A heating boiler is not one of those “glamorous” appliances people talk about at cocktail parties. But when it stops working—well, that boiler is noticed in no time!
If you use a heating boiler system in some or all parts of your home or office space, chances are good it’s been working hard for some months now. It may even be starting to emit small (or not so small) signs that its working days are numbered.
Of course, if you are not attuned to your boiler’s every sputter and spurt, you may not have any idea what is coming down the pike, whether before the cooler weather ends this spring or as it begins again later this fall.
Since heating boilers are not cheap to repair or replace, we thought now would be the perfect moment to review heating boiler warning signs.
P.S. Read to the end to learn how you can win $1,000 off a new heating boiler!
5 Heating Boiler Warning Signs
In a perfect world, your heating boiler would seamlessly and with great efficiency keep producing and circulating hot water or steam to heat your space.
In the real world, heating boilers can have an uneven shelf life, especially if a previous owner was erratic about tending to its maintenance.
The new wave of energy-efficient heating boilers being produced today have very low maintenance needs. But this doesn’t necessarily hold true for older heating boilers, in the same way that older HVAC systems need more TLC to keep running smoothly than do newer systems.
So what warning signs might suggest your heating boiler is in need of repair or replacement?
1. Temperature variances
One of the biggest warning signs that your heating boiler may be off its game is temperature variance from room to room. And since heating boilers don’t rely on ductwork, you can’t blame failing duct systems for this warning sign.
When you begin to notice that some rooms feel uncomfortably warm while others are too chilly, and especially if you notice that this variance can change throughout the day or from day to day, this is a big signal your heating boiler’s central controls may be malfunctioning.
The heating boiler does have the capacity to create a minor flooding situation inside your home or office. Leaking is one of the first warning signs that your boiler’s integrity may be compromised.
A warning sign that your boiler may be leaking (and this is most pertinent for steam boilers) is when you notice you have to add more make-up water (pure water in its liquid phase that compensates for leaks and evaporation losses) than you did previously.
One problem with noticing this particular warning sign is that heating boilers are perfectly capable of leaking in out-of-the-way areas you may not see. This is when the danger of a boiler-related flood or significant structural damage from mould and mildew is highest.
3. Higher energy bills
Paying more for the same heating output usually indicates one of two things: energy costs in your area are rising or your heating boiler is pulling more energy to do the same amount of work.
There isn’t much you can do about the former. But if you have ruled that out and your energy bills are still increasing, there is a chance you have an inefficient heating boiler on your hands.
4. Fuel-burning residue
If you have an oil-based heating boiler, you may notice black soot collecting around the boiler itself, especially near the combustion chamber, flue and pipes. And if you have a gas-based heating boiler, you may notice the pilot flame increasingly looks yellow rather than blue-white.
Both of these issues are indications that your heating boiler is no longer burning the fuel cleanly or completely. Both issues can lead to increased fire hazard and production of the deadly colorless, odorless gas called carbon monoxide.
If you are using a heating boiler (oil or gas), you should plan to install a carbon monoxide alarm that can alert you if your heating boiler begins producing more of this gas. While this holds true even for brand-new boilers, consider it essential if your boiler is getting up there in age.
5. Old age
Speaking of old age, even if you have been meticulous in your heating boiler’s maintenance needs, simple old age can also begin to produce each of these warning signs and others as well.
Different types of heating boilers may have longer or shorter life expectancy. On average, a well-maintained conventional heating boiler should last 10 to 15 years. A cast iron boiler may last 20 or 30 years, albeit with reduced energy efficiency.
For boilers with erratic or unknown past maintenance schedules, this life expectancy may need to be adjusted accordingly. Scheduling a routine inspection and service call is the best way to determine what stage of life your heating boiler is in now and how safe and reliable it is.
Scratch & Win Up to $1,000 Off a New Heating Boiler
Right now and through June 30, Shipton’s is hosting one of our fun periodic Scratch & Win contests! In this contest, you can win up to $1,000 off the cost of a new heating boiler, furnace, air conditioning unit, or HVAC combo unit.
It’s easy to play—all you have to do is fill out this simple online form and you will be entered into the Scratch & Win contest! Once you fill out the form we will be right back in touch with you with all of the details.
Give us a call at 905-549-4616 to learn more!