Boilers are responsible for more than half of the average home's monthly energy costs.
Most of us don't begrudge this. Boilers provide us with some of the defining luxuries of modern life. Namely, indoor heat and hot water on demand.
At the same time, however, most households give very little thought to their boilers. Not until something goes terribly wrong.
By then, of course, it's too late. You're left without heat and hot water, usually at the worst possible moment. Life becomes a miserable scramble to fix the problem without emptying your wallet.
It's a nightmare, but it doesn't have to happen to you. Check out these easy-to-spot red flags that can help you determine when your boiler needs repair or replacement before disaster strikes.
1. Water Where It Shouldn't Be
Leaks can be one of the most obvious signs of potential trouble. Intact boilers should never leak. If you spot water on or around your boiler, it's an indicator that maintenance is due.
Even if a leak appears minor, you should take action right away. Here's why:
- Small leaks are easy to fix. Left unattended, they become big, expensive and much harder to repair.
- Addressing problems while the boiler still works allows you to act on your schedule. Waiting can cause disaster requiring that you put everything else on hold.
- Unattended leaks can lead to water damage and dangerous mould growth. Mould can lead to new and different problems, compounding your headaches.
If you find a leak, call a reliable professional right away.
2. Nasty Smells
Bad smells coming from your boiler are more than an inconvenience. They can be hazardous to your health. A nasty smell may indicate:
- Gas leaks.
- Fuel-burning issues resulting in dangerous levels of carbon monoxide.
- Internal components overheating or burning, creating a fire hazard.
In every case, taking immediate action is essential. Ask "where is the best plumbing repair near me?" not "can I ignore this a little longer?"
Your safety may depend on it.
3. Strange Noises
If you live in an older house, you might be used to all the clunks, thumps, and groans that seem to come with the territory. If your boiler gets in on the act, though, it's time to investigate.
Generally, boilers should produce very little sound. Whistling, hissing, and other noticeable or unusual noises are a warning of impending trouble.
Often, the causes can be simple.
- Limescale or other mineral deposits building up where they shouldn't be.
- Internal parts wearing out.
- Low system pressure.
Calling in an expert for a few plumbing replacement parts can be quick, easy, and inexpensive.
4. Problematic Pilot Light
If your boiler's pilot light keeps going out, it may be a red flag that there are other problems going on that you can't see. Similarly, if the flame is consistently yellow or orange instead of blue, expect trouble.
Spots or blotches around the pilot light may indicate oil staining and are also a sign of issues.
Even if you can relight the boiler, don't ignore these important warnings. Call a plumbing professional and have your boiler evaluated by an expert.
5. Switching Off
Boilers that turn themselves off are practically screaming for help. The source of the problem could be any number of things.
- Low system pressure.
- Faulty internal thermostat.
- Clogged or jammed valves.
- Overheating internal components.
- Broken pumps or heat exchangers.
- Air infiltration.
Whatever the cause, boilers that turn themselves off require professional help. Calling for service sooner rather than later can head off serious calamity and save you money.
Good boilers can last around 15 years or more. Not every boiler will have such an illustrious lifespan, however. Numerous factors play a role in how long boilers last.
- Initial manufacturing quality.
- Proper or improper installation and maintenance.
- Chemicals and other substances in the water.
Never assume that your boiler is fine just because it hasn't reached the end of its theoretical life expectancy. On the other hand, if you know your boiler is aging, it may be wise to start planning to replace it before it dies and leaves you hanging.
Boiler Service: Repair vs Replacement
It's no secret that most households would rather invest in minor repairs than buy a new boiler outright. By calling for service as soon as you notice signs of trouble, you can maximize the likelihood of getting by with repairs rather than replacement.
Scheduling regular boiler maintenance can also help keep your system functioning well long-term.
However, in some cases, plumbing replacement can be an attractive option. Even the best-maintained older model boilers are inherently inefficient. Newer, eco-friendly boiler models can:
- Save money through improved energy efficiency.
- Require less maintenance than aging boilers.
- Integrate with whole-house solar and alternative power systems.
- Last longer than traditional boilers.
If you are planning to rent, lease, or sell your home in the next five years, installing a new boiler may help you get top dollar for your property.
Heading Off Boiler Disasters
There are three simple keys to preventing costly boiler disasters in your home.
- Keep up with standard and preventative maintenance. There is no better way to prevent buildup and catch problems early.
- Don't ignore problems. Check your boiler periodically to ensure everything is up to snuff. If you notice something questionable, take action immediately.
- When in doubt, call for boiler service. Better to pay professionals for a "wellness check" and minor cleaning or repairs than risk the potentially deadly consequences of ignoring a problem that's more serious than it looks.
Check your boiler for warning signs and schedule an appointment for repairs or smart preventative maintenance with Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Regina today!