If you have a boiler heat system in your home that has been around for a while, you may be biting your nails with every blip in fear that the whole system is going to kick the bucket. Even though outdated boiler systems can seem like fickle things that could go at any time, most of these units keep right on trucking year after year. The key is to know how to properly maintain an antiquated boiler system so you don't run into any unusual problems. There is a simple ABC rule set that you should keep in mind about maintaining an older boiler heat system in your home.
Always clean the combustion chamber.
The combustion chamber of the boiler is where the water is heated and is really where all of the action in an old boiler takes place. The chamber that houses the water to be heated should be drained and cleaned out about every year or so to keep it from accumulating mineral and scale deposits that can cause issues with clogs down the road. Open up the drain line of the chamber and allow all of the water to drain completely out. Remove the upper housing of the tank and sweep out any debris with a rag or small broom.
Bleed the radiators of the boiler system.
This sounds like a complicated process, but really it is not difficult at all. The boiler system you have heats water and sends it to the radiators, where the heat is then transferred to the metal, which then warms the house. When the water cools, it is funneled back to the boiler to be reheated. Through this process, air can accumulate in the radiator, creating undue pressure that can lead to problems. To bleed the radiator, open up the bleeder valve (usually located at the top of the radiator) and listen for a hiss of air. Make sure you hold a container beneath the opening to catch any water that spills out in the process. As soon as you no longer get air but only water, close the valve.
Check that the boiler unit still has adequate pressure.
Adequate pressure is vital for the boiler to operate and push heated water to the radiators throughout your home. Checking the pressure is a little more complex, especially with older systems, but can be done with an air pressure gauge that you can pick up at a local hardware store. A boiler should have a psi of about 12 when the water is cold and 18 when the water is heated. Inside of the boiler panel, you will find a series of gauges, one of which is to measure this internal air pressure. Make sure the boiler is powered off and cool and then connect your handheld pressure gauge to the gauge inside the panel to get a reading.
For more information or assistance, contact a company like Rickett Industrial Environmental Systems.