Common Boiler Problems

According to the Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal, there are more than 100,000 boilers and pressure vessels registered across the state. These traditional heating, air conditioning, and ventilation (HVAC) systems help homeowners in Murphysboro, Illinois, stay warm indoors during the bitter, even dangerously cold winters.

However, your indoor oasis could disappear in the blink of an eye if your boiler breaks down. A broken boiler can leave your home without heat, compromising your health and safety. In this blog, we’ll explore common causes of boiler breakdown and how you can get fast, efficient repairs, even in the height of Murphysboro’s coldest season.

What Is the Life Expectancy of a Boiler?

A typical boiler lifespan depends on factors ranging from the brand, added features, and usage. On average, it’s common for a boiler to last between 10-15 years.

Once your boiler reaches this age, even if it seems to still run well, you want to start thinking about a replacement. An old boiler is much more likely to completely break down. It’s more manageable to proactively plan a new boiler installation than to have to blow your budget on an emergency replacement.

The most important thing affecting your boiler’s life expectancy is maintenance. Proper routine maintenance by a professional HVAC business, such as Heartland Heating, Air & Plumbing, can help extend the life of your heating system and ensure optimal efficiency throughout its run time.

5 Most Common Boiler Issues

Customers across Murphysboro are most likely to run into these issues with their boilers:

Boiler Leak

A leaky boiler is the #1 most common problem. Leaks can be the result of a broken seal, compromised pressure valve, or other damaged internal components.

This is a serious matter as a leak not only affects the functionality of your heater, but any escaped water poses a threat to nearby systems, electrical equipment, and your home. The key is to resolve the issue with speed by contacting a local boiler expert as soon as you notice any signs of a leak.

Low Boiler Pressure

The signs of low boiler pressure include:

  • Cold Radiators
  • Lack of Hot Water
  • Boiler Leak

Oftentimes, a boiler with low pressure can also be identified by looking at the display panel for information. While the cause behind low pressure could be anything from a recently bled radiator to a broken seal or leak, the repair is easily handled by a professional plumber or HVAC technician from Heartland.


Kettling is a term used to describe a scenario in which your boiler makes a loud, unusual sound akin to a boiling kettle. Also described as bubbling or gurgling, kettling occurs due to a buildup of sludge, minerals, or scaly material inside your boiler unit.

While it’s more common in areas with hard water, kettling can happen to any boiler. It causes the system to work overtime to try and combat the restricted water flow. Get the job done right and call for professional diagnosis and repair when your boiler makes odd sounds.

Pilot Light Goes Out

A pilot light that won’t stay on is another common boiler issue. The pilot light refers to the small gas burner inside your unit that keeps your system running.

When this light continuously goes out, it could compromise the efficiency of your entire heating system. Luckily, the problem isn’t too hard to fix when handled by an experienced HVAC contractor. It is often the result of a draft blowing the flame out or a clogged gas nozzle.

Condensate Pipe Freezing

Some boilers rely on a component called a condensate pipe to properly operate. This pipe carries condensate, also called acidic water, out of the system and to a drain. Occasionally, especially in the winter, this line can freeze.

Most boilers will display an error code when this occurs, but another sign is odd noises coming from the pipes or inefficient operation.

Is it Worth Repairing a Boiler?

So, how do you know if your boiler needs repair or if it’s beyond that point and requires a full replacement? The short answer is to call an expert who can answer the question for you by performing a detailed inspection and diagnosis.

If your boiler is under 10 years old, more often than not, a repair is more applicable than a replacement. Installing a new boiler can cost a lot of money and turn into a time-consuming job. It could also disrupt your heating service for a longer period of time than it would take to complete a repair. Common boiler repairs are often much more cost-effective than the price of a new boiler. With a little extra care, your repaired boiler could last for many years to come.

So, when your boiler starts acting up. Don’t hesitate to call a knowledgeable team like our technicians at Heartland.

How Long Does it Take to Fix a Boiler?

Each of our boiler repair services has a different timeline depending on the severity of the problem and the parts and tools needed to fix it. On average, from the point of inspection to when our team heads out the door, boiler repair takes roughly 30 minutes to 6-8 hours. Newer boilers often take less time to repair, whereas a large leak in an older boiler may require more time.

Boiler Repair: Murphysboro, IL Solutions

Now that you know the signs and causes behind some of the most frequently addressed boiler repair issues, you need to know how to prevent or fix them. Here are a few solutions to consider:

  • Preventative Maintenance: Scheduling annual boiler maintenance is one of the best ways to reduce the risk of repairs down the road. Not only does it extend your equipment’s lifespan and increase efficiency, but a quality maintenance inspection also provides the opportunity to catch minor repairs that would turn into larger issues if left unaddressed. Heartland offers the Heart of Your Home Club‘s convenient HVAC maintenance services to all our customers in Murphysboro.
  • Water Treatment: In areas of Southern Illinois with hard water, residents can help prevent kettling and pressure issues with a water treatment or water softening system. These systems work to reduce the risk of harmful deposit buildups within your heater.
  • Regular Cleaning: Where is your boiler located? Chances are it’s in a dusty corner of your basement, closet, or utility room. While these areas don’t have to have the design and style of the rest of your home, they should be clean as too much dust can have adverse effects on your boiler. Routine dusting, sweeping, and decluttering of your boiler exterior and the areas around the system is highly beneficial.

Trust Heartland for Your Boiler Repair Needs

In Southern Illinois, there is no one more prepared and experienced to handle your HVAC needs than Heartland Heating, Air & Plumbing. As a carrier factory authorized dealer, we have the resources and expertise necessary to complete even the most complex boiler repair jobs. Contact us today for a routine inspection or 24/7 emergency boiler service.