Boehmer Heating & Cooling Blog: Posts Tagged ‘Boiler’

Is Scaling Dangerous for My Boiler?

Monday, January 1st, 2018

mpa-boiler-pressureYou may have been told before that your boiler is affected by boiler scale (or boiler deposits), but you’re not sure whether to take this issue seriously. Scaling in boilers is actually an incredibly common problem. High levels of minerals in the water, such as calcium and magnesium, get left behind in the boiler tank and tubes, which may lead to a reduction in heat along with a loud banging noise, in some instances.

If this is such a common occurrence, is it really dangerous for your boiler? In most cases, yes! A boiler suffering from scale buildup is in danger of breaking down or leaking water into your home, both of which require immediate heating repair. Learn more about these issues in the following guide, and call us in if you suspect an issue.

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The Basics of an Electric Boiler

Friday, January 30th, 2015

With the massive popularity of natural gas as a fuel source for home heating systems, it’s not surprising that so many people view it as the only option. Though natural gas is a great choice for many reasons, it is thankfully not the only option available. Whether due to limitations on the availability of natural gas, or simply the desire to use a non-combustion system, more and more people are making use of electric heaters in their home. Let’s examine one of the more common electric heaters, the electric boiler, and how it can benefit your home.

How it Works

An electric boiler is actually fairly similar to one powered by natural gas. The only real difference is that an electric boiler eschews any sort of combustion to create heat, instead using several heating elements to warm the water being circulated around the house.

In a gas boiler, the heat exchanger is suspended over the flames of the burner assembly. Water flows through the heat exchanger and is heated by the fire below before flowing into the house. An electric boiler is a little different, with the heating elements actually inside the heat exchanger with the water supply. The heating elements themselves are basically very thick metal wires, coiled and connected to the electricity supply. As the system runs an electrical current through these wires, it meets resistance that causes the coils to heat up. The now-hot heating elements heat the water in the heat exchanger before distribution.

Why Install an Electric Boiler?

There are many reasons to prefer an electric boiler over other heating systems, the first of which being efficiency. Electricity is often more expensive as a fuel type, compared to natural gas. However, natural gas heaters vent a lot of heat out of the house as combustion gases, which are useless to the heating system and dangerous to the homeowner. As an electric boiler does not combust fuel, almost all of its heat goes directly into the water used to heat the house. Electric boilers also require a lot less maintenance, due to their lack of moving parts compared to combustion heaters.

If you are interested in installing an electric boiler, call Boehmer Heating & Cooling to schedule an appointment. We provide quality boiler installation services throughout Bethel Park.

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What is an Aquastat?

Tuesday, January 13th, 2015

Furnaces have been around for a very long time, and have been one of the most popular heating systems available for most of that time. This has led homeowners to gain at least a little bit of basic knowledge about the various parts of the furnace and their roles. Hydronic systems, however, are only recently becoming popular among homeowners. This means that much of their inner workings are not common knowledge quite yet. In an effort to educate homeowners about some of the ways in which hydronic systems operate, let’s examine the aquastat.

The Aquastat

An aquastat is a device installed in hydronic water systems for the purpose of controlling temperature within the boiler. An aquastat is similar to the furnace limit switch in operation, maintaining a safe operating temperature for the central heating unit. There are two settings in every aquastat, a high setting and a low setting.

Despite the name, most boilers are not actually meant to boil water. Doing so would result in steam, and a dangerous buildup of pressure in a system that is not designed for it. For this reason, the aquastat shuts off the boiler when it reaches the high temperature limit. This keeps the water hot, but below boiling temperature.

The low temperature limit is meant to keep the water supply temperature from dropping too low. When the boiler shuts off after reaching the high limit, the system will continue to circulate water for as long as the thermostat is asking for heat. Eventually, however, the water will begin to cool. When the water temperature reaches the low limit, the aquastat starts the boiler up again to raise the water temperature.

These two limits allow the aquastat to keep a tight control over the water temperature in the system, making sure that it is neither too hot nor too cold. Without the aquastat, the boiler would run the risk of overheating or not heating enough to meet the home’s needs.

If you’d like to know more about the aquastat, call Boehmer Heating & Cooling. We offer professional boiler installation service in the North Hills area.

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At What Point Should I Be Concerned About Rust on My Boiler?

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

Rust is a natural chemical reaction that occurs between metal and water in the presence of oxygen: it’s something we expect to happen whenever iron-based metal is exposed to water. However, the boiler in your home that keeps you warm during chilly Pennsylvania winters does not usually rust, even though water is a basic part of its operation.

The reason you don’t often see rust or corrosion on your boiler is that manufacturers design them to work as air-tight as possible. There is little oxygen available to allow for the oxidation that leads to rust. As long as your boiler receives regular, annual maintenance and proper repairs, it shouldn’t show signs of rust until near the end of its lifetime. If you have a professional service like Boehmer Heating & Cooling taking care of the needs for your boiler in Pittsburgh, PA, you can expect a long and rust-free performance life.

But is a bit of rust necessarily a need for repairs? At what point should you be concerned about the appearance of corrosion on your boiler?

The answer: Any rust on a boiler is a negative sign and a reason to call for repairs.

If rust develops on a relatively young boiler, it could point to a number of serious issues. Sediment and dirt might be infiltrating the tank through breaks in underground pipes. The expansion valve on top of the tank could have broken and permitted oxygen into the tank. The pH balance of the water is too acidic. Any of these problems needs to be addressed, not only to stop the development of corrosion, but to prevent other issues in the system.

The most damaging consequence of rust along a boiler is that it weakens metal and will lead to leaks. If it spreads across the tank, it could lead to the tank bursting. Rust developing along the connections will cause them to start leaking extensively. Rust is also a natural insulator, and this will upset the temperature balance inside the tank, leading to overheating and an increase in pressure.

If too much rust develops along your boiler’s tank, your only option is usually to have the tank replaced. If caught earlier enough on the heat exchangers and other replaceable parts, technicians can usually stop it. But you have to move fast: the moment you find rust on your boiler, call up a dependable repair service to look into the problem and find a solution.

Since 1933, Boehmer Heating & Cooling has provided people in Pittsburgh, PA with boiler installation, maintenance, and repair that has kept them warm. You can trust us to help you with any trouble you encounter with your boiler.

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Common Boiler Problems

Thursday, February 27th, 2014

Listing “boiler problems” takes a more work than listing “furnace problems” or “heat pump problems.” That’s because boilers experience fewer repair needs and malfunctions than other home comfort system because they do not use as many mechanical parts that can break or wear down. Boilers have remarkable longevity because of this, and with basic maintenance performed once a year by a professional, your boiler should give you at least two decades of excellent heating.

But although there are fewer “boiler problems” to list, they do exist. Here are some troubles with boilers that will require you call for heating repair in Pittsburgh, PA. You can reach Boehmer Heating & Cooling 24 hours a day when you need emergency work to restore your malfunctioning boiler.

Boiler problems that require repairs

  • Frozen pipes: In a city that can get as cold as Pittsburgh, pipes freezing can become a major problem—and the pipes attached to your boiler are as susceptible as those attached to your regular plumbing. Frozen pipes will often burst, and you’ll need professionals to replace the afflicted sections. The repair technicians can also help you insulate your pipes to avoid freezing problems in the future.
  • Leaking: Any system that circulates water can suffer from leaking. Aging pipes, poor soldering, corrosion, high water pressure… all can lead to your boiler springing leaks. You need professionals to seal the leaks before it reduces your boiler’s heating ability, and also to find out what caused the leaks in the first place.
  • Sediment build-up in the tank: Over time, the water tank of a boiler can begin to collect sediment that will settle along the bottom of the tank. This sediment can contribute to rust and a dangerous increase in water pressure. Technicians can flush the tank to eliminate the build-up.
  • Limescale: If the water inside the boiler’s system is hard (i.e. it contains too much calcium and magnesium), the high temperature will cause a phenomenon called limescale to develop inside the tank as it heats the hard water. Limescale is in insulator, and this will unbalance the temperature in the tank, leading to high water pressure.
  • Cold water mixing in the tank: A broken mixing valve can cause cold water to enter the top of the tank and begin mixing with the hot water, causing a drop in water temperature throughout your home. If you notice rumbling from the tank, this is probably the reason.

Call for professional repairs

Boehmer Heating & Cooling can take care of the heating repair in Pittsburgh, PA you need to restore your boiler if any of the above happens. Don’t try repairs yourself… you may only cause further damage. Put your trust in our NATE-certified technicians.

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3 Causes of Boiler Leaks

Monday, February 17th, 2014

Boilers have a number of advantages that keep them competitive as heating options. Perhaps the most attractive one is longevity. Boilers have few mechanical parts, which means they are less prone to wear and tear due to age. With regular maintenance, they can last over two decades and require few repairs during that time.

It’s rare for any system to last that long without any repairs, however, and boilers do have a particular issue that sometimes needs professionals to fix: leaks. There are a few different reasons for leaks to occur, but no matter how they happen, they need immediate attention before the whole heating system is compromised or a house sustains water damage. Boehmer Heating & Cooling has worked on boilers since 1933; place your trust in us when it comes to your boiler in Pittsburgh, PA.

Three common reasons for boiler leaks:

1. High water pressure

Boilers are designed with an expansion tank to maintain water pressure inside the main tank as the temperature rises. But if a malfunction occurs that allows the pressure to increase or the water to overheat, it will start to cause leaks to spring up in multiple connections and valves throughout the boiler system. A professional will need to seal the leaks and discover the reason for the pressure spike.

2. Corrosion

Wherever water and metal meet, there is possibility of corrosion occurring. Although modern boilers are designed to resist corrosion, it can still occur because of oxygen infiltration into the tank. Corrosion weakens metal, and will soon cause leaking to begin. Corrosion must be removed as soon as possible before it spreads too far and requires a full tank replacement.

3. Improper installation

We cannot emphasize this enough: you must rely on professionals to install a boiler system. If your boiler received poor installation, it will lead to multiple troubles, but leaking is the most common. Untrained installers usually perform poor soldering jobs on the connections, and these will soon start to develop leaks. Although sometimes repairs from experts can fix initial installation glitches, often the whole boiler will need to be replaced.

If you detect leaks anywhere on your boiler, call for service right away. If you notice a decrease in heating power or hear a rumbling in the tank (often a sign of overheating), you should also call for repairs. Take good care of your boiler and it will reward you with many years of effective warming that will outstrip any other heating system.

Boehmer Heating & Cooling is available for 24-hour emergency service. We also offer maintenance plans to keep your boiler in Pittsburgh, PA in good shape all year.

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What to Do if Your Boiler is Leaking Water

Monday, November 18th, 2013

When it comes to heating repair, Pittsburgh residents know better than to fool around. Our winters are as cold as they come, and a day without a reliable heating system is almost as miserable as watching the Steelers lose to the Ravens. That means looking for the warning signs of a problem, which may allow you to stop a smaller problem before it becomes a bigger one. If you own a boiler, keep a particular eye out for leaking water, which is one of the most common problems with such a system.

Leaks can develop anywhere in the system, and with a large house, that system may be quite extensive. Checking for puddled water is the most obvious way to pinpoint a leak, particularly around any connections or seals in the pipeline. Unfortunately, many leaks start out very small and the hot water involved can evaporate before it puddles on the floor. By the time you notice the water, the problem may be bigger than you’d like.

A smarter way to check for leaks is to monitor the overall pressure in your boiler’s pressure gauge. If you notice it starts to drop, you’re likely looking at a leak somewhere in the system. Pinpointing it can be difficult; the best thing to do is shut off the boiler for the time being and contact a service technician to give it a look. He can likely hunt down the source of the leak and instigate some high quality repairs.

If you know what to do if your boiler is leaking water, the next step is to contact a professional who you trust. The experts at Boehmer Heating & Cooling handle any heating repair in Pittsburgh, and we’re completely dedicated to fixing your boiler problems the first time, every time. Call us today and make sure the job is done right!

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Top 3 Reasons to Choose a Boiler in Pittsburgh

Monday, November 4th, 2013

Whether you choose to heat with a gas furnace or an older boiler, Pittsburgh residents need to know the benefits. We’re a tough town here in Steeler country, and our winters are as harsh as they come.  Whatever system you use to heat your household needs to be able to do the job for many years, and you have to rely on it to perform when life gives you other things to occupy your attention. Not every type of heating system fits every circumstance, and you’ll need to decide for yourself which one works best for your circumstances. Having said that, a boiler system – using hot water or steam to warm your household – offers a number of tangible advantages over other types of heating. Here are the top 3 reasons to choose a boiler in Pittsburgh.

  • No dust. Gas furnaces use a “forced air” system, which blows hot air through your home in an effort to heat it up. This can spread dust and debris around your house, which can exacerbate allergies and create irritation in the nose and throat. Boilers don’t need ductwork to circulate the warm air, so dust and debris won’t spread through your home like that.
  • Noise. Boilers are extremely quiet in their functioning, limited mostly to the burning gas or oil in the boiler itself.  That means you don’t have to put up with the sound in exchange for having a cozy and comfortable home.
  • Even heat. Along with the lack of dust comes a lack of drafts or cold spots in the home. The radiators in a boiler system warm the air evenly, increasing comfort levels and improving the overall quality of life in the home.

All of that comes with month-to-month costs that are comparable to gas furnaces and similar forms of heating. When looking at the possibilities of a boiler, Pittsburgh residents can talk to the experts at Boehmer Heating & Cooling. We can explain the reasons to choose a boiler in Pittsburgh – as well as the benefits of forced air furnaces and other forms of heating – then install your chosen unit with professionalism and pride. Give us a call to set up an appointment today.

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Pittsburgh Boiler Repairs: When to Schedule

Monday, February 25th, 2013

In Pittsburgh, cold temperatures last well into spring. If you want to ensure that your home stays comfortable all year long, don’t wait to schedule boiler repair service. If you think your boiler is no longer operating effectively, it may be time to schedule a consultation with a boiler repair specialist. Call Boehmer Heating & Cooling today for more information.

When should you schedule boiler repair? That depends on the problem, of course, but as a general rule, it’s important to keep in mind that boiler problems do not simply go away. Even if the symptoms are no longer there, the underlying problem is likely still the same and may have worsened. Even if your boiler is still relatively effective, scheduling routine service can significantly reduce the likelihood of major repair needs and increase the durability of the system. Familiarize yourself with the following symptoms—if you recognize any of these issues in your boiler system, then don’t hesitate to call in a pro to have a look.

  • Excessive noise. An appliance as large as your boiler is bound to make some noise, but if there are especially loud or unusual sounds coming from your boiler, it could be an indication of a serious problem. You may have air in the system, water pressure may be too low, or, if you have hard water, there may be lime scale build-up on the heat exchanger inside your boiler, thus causing it to rumble.
  • Pilot light keeps going out. This is a common issue, and may be due to too much debris in the supply line to the pilot, which is not giving the flame enough fuel to burn, or there may be a draft in the system that keeps blowing it out.
  • No heat. Your boiler requires power, and if a fuse has blown or if a circuit has been tripped, then it cannot work. Other reasons vary: water level might be low, thermostat malfunction, pilot light or electronic burner ignition malfunction, and other so on. This is probably the most obvious reason to schedule a boiler repair, but due to the complexity of the factors involved, it is not easy to determine a definite cause.

Thankfully, knowing when to schedule a boiler repair in Pittsburgh is much easier than repairing the boiler itself. If you have any doubts about your system or if it’s already giving you problems, give Boehmer Heating & Cooling a call today.

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Basic Boiler Components: A Pittsburgh Boiler Guide

Monday, February 4th, 2013

For a long time, boilers have been one of the most popular home heating options on the market. Their great durability and even, efficient heating suggest that this will not change any time soon. Boilers also feature fewer moving parts than many other home heating systems, reducing service needs and the frequency of breakdowns. At Boehmer Heating & Cooling, we believe that homeowners should have a basic understanding of their heating systems. This can help you recognize problems with your system and even to use it more efficiently. Here are a few descriptions of the basic components that make up the boiler in your Pittsburgh home.

The burner that your boiler uses to heat water or create steam is one of the most important parts of your boiler. The thermostat (another important component) that you use to regulate temperatures in your home tell the burner when it needs to kick into operation. Fuel is fed into the boiler and combustion takes place, allowing the burner to heat the liquid your boiler uses to warm your home.

The burning of this fuel takes place in a chamber known as the combustion chamber. Temperatures in the combustion chamber get very hot, very quickly. The heat from this chamber is then sent to the boiler’s heat exchanger.

A heat exchanger is responsible for transferring the heat created in the combustion chamber into heating liquid. The water in a series of pipes absorbs this heat and is pumped throughout your home. This is how the heat created by your boiler is utilized to keep your entire house warm.

While a boiler does not have many moving parts, it is still necessary to schedule routine maintenance service to ensure that all of its components are in proper working condition. This will help to boost efficiency and will also keep your boiler operating safely. Don’t take any chances; schedule boiler maintenance service today.

For more information about the way in which your boiler heats your home in Pittsburgh, contact the home heating experts at Boehmer Heating & Cooling. We can help ensure your comfort and the safe operation of your home heating system. Our professional boiler technicians have the answers to any questions you may have.

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