One of the most frustrating things that can happen to your home is a boiler not working properly. That’s why it’s crucial to understand the most common boiler problems you’re likely to encounter and why they occur so you can take steps to prevent them. Boilers can be expensive to fix and maintain, and that’s why you should do everything possible to avoid them breaking down in the first place.
Here are five common problems to look out for.
1. Boiler Tank Leaking and Dripping
A leaking boiler tank is a serious problem. If you have the slightest suspicion that your water heater or boiler has sprung a leak, it’s important to get on top of things right away. Leaks are usually caused by a crack or hole in the tank. Here are some signs to watch out for:
- An unusually high water bill
- Rumbling or banging sounds coming from your boiler
- A drop in the temperature of your hot water
A leaking or dripping boiler will have to be repaired as soon as possible to avoid further damage and higher repair costs down the road. Experts offering boiler services in Grand Rapids, MI, note that a leaking boiler tank can lead to a dangerous situation, especially if you use natural gas.
2. Pilot Light Frequently Turning Off
A pilot light frequently turning off is a very common problem that can happen to any boiler. This normally occurs when the thermocouple, which holds the pilot light in place, becomes loose and needs replacing. A faulty thermocouple can also cause carbon monoxide leaks, so don’t attempt this repair yourself if you’re not qualified to do so.
Don’t assume that the thermocouple is always to blame, though – there could be another underlying issue, such as a clogged gas valve. If your pilot light keeps going out, call in a professional to investigate and diagnose the problem.
3. ‘Kettling’ Noises From Your Boiler’s Heat Exchanger
If your boiler is making a loud “kettling” noise, it’s usually because the heat exchanger in the unit has either warped or corroded. This can often be fixed by giving the entire system a thorough professional cleaning and then checking to ensure all parts are properly installed.
If this doesn’t work, you may need to replace the heat exchanger. This sound could also be caused by sediment build-up in your boiler that has rendered its moving parts unable to function properly and with enough clearance or space required for them to work efficiently. Cleaning your boiler could fix this problem, but you may need to replace the boiler’s moving parts if it doesn’t.
4. Irregular Hot Water and Heating
One of the most common boiler problems is irregular hot water and heating. If you notice that your home isn’t getting as warm as it used to, or if there’s a sudden change in your hot water temperature, then it might be indicative of an issue with your boiler. There are numerous potential causes for this problem, including:
- A faulty thermostat – If your thermostat is broken, then the boiler won’t heat up to its usual temperature.
- A malfunctioning pressure valve – If this happens, it could be because of sediment buildup or excess air in the pipes. You can fix this by manually bleeding your radiators (turn on every hot water tap until you hear hissing.)
- A defective fan – If your boiler’s fan isn’t working, then the system won’t be able to distribute heat properly. This is often caused by a dirty filter.
- Boiler not burning fuel correctly
- A broken pump or faulty valves on the gas supply line
A professional will be able to diagnose the cause of your boiler’s irregular hot water and heating and provide a solution.
5. Frozen Condensate Pipe
A frozen condensate pipe can be a nightmare for any homeowner. In order to prevent this from happening, you must have your boiler drained on an annual basis, and some units even come with their own internal drains, so they never have the chance to freeze. This mostly happens in older homes, where the piping isn’t insulated properly, or the pipes are in an area exposed to extremely cold air.
You can fix this issue by adding insulation around the pipes or heating them with a hairdryer to melt any ice blocking the condensate drain. If this doesn’t fix your issue, it’s time to call an HVAC professional for assistance.
Ensure Regularly Boiler Inspection is Done
To prevent major issues, you should ensure that your boiler is inspected regularly, especially during the colder months. A boiler inspection should include a combustion analysis to check for any gas leaks and an inspection of the flue pipe to ensure it is properly ventilated. This will save you money in the long run.