Have you been suffering through lukewarm showers? Is your energy bill steadily creeping up month after month? Does your thermostat say one thing, but the temperature of the house reflects another?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, it might be time to replace your boiler. Troubleshooting boiler problems can be tricky. You might solve the issue by simply reigniting the pilot light. On the other hand, you might need a professional plumber to perform a major repair. Some situations, such as internal corrosion, might warrant a full boiler replacement. Before we get into the signs that your boiler needs replacing, let’s define some basic terms.
What is a boiler and what does it do?
A boiler is a pressure vessel designed to heat water or produce steam. It provides space heating or service water heating to a building.
Signs it’s Time for a Boiler Replacement
Visible corrosion on your boiler is dangerous. Corrosion naturally occurs when oxygen within the boiler dissolves, oxidising the iron-rich metal in the boiler. Mild corrosion can be resolved with standard annual maintenance – early detection is key when it comes to corrosion. If you neglect corrosion over time, deep holes and cavities develop within the metal. Significant corrosion means it’s time to replace the boiler, especially if there are holes in the main tank.
Kettling or Unusual Noises
Boiler systems aren’t meant to be completely silent, but there are certain noises that indicate something is seriously wrong. Call a plumber immediately if you hear these sounds coming from your boiler:
- “Kettling” noises: Kettling sounds like gurgling or rumbling within the boiler. It occurs when limescale or sludge builds up and restricts the flow of water in the heat exchanger. If your boiler is relatively new, a heat exchanger replacement may be worth the cost – but keep in mind that it may cost thousands of dollars. If your boiler is reaching the end of its lifespan (typically ten to fifteen years), a full boiler replacement is a better option.
- Clanging, banging, or loud noises: Many potential problems can cause your boiler to produce loud, startling noises. There may be a buildup of debris, frozen pipes, improperly secured pipes, overheating in the system, or insufficient water flow. Some, but not all, of these problems could warrant a full boiler replacement. It’s best to consult with a professional plumber to diagnose the root cause of the noise.
Reduced Efficiency and High Upkeep Costs
Bottom line: your boiler has a lifespan. Proper maintenance can greatly extend the life of your boiler, but time and usage can still cause decay. If you are spending an increasing amount of money fixing and repairing your boiler, it might be time to retire it. A brand new, working boiler may be a better investment than continually repairing an old boiler. Plus, a newer model may prove more resilient and energy efficient!
Plumbing Services can Extend Your Boiler’s Lifespan
Even if a boiler replacement isn’t in your immediate future, keep it running efficiently with an inspection for service or repair. Here at Shepherd’s Plumbing, Heating, and Air Conditioning, we are committed to providing you with plumbing services that last. Give us a call today at (650)263-6986 or visit our contact us page for any questions or general inquiries about our reputable plumbing services.