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Monday, January 19, 2015

Discovering that your boiler is misbehaving on a cold Chicago morning isn't a pleasant way to start your day. You're cold and in a hurry to get off to work and the last thing you need is to spend time waiting for an HVAC pro to fix the problem for you.

Fortunately, you can do the first round of boiler troubleshooting yourself. Some simple boiler problems are easy to identify and fix, so doing it yourself can save you time and money. Of course, you should call for expert help at any point along the way if you're not sure you can do any of the following things safely and correctly.

Check the Boiler's Power Supply

The power switch on or near the boiler should be turned on. Check the circuit breakers or fuses that serve the heating system. If you reset a breaker or change a fuse and the circuit fails immediately, you probably have an electrical problem that needs expert attention.

Check the thermostat. It should be set to "heat" mode at a temperature high enough to call for the boiler to come on. Try changing the batteries. Dead thermostat batteries are a common cause of many unnecessary boiler repair calls.

Check the Fuel Supply

Be sure the gas or oil valve is in the open position. If you use fuel oil, check the level in the tank. If you use natural gas, be sure the bill has been paid and that there are no supply disruptions in your neighborhood.

Check the Pilot Light

If you have an older boiler with a standing pilot light, be sure it's lit. Common reasons for a pilot light to fail include a dirty burner, a sudden wind gust or a broken thermocouple. If you're comfortable doing so, you can try to re-light a standing pilot light by following the printed directions on the boiler.

If your boiler still won't work after you have tried these steps, contact the pros at for expert boiler troubleshooting and repairs. We serve homeowners throughout the Chicago area.

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