Boiler troubleshooting may get the heat flowing in your home again — or not. While correcting some simple operational issues is possible for the skilled do-it-yourselfer, repairs should be left to a qualified service technician for safety’s sake. In that case, troubleshooting common boiler problems is an effective preliminary step to calling in professional help. By checking the most obvious causes yourself, you’ll be able to pass on some useful facts to the technician when he arrives.

It’s a No-Brainer, But …

Check the thermostat first. Make sure the heating system is turned on and the desired temperature setting is at least five degrees above current room temperature.

Any Signs of Life?

If your boiler has a controller and an LCD display screen, check to see that the screen is lit and receiving power. If it’s not, you may have an electrical failure or a defective circuit board in the controller. If the screen is lit, check for any fault codes or error messages that may be displayed. Write them down and pass them on to the HVAC contractor when you call. If the display screen and other indicator lights are dark, go to the electrical panel and look for any tripped circuit breakers. If you find one, reset it and check the boiler again.

Check the Gas and Pilot Light

At the boiler, the main gas valve should be in the “open” position. If it’s not, call your HVAC contractor and inquire why. If work was recently performed, it may have been inadvertently left closed. Verify the reason before you turn on the gas.

If the system incorporates a standing pilot light, see if it’s lit. If not, follow manufacturer’s re-lighting instructions. Frequently, a defective thermocouple will extinguish the pilot and prevent re-lighting. In that case, you’ll need professional help.

Newer boilers utilize electronic hot surface ignitors instead of standing pilot lights. Usually, there’s a conspicuous reset button you can try to revive an electronic ignitor. If you have no luck resetting, your HVAC contractor can handle it.

When basic troubleshooting doesn’t solve common boiler problems and restore heat, contact the pros at Apollo Home Heating, Cooling and Plumbing.

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