Understanding the Most Common Boiler Problems

Most homes heat their water with either a water heater or boiler. A boiler not only provides hot water for showers, clothes and dishes, just as a water heater does, but also can be used to heat the home.

Unfortunately, most boilers break down during the cold months. After having been inactive for the summer, they’re put back to work, or are asked to do more work. Boiler breakdowns, or failures, are typically a result of age or improper installation. If you’re suddenly finding yourself without heat this coming winter, it could be due to one of the common problems listed below.

A Kobella technician would be more than happy to talk through any of these issues, or our related boiler services, with you in more detail.

Failed Circulating Pump

Circulating pumps transfer hot water from the boiler to the heating devices – such as radiators or convection pipes – and back to the boiler. The pumps keep the water traveling throughout the system, so every room in your home stays warm.

If the pump has failed, or is not working properly, then hot water may not be traveling throughout your home, or may be traveling very slowly.

Failed Zone Valve

The pipe system that heats your home may be divided into zones to allow more control over which rooms are heated when. When you change your thermostat to allow heat in a particular area, the thermostat switch causes the zone valve to open, permitting hot water to flow through that zone.

Not surprisingly, if the zone valve has failed, then hot water is blocked from traveling to the room, or area, that you’d like to heat.

Failed Thermostat

As thermostat’s age they can lose accuracy or switch on or off when not commanded to do so.

Failed Flame Sensor or Spark Ignitor

Flame sensors are safety devices that prevent unnecessary flow of gas. When the burners are not lit, the sensor signals the furnace that the gas valve does not need to be open. If the gas valve were to remain open, unnecessary gas would be released into your home’s air.

If the sensor has failed, your boiler may not have a proper understanding of when to turn on and off.

General Maintenance to Avoid Boiler Problems

As with most other home systems and appliances, the more you properly care for it, the longer your boiler will run without experiencing problems. We recommend boilers be serviced at least once a year. As part of the Kobella Preventive Maintenance Plan, we fully inspect your boiler for potential problems and resolve them before they turn into something greater.

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