The New ‘IT’ Thing: Boilers

What are the Jones doing now? They are getting boilers installed in their homes. It always starts the same, you think you are on top of the world then at the next neighborhood party the darn Jones’ are talking about their newest fidget spinners or pet rocks, well now they have boilers. You get home and your wife is now insisting that you install a boiler immediately before everyone comes over for book club. After you’ve called Firefly Plumbing to put in your new boiler you are left wondering what exactly it is and how do you keep it working.

For most people, this mysterious item sits in their basement providing their families with hot water and heat and that is all they need to know. Well that is about to change! A boiler is a fantastic and efficient way to heat water however, like most appliances, they require maintenance and monitoring to provide this hot water consistently. Today, we are here to provide you with a very quick rundown of what you need to know to keep your boiler working perfectly and allow you to become the boiler know-it-all on your block.

The most important component of a boiler is what is known as the heat exchanger. This is where the magic happens. Heat is transferred to the water through the heat exchanger providing you and your family with hot showers and heat. If the heat exchanger gets damaged you are looking at a hefty repair bill or quite possibly replacing the whole unit. The easiest way to maintain the heat exchanger is to have it flushed out and cleaned on a semi regular basis, every one to two years.

The next component to watch is the pumps. Pumps are used to move this hot water throughout your home. There is not a lot of maintenance for pumps but there are some warning signs that they are about to give up the ghost. If you hear what sounds like gravel running through the pump it is a sign that there is air in the system. This can be fixed with added air vents but if it goes on for long enough the pump may need to be replaced. Another warning sign is if the pump gets extremely hot it is probably looking to fail.

One more thing that is important to keeping a boiler running at optimal performance is flushing and refilling the entire system once every five years. Glycol and water in a boiler system can begin to break down over time and needs to be replaced in order to keep components from getting clogged. Think of this like changing the oil in your car. If a flush and fill is not completed in a timely manner the critical components to a boiler system will become bogged down and stop working. The mixture of glycol and water needs to be correct as well, we’ve seen too many a boiler where a do-it-yourselfer thought pouring in 100% glycol would make the boiler run even better. Spoiler alert: it doesn’t.

Boilers can be a fantastic way to provide efficient heat and hot water but if they are not maintained they can become expensive and cumbersome. A little bit of maintenance can go a long way towards preventing large repair bills or much larger replacement bills.

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