A leaking boiler isn’t something you want to experience, and you shouldn’t take it lightly. Leaking boilers are troublesome and result in adverse consequences. An untreated leak usually leads to rusting components, which eventually leads to malfunctioning electrical components within your boiler. As soon as you detect boiler leakage, you must pinpoint and fix the problem quickly to prevent more severe damage.
Boiler leaks are most common during the winter, and this shouldn’t come as a surprise. Not only is your boiler working overtime in the cold months, but when the temperature drops below zero, standing water in the pipes and inside the boiler can freeze into ice. Moreover, the condensate pipe, which removes the remaining steam and condensation from your boiler, can freeze shut; this prevents your boiler from functioning properly.
Worst of all, your boiler can go faulty for a multitude of reasons, which could be difficult to detect on your own. Here is a guide to help you identify boiler leakage. Continue reading to find out how you can fix your boiler.
Understanding How a Boiler Works
Boilers are water-containing vessels that transfer heat from a fuel source (usually oil, gas, or coal) into steam. The steam is then piped to a point where it can be used to run production equipment, provide heat, to sterilize, to steam clean, among other tasks. There are two main types of boilers: firetube boilers and water-tube boilers.
Firetube boilers, also known as shell boilers, can produce up to 25,000 pounds of steam per hour. 80 percent of boilers at home are of this configuration. You may have also heard of a packaged boiler, which is a subtype of the firetube boiler. Packaged boilers are shipped complete with fuel-burning equipment, mechanical draft equipment, and automatic controls that are designed to function automatically. It’s especially important to prevent any scale formation when it comes to packaged boilers.
Watertube boilers are rectangular and contain two or more drums. Separation of steam and water occurs at the top of the drum, whereas the bottom drum serves as a collecting point for sludge. These systems aren’t as standard as firetube boilers, but they are essential when over 100,000 pounds of steam per hour is needed.
Determining Why Your Boiler Is Leaking
Identifying boiler leakage is stressful, but the following reasons might explain why your boiler is malfunctioning. Is your boiler’s pressure too high? If you notice that your system is leaking from the boiler pressure valve, then you ought to check if the pressure is too high. Boiler pressure relief valves are supposed to leak water as a safety protection feature to prevent ruining your other appliances. To check if your valve is suffering from too much pressure, look at the gauge needle on your boiler. The gauge needle should be pointing toward the green section and should be set to around one bar. If the gauge needle is pointing toward the red section, it’s an indication of valve overpressure. A way to solve this problem is to bleed out your boiler to help reduce pressure.
Another common culprit of water leakage is pipe corrosion. Corrosion is the reversion of metal to its ore form. For example, iron reverts to iron oxide as a result of corrosion. The process of corrosion is a complex electrochemical reaction that can occur in many forms. Boiler leaks can be attributed to corroded pipes in the water tank, which are bound to break down over time. If your pipes only started corroding recently, then a technician can replace your pipes with ease. Unfortunately, if the corrosion is widespread, then you’ll need to replace your entire boiler.
Fixing Your Leaking Boiler
There are only a handful of steps you can take to try fixing your boiler, and if all else fails, you’ll have to call a professional. Before you consult a technician, try the following:
- Shut off your water supply. Do this by turning off the internal stop tap; this keeps the puddle of water from growing.
- Turn off the heating: If your house depends on central heating, it’s best to switch off the system as well.
- Drain your system: Since this is a boiler, you can expect some water left inside. To drain the remaining liquid, turn on your tap. Additionally, you may also want to flush all the toilets in your house to speed up the process. Once you notice that no more water is coming out, you’re good to go.
- Mop up the water: If the puddle surrounding your boiler has collected too much water, you have to mop it up fast. Don’t let your boiler’s water sit on your floor for days, as this makes your floor slippery and can pose a safety hazard to your children. Sitting water also leads to mold growth, so mop up the water as soon as possible.
Call Us Today
Although there are some steps you can take to repair a leaking boiler temporarily, the solutions listed above should only be used as a starting point while you get a hold of a professional. Roberts Mechanical is your local go-to expert on all things boiler related. Whether you’re in the market for a new boiler, need a boiler repair, or you need to schedule routine boiler maintenance, our experienced technicians are here to help you.
Roberts Mechanical is based in Orem, Utah, and we’ve been serving Utah County with professional and courteous service for more than 31 years. We are licensed in Utah for heating, air-conditioning, and boiler installation. Roberts Mechanical is a proud Bryant Factory Authorized Dealer, which means that our technicians have passed the training required by NATE certification (North American Technician Excellence). It all boils down to having the best experts on your side. Contact Roberts Mechanical today for all your HVAC needs.