Boilers are often looked at as being outdated. But, while older models of boilers are not as efficient, new technology has allowed for the development of high-quality boiler systems. These newer models are more effective and have helped thousands of homeowners across the country stay safe and warm all winter long.
How Does a Boiler System Work?
A boiler system involves heating water and using steam to heat a room. The system starts by heating water. This process is slightly different based on whether the boiler is a gas or oil-fired burner. Once the water starts to heat up or boil, it turns into steam. That steam then rises and is pushed through a series of pipes that connect to radiators or convectors. As the steam reaches these radiators or convectors, the steam gives off heat, which then heats a room. As the steam starts to cool, it starts to condense and becomes water again. That water then travels through the series of pipes again, back to the boiler, where it is heated and turned into steam once again.
How Often Do Boilers Need Maintenance?
Boilers should be maintained once per year. Most heating and cooling experts recommend that you should have your boiler maintained in the late summer or early fall, before cold weather hits. This helps to ensure your unit is clean and ready to work efficiently by the time cold weather starts to arrive. During a normal maintenance appointment, your boiler is cleaned and all of the parts are inspected. If there are any problems or repairs are needed, your service technician will let you know.
What to Do When Your Boiler Stops Working
If your home’s boiler system stops working in the middle of winter, it can lead to a potentially dangerous situation. Call the HVAC pros at Heartland as soon as the system stops working.
Some DIY tips while you’re waiting for repair services include:
Ensure Your Boiler is Connected to a Power Source
If your boiler becomes disconnected from a power source, or you have blown a fuse, your boiler may stop working. Before you call in a professional to inspect your boiler, take the time to ensure it is actually connected to a functioning power source.
Check Your Thermostat
Another common reason why a boiler may stop working is that your thermostat is not telling the unit to kick on. Your thermostat may need to have its batteries changed, or someone may have changed the temperature setting on the thermostat. Check the thermostat to ensure that the thermostat is not the cause of the boiler failing to turn on.
Block Drafts From Exterior Doors
If your boiler is not working, one of the things that you will want to do is to roll up towels or blankets and place them on the ground in front of exterior doors. This blocks drafts and helps to keep your home as warm as possible while your boiler is out.
Dress in Warm Clothing
The temperature in your home can quickly plummet if your boiler stops working. Take the time to dress in warm clothing to keep yourself and your family safe. You lose a lot of heat through your head and feet, so wear a hat and socks. Also, pull out a few extra blankets, as this can help you to stay warm as well.
Follow All Safety Measures If You Are Using a Space Heater
If you have decided to use a space heater to keep your home warm while your boiler is not working, always follow all safety measures. Space heaters are responsible for a large number of house fires, so you want to follow the directions to keep your family and home safe.
Common Signs Your Boiler Needs Repaired
One of the most obvious signs that your boiler needs to be repaired is if it’s not heating up your home. This is a giveaway that something is wrong and a professional needs to come out and repair your unit. Unfortunately, not all signs are as obvious as this one. Here are a few of the other signs that your boiler may require repair services.
Water should not leak out of your boiler. If you notice water leaking below this appliance, you will want to have it inspected. If the water level dips too low, your unit may shut off on its own.
Boilers commonly make bubbling or gurgling sounds as they heat water up. However, you should never hear grinding, clanking, screeching, or squealing sounds. If you hear any of these sounds, it is time to call in a professional for repairs.
If you have a gas-based boiler system, you need to be mindful of unpleasant scents, such as rotten eggs. Gas companies often add a scent to natural gas to make it smell like rotten eggs so you know that you have a gas leak or problem with your gas appliances. Shut off the gas if you smell this smell, and call a professional immediately.