If you have a hydronic heating system in your home, you will also have a hot water boiler to heat water when a faucet is turned on. The boiler allows hot water to be distributed throughout different pipes in your home with either a cast iron or steel radiator. While boilers these days are made with quality materials, you might still deal with occasional issues. Here are some tips for troubleshooting your hot water boiler so you know what needs to be fixed.
There is No Heat
If your boiler isn't producing any type of heat, this could be due to a few different issues. The water in the boiler might be low, the thermostat could be malfunctioning, it could have lost its power, or it might have issues with the electronic burner ignition or pilot light. The first thing to do when your boiler is not producing heat, is to check the circuit breaker. If there is a fuse that is blown, then you can try resetting it. This might fix the problem. You should also check the water level to make sure it is at least half full, and that the gas propane valve is closed. If there is a thermostat problem, calling a repair professional is your best bet.
It Heats, But Not Well
Another heating issue you may have with your boiler is that it provides hot water, but not much of it. The two most common causes of insufficient heat are mineral deposits in the boiler, or the wrong water level. If the change in heating is more gradual, it is probably due to mineral deposits being in the boiler and the heat exchanger. If it is a sudden change in heating performance, check the water level. If it is due to mineral deposits, cleaning out the boiler should help solve the problem.
There is a Water Leak
If you notice water leaking around the boiler, there is a problem with the water pipe connection, the pressure relief valve, or the circulator pump. Check the circulator pump first to see if it is working properly. If you notice a leak of the pump, the pump seal may need to be replaced. Other problems with the pump usually need to be fixed by a service technician. If the problem is due to a leak of the pressure relief valve, it is possible that the system expansion tank is filled with water and needs to be flushed. Call a professional if you can't figure out what is causing the leak.
Some Radiators Aren't Heating
If you have multiple radiators in your home, and only certain ones are heating, it could be due to a faulty valve or circulator in your boiler, trapped air in the line, or a problem with the radiator itself. Check the zone valve to be sure it is working, and ensure the circulator has a motor that is running. The circulators control heating zones within the home, so if there is a problem, it could cause it in only one radiator.