Yellow flames on gas burners and black soot on oil boilers indicate that the fuel is not burning properly. Property owners with fuel-burning equipment should install carbon monoxide detectors. When inspecting a boiler, Around the Town contractors look for any signs of corrosion, overheating, or erosion as well as any leaks from the boiler or external piping. These items can be signs that the boiler is not working properly and should be repaired immediately.
As part of a regular boiler inspection, Around the Town contractors check these items as well:
- Inspect the flame igniter and sensor for wear and/or replacement.
- Check the fresh-air intake and exhaust vents to be sure they are not obstructed by anything that could affect the boiler’s operation.
- Make sure the shut-off valves function properly. Check for water leakage.
- Check the refractory for integrity to ensure it is properly protecting critical portions of the boiler.
- Check for broken pieces or cracks and repair, if needed.
- Check the functioning of controls, safety devices, and indicators, including the low-water cutoff (LWCO) devices and regulators, pressure gauge, safety valves, and the pressure relief valve. Any that are not working properly puts the boiler at risk of major structural damage.
- Check the fuel-feed system and burners. They should be inspected and cleaned. Not doing so will result in inefficient combustion and heat transfer, which may result in higher fuel costs and less effective heating. Also, clean or replace any fuel filters so as to maintain effective fuel flow. Not doing so could cause damage to occur.
- Be sure to clean boiler heat transfer surfaces regularly to remove buildup. In the case of an oil-fired boiler, there may be soot residue. Soot can act as an insulator, which cuts down on the efficiency of the heat transfer between combustion gas and steam or hot water generation.
Regular maintenance is a necessity for all boilers, it becomes even more of a concern for certain types of high-efficiency boilers. Modulating-condensing boilers are growing quickly within the HVAC industry, and, often times, they require more maintenance than mid-efficiency systems. The truth is, as the market has pushed the need for higher efficiency equipment, such as condensing-modulating systems, boilers, and burners may require multiple maintenance checks each year.
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