Starting up a boiler from cold conditions is an essential step when it’s time to prepare your home for winter. Boilers need regular maintenance for continued performance and efficiency, which you want to do before starting up a boiler for the season. After start-up, look for signs of trouble so repairs can be scheduled early on.

Apollo Home walks you through the steps of starting up a boiler to help you ready your home this season. For Cincinnati boiler repair and maintenance, we are only a phone call away!

Start-Up Checklist for Boilers

Prior to starting up a boiler for the season, it’s important to have your heating system inspected and maintained by a professional. Boiler maintenance services typically include the following:

  • The boiler will be drained and flushed. Any soot and scale will be cleaned up from the firesides, and the boiler will be examined for corrosion and damage.
  • The fuel burning equipment will be cleaned and adjusted.
  • All controls and fuel safety shutoff valves will be looked at to ensure they’re working safely and properly.
  • The mechanical components will be lubricated.
  • The low water cutoff and water feeding devices will be disassembled, cleaned, reconditioned and reassembled.
  • Perform a visual evaluation of the tank, cold water supply line, hot water outlet line, and all connections for signs of deterioration or water leaks.
  • Examine the gas supply line and connections for any evidence of leaks or damage.
  • Drain the boiler tank to remove mineral sediment and refill.
  • Check the condition of the boiler vent pipe and ensure that it is intact and unobstructed all the way to the exterior of the house.
  • Remove the main gas burners, clean and re-install. Also clean the boiler pilot light assembly or verify proper operation of the electronic igniter.
  • Lubricate the circulation pump motor.
  • Start the system and observe the burner flame for proper color and height.
  • Once the system is at operating temperature, verify that water temperature and system pressure conform to manufacturer’s specs.
  • Check the pressure charge in the expansion tank. Drain excess water if required and/or recharge with air if necessary.
  • Inspect pressure relief valves for leakage and test for proper operation.
  • Bleed air from all radiators in the house at individual bleed screws.

Once the boiler has received a proper tune up, the following steps should also be performed right before you need to use it to ensure a safe start-up:

Cleaning

Make sure boiler components are clean and there is no dirt or debris on the combustion and air openings and louvers. Use cleaning brushes or a vacuum to remove any accumulation.

Water Volume

Double check that the boiler has the right amount of water. Consult your boiler system’s owner’s manual to determine the appropriate water volume for your unit.

Dampers

Be sure all stack dampers are open. This allows combustion byproducts to safely vent out of the system and the home during a heating cycle.

Obstructions

Look at the boiler furnace to see if there’s any obstructions. Remove any items stored within close proximity to your boiler and clear any found obstructions.

Inspection

Inspect the furnace and fuel passes for the accumulation of fuel. This ensures fuel feeds properly through the system.

Valves

Ensure the manual fuel valves are open. This provides the boiler with a fuel source when it is time for a heating cycle.

Once the above steps are complete, you can close the operating switch and continue with the normal start-up procedure. You should carefully watch it turn on to make sure it follows the normal start-up sequence.

Common Signs of Boiler Problems

To avoid heating system problems this winter, after starting up a boiler you need to watch for the signs that boiler repair is needed. If you are able to catch these signs early on, repairs can be made before the problems result in more extensive damage or a system breakdown that leaves you without heat.

Boilers aren’t especially complicated, but they can be temperamental. One of the most common boiler problems is that the unit simply won’t perform its function. In other words, no hot water. There are a few reasons that this might be happening, depending upon the type of boiler that you have.

  • If not enough heat is being produced or there’s no heat at all, there are a couple of potential explanations. The lack of heat could be caused by a change in your water levels. Another option: mineral deposits have built up.
  • Check the indicator on the boiler to see what the temperature and the water levels are inside your boiler. If the water level is too low, you can try to change it. However, you may have a buildup of minerals and other deposits, and you can damage your boiler if you do this incorrectly, so it’s best to have a professional work on the unit.
  • If your boiler is electric and isn’t putting out enough heat, the thermocouple sensor might not be working properly. The thermocouple regulates the gas flow inside the unit, as well as keeping track of how much heat’s being produced. If the pilot light is out, the thermocouple will cool off.
  • Look out for water leaks when you have an electric boiler. The water pressure is one of the major factors that plays into controlling temperature. If water is leaking, the water pressure will decrease.

Other common signs your boiler needs looked at by a professional HVAC technician include:

  • Smells of burning metal, oil, or plastic
  • Unusual noises when your boiler starts, runs, and/or stops
  • A lack of hot water or no hot water in combination systems
  • Energy bills are higher than usual without a cause
  • Boiler shuts off on its own

For Professional Boiler Service, Call Apollo Home

From starting up a boiler to caring for it when problems arise, Apollo Home is here to help. As the leading Cincinnati heating company, our boiler maintenance services prepare your heating system for the cold season, and quick repair service handles any malfunctions that arise along the way. Call us today for boiler maintenance or boiler repair services!