11 Simple Boiler Maintenance Tips

No one wants their heating system to fail during the winter, especially in Winnipeg. Without a functioning boiler, your home will quickly become an icebox. How do you maintain your heating system to prevent this disaster? To keep your home warm this winter, follow these boiler maintenance tips:


Bleed The Radiators

This process isn’t as gruesome as it sounds, we promise. If you accidentally touch your radiator, you expect to get your hand burned—but if it’s cold, then you have another problem. Trapped air can cause inconsistent heating; it interferes with the distribution process and creates cold spots. To bleed a radiator, you’ll need some boiler know-how. It’s best to call in a professional to release the air. 

  • Clear the area around the boiler and the vents. Even the most efficient gas boiler won’t perform its job when the vents are blocked—the hot air has no way to circulate. You should also clear the area around the boiler itself, which requires proper ventilation to work efficiently. If it’s cluttered by clothes and other objects, it will have trouble regulating temperatures.


Check The Pressure Gauge

The boiler pressure is responsible for circulating hot water; to measure this reading, look at the bars on the gauge. If it’s too low or too high, the gauge will need to be adjusted. Your pressure may be leaking from the pipes, in which case you’ll need a boiler repair. 

  • Have your boiler system serviced each year. Most of us get our cars tuned up, our health checked, and our teeth cleaned annually—but what about boiler maintenance? Even if your heating system has no obvious issues, boiler service will keep it running at maximum efficiency. Without regular maintenance, many manufacturers will void your warranty. A regular check-up will prevent a premature breakdown and your heating bill from skyrocketing. You rely on your heating system in the winter; take care of it so it can perform at its best. 


Powerflush The Radiator

We know that our homes need to be cleaned, but we don’t always remember that our boilers need it, too. Have you noticed that your radiators are hot at the top, but cold towards the bottom? Dirt that accumulates in radiators over time will settle to the bottom, which makes your gas boiler work harder to circulate heat. A professional can clear out the settled debris. You might also need to balance the radiators if the ones furthest from your boiler are cooler.

  • Protect the external pipe. Anything that’s left outdoors in Winnipeg needs to be protected against the elements; just look at the icicles hanging from your eavestroughs to understand why. Your boiler has an external pipe, and if it freezes, the whole system will break down. This issue will require a steam boiler repair, which you want to avoid at all costs—the last time you want your heating system to fail is when the outside temperatures are cold enough to freeze your pipes. Prevent this issue by wrapping external pipes with insulation or heat tape (towels can also do the trick).


Run Your Heating Regularly

We tend to forget all about our boilers once the snow melts and spring arrives, but a bit of boiler maintenance can save our systems from breaking down when they’re out of use. It might sound strange to turn your boiler on in the summer, but it can help prevent the build-up of debris. It’s the same principle as driving your car every week if it’s sitting idle; using the machine regularly will prevent the components from wasting away. 

  • Set up a carbon monoxide detector. Of all the boiler service tips, this one might be the most important. Your gas boiler produces carbon monoxide when it burns fuel without enough oxygen—any cracks in the boiler can allow this gas to escape. If you experience dizziness, headaches, or nausea in your home, you might have a gas leak. A carbon monoxide detector will alert you the moment it detects this gas in the air; install it near your boiler for the most accurate reading.


Check The Pilot Light

Your boiler flame should always burn bright blue—this indicates that your boiler is working efficiently. Any other colour, like orange or yellow, indicates a serious issue. It means that the oxygen to gas ratio is off, which can cause carbon monoxide to leak into your home. Immediately turn off your gas and contact a professional for a boiler repair.


Ensure That the Flue is Accessible and Unblocked

The flue vents are what carry the leftover combustion gases from your boiler to the outside your home, preventing carbon monoxide from polluting the indoor air. When it comes to gas boiler maintenance, a flue inspection should not be overlooked. Flues that are accessible can be quickly assessed for any cracks that leak gas. If they run through your ceiling, inspecting them becomes more difficult; you’ll need to call in an engineer.


 Leave it to a professional. Many of us love to try our hand at solving problems ourselves before calling in the repair person—as long as it works, it saves a bit of money. Some of these boiler maintenance tips can be used by the average homeowner, such as switching the system on during the summer. But when it comes to repairs or gas leaks, you need an experienced engineer in your corner. For help with boilers Winnipeg, call Howell Mechanical. Our technicians provide boiler service across the city.