In general, radiant systems require the same attention as forced-air heating and cooling systems, but the task list is very different and requires a technician familiar with this system. As with any mechanical system, keeping up with preventive maintenance is the best way to ensure your radiant system takes care of you for many years to come. The good news is that with proper care, most radiant systems last decades and continue to serve the house long after the residents who installed them have moved out.
As with other HVAC equipment, preventive maintenance should be ideally performed twice a year. During these visits, your technician can:
What technicians do during preventive maintenance:
- Test the boiler pressure. The pressure should be somewhere between 10 and 20 pounds. Each system is different, so ask your technician what the optimum level is for yours, so you can periodically check it yourself. If it ever gets too low, there could be trouble with your system.
- Ensure the tubing and pipes aren’t leaking. If the system springs a leak, you probably won’t notice. The water won’t move up from the tubing to flood your floor, but will sink down, often finding its way straight into the ground. This means a leak could go unnoticed for years. Your system shouldn't run out of water, because it’s designed to automatically add water to maintain pressure levels, but a leak will waste a great deal of energy and ultimately damage expensive components within the system.
- Check for corrosion. If you have copper pipes, repairing corrosion shouldn't be very difficult. However, if the pipes are steel, and corrosion spreads, it may be impractical to repair them. Proper installation and preventive maintenance can prevent leaks that may mark the beginning of the end for your radiant system.
- Check for rust in the circulating pump, the expansion tank, and the relief and reducing valves. If the circulating pump makes too much noise, contact P.K. Wadsworth. It could be time for a new part, and it’s much less expensive to replace a part or two than the entire pump.
Between preventive maintenance visits, make sure the area surrounding the boiler is clean and clear, especially of flammable materials. If you have more questions about maintenance for your radiant system, contact P.K. Wadsworth. We’re proud to serve our neighbors throughout Greater Cleveland.
Photo credit: Sally Hunter