News & Advice


This may seem like a question you are asking yourself, but I find myself asking the same thing. Boilers themselves aren’t exactly complicated but they have many external devices and parts as well. I will start here…

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Feel free to read on but here is a quick list of things to check.

  1. Is the pilot out? A lot of boilers have pilots. If yours has an electronic ignition then this doesn’t help you but check to see if you have a small flame down by the burners
  2. Is the pump running? Use your best judgement. Is the pump making noise? Is it EXTREMELY hot to the touch (be careful)? If the boiler is running but hot water is being delivered than your house will be cold. Read: Various residential hydronic pumps (coming soon)
  3. Are some parts of the house warm and others cold? This mean either your water pressure is low or you have air trapped in the system. Typical water pressure should be 12 psi. If the pressure is normal than you will need to bleed your system at the problem areas. Read: Various water feeds for boilers (coming soon)

What is a boiler? Boilers are classified under hydronics when speaking within the industry. All that refers to is a fancy term heating water as oppose to the air in your home. While gravity boilers still exist in some older homes most boilers have a water pump which circulates that heated water throughout your home.

Some homes have radiators, those big cast iron things of old, and some have base board style heat and even those have different styles. There is old cast iron shin high base board heaters and the more modern copper pipe and aluminum fin kind. The new kids on the block are radiant floor heating boiler systems . Really all this means is some look different than others. But more importantly they bleed different as well.

Older boiler systems typically have to be bled of air at the point of use. Meaning if the radiator has air in it, you will typically need to open a bleeder valve to allow the air to escape. Newer systems are plumbed in a matter that allows for force bleeding. This is a process of isolating the various heating loops or circuits and using the water pressure to push the air through the system and out of a valve at a designated manifold near the boiler. Huh? It’s very convenient for all parties trust me. No moving china chests and armoires to access buried radiators.

Although boilers imply the water is “boiling”, they typically only reach 180 degrees not the 212 degrees needed to boil water. I didn’t name them so don’t blame me.

Water pressure should be checked at the very least annually. Typical systems are set to 12 psi but can go higher if you have multiple stories. I wouldn’t go much higher than 20 psi in most residential cases.

Boilers have all the same variances in technology as furnaces these days too. High efficiency boilers have become increasingly available and have all that much more gizmos and doodads.

All-in-all if you have a water boiler than I highly recommend annual maintenance. There are a lot of components within the system that need to be inspected, cleaned and adjusted. Many companies charge extra for water boiler repair service due to the nature of the systems. Prices of repairs typically run anywhere from 10%-20% more just because they are a boiler.

If you have a specific symptom or need a guide to walk you through your system feel free to contact us. And never…EVER mix boiler system water with potable drinking water. Gross.

Stay comfortable and good luck