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Friday, December 19, 2014

Annual boiler maintenance is a must as the heating season approaches. Any system that has sat idle for months needs a check-up at seasonal start-up to verify efficient and safe operation, as well as deal with any issues now before they become major malfunctions.

Boilers produce an open flame, high temperatures and dangerous carbon monoxide (CO) gas. Therefore, the list of DIY maintenance the average homeowner is qualified to safely perform is limited. However, an annual checkup from your HVAC contractor is a quick, cost-efficient way to get the remaining items taken care of.

Visual Inspection

First, the obvious. Conduct a visual once-over of the boiler and the immediate surroundings. Look for evidence of active leaks and those that might have occurred in the past and dried up. Check the exterior of the boiler for any defects like cracks, soot buildup or plumbing that appears marginal.

Start Up

Start the system and observe it in operation. Look again for leakage as the circulator pump runs. No steam should be visible anywhere around the boiler. If you note leakage or steam, shut down the unit and call your HVAC contractor.

Pressure Reading

Check the boiler pressure gauge. This exact pressure reading varies per manufacturer (check your owner's manual) but should generally be around 12 p.s.i. when the boiler's cold and rise to around 18 p.s.i. when heated. Shut down the system and contact an HVAC contractor if your readings differ from manufacturer’s specifications.

Call for a Professional Check-Up

As part of annual boiler maintenance, a trained HVAC tech will verify all safety functions of the system and proper operation of components, including the combustion chamber and heat exchanger, as well as the burner, igniter and the flame sensor. The tech will also make sure venting is adequate and unobstructed.

After restarting the system, an HVAC pro will check pressure and temperature and measure the gas pressure to meet manufacturer's specs. Finally, he or she will verify the proper calibration and operation of the thermostat, then test for unsafe levels of carbon monoxide.

To schedule annual boiler maintenance from a qualified HVAC service technician in Chicago, contact

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