Boilers are just as susceptible to breakdowns and repair needs as any other heating system. Since boilers are a bit more uncommon than things like furnaces, however, their potential problems tend to be less well-known. Let’s take a look at some of the more common boiler repairs that homeowners run into, and what should be done about them.
Kettling is when your boiler makes a deep rumbling sound, like a large kettle boiling. This is caused by long-term exposure to hard water, which is common in many areas of the United States. Hard water is characterized by a high mineral content, which can have a negative effect on the water pipes in a home. As hard water flows through the boiler’s heat exchanger, it deposits small amounts of minerals on the walls of the pipe. Over many years, those deposits build up until they restrict or completely block the flow of water through the heat exchanger. This causes water to become trapped in the heat exchanger, where it boils.
Believe it or not, most boilers are not actually designed to boil water. When water boils inside the heat exchanger, it evaporates into steam which puts tremendous pressure on the pipe. This is what causes that rumbling sound when a boiler kettles. If left untreated, this can actually cause the heat exchanger to rupture, though there are safety measures in place to shut the boiler down before that happens. Regardless, you should call a professional if you notice your boiler kettling.
Pilot Light Failing
Pilot lights have earned a pretty bad reputation for going out at the drop of a hat. Despite their propensity for blowing out easily, however, there is a difference between blowing out often and refusing to stay lit. If your pilot light is not staying lit for longer than a very short time, it’s probably due to a bad thermocouple. The thermocouple is a part that detects the heat from the pilot light and opens the gas valve to keep it going. When the pilot light blows out, the thermocouple is supposed to close the gas valve as a safety measure. A bad thermocouple is one that closes the gas valve prematurely, smothering the pilot light. The most common fix for this is simply to replace the thermocouple.
If your boiler is having problems, call Rentmeister Total Home Service. We provide heating repair throughout Salt Lake City.