If you're like most people, your boiler is the farthest thing from your mind—until it shows signs of malfunction that you can't possibly ignore. Following are four signs that your boiler is experiencing distress and needs professional help as soon as possible.
Your Boiler Smells Funny
Abnormal smells coming from your boiler are strong indications that something is wrong. If you smell a burning odor, that could be an indication that the heating element is wearing out, but it could also mean that the thermostat has failed to function properly and is causing your boiler to overheat.
Also, if you've got a boiler than runs on natural gas, be alert for anything that smells like sulphur or rotten eggs—because natural gas has no odor of its own, additives with unpleasant odors are used to produce warnings to those in the vicinity that gas may be leaking. If you suspect this to be the case, turn your boiler off immediately, turn the gas off at the main valve, and call the emergency contact number for your natural gas company so that they can come to your home and test for leaks. If the leak is indeed coming from your boiler, it will have to be repaired or replaced before it can be used again.
Your Boiler Sounds Funny
The presence of abnormal sounds is another sign that your boiler may be experiencing severe malfunction. Different noises can indicate a variety of conditions. For instance, a high, whistling noise that resembles a loose fan belt in a vehicle may mean that the fan belt in your boiler has given up the ghost. Whistling noises can also be an indication that air is trapped in your boiler's system by water blockage or by a drop in water pressure. Loud clanking noises may sound particularly ominous, but often, they are nothing more than bolts that have become loose from their bearings—however, always err on the side of caution with unfamiliar boiler noises, and never assume that their cause is insignificant. Another far more serious cause of banging noises coming from a boiler is called kettling—this takes place as a result of limestone deposits blocking the flow of water from the boiler. Gurgling sounds may occur if air is trapped in the system, if sediment has become built up at the bottom of the boiler tank, or by frozen pipes.
Diagnosing boiler issues by sound is almost impossible because there are so many possible causes for each individual noise, so turn the system off and call a professional when boiler sounds indicate a malfunction in the unit.
Your Boiler Is Leaking
If you notice puddles of water around your boiler, turn it off and call a professional for repairs. If you continue to allow your boiler to leak, you run the risk of the unit completely bursting as the leak grows in size. Also, standing water can cause serious damage to your flooring as well as your foundation. Leaking boilers also use substantially more energy than their intact counterparts, so expect utility bills to skyrocket if you allow the situation to continue.
Your Boiler Is Failing to Heat Properly
If your home remains cold no matter how high you set the thermostat, the culprit may be the thermostat itself. If it's the type that runs on a battery, check to see if the battery is still alive. Short circuits in the thermostat may also be the reason for this problem, and if this is the case, the thermostat will have to be replaced. However, inadequate heating can have causes that extend far beyond the thermostat, so put your boiler in the hands of a professional so it can get back to the business of keeping you and family warm.
For more information, contact local professionals like Moorhead Machinery & Boiler Co.