5 Common Boiler Problems (and what you can do) for Missoula Residential HVAC Systems

If you are having a problem with your HVAC system and need some direction, we have compiled a guide to help you through it! 

1. DON’T PANIC! You will get through this!

2. Be certain of what type of system you have.  If you are unsure whether it is a boiler or a furnace, remember this!  Boilers heat water.  Furnaces heat air.  If you have forced air, that would be a furnace.  If you have radiators, that would be a boiler.  If you think you have another type of heater, you can discover those common problems too.  If you have a boiler, read on!

3. Look through the following symptoms to discover what the problem is on your Missoula Residential HVAC system and what you can do about it!

Symptom #1: The Boiler Keeps Switching Off on Your Missoula Residential HVAC System

  • Boilers have a number of fail-safes, causing it to automatically switch off when these occur.  These can include…
  • Boiler is losing pressure. Loss of pressure can happen when there is a leak or a valve going bad.  These internal components are finicky so it is best to call a Missoula HVAC Contractor to come do an inspection and repair.
  • Thermostat is not working correctly.  This can be as simple a fix as a new battery! It could also mean the thermostat needs to be replaced.  Either way, it is a fairly simple fix!

Symptom #2: Your Missoula Residential HVAC Boiler System Has One or More Leaks

Because boilers work by heating water, leaks come with the territory.  Remember that water can corrode other parts so the sooner you get the leak fixed, the better (and cheaper) it will be. Here are a few of the common culprits. 

  • The heating pump is not secure.  Tightening a few joints carefully can have you on your way with minimal costs! 
  • Blown gaskets, seals or degraded diaphragm. If you catch this early, you may only need to replace the specific gasket or seal before other parts have a chance to corrode.
  • Water entering the flue while it is raining.  This will be obvious because there is only a leak while it is precipitating. 

Symptom #3: Noisy Boiler in your Missoula Residential HVAC: Boiler System

There are a few different types of noises that can occur in a boiler system and each points to a different problem. Your specific symptom will let you know how bad the problem is and what can be done.

  • Banging or gurgling sounds throughout the cycle usually indicates air in the pipes.  This can be fixed simply by releasing the air through the bleed screw on the pump.  Simply untighten just a bit to let the air hiss out.  Once the air is out, a bit of water will drip and you can retighten the bled screw.  EASY PEASY.
  • A loud bang during startup can indicate a need for a new ignition burner.  Basically, the fire is not igniting on the first attempt, leaving excess gas in the chamber for the second or third attempt.  So when the fire ignites on the consecutive attempts, there is a larger explosion making a loud band.
  • Kettling sounds can indicate a build-up of debris or limescale.  It can be very difficult to remove from the boiler system and often requires replacement parts.  When you have repairs done, be sure to install a scale reducer to prevent future problems.

Symptom #4: Wrong Water Temperature in Your Missoula Residential HVAC Boiler System

The water may is not getting hot or getting too hot, you will need to make some repairs to get your boiler back up and running.

No hot water and no heat can be caused by a couple different things.

  • A valve could have gone bad and got stuck.
  • This could also be caused by a frozen condensate pipe.  
  • A faulty programmer may need to be reset.

If you have your heater set to a timer and lost power, the time may need to be set back to the proper time.

  • The water getting too hot can be a sign of a faulty thermostat.  You can check the thermostat’s batteries and if it is still not working properly, it may need to be replaced.

Symptom #5: Pilot Light Keeps Going Out on Your Missoula Residential HVAC Boiler

If you have a gas boiler, you will need to take this very seriously as it can become dangerous!  First and foremost, if you smell gas in your home, turn off the main gas line valve and and air out your home. 

  • Check to see if there is a draft blowing out the pilot light. If the pilot light is getting blown out, gas can accumulate slowly and become dangerous.  Call a Missoula HVAC contractor immediately.
  • Check to ensure your gas line does not have a leak causing the gas to escape before it arrives at the pilot light.  This can become a fire hazard very quickly.
  • Call the gas company to ensure your gas supply has not run out or shut off.

As you can see, some problems have quick fixes and others can become extensive and costly.  Be sure to have your boiler inspected regularly by Garden City Heating and Plumbing to prevent any mid-winter cool-downs and for any emergency HVAC repairs!

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