Our Top Winter Boiler Maintenance Tips

Autumn is here, and winter is on the way, making it the perfect time to get your winter boiler maintenance done. Having a professional come to check on your boiler is the best way to ensure that you’ll stay toasty warm indoors, no matter how cold it gets outside.

Read on to learn how boilers work and what kind of maintenance your boiler contractor should provide.

Different kinds of boilers

Boilers heat homes by boiling water, turning it into steam and forcing the steam through pipes in a building. You might have a radiant heating system or simply pipes in the walls. As the hot steam moves through the pipes, it will heat the surrounding areas. This is not to be confused with a water heater, which heats and stores hot water to be used for bathing, cleaning and laundry.

There are four different kinds of boilers: electric, natural gas, oil and propane fueled boilers. Electric boilers are small and compact, making them a popular choice in smaller homes. Natural gas burners use your home’s natural gas lines to heat the water. Oil boilers are relatively rare and aren’t used often in the United States; if you have one, make sure that your boiler maintenance contractor is equipped to repair them. Finally, propane boilers are often used in rural areas where you might not have natural gas lines available.

All four of these boiler types will provide plenty of heat throughout your home—as long as they’re well maintained, of course.

What should my winter boiler maintenance appointment cover?

Your heating contractor will come to your home to inspect the boiler and perform any necessary repairs. This includes but isn’t limited to:

  • Testing the heating element: If your heating element doesn’t work, neither will your boiler. Your contractor will test the heating element to make sure that it can boil water appropriately.
  • Cleaning out debris: Debris can block steam from moving properly. It also presents a potential fire hazard. Your contractor will clean any debris in or around the boiler, so you can enjoy safe operation throughout the season.
  • Testing the water level cutoff: Your boiler should automatically shut off once the water level falls under a certain threshold. Your contractor will verify that this feature is still working.
  • Checking the safety valve: Next they’ll check the safety valve to ensure that it’s in good working order.
  • Verifying the flame is blue: The boiler flame should always be blue—a yellow flame indicates a problem.
  • Inspecting the venting: Next your contractor will inspect the venting and make sure that there are no problems or blockages.
  • Lubricating motors and moving parts: The motor and any other moving parts will be lubricated to ensure smooth operation.
  • Filter replacement: Your filter will be inspected and replaced if necessary.

Your heating contractor may perform other repairs and inspections depending on the type of boiler you own and whether you’ve noticed any issues.

For more winter boiler maintenance tips and to schedule your own maintenance appointment, call Rapids Plumbing & Heating, Inc. today.