Winters are long and cold in New England, and you have to keep warm somehow! Many homes get hot water through boilers or radiant heating systems to do so. Studies estimate that boilers are responsible for about 60% of home energy use, so it is important that your boiler is in tip-top shape.
No matter what you need—from seasonal tune-up maintenance to installing a brand new boiler—GEM’s multi-licensed technicians are here to help. GEM installs, maintains, repairs, and replaces all major brands of boilers for residential and commercial service.
How Does a Boiler Heating System Work
Boilers are seemingly complicated machines and have a high degree of responsibility in your comfort at home.
Boilers are the largest component of your heating system. They heat your home by using large amounts of energy via natural gas to heat water to very high temperatures. You can then think of your boiler as a continuous river of that hot water, dispersing out into many subsidiary streams (your radiators). Once your radiators use their portion of the hot water to heat up their room, they send the water back to the boiler for more heat.
Boiler heat systems are often far more complex than this, especially more modern systems. But in a simple form, your boiler heats water via natural gas energy and sends it throughout the house as a means of heat transport.
Taking Care of Your Boiler
Boiler systems require proper, regular maintenance to run effectively, and to keep your home or business warm. It is highly recommended that you have your boiler serviced and cleaned at least once a year to keep it in prime condition.
In between those professional service calls, here’s a maintenance tips and tricks you can do yourself to keep your boiler in good shape:
Check the Air Vents and Flues
Blocked or dirty air vents and flues can prevent proper performance. When air vents and flues are blocked, air gets trapped inside your home and creates pressure in your heating system.
If you find that your vents or flues are dirty, clear away the blockage to open up free air flows.
Without enough water, your boiler will not be able to work properly. This can quickly result in damaging your boiler.
Check the Water Level
If the water level is below that which is recommended for your equipment, check for any leaks that might be causing the issue.
The pilot light of your boiler is blue when your boiler is functioning properly. A blue flame is the most energy efficient color flame; it indicates that a small amount of gas is being used to produce a much larger amount of heat.
Check the Pilot Light
If the flame is orange or yellow instead, call a technician immediately. This is not a good sign!
Give Your Boiler Room to Breathe.
Boilers need their personal space to work at optimum performance. Piling up boxes, bags, and other items in front and around your system can impact its ability to work properly.
Make sure the area around your boiler is clear.
Signs That Your Boiler is in Need of Repair Service
Sometimes, things go wrong with your boiler heating system. When it happens, Gem is always here and happy to help.
Here are a few issues that indicate that you are in need of a repair:
- Your home is unevenly or inadequately heated
- Your pilot light flame is yellow or orange instead of blue
- There is water leaking from your boiler (from the top or the bottom)
- Your boiler is making any of the following funny noises:
- A humming noise
- A banging noise
- A whistling noise
- A rumbling noise
- Sounds like it is going to explode
- Sounds like a jet engine
- Your energy bill has increased dramatically
Signs That Your Boiler Needs to Be Replaced
When your boiler bails on you, GEM is here for all of your replacement and installation needs.
If any of the following issues are occurring, give your GEM service provider a call:
Your Boiler Needs Frequent Repairs.
Over time, boilers experience some wear and tear like everything else you own. When that happens, they are far more likely to break down.
If your boiler is needing service more than twice a year, it is likely in need of a repair. In this case, you are spending more money trying to fix it than you would if you bought a new one!
Your Fuel Bills Are Higher Than They Used to Be
As boilers age, they experience some wear and tear over the years. As this happens, boilers have to work harder to produce the same amount of heat. This results in the boiler using more fuel to heat up your home, and therefore sending your heating bills through the roof.
Over the years, boilers can also accumulate a layer of scale from dissolved minerals in the water. This creates a thin wall of dirt on your boiler’s heat transfer surfaces, which reduces the amount of heat that is transferred. As a result, your heater resorts to using more fuel to keep you warm.
You See Yellow or Orange Flames
When your boiler is working correctly, its flame should be blue. If this flame appears yellow or orange, this means that your boiler’s fuel is not burning properly, and it is releasing Carbon Monoxide into your home.
How Does This Happen?
Over time, your boiler collects dirt and soot that can clog the boiler’s burners. When your boiler is dirty, the gas and oxygen in the tank do not mix properly, resulting in incomplete combustion—the yellow or orange flames that you are seeing.
CAUTION: Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that is lethal at certain levels. If you are experiencing this issue with your boiler, call your Gem service provider as soon as possible.
You Have Frequent Leaks
As your boiler ages, it will experience a large amount of wear and tear. This can often result in water leaks. Eventually, small leaks can turn into much bigger ones that can cause very expensive damage to your boiler, and your home.
How Does This Happen?
Older boilers often develop cracks in the body, damages seals, or too much pressure on their weak system. These issues can give way to leaking (from the top, or from the bottom).
Even if you experience a small leak, you should consider a boiler replacement. One leak can spring into more leaks in no time!
Don’t Wait for These Issues to Cause a More Damaging One in the Future. Call GEM Plumbing to Get Your Issues Squared Away Before Things Go South.
We are here for you and all of your boiler repair, installation, and replacement needs. For more information on high-energy efficiency heating system alternatives, take a look at our Heating & Cooling services.