7 Most Common Boiler Problems

Monday, May 2nd, 2016

Your boiler is a silent, hard-working piece of equipment, so you likely don’t think about it much. This equipment provides the heat you need in the winter and the hot water you need all year round. If your boiler breaks down you will have no heat or hot water, but what causes these breakdowns? The following are seven common problems that occur with boilers.

Circulation problems

To warm your home, hot water must circulate through the heating pipes to various parts of the structure. The boiler depends on small circulating pumps to keep the water flowing through these pipes. If one or more of these pumps start to fail, circulation will slow down or stop completely. This problem may also occur if the wiring to the pumps starts to corrode.

Water leaks

Boiler systems are built to keep leaks from occurring. However, with age and use, these safety features can eventually fail, letting water start to drip at joints or along failing pipes. Leaks may go undetected for some time unless the pressure in the pipes falls too low or if the water starts to cause structural damage. Low water can prevent the house from heating up and cause problems in the boiler tank.

Expansion tank problems

As water heats up, it expands and creates pressure. To manage the amount of pressure in the system, most boilers have an expansion tank. The tank can take in excessive pressure and release it without causing issues in the system. If the bladder within the expansion tank begins to fail, it can cause pressure changes in the boiler, signaled by banging pipes or failing joints.

Thermostat problems

The thermostat helps regulate how much heat is circulated in the house. If the thermostat begins to fail, the house may be at an uncomfortable temperature. This issue can also cause the boiler to work too hard, too often, wearing on the equipment and causing more frequent repair needs.

Lime scale build-up

Most water contains minerals like lime. Over time, these minerals can start to build up along the sides of the tank and the pipes. As the lime scale starts to get thicker, it can restrict water flow through the boiler. The buildup can cause pressurization problems, banging pipes, and even equipment failure if not regularly removed.

Sludge build-up

Besides minerals, there are other solids which dissolve in water. These dissolved solids often settle at the bottom of the boiler tank. This causes a thick sludge which can corrode the bottom of the tank, causing failure that occurs faster than normal. If the sludge is carried through the circulating pipes, it can cause pressurization problems as well.

Pilot light problems

Many modern boilers use an electronic ignition instead of a standing pilot light. However, older boiler systems depend on a lit pilot light to start the heating system. Air leaks and faulty thermo-couplings can cause problems with keeping the pilot light going. This is a repair that should always be left to the professionals.

If you have any of these boiler issues, hiring a professional plumber trained in boiler maintenance can get the problem solved quickly. Allen’s Tri-State Mechanical Inc. in Amarillo, can help with all of your plumbing needs. You can reach us at (806) 376-8345 or Contact Us by email to learn more about our residential and commercial services. You can also stop by our office at 404 S. Hayden St. in Amarillo, Texas.