During wintertime, no in-home mechanical is as important as a boiler. After all, without one your home would lack hot water and heated air. So how do you know when it’s time to replace your boiler? Consider this advice from AE Power Plumbing, a leading provider of heating repair service near LaGrange Park.
Expiration Date + Rising Gas Bills
Gone are the days when a cast-iron boiler would last 30 – 40 years. While today’s boilers are significantly more efficient than those of a bygone era, the tradeoff is that they’re more technologically-oriented, which equates to more sensitive materials. The average lifespan of a 21st-century boiler is around 10 – 15 years; possibly more if you stay current on maintenance and repairs.
As you approach the 10-year mark, you should begin thinking about a new boiler. You should also start paying close attention to your monthly gas bill. If you notice that your bill is increasing incrementally month after month, this is a telltale sign that your boiler is wearing out. When a boiler begins to fade, it has to work harder to produce hot water and heat. Also, if you’re living in an old house with an old-model boiler that isn’t a high-efficiency condensing model like all boilers manufactured today, you’re paying around 35 percent more for gas. Today’s models have efficiency ratings of around 90 percent, so it’s definitely worth upgrading.
The older your boiler, the more sediment has accrued at its bottom. Over time, and due to repeated heating and reheating, this sediment hardens. Sediment build-up compromises your boiler’s efficiency, necessitating more gas/electricity and more time to heat the water. The more time it takes to heat up, the more damage is caused to your boiler, turning once-strong metal into something brittle, porous, and prone to developing tiny holes. This is where the strange noises come in – they’re the result of the boiler working hard to heat up in the presence of a) sedimentary buildup, b) a compromised metal tank, and c) tiny holes that leak precious heat and water.
Standing Water Near the Boiler
Expounding on the “tiny holes” mentioned in the previous section: if enough of these holes (or fractures) develop, your boiler may begin leaking. This leakage will be evident by the presence of standing water near the boiler. Of course, there’s a chance that something else is leaking water: the temperature/overflow pipe for example, or a certain connection to the tank. Check to see if these things are dry. If they are, which will likely be the case, then you should start shopping for a new boiler.
If discolored, rusty water starts issuing from your home’s hot water taps, it’s likely a sign that your boiler is starting to rust on the inside. However, if you have galvanized piping, there’s a small chance the discolored water could be piping-related. You can confirm the water’s origin by draining several buckets of hot water from the boiler. If by bucket three or four the water is still rusty, your boiler should be replaced.
If your boiler has experienced some or all of these symptoms, it’s time to call a professional. Contact AE Power Plumbing, an expert in boiler installation near Clarendon Hills, Brookfield, Burr Ridge, and the Chicago Metro area.