When everything is working properly, your boiler heats water (or makes steam) that is sent through pipes to provide heat via your radiator, baseboard heating system or radiant floor system. Propane- and natural gas-powered boilers are most common in the Cleveland area.
Occasionally, your gas-fueled boiler may break down, leaving your family in the cold and wondering if a long wait for repairs and a big bill are coming your way. To get your heating system back on line as quickly and cost-effectively as possible, a little troubleshooting can go a long way -- even if you're not an expert in boiler repairs. Here's what to look for:
- Power outage. Check the fuse and circuit breaker, and replace or reset as necessary.
- Manual gas shut off valve. Check to be sure it's open. (Don't know where the valve is? Check your owner's manual.)
- Water level. Steam systems have a water sight glass and the level shouldn't drop below half. For water systems, the pressure gauge usually ought to read around 30-35 feet, but this can vary depending upon the type of home it is installed in.
- Thermostat. Be sure the thermostat is set to heating mode and your desired temperature. Test it by moving the temperature setting a few degrees in either direction. Other potential issues: the components are dirty or have loose wires, or, in digital electronic thermostats, the battery is dead.
- Pilot light or electric burner. Relight the pilot light found in older units. On newer models, have the electric ignition intermittent pilot or hot surface ignition inspected and repaired.
If your boiler is more than 15 years old, you could save money in the long term by replacing rather than repairing it, according to the national energy experts at Energy Star. New models are much more energy efficient than older units and the utility savings are significant, as is the level of comfort they can provide.
Problems with your boiler? Questions about new model options? Contact the experts at P.K. Wadsworth Heating & Cooling for professional advice, installation and boiler repairs.