Boilers are more often seen in residences than commercial settings today, as they are good choice for keeping a home comfortably heated. However, they are still used in some commercial buildings such as restaurants, swimming pools, car washes, and multi-family units.
It’s important for homeowners to be able to identify the signs their boiler needs service, or even replacement. With the exception of an old boiler that’s reaching its end of life, regular maintenance and attention will keep a boiler running smoothly and can help avoid full replacement. As Denver boiler specialists, Simply Mechanical’s technicians have seen it all when it comes to boilers. Below are our recommendations for repair versus replacement.
Listen: Your Boiler Might be Telling You Something
Here are some of the first signs that a boiler needs a service visit:
- Hearing the water in the pipes. A boiler should be silent, as far as water is concerned.
- Lethargic heat. It’s not quite doing the job, and your home is not as warm as usual, at the same settings.
- Significant change in energy bills. Look at the year over year costs. If it’s costing more to run, and nothing else has changed, this could be a sign it’s operating inefficiently.
The most common repair jobs for a boiler usually include part of the ignition process such as the spark ignition module, or the zone valve, or the drain.
There are also a few signs that point to something more serious, and a potential safety risk. Boilers are more hazardous because their medium–water–can change its state. And when that happens it becomes 1,000x bigger. Additionally, 80% of efficient boilers don’t rely on induced draft motors and therefore do not have a pressure switch interlock for the gas value.
If any of the following are present, contact a boiler specialist right away:
- A yellow flame. Modern boilers should have a blue flame. Older boilers (1940 or older), should show carbon luminescence, or a white flame.
- The presence of carbon scoring or marks that look like black soot. This happens because there is not induced draft motor.
- Dancing flames
Prolonging the Life of a Boiler
When minor issues come up with a boiler, it can be easy to ignore them or simply get used to them. However, some minor issues that are left unchecked can lead to bigger and more costly repairs down the road. For example, if you are hearing noises and air in the pipes but you don’t call a boiler specialist, it can lead to pump failure. Or, if you are hearing a waterfall or trickle sound, and see mineral build up on the pipe joints, it likely indicates a small leak that will eventually pop. A basic and helpful thing that homeowners can do is to vacuum their baseboard units when they see lint or hair building up on them.
When it’s Time to Contact a Boiler Specialist in Denver for Replacement
At a certain point, it’s just more cost effective to replace a boiler. In general, it can be tough for a boiler specialist to tell just upon looking if a boiler needs replacing. They would have to cut it open to really see the wear and tear. A reliable metric for replacement is the age of the boiler.
If a boiler is twenty years, or older, it’s time to consider replacement. In old boilers, water will eventually cut through the belly of the boiler. That dense mineral water acts just as water does in a rock canyon, eventually breaking the rock down. Additionally, around twenty years old, a boiler’s warranty expires. An Original Equipment Manufacturer won’t guarantee a boiler past twenty years.
Another metric to go by is the amount of a potential repair. If you are up against a $1500 to $2000 repair, it’s best to consider a full replacement.