It’s officially fall, and that means that it’s time to start prepping your home for colder months. Ensuring that your heating system is working as it should, as efficiently as possible, and as safe as possible is key in preparing your system for winter. You can do this by adding boiler maintenance and boiler repair to your fall-home-maintenance list.
If you have a furnace, see furnace maintenance tips for fall HERE. If you are unsure of what the difference is between a furnace and a boiler, the difference is in how they operate. A furnace heats air and then a blower motor moves the warmed air through a home’s duct system. Whereas, a boiler heats water. This water then flows through a network of pipes within the home and flows through baseboards, radiators, etc.
If you are unsure of what exactly should be included in boiler maintenance and repair, follow the list below:
- Check Radiators – The first time you turn on your boiler system for the season, you may notice that some of the radiators in your home do not heat up straight away. This could be simply from sitting unused all summer, or there may be a problem. Some common radiator problems are; 1. Radiator is hot at top but not bottom (may mean there is sludge in your radiator) 2. Radiator is not heating up (check to see that valve is open) 3. Air in the radiator.
- Bleed Excess Air – This is important because pockets of air can get stuck, which causes the radiator to circulate hot water less effectively. Not bleeding your boiler can lead to higher energy bills, and less effective use of this energy. While there are a ton of YouTube videos and “how to” articles on bleeding a boiler, we recommend hiring a professional to handle this.
- Check Boiler Pressure – Once you have your boiler running for the first time, make sure to check the pressure gauge to ensure that it is running to the manufacturer’s recommended pressure levels. But, be careful because damaging the pressure release valve is easy to do.
- Check Ventilation – If your home uses a boiler system to heat it, you’ll want to make sure that there is space around the system to allow for proper ventilation. You will also want your boiler system to be easily accessible for boiler maintenance purposes.
- Check Overflow Pipe – If there is water dripping from your boiler’s overflow pipe, this could be a problem. This may be a result of either overfilling your boiler, or your system failing.
- Tune Up – Each fall, it is important to give your boiler system an overall tune up. This may include lubrication, minor repairs, important checks, part replacement, etc.
Avoiding Freezing Pipes –
Unfortunately, frozen pipes are a very common problem in winter. This is just one of the reasons why annual boiler service and regular boiler maintenance is so important.
- Making sure to run your heat for at least a couple of hours a day during the coldest days/months is very important. If you are home, this will likely already be happening, but if you are planning to be away or if your home will be vacant for any period of time during the winter, make sure to keep you heat on at least 55 degrees or on a timer.
- Letting water drip from the faucet can help prevent freezing pipes on very cold days.
- Keep garage doors closed in the winter as much as possible, especially if there are water supply lines in your garage.
- Add insulation to pipes, attics, basements, windows, crawl spaces, etc. This can help to prevent drafts. Insulating your pipes (especially if they are close to the exterior walls of your home, or in the garage) can go a long way in preventing frozen and burst pipes.
Before winter, it is important to schedule an annual boiler service where your heating professional will conduct several important checks and complete key inspection items. They will check the boiler maintenance items listed above, as well as check for gas leaks, corrosion, control functionality, energy efficiency, main components (interior and exterior), etc. Inspecting and servicing your boiler each year before winter is important to not only ensure proper functionality, but also for safety reasons! Now is the time to prep your heating system for winter. Contact Kulk’s Heating & Plumbing today for your boiler maintenance and service appointment!