With winter well underway, you may be thinking of turning on your boiler, or you may have already taken that step. Whether you live in Ann Arbor, Dexter, or other cities in Southeast Michigan, it is important to maintain your boiler properly not only for proper operation, efficiency, and money savings but your family’s safety as well. At Haley Mechanical, we have a few critical maintenance tips you should pay close attention to!
Know the most common issues with radiators
Has the radiator (and perhaps the valve) been painted? Freeing the valve can be a challenge. Before contacting a professional to resolve the issue, try spraying a little WD40 and applying some pressure to free the valve.
Sludge in the radiator can result in it being hot at the top while still cool at the bottom. Power flushing is the solution to this problem; contact the experts to take care of this task.
Is the radiator failing to heat up? This is usually a valve problem. First, look at the valve located at the bottom of the radiator to ensure it is open. Valves turn in a clockwise direction, and if yours is open, but the radiator fails to produce heat, it may mean an issue with the valve. Should you have to get a new valve to replace the old one, you may want to consider a thermostatic radiator valve as this type is more flexible when it comes to heat settings and providing comfort.
Allow your radiator to run for a while you initially turn it on; if you notice that some do not heat up quickly, it may be due to air inside the radiator. This is indicated when the radiator is old at the top, and hot at the bottom. If this is the issue, here are our suggestions:
After protecting carpets or flooring with plastic, get an old cloth or rag and radiator key. After putting the key in the valve, turn it gently in a reverse clockwise direction for about a quarter of a turn while capturing any water that may escape with a cloth held underneath. As the air leaves the radiator, you will likely notice a hissing sound.
Water should begin to exit the radiator, and the hissing sound should cease shortly, at which time you can absorb excess water with a rag or cloth. Once this occurs, turn the radiator key in a clockwise direction to ensure the valve is closed. Once finished, check to make certain the radiator is hot from bottom to top.
Check boiler pressure and ventilation
It is important to check the pressure gauge once the boiler is operating to ensure it is functioning per the pressure levels recommended by the manufacturer. When the pressure is lower than recommended, you can top it up – but do so with caution, as the pressure release valve can easily sustain damage. When this happens, you will need to call a professional for repair.
Sufficient space around your boilers is essential as well, so make certain that the area where the boiler is housed is clutter-free. Your boiler needs to breathe, so remove coats, shoes, bags, and other items. If housed in a box, be sure ventilation requirements are met according to manufacturer instructions and that there is an access panel to make your boiler easily accessible for maintenance.
Overflow pipe dripping
It could indicate a problem if you find dripping water coming from the overflow pipe (typically located outside your property). In many cases overfilling or the passage of time causes the pressure release valve to malfunction. If this is the case, you will need to have an engineer diagnose and resolve the issue.
Balancing your radiator system
While this task is a bit complex, it is worth the time and effort you put in. Upon bleeding radiators, you may notice that some are warmer than others. If this is the case, the cooler radiators will likely warm up by carefully adjusting the radiators so that those that are hotter become less hot. It may be necessary to have an expert come in if your house is large, as this can be a difficult task. Simply contact the professionals at Haley Mechanical if you need assistance bleeding and balancing the radiators.
Is the flame of your boiler blue?
It is critical to consult a professional if the flame of your boiler is not blue, but instead an orange or yellow color. This could indicate your boiler is faulty.
Make sure the flue can be accessed
A joint that is leaking could be emitting carbon monoxide, so it is important to make sure your boiler flue is accessible via access panels installed whether the flue exits through a ceiling or void. Access panels help ensure your family’s safety so that yourself or a professional can spot potential carbon monoxide leaks.
Boiler repairs are not for the do-it-yourselfer
Many homeowners try to take care of all household issues themselves to avoid costs. When there is an issue with your boiler, it is never recommended that you open it and attempt to make repairs yourself. Instead, contact an engineer who is experienced and familiar with boiler problems.
Have your boiler serviced annually
Finally, it is imperative that you have your boiler serviced on a yearly basis to ensure it runs in the best possible condition. Our engineers will make certain that your boiler is running at its most efficient, and in a safe manner. By cleaning all accessible areas and checking the primary components of your boiler, you will enjoy peace of mind knowing your boiler is ready for the cold temperatures to fall and winter bring while operating safely to protect your home and family.
At Haley Mechanical, we know the importance of proper care for boiler efficiency, safe operation, and a warm home during the coldest winter months. We invite homeowners in the Ann Arbor, Dexter, and surrounding areas of Southeast Michigan to contact us today to ensure your boiler is healthy!
Learn more about a Lochinvar Boiler for your Ann Arbor area home.