6 Common Problems with Commercial Boilers and How to Fix Them

A broken or malfunctioning commercial boiler system can cause a lot of potential problems and disruptions for your business. Whether you rely on hot water to heat an entire office building, to run your commercial dry cleaning and laundry service, or you offer professional cleaning services, it’s important to ensure that your commercial boiler system is always in tiptop condition. Routine maintenance and fixing minor commercial boiler issues before they progress into worse problems is the best way to do this.

Commercial Boiler Issues: Repair and Maintenance

Commercial boilers, for the most part, are very well constructed and capable of handling large water loads. But with that said they can still break down if something goes wrong. Here are six of the most common commercial boiler problems you should be aware of so that you know how to fix them and can take preventative measures.

Low or No Heat Production

Low or no heat production can be caused by a number of potential commercial boiler problems, ranging from minor to significant. On the less serious side, low or no heat production could be the result of dirty burners that block sufficient amounts of heat from getting through. For your own safety and convenience, it’s important to check your boiler’s burners on a regular basis and ensure that they’re cleaned frequently. Dust and debris that get trapped in the burners can pose a serious fire hazard.

Other potential causes may include a faulty ignition, broken or inaccurate thermostat, a broken pump, or a safety switch that’s causing automatic turnoff. Regardless of the type of commercial boiler problem you’re experiencing, there’s no way to know for sure what’s causing it until you call an expert to come and take a look.

Leaking Fluids

No matter what they are, leaking fluids from your commercial boiler system are never a good sign. Water that’s leaking directly from your boiler tank is a guaranteed sign that the inside of your boiler tank is most likely severely corroded. If this is the case, then the only solution is to replace the hot water tank completely. Unfortunately, this isn’t the most cost-effective solution, but it’s the only feasible one.

Less serious reasons for water leaks could be condensation (which is normal) or a broken pressure relief valve or expansion tank. Luckily, these commercial boiler problems can be repaired fairly cost-efficiently.

Uneven Heat Production and Distribution

Sometimes, you might notice that your boiler system is distributing heat unevenly throughout your workplace. Certain areas might have noticeable cold spots while other areas might be unnecessarily or unbearably warm. Uneven heat production and distribution can very likely be corrected by simply adjusting the settings of the zone control systems in each area.

The necessary settings of the zone control system will vary depending on the layout, design, and additional features of your workplace. For instance, if one section of your office space is carpeted but other sections have hardwood flooring, then the zone control systems in each location should be adjusted accordingly. Carpeted environments typically require less heat than non-carpeted areas.

Low System Pressure

Steam leakage is one of the primary causes of low or loss of system pressure. Over time the more steam your boiler loses, the more inconsistent the water pressure and heat distribution system will be. Low or loss of pressure can also be an indicator of a faulty or damaged feed pump or steam trap, so be sure to check those on a regular basis as well.

Kettling and Other Strange Noises

If your boiler sounds like a whistling kettle or like someone is pounding their fists against its interior, then you could have a serious problem on your hands. Strange noises like these indicate one of two things:

  • There’s excessive lime scale buildup on the boiler’s heat exchange caused by hard water minerals
  • The water pressure is too low

Both scenarios force your commercial boiler system to work much harder than it needs to and can eventually lead to internal pressure buildup over time. Make sure the gas pressure, gas piping, air intake, and exhaust are working properly to prevent potentially cost-prohibitive damages and repairs.

Automatic Boiler Shutoff

There are several reasons your boiler system may automatically shut off seemingly by itself. It could be that the thermostat isn’t working properly and giving inaccurate temperature readings or that it’s entirely broken and simply won’t give any readings at all. Another reason could be due to a significant loss of air pressure, a damaged pump, or blockages in the vale.

If your boiler system is shutting off on its own or simply won’t turn on in the first place, then you should schedule a service appointment with an experienced HVAC and heating system expert to identify and fix the problem.

How to Prevent Commercial Boiler Issues

Your business, your employees, and your customers all rely on your commercial boiler system to maintain their warmth and comfort throughout the year. To that end, it’s important that you do everything you can to keep your boiler system operating smoothly and efficiently at all times. Plus, taking care of your boiler system will save you money in the long run. Here are a few ways to prevent commercial boiler issues for your business.

  • Schedule routine maintenance and service appointments
  • Insulate the pipes
  • Turn it on daily
  • Perform regular visual checks in the areas surrounding the boiler
  • Perform annual checkups to ensure everything is in proper working condition

These are all simple, but crucial preventative steps you can take to keep your boiler system operational for as long as possible without having to replace it. Of course, as the years wear on, certain parts will need to be repaired or replaced and your system will need to be properly cleaned on a regular basis to prevent fire hazards, but the cost of maintenance and repairs is insignificant when you look at the cost of purchasing and installing a whole new boiler.

At MDM Mechanical, we take great pride in providing top-quality boiler maintenance and repair services to our clients across Hamilton and surrounding areas. As a family-owned and operated business, we’re the very definition of friendly and reliable service that you can count on. Book your consultation today!

About Michael Mead

Michael Mead was born and raised in London, Ontario. He spent 5 years in Calgary, Alberta – and furthered his education in Natural Gas. If Michael isn’t working, he is at home with his son and wife or cooking for a large group of family and friends. Michael is extremely passionate about his business, and is constantly looking for ways to better himself as an employer.

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