Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating Inc Blog : Posts Tagged ‘Boiler Maintenance’

It’s Not Too Late to Schedule Professional Boiler Maintenance

Monday, January 25th, 2016

The anticipatory chill of early winter is well behind us now, and we are firmly in the grasp of the coldest time of the year. Because of this, you are likely running your home heating system with real regularity at this point. If you fell a bit behind this year, failing to schedule professional boiler maintenance in Arlington, we encourage you to do so today. You may be tempted to just ride out the rest of the winter, and to have your system maintained when it ends, but we advise against it. Your boiler has plenty of hard work ahead of it, and that means it may suffer operational problems, or even damages, if it is not in great working order.

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Why Cleaning and Adjusting Boiler Components Each Year is Necessary

Thursday, January 8th, 2015

As the cold and snow set in for the season, your boiler is working hard to keep you, your family and your home warm. There is a way you can give back to your boiler, though: schedule it for maintenance. A maintenance appointment isn’t a quick review of your system; instead, it is a thorough inspection and full tune-up, during which the components are reviewed, cleaned and adjusted as needed. Boiler maintenance in Northern Virginia allows your boiler to work optimally. And while it’s always good to get ahead of winter with fall maintenance, the truth is if your boiler hasn’t been maintained in over 12 months, any time is a good time for maintenance.

Reasons to Schedule Maintenance

During regular usage, the components of your boiler become worn and dirty; some parts attract dust, making it difficult to operate correctly. Here are some of the benefits of scheduling maintenance:

  • Better energy efficiency – your boiler was made to operate at a specific level of energy efficiency, but it can’t do so when the parts and system are dirty and worn down from the previous season or seasons. The cleaning the system receives during an annual inspection appointment allows the system to work optimally.
  • Prevents repairs – the thorough inspection conducted by the technician allows him/her to detect any developing or existing problems and either make small repairs during the appointment, such as with frayed wiring, or inform you about necessary repairs. Maintenance allows you to get ahead of repairs before they can become a serious problem.
  • Extends life of equipment – maintenance keeps your boiler in good working order; when your system is in good working order, there is no extra stress on it, which helps reduce premature aging.
  • Better comfort – a boiler that is healthy will have no problems achieving the temperature you’ve set on your thermostat, keeping you in better comfort all winter.

Maintenance involves a number of tasks and steps that are all designed to maximize the operation and efficiency of your boiler.

If you haven’t scheduled your boiler in Northern Virginia for maintenance yet, call Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating Inc., today.

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Washington DC Boiler Basics: Know the Components of Your Hot Water Heating System

Monday, September 17th, 2012

Many Washington DC homes have hot water heating systems, also called hydronic systems. They make use of water’s excellent efficiency for transferring heat. Hot water circulates through the house in a  network of pipes that connect to radiators or baseboard convectors that transfer the heat to the air. Return pipes cycle the water back to the boiler to be heated again.

The heart of the system is the hot water boiler.  As you might expect, boilers get their name because they are boiling water to produce heat. That doesn’t mean there’s a cauldron of water bubbling away inside the boiler’s walls. Water inside the boiler is contained entirely within coils of pipes. Burners beneath the pipes heat the water as it circulates through the pipes. The burners can be gas or oil fired, or electric.

When a pot of water boils on a stove, it sends a lot of heat and steam into the air. Put a lid on the pot and the pressure from the boiling water lifts the lid to allow the steam to escape. Now imagine water being heated inside the coils above the burner.  As the pressure builds it has nowhere to go so it drives the water out of the coils and into the network of pipes connecting to the radiators. As it circulates, the hot water pushes the cooler water through the pipes and back down to the boiler. The movement of the water through the system may be assisted by a motor-driven circulating pump connected to the return pipe where it enters the boiler. The pump creates negative pressure that helps cycle the water away from the boiler, through the pipes and radiators, and back to the boiler.

The basic operation of hydronic systems may sound simple, but safely and efficiently controlling it requires a series of sophisticated components. As the water is piped away from the burners and out of the boiler it flows through a valve connected to an expansion tank, which allows the water to expand as it heats. The expansion tank is a large, cylindrical object that hangs off the pipe exiting the boiler.

The large pipe heading away from the expansion tank is divided into a series of smaller pipes, each of which is connected to a zone valve, a small metal box with electrical wires attached to it. The zone valves are wired to the thermostats in the house. When the thermometer in the thermostat drops below the set temperature, it sends a signal to open the zone valve. The hot water from the boiler flows through the valve and into the series of pipes and radiators that service that zone. There may be one, two, or several zone valves depending on the number of zones in the house.

The boiler is also connected to the house water supply so it can be refilled if it loses water. The water supply is usually a small diameter copper pipe exiting the boiler and connected to a shut off valve. The shut off valve also has a pipe leading away from the boiler and connecting to the house’s cold water supply. There is also a pressure relief valve attached to another small diameter copper pipe running out of the boiler. The valve relieves excessive water pressure that builds up inside the boiler.

Oil heat boilers have an electric burner motor that pumps fuel oil out of the tank and into the boiler. The burner motor is attached to the boiler and should have a red reset button that pops up when the boiler shuts down from a malfunction. Gas powered boilers have a smaller gas valve that regulates the flow of gas into the boiler.

Exhaust gases from the burned fuel are vented through a large diameter stack rising up from the center of the boiler and into the chimney. The exhaust stack may be sealed or it may run into an even larger diameter vent with a cone-shaped skirt.

The aquastat is the electrical switching device that ignites the burners when a zone control sends a signal to the boiler calling for heat. The aquastat may be housed in a small metal box attached to the boiler, or it may be inside the boiler. In either case, it will have thick electric cables leading into it. The last critical component on the boiler is the pressure/temperature gauge. If a problem arises with the heating system, it allows the homeowner or the Washington DC boiler technician to determine if the boiler is overheating, losing pressure, or not functioning.

To schedule the annual maintenance for your boiler today, give Polar Bear Air Conditioning a call!

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Washington DC Heating Guide: Basic Boiler Maintenance

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

The boiler in your Washington DC home is a sensitive piece of equipment that needs routine maintenance and repairs. Regularly maintaining your boiler is especially important for safety reasons. Many boiler malfunctions and accidents are due to neglecting some of these basic tasks.

Even if you’ve just installed a new boiler, the safety valves and settings should be checked by a professional on a regular basis to prevent a breakdown or hazard. We recommend that you schedule a boiler inspection and cleaning at least once a year. Call Polar Bear if you have any questions about boiler maintenance.

A service technician will measure the pressure, drain and remove sediment buildup, test the efficiency ratings, and make sure your boiler is set at the right temperatures. Regular maintenance can also help you determine whether or not you need a boiler replacement. By keeping track of performance levels, you will be able to tell when it’s time for an upgrade.

Other tasks performed during an annual maintenance visit include cleaning and lubricating all the components, checking for any leaks or clogs, and testing gas boilers for any carbon monoxide intrusion. If you have any gas appliances in your home, you should always have carbon monoxide detectors and test them once a month.

Boiler pressure is something that you can check often on your own. If you aren’t sure how to read the pressure gauge, or if you aren’t sure what the right pressure should be, just call one of our technicians to walk you through this process.

Always call Polar Bear if you have any problems with the boiler in your Washington DC home. We are here to help and answer any questions you may have.

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