Hey there, my name is Russell Tyson. I am going to use this site to educate my readers about services offered by plumbing professionals. When I first started my company, I was unaware of all the necessary plumbing procedures needed to keep the toilets from backing up. My clients often failed to notify me when a toilet started to fail, likely due to embarrassment or a lack of time. Luckily, I was clued into the value of hiring plumbers to perform regular maintenance and repairs on the toilets to keep them in fine shape. I hope to detail those services on this site to inspire others to embrace preventative plumbing procedures.
If you recently bought an older home that has a boiler for the heating system, you may have questions about how the system functions and what you need to do to keep it safely running. You may have heard stories in the news about boilers exploding. While that can happen, it can be avoided as long as you perform regular maintenance and the upkeep tasks that are necessary. Here's what you need to know about your boiler heating system.
The parts of a boiler heating system
The boiler is what produces the heat, but there are many other parts to the system. The heat inside the boiler is generated by a fuel source, which is typically gas or oil. The boiler heats water and then sends the heated water throughout the home to radiators in each room via a network of pumps, cylinders, and pipes.
The radiators become hot, which heats the air through convection. Convection is the way air picks up heat when the air naturally circulates around a heat source. This is the reason your rooms are warmer the closer you get to the radiators.
Water & how it's added
It can be said that the most important part of a boiler heating system is the water. Actually, it can be extremely dangerous for a boiler to operate with no water or low water. It can cause the boiler to dry-fire, which could lead to the boiler cracking.
A cracked boiler could cause damage to the fuel line, which could release fuel and/or fumes near the heating elements. This, of course, could cause an explosion. For this reason, it is absolutely necessary to make sure the boiler has an automatic shut off valve to shut down the boiler when it detects there isn't enough water in the system.
Some boilers require homeowners to manually add water to the system, but some get the water from the home's plumbing system. Given the dangers involved, it is crucial that you understand which type of boiler you have and whether or not you need to manually add water to it. You can ask a heating contractor if you are not sure.
If your boiler is one that needs water added manually, do not add cold water to the system when it is running hot. The extreme temperature difference could cause the boiler to crack. If your boiler gets its water supply from the plumbing system, do not shut off the valve for your water main if you want your boiler to continue to safely operate.
For example, you schedule a two week vacation in the middle of the winter and want to protect your plumbing from freezing. In most homes, simply turning the main water line off and draining the plumbing lines is a good way to prevent frozen pipes. However, doing so when you have a boiler could cause the boiler to dry-fire, which would damage the heating system.
Rust & problems with high pressure
Another thing to be aware of is that there will likely be rust inside your boiler, especially if it is an old one. The reason for this is due to the nature of the use of water in metal fabrications such as your entire heating system. The oxygen in the water can cause the metal to oxide over time, which is how rust forms.
Rust can weaken metal and this can also cause the boiler to leak or crack. A heating contractor in your area can determine if there is rust inside your boiler heating system by draining some of the water out at various parts of the system. He or she can then check the drained water for evidence of rust.
Also, you need to be aware of how the pressure relief valve works and what it's for. If the heating elements in your boiler malfunction and continue to heat the water hotter than it should, this generates too much pressure within the system.
A pressure relief valve will sense when the pressure is too high and it will relieve some of the water out of the system by draining it automatically. You'll want to be sure to have your heating contractor check to ensure the pressure relief valve is functioning properly.Share