The Importance of Boiler Maintenance
Boilers can be an efficient way to keep your home or business warm and/or supplied with hot water. However, like any piece of machinery, a boiler needs regular maintenance to avoid costly repairs and potentially dangerous accidents. Preventative maintenance goes a long way, and the worst thing you can do is put off maintaining your boiler until a problem arises.
Unfortunately, many people do put their boilers’ maintenance out of their minds until there is a problem. Indeed, it is tempting to do so, as boilers are complicated, and many problems encountered by users do require professional help. Knowing the difference between work that can be done by the average operator and that which requires professional help can save you from a world of expensive and time-consuming repairs.
Every model of boiler is different, and reading through your user’s manual is essential to safely and efficiently using yours. Make sure you have read your manual thoroughly before attempting any kind of maintenance! That being said, most boilers have similar components and means of producing heat, and there are a few things that every operator should be familiar with.
While most boilers made today have safety shut-offs that kick in automatically when something is not functioning properly, it never hurts to check the levels and temperatures, and doing so can help you spot a problem before professional help is required. It is recommended that you keep a daily log of things like fuel consumption rates, and the levels, temperatures and pressures of water, feedwater, condensate, flue gas, and oil. Watch for drastic fluctuations, as these could be a sign of major problems to come.
Resetting your Boiler
As mentioned above, most boilers come with several emergency shut-off safeguards. When one of these shut-offs is triggered, restarting your boiler is a simple matter, but you should keep in mind that the shut-off was triggered for a reason.
Possible reasons for emergency shut-off include low water level, excessively high or low gas/water pressure, and other conditions that make it unsafe for the burner to operate. Keep in mind that some boilers also have shut-off devices tied to time clocks and outdoor temperature, so a shut-off does not always indicate a problem.
It is important that you never manually override an emergency shut-off device without first locating and fixing the problem that triggered it. Sometimes doing so does not require the help of a professional, but it is important to recognize when help is needed. Problems that the average user should seek professional help for include leaking-whether from a pressure relief valve, the condensate tank, or the stack-repeatedly triggered shut-off devices, abnormally high stack temperatures, and insufficient heat despite an otherwise normally functioning boiler.