Your boiler is a complex piece of equipment, with many parts that need to be in sync to work right. Yearly maintenance is important to keep it in good shape so it doesn't break down when you need it most. But if something does go wrong, you should have a basic understanding of boiler troubleshooting so you don't just throw up your hands and panic.
Common Boiler Problems
Is the power on? You'd be surprised how often this is the reason a boiler isn't turning on. Check the electricity. If you have a gas-powered boiler, is the stopcock open so that gas is flowing? If there's no gas, contact your gas supplier. If you have an oil-burning boiler, check the oil supply.
Is the pilot light lit? Often you can do this yourself by following instructions near the pilot light. If you don't have a pilot light, you likely have a spark ignition unit that light a pilot which in turn lights the main burner. If the unit doesn't make a sparking noise, this might be the problem. This type of problem is usually best solved by a heating professional.
Once again, it's basic, but it pays to always check to see that the thermostat is in the "on" (heating) position. Set the temperature higher than the room temperature to see if it comes on. If this doesn't work, you may have a thermostat malfunction.
While thermostats can be repaired and re-calibrated, if you have an old one, it may be time to replace. Newer thermostats have improved energy-saving controls that can cut your costs significantly.
Generally, boilers need a different type of thermostat than a regular "hot air" furnace because of the way they operate. When selecting a replacement thermostat be sure that the manufacturer lists the unit for either "steam or hydronic" operation. There are settings specifically for these types of units as the new thermostat is set up.
Poor Heating Performance
For hot water boilers, this can be caused when there's low water pressure in the boiler. Check the pressure and temperature gauge. If water is below 12 psi, you may be able to manually open the water feed valve.
For more information on boiler troubleshooting, please contact us at P.K. Wadsworth Heating and Cooling. We serve the greater Cleveland area.