Boilers and furnaces are the two most popular forms of home heating. Boilers are often chosen due to their quiet operation, long lifespan and minimal maintenance. Regardless, boilers can still run into problems, like a furnace or any other appliance in the home. One of the more common problems of boilers is a water leak. Whether you are using your boiler for home heating or water heating, here are three things that may be causing your leak:
1. Faulty Pressure Valve
If the leak is being caused by a faulty pressure valve, it could be an indication that the pressure is too high. As a general rule, the pressure (PSI) for a standard boiler should be no more than 20 PSI. If yours is higher than this, the valve will allow water to leak out to prevent an unnecessary explosion. In other instances, the pressure valve may not be able to close properly due to sediment build-up. This can be checked by doing the following:
- Turn the boiler off and allow it to cool.
- Once the boiler has cooled, you should lift the boiler's manual pressure release lever. This will discharge water with force, so be careful.
- After a few seconds, close the valve back. If water continues to leak out, then there may indeed be sediment inside and the valve will need to be replaced.
This is a known culprit for many water leaks, whether with your boiler or your plumbing system. Caused by the normal chemical reaction when oxygen and water come together, corrosion can cause the tank and pipes to wear down and weaken over time, which allows water to leak. Usually, there is an anode rod that is placed at the top of the tank and helps to prevent corrosion. However, when it becomes corroded, it may not be sufficient in protecting the boiler. Sometimes, the corrosion may be concentrated to one of the valves, which can be an easy fix by simply replacing that valve with a new one. However, if the corrosion is inside the tank and more extensive, the entire boiler may need to be replaced.
3. Ill-Fitting Pipes
If you have noticed that the leaking water is coming from around the pipe fittings, then the pipes may not have been properly installed. This can happen when someone was trying to do a quick job or a technician did not have adequate training on the proper installation of the boiler. As a general rule, the loose connections between the pipes is due to inadequate copper soldering. If this isn't fixed as soon as possible, the leak will become much worse over time. If it can be caught early and you can hire an experienced and skilled HVAC technician, it may be able to be repaired. However, in some cases, the damage may be so critical that it requires a replacement.
If you've noticed that your boiler is leaking, you need to speak to a licensed and trained HVAC professional as soon as possible. An inefficient boiler is not going to provide you with adequate heat, and it is going to cost a lot more to operate. Plus, it will deteriorate much faster. To ensure your boiler lasts as long as it can, contact an expert as soon as you notice a leak or any other problem. For more information about boiler repair, contact a company like Rickett Industrial Environmental Systems.