CO monitors and smoke alarms and replace batteries as needed.

Maintain a Valid Boiler Warranty

Many homeowners are unaware that most boiler warranties require you to schedule maintenance once a year. A condition of coverage is that a state-approved plumber or HVAC technician cleans, inspects, and services the unit. In the unfortunate event you ever need to file a warranty claim, the manufacturer can request proof of this service. If you can’t provide it, the company may deny it. Then, you will be responsible for covering the cost of all labor and repairs.

Bleeding the Radiators

Air can enter your system either through a leak or, more commonly, hydrogen off gassed by sludge. That air may eventually make its way into your radiators. Often, the pocket of air is large enough that you can feel the cold spot on the radiator.

This causes reduced comfort and decreased energy efficiency. During your boiler maintenance, your plumber will go through your home systematically bleeding the radiators to remove all air. This involves draining each radiator of water until there is no more air inside.

Flush Sediment and Mineral Buildup

Sediment and minerals in your water supply get into the tank and accumulate. This will occur even if you have soft water because all water contains traces of minerals. To remove this buildup, it’s necessary to flush the boiler. Your plumber will first perform a quick drain to remove any sediment that is present.

The second stage of flushing will involve connecting a hose and letting the tank completely drain. In some cases, it may be necessary to clean the tank using trisodium phosphate or another cleaning agent. Once the flush is complete, the plumber will refill the system.

Check and Perhaps Replace the Anode Rod

Like water heaters, boilers contain an anode rod. Through the process of electrolysis, the purpose of the anode rod is to attract corrosive elements, and after some time, it will fail. If you don’t replace it, then even more minerals and sediment will build up and undermine the functionality of your system. That’s why it’s necessary to check the anode rod each year and replace it as needed.

Protect the Electric or Fuel System

If you have an electric boiler, it has an electric ignition system that your technician must clean and test. Cleaning the heating element will extend its lifespan. The technician will also tighten and test all other electrical components and check the electrical panel.

With a fuel-burning system, you have a pilot light and a burner. These components require a deep clean for both safety and performance reasons. It’s also necessary to test these parts during operation. The pilot light should only be a blue color. If the pilot light is yellow, it may have a clog, or there may be an issue with the air intake valve.

Test Water Level, Pressure and Temperature

After flushing and refilling your tank, your plumber will start the system and let it cycle. Once it gets up to temperature the next step is to ensure everything is in order. If the water level is low, it’s important to determine why. Low water levels can lead to overheating and, rarely, an explosion.

The temperature of the water should be in line with the thermostat. If it isn’t, then it may indicate a thermostat that is in the process of failing or has already failed. Replacing a thermostat is among the most common, simplest, and affordable boiler repairs.

If the temperature is right, then the plumber must ensure that water pressure is in the optimal range. High water pressure isn’t dangerous nowadays but does cause performance and efficiency problems. The issue may be as simple as a bad pressure gauge. Otherwise, it may be a valve issue, or if pressure is too low, it could be a small leak.

Check Error and Service Codes

Modern hydronic heating systems are quite advanced with sophisticated control boards. Many even have LCD displays that provide you with service and error codes. Your plumber will check these codes to ensure that everything is all right with the boiler and clear them. If you’ve been getting the alert often, your plumber can tell you why and what to do next time.

Improve Energy Efficiency

Boiler maintenance includes cleaning all the equipment and ensuring everything is within the proper range. This results in optimal energy efficiency. Whether you have an electric or fuel system, you are going to pay less for monthly heating. Boiler tune-ups often pay for themselves over the course of a winter.

Lower Repair and Equipment Costs

As a boiler gets older, parts will begin to fail. Thermostats are a common example. During your annual appointment, your plumber can identify these parts and recommend making proactive repairs. Proactive repairs are much more convenient and generally a lot less expensive. It’s also going to help you avoid those sudden malfunctions and failures that can occur during the dead of winter. Finally, it’s going to extend the life of your equipment and minimize your total cost of ownership.

Boiler Specialists in Farmington Hills

AJ Danboise Plumbing, Heating, Cooling & Electrical has provided boiler maintenance in Farmington Hills for nearly a century. Our plumbers also install, replace, and repair hydronic heating systems, water heaters, water filtration systems, and sump pumps. We have HVAC technicians who install and service furnaces, air conditioners, heat pumps, and ductless systems.

Our indoor air quality experts install whole-home ventilation, air purification, dehumidification, and humidification. We also have electricians who upgrade electrical panels and install outlets, lighting, ceiling fans, generators, surge protection, and more. Contact us today to schedule an HVAC service appointment or consultation or with any questions.

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