Your boiler is perhaps the most important appliance in your home. Think about it: without a properly functioning boiler during the cold winter months, your house would be freezing, your pipes would freeze, and you’d be miserable at best. That’s why it’s so important to maintain your boiler. For whatever reasons, though, homeowners don’t always take good care of this essential piece of heating equipment, and they always pay for it somehow.
With the cold weather upon us, you’ll want to pay close attention to this list: here are give boiler repair and maintenance mistakes to avoid.
1. Skipping your annual tune up and inspection.
Like any machine made up of discrete and moving parts, your boiler needs to be maintained properly if you want it to perform well and at maximum efficiency. Just like you take your car in for an inspection and a tune up, you have to bring in an HVAC tech to do the same for your boiler. Not only does this keep everything in tip top shape, but it can prevent unnecessary repairs down the road. As a bonus, many HVAC service companies put their inspection customers on a priority list for problems that do crop up during the colder months, so you’ll have a well functioning boiler and have any bigger problems taken care of before your house gets too cold.
2. Keeping your home too cold at night and/or too warm during the day.
Most people turn down their thermostat before turning in for the night, and that’s a good thing: it saves energy, and you probably sleep better when you’re not too hot. However, if there’s a significant difference between your overnight temperature and your day temperature (say, more than eight degrees fahrenheit), your boiler will have to work extra hard in the morning to make your home warm enough. This excessive work can cause parts to wear out faster.
3. Ignoring your boiler during the warmer months.
When it’s summer, you obviously have no need for your boiler, but that doesn’t mean that you should neglect it completely. By keeping your boiler clean and turning it on once or twice during the warmer months, just to let it cycle, you can avoid a difficult start up in the fall. This is an easy DIY maintenance thing, and it helps ensure that your boiler will turn on and work properly when you need it in the fall and winter months.
4. Putting off repairs and replacements that should be done now.
We get it — boiler repairs can be costly. However, a boiler that isn’t working like it should, or not replacing parts or filters that have no life left in them can lower your boiler’s efficiency significantly, which costs you more in energy bills. Plus, broken or worn out parts that are left in your boiler can have a cascading effect on the appliance as a whole; it can force other parts to work harder and wear out sooner, costing you more money in the long run.
5. Allowing your fuel to run out.
If your boiler is fueled by a natural gas line, this mistake won’t apply to you, but if you have an oil or propane tank to fuel your boiler, you’ll want to monitor it carefully to ensure it never runs out. A dry tank can cause a number of costly problems, such as a clogged filter and air in your fuel lines. Keep a close eye on your tank’s gauge, and call your fuel service if you’re below a quarter of a tank. Otherwise, you’re looking at a service call of at least a few hundred dollars to get your heat back on.