Regular maintenance is a vital money-saving investment for your heating oil boiler because it keeps your equipment running safely and at peak efficiency. Four out of five heating system breakdowns are preventable if you follow the manufacturer’s maintenance recommendations.
Boiler maintenance is accomplished through a professional tune-up done by your local full-service heating oil company. This allows a licensed heating oil service technician to fix minor issues before they become big problems (worn parts, etc.) (Find out if you need furnace maintenance or boiler maintenance).
Regular tune-ups can also help you conserve heating fuel over the winter. That’s because your professional heating oil technician will conduct many tests to make sure your heating system is running at the best possible efficiency. Any adjustments and repairs can be done after this initial evaluation. Here are some of the tests they may do:
CO2: Testing for carbon dioxide levels shows how airtight your heating system is. A high level of CO2 means your system has air leaks. Your technician will find and seal up those leaks.
Draft overfire and stack temperature: These two tests measure the amount of heat and volume of air going up the chimney.
Smoke reading: This test looks for smoke, which indicates a few problems, such as some of your fuel not turning into heat when burned. Second, smoke build-up in your system reduces its efficiency.
Draft at breech: This test measures the draft inside your heating system. If the draft is weak, it won’t vent combustion products properly. But a draft that is too strong sucks heat out of your home.
Total efficiency: Your professional heating oil technician combines all the readings taken while testing your heating system to give an overall efficiency rating for it.
Boiler Maintenance: Tasks You Can Do Yourself
If you have an older steam boiler, check the water gauge periodically. Low water levels are a leading cause of boiler shutdowns. Steam boilers should also be flushed when the water in the gauge looks rusty. If you have a modern hot water boiler, the boiler’s automatic filling system should maintain the proper water level.
When to Replace Your Boiler
Like any piece of equipment, your heating oil boiler will eventually have to be replaced one day. If you think it’s time to replace your old boiler, please contact your heating oil company. If you have an old heating system that’s been prone to repairs lately, a replacement system may be a better option than annual boiler maintenance.
Here are five signs that will help you determine if a replacement system is the better move.
How old is it? If your boiler’s age is creeping up on 20 years old, you’ll save money on your annual heating costs in the long run by replacing it with a new, more efficient system with advanced technology.
Do you see any corrosion? Just like your water heater, if you see outward signs of rust on your boiler, its time is limited. A professional inspection may also reveal damage to piping or other boiler components.
Is it keeping you warm enough? A properly working boiler should keep you comfortable even on the coldest nights, but a boiler’s operating performance diminishes with the passage of time.
Your heating costs continue to increase. Your boiler’s efficiency slowly degrades the older it gets. Lower efficiency means higher heating costs. Add in a higher number of repairs for an old system and this is another strong sign that you would do well to let go of your old heating oil boiler.
Diminished hot water production. If you depend on your boiler to heat your domestic hot water and you’re not getting as much hot water as before, this could be a sign of a leaking or corroded coil on the boiler – a precursor to boiler failure.
Today’s Heating Oil Systems: Incredibly Efficient
The latest heating oil boilers are small, smart, and super-efficient and can save you 20% or more on your annual heating costs. There are many different equipment options to fit your budget and your local heating oil company has expertise in all types and models of oil heating equipment. See how much you can save with a new boiler installation.