As you prepare for the heat of summer, don’t forget to clean your boiler after you shut it down for the season. Boilers often run on fossil fuels, like natural gas and heating oil. Because of this, the inside of your boiler can collect soot. If that soot sits for a long period of time, it can erode the components inside your boiler. For this reason, we recommend inspecting and cleaning your boiler each spring.
When Should You Schedule Boiler Spring Cleaning?
Our boiler technicians at Althoff, serving Chicago, recommend scheduling boiler inspections and a spring cleaning and tune-up as soon as the weather starts to warm. This is because the increased humidity in the air can accelerate the corrosion caused by soot build-up. Spring is also a great time to schedule boiler maintenance because most building owners, property managers and superintendents are thinking about air conditioning maintenance and making sure their buildings are ready for the hot, humid summer ahead, which means your boiler may be serviced faster than if you scheduled in the busy fall.
Tips to Spring Cleaning Your Boiler
The first step to spring cleaning your boiler involves shutting it down. As you watch the weather and the temperatures, make sure you pay attention to the entire week. You want your residents to remain comfortable in their apartments or condos, but it can take several days to properly shut down a boiler. This is because you’ll want to reduce the amount of suspended solids prior to shutting down. To do this properly, we recommend increasing the rate of blowdown about seven days prior to your anticipated shutdown date. The day before you shutdown your boiler, our boiler technicians in Chicago recommend decreasing the continuous blowdown rate while decreasing the manual rate. On the day of your shutdown, follow your manufacturer's recommended guidelines for safely turning off your boiler. It’s important to remember that your boiler will be extremely hot, and it’s not safe or effective to try and clean your boiler right after shutting it down for the season. Instead, you may need to wait as long as five days before you can inspect and clean it. If you are unsure as to how long to wait, you can check your boiler’s instruction manual or give us a call.
Start by Refreshing Your Memory on Your Boiler’s Cleaning Guidelines
Prior to cleaning your boiler, remember to refresh your memory by reading the manufacturer’s guidelines on how to clean your boiler and how to identify certain types of damage.
Descale the Inside of Your Boiler
Because boilers operate at high temperatures, scale builds up on the inside. To remove it, you’ll need to use the descaler recommended in your boiler’s instruction manual. Since scale can be difficult to remove, you’ll also need cleaning brushes and scrapers that are specifically designed to remove scale from the insides of boilers.
Check the Burners and Pilot Lights
Once you’ve descaled the inside of your boiler, check the burners and pilot lights for debris build-up. If you see buildup, you’ll need to use a wire brush to gently remove it.
Check the Flue
Like your boiler, your flue or chimney can also develop a coating of soot, scale and other debris. If this debris isn’t removed, it can cause a chimney fire. The good news is that there are wire brushes available that can remove this debris and improve the safety and efficiency of your boiler.
Check the Valves
Next, check the valves for build-up and remove any debris that you see. This will ensure that when you fire up your boiler in the fall that the valves work properly. If the valve appears damaged, you may need to have it replaced by a professional boiler technician.
If you’re interested in tips sheets, the Department of Energy offers tips sheets by system.
Boiler Spring Cleaning with Althoff
If this tips list sounds complicated or if your maintenance team isn’t experienced in boiler inspections, maintenance and repairs, you can always call out boiler technicians here at Althoff. We are experienced in inspecting, cleaning and repair all types of modern and older boilers, and we’d be happy to perform your spring boiler maintenance. In addition to servicing your boiler, we can also check your boiler's pipes and the radiators for wear.
To get your boiler inspected and cleaned this spring, give us a call at 800-225-2443.