Top 10 Boiler Problems Homeowners Experience

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Having unexpected problems with your boiler is never ideal. Few things are as inconvenient as the sudden loss of heating and hot water in your home.  Exposure to extreme cold can pose risks, particularly for vulnerable people like children and older adults. Familiarize yourself with common boiler problems so you can respond quickly and prevent system breakdowns. 

Here, we list some of the most common boiler issues, along with their potential causes. We also offer insights into solutions, so read on to discover how you can restore your boiler to working condition. 

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Top 10 Boiler Problems Homeowners Experience

1. Leaks

oxidized boiler pipe and boiler leak

A boiler leak typically occurs from a malfunction within an internal component, like a pressure valve or pump seal. If it comes from the pressure relief valve, it usually indicates elevated system pressure. In cases where the leak is associated with a pump seal issue, the seal may have become worn.

Leaks around your system’s pipes can result from corrosion or improper installation. Get the assistance of a qualified HVAC contractor to diagnose and address the problem. If the leak stems from a significant and irreparable fault, your HVAC professional may recommend the installation of a new boiler.

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2. Low Pressure

You can determine if your boiler’s pressure is too low by checking its integrated pressure gauge. Ideally, your boiler pressure should be set at 1.5 bar. If it registers below 1, your boiler will not operate effectively.

Low boiler pressure can result from various issues, including a system leak, recent radiator bleeding, or a malfunctioning component seal. To pinpoint the problem, you can search for visible signs of a leak. Do not attempt to disassemble the boiler casing. If you detect a leak, contact an HVAC expert for assistance. If no leaks are found, you can consider repressurizing your boiler through an expert HVAC technician.

Related Article: The Ultimate Guide For Residential Boilers

3. No Heating Or Hot Water Coming From Boiler

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It can be incredibly frustrating when your boiler fails to perform its primary function of providing heating and hot water for your home. This problem can stem from various issues, ranging from:

  • Malfunctioning motorized valves
  • Broken system diaphragms
  •  Airlocks
  • Low pressure
  • Faulty thermostat

Examine your pressure gauge to ascertain whether low pressure is the culprit behind the intermittent heating and hot water. If it reads below 1, repressurization may be necessary. Should the issue be related to a malfunctioning thermostat, consult the manufacturer’s guide for potential solutions. If none are found, reach out to the manufacturer for assistance. If none of these troubleshooting steps prove effective, contact a certified HVAC professional.

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4. Frozen Condensate Pipe

This problem is quite prevalent, especially during colder seasons. Your condensate pipe transports condensate from your boiler to an external drain. When the weather turns cold, the condensate can freeze within the pipe, leading to blockages. This situation is common in homes where the condensate pipe is located externally or in an unheated area like a garage. A blockage can cause the condensate to flow back into the boiler, potentially resulting in a system breakdown.

Fortunately, you can usually address this issue quickly. One effective long-term solution is to insulate or lag the condensate pipe.

Related Article: What To Look For In A Boiler Repair Company

5. Radiator Faults

image of a radiator from a boiler heating system

Cold spots and various heating problems often result from the accumulation of air or sludge within the radiators. This can lead to uneven heat distribution. Cold spots in different locations can be indicative of underlying issues. A substantial portion of radiator-related problems can be resolved by simply bleeding the radiator. To identify the cause of your radiator issue, contact an experienced HVAC contractor in your local area.

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6. Boiler Not Responding To Thermostat

Make sure that your thermostat is correctly adjusted, especially for daylight saving time. If your boiler is not responding to your thermostat, the controls may be malfunctioning or outdated. Before concluding that it is beyond repair, there are some troubleshooting steps to consider. 

  1. Start by replacing the batteries.
  2. Reposition the thermostat closer to the boiler.
  3. Check for any potential sources of interference.

If the thermostat problem persists, consult the manufacturer’s guidelines or reach out to the manufacturer for assistance.

Related Article: What Is The Best Temperature To Set Your Heating Oil Boiler At?

7. Gurgling, Banging or Whistling Noises

It is typical for your boiler to produce some noise during operation, particularly during startup. However, the sudden onset of unusual sounds like gurgling, banging, or whistling indicate boiler problems and should prompt you to contact a certified HVAC professional.

Unusual boiler noises can be attributed to factors such as:

  • Air trapped in the system
  • A malfunctioning pump
  • Insufficient water pressure
  • The accumulation of limescale or “kettling.”
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8. Pilot Light Keeps Switching Off

A permanent pilot light is a common feature in older boilers. This serves as the ignition source for the main burner. If this pilot light keeps turning off, it may be due to a malfunctioning thermocouple interrupting the fuel supply. Deposits could also have accumulated, or a draft may be blowing out the light.

You can relight the pilot light by following the instructions provided by your manual. For gas boilers, make sure that your gas stopcock is turned on before reigniting the pilot. Verify that there are no issues with your gas supply by checking other gas appliances. However, we recommend seeking assistance from a licensed HVAC technician to address the problem.

This issue is more common with older boilers. Modern systems typically do not incorporate pilot lights. They rely on electronic ignition. If the pilot light problem persists, it may be a good idea to consider installing a new boiler.

Related Article: What Is The Difference Between A Boiler And A Furnace?

9. No Power

image of boiler and boiler pipes in a home

If your boiler fails to power on, start by examining other appliances and power sources in your home to determine if they are functioning properly. Inspect your fuse box for any tripped or malfunctioning switches if they are operational. If you still cannot identify the issue, call your trusted HVAC technician for assistance.

If your boiler powers on but continually shuts off, it could be due to low pressure or a blockage impeding the system’s operation. Examine your system’s pressure gauge, and if it registers below 1, repressurize the boiler. Call your local HVAC contractor for professional guidance. 

Related Article: What To Look For In A New Oil Boiler For Your Home

10. Boiler Breakdown

All the boiler problems we have mentioned can eventually escalate to full-scale boiler breakdown if left unattended. When this happens, contact an HVAC contractor immediately.

Boilers can also succumb to breakdowns due to age and inefficiency. If you have an older, inefficient boiler, we strongly recommend upgrading to a modern, energy-efficient system for reliable heating and hot water while reducing energy costs.

Only perform basic, low-risk checks on your boiler. Do not attempt to address issues yourself, as this can pose serious safety hazards.

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At Miller Oil Company, we take pride in delivering top-tier heating and cooling services to our community. Our team comprises highly skilled and certified technicians who provide exceptional HVAC tune-ups, repairs, installations, and replacements. 

We offer the most competitive pricing for HVAC services in the region. If you need an HVAC replacement system, we can recommend the ideal solution for your home while sticking to your budgetary constraints. Our unwavering focus remains on enhancing energy efficiency, comfort, indoor air quality, and more. To arrange an appointment, please don’t hesitate to contact Miller Oil Company today and take advantage of our complimentary in-home estimate.

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