Most homeowners understand that regular service for their boilers is as important as it is for their cars. Unfortunately, even equipment that’s benefited from regular professional maintenance has a natural life; things simply wear out over time. It’s good to have some knowledge of signs in your boiler’s operation that could mean there’s trouble ahead. This is especially important when total failure could mean an emergency, which is not uncommon here in northern New Jersey during the winter months.
The Telltale Part
Aside from clangs and bangs, the most common telltale sign that there may be trouble ahead for a boiler is the poor economy of operation. If your heating season bills are increasing year by year, while your usage patterns remain consistent, it’s probably time to think about a replacement.
Symptoms and Signals
Other signs that there may be trouble ahead include:
- Overheating circulator pump – Pumps become warm as a part of normal operation (the water they move is heated, after all). If, however, your pump remains very hot to the touch several minutes after it has shut off, this can be a sign of imminent breakdown.
- Gauge behavior – Many boilers have a temperature/pressure gauge. The scale is graduated from zero to a reading marked with a red line. If the gauge’s needle is reading near zero or above the red line, this indicates a problem.
- Rapid cycling – Combination boilers in central heating mode rely on instructions from the thermostat to fire up. If the boiler cycles on and off rapidly, but never brings the temperature up to the setting on the thermostat, it may be that either the thermostat itself or the boiler’s control board is starting to malfunction.
Your boiler will not operate at all if the fuse(s) or circuit breaker(s) that protect it are blown. Troubleshooting wiring systems and hardware is a job for professionals, as is replacing the entire installation. In Essex, Morris, and Union counties, please contact Pipe Works Services for a professional assessment.