It is not uncommon to wait until it breaks down before you replace your boiler. Unfortunately, these types of failures usually happen when you need it for heating purposes on a cold day. Worse still, your neighbors probably have the same mindset and are forcing repairers to backlog their work. You also may not have the emergency funds for this repair handy, since the failure is unexpected. Below, we will show you the 6 telltale signs that your broiler is about to malfunction.
1. Boiler Age
Boilers haven’t been on the market for a while, making it hard to predict how long they will last. Boilers can last for at least 15 years or longer if they are properly maintained. Some boilers even come with warranties for up to ten years, depending on whether they are residential or commercial. Older cast iron boilers can last for 20 to 30 years but are far less efficient than new models. The energy savings from a new unit can pay for its own cost in as little as a year or two.
2. Energy Use
Do you know how cars that get better gas mileage last longer than gas guzzlers? The same applies to your boiler. Pay attention to any increases in energy expenses, as this can be the boiler showing signs of strain. You may need to replace your boiler as well if your unit constantly requires service or maintenance.
3. Abnormal Performance
You know your boiler better than anyone. Pay attention to any telltale signs that it may be on its last legs, such as:
- Excessive noises.
- Whirring, clunking, and banging may indicate that the boiler’s fan or pump needs replacement.
- Lack of hot water. If the unit is on but is taking longer to give you hot water, replacement may be the only option.
- Too little hot water or hot water that runs out too soon.
- Your boiler constantly cycles on and off.
- Yellow flames on the burners or black soot on oil boilers mean the fuel is improperly burning and could be generating carbon monoxide. You should have a detector next to the unit, as the gas can be deadly.
- Any other carbon monoxide leaks. Evacuate all occupants from the property if a carbon monoxide leak is detected.
4. Boiler Leaks
Check your boiler for signs of leaks. Leaks can include moisture or stains at any joints, pipes, inlets, and outlets. You should also check under the unit for leaks. Any leak should be attended to immediately, as it could be a sign of something serious, in addition to the boiler being at the end of its life cycle. You may need to replace the boiler immediately in many of these cases, as it can avoid the leaks becoming more serious and flooding the property.
5. Inconsistent Operation
You already know the hot and cold spots that naturally occur on your property. Any change in them could be a warning sign. Check to see if some areas are too hot or too cold. Another warning sign includes a room that has varying temperatures throughout the day. Temperatures swings could mean the boiler unit’s controls are not operating as they should.
6. Have an Expert Tell You if You Should Replace Your Boiler
Now that you know the signs any layman can tell, it’s time to get an expert. Get a qualified professional to help inspect your unit, as well as prepare a regular maintenance program. These boiler system inspections should be scheduled once a year. They should include:
- Shutting off all proper power, gas, and water lines.
- Checking for broken pieces, cracks, and the refractory’s integrity to ensure it is protecting the boiler.
- The controls, safety devices, and all indicators should be inspected.
- All fuel feed system and burners should be checked, especially in the case of boilers that use liquid fuels. It is also important to clean or replace any fuel filters to maintain optimal fuel usage.
- Clean your boiler’s heat transfer surfaces regularly to remove any buildup, including soot residue. Soot acts as an insulator to reduce the efficiency of the heat transfer between combustion steam and gas or hot water generation.
- Look for signs of overheating, corrosion, erosion, and any leaks from the main unit or external piping.