Boiler heating systems can last as long as 30 years, depending on the water quality that supplies the system. If you own an apartment building that has a boiler heating system that is on its last leg even though it is nowhere near the expected lifespan, it's a good idea to investigate what may have caused the early failure so you can avoid repeating the situation with a new boiler. Here's what you need to know.
Is the boiler system using hard water?
Hard water is water that contains a high amount of minerals, such as magnesium and calcium. These minerals can harden and form on the interior surfaces of the heating system. Should this happen, the buildup of the minerals can become so thick that it can prevent water and steam from moving through the system and, therefore, lead to cold apartment units in your building.
Have the water tested to determine its hardness and, if necessary, install a water purification and filtration system for your new boiler. You can ask your boiler installation technician to test the water for hardness or send a sample of the water to your local health department.
Is the boiler operating with enough water?
Boilers have a critical need for water. The water level inside a boiler heating system cannot drop or the boiler would be at risk of dry-firing, which could cause the boiler to crack. If the crack affects the fuel line, there's a potential for an explosion as the fumes are near the heating elements of the boiler. It's crucial that you keep the water level inside the boiler at optimal levels to avoid cracks and the risk of explosion. Several things that can prevent water from the plumbing system reaching the boiler system are clogged, frozen, or ruptured pipes.
The boiler installation technician may be able to determine whether or not your old boiler has operated with less than optimal water levels by looking inside the boiler itself. To combat this potential problem in the future, install an automatic shut-off so the boiler will be turned off automatically when there is not enough water supply for the boiler.
Important note: It's a good idea to replace the boiler entirely before it fails completely. Most states require landlords to provide heat during the coldest months of the year and failure to do so could result in hefty fines.
For more information, contact local professionals like those found at Schweitzer Bros Co Inc.