Frequently Asked Questions

A boiler is a vessel used to heat water thru extreme pressure. At the completion of this process the liquid is now converted to heated vapors, now ready to be used in various processes to heat your home and utilities. Your boiler works simultaneously with your hot water tank- which allows a constant supply of hot water to be dispersed accordingly throughout your home.

Absolutely yes! It is Imperative that you (the homeowner) work with a QUALIFIED gas technician throughout the heating season to maintain your heating unit. Here is an idea of things that should be visually inspected on a monthly basis (during the season) – Deterioration of the visible controls, wiring and sheet metal components, Water leaks, Carbon (“soot”) in or near the burner compartment area.

Poor Maintenance or installation of your heating unit can result in Carbon Monoxide leakage throughout your home.

Carbon Monoxide is formed by the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels- (Gas which in most cases provides the fuel in order for your boiler to function). Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, POISONOUS gas. Throughout each heating season many families have fell victim to this HAZARDOUS gas due to improper maintenance of their heating unit. It happens thousands of times – ILLNESS or even DEATH from CARBON MONOXIDE POISONING.

Scheduling frequent maintenance as we said previously is very important. Also you (the homeowner) should always be aware of the “boiler room” conditions. Keep the area around the boiler free of objects which are flammable or which could obstruct the flow of air into and around the boiler. Do not store or use sources of hydrocarbons such as bleaches, fabric softeners, paints, cleaners, or cat boxes near the boiler. Traces of these chemicals can be drawn into the boiler, causing severe corrosion damage to the boiler. Visually inspect boiler controls, any sight of mud, sludge, or grease in water sight glass is an indication of services needed IMMEDIATELY.

Glossary

An aquastat is a device used in hydronic heating systems for controlling water temperature. To prevent the boiler from firing too often, aquastats have a high limit temperature and a low limit. If the thermostat is calling for heat, the boiler will fire until the high limit is reached, then shut off.

The automatic water feed valve reduces the incoming water pressure from the building supply-side down to (typically) 12 psi. That’s because the normal in-boiler water pressure, when the heating boiler is cold, is about 12 psi in a normal residential system.

A 2-way valve is any type of valve with two ports: an inlet and an outlet port, typically labeled “A” and “AB” respectively. 2-way valves are used in many applications, from basic on/off to more complex variable flow applications with pumps and VFDs. If piped in the return, a mixing valve is used.

A blower motor is a component within a home’s HVAC system. The motor blows heated air through vents when the heating system is in use. Conversely, some blower motors blow cold air when the air conditioning system is in use. There are two main types of blower motors: single-speed motors and variable-speed motors.

The burner initiates the combustion reaction within the boiler. Thermostats send messages to the burner electronically when the system needs to produce heat. Fuel is pumped by a filter mechanism to the boiler from an outside source — often an adjacent fuel tank. A nozzle on the burner turns this fuel into a fine spray and ignites it, creating the reaction in the combustion chamber.

A circulator pump or circulating pump is a specific type of pump used to circulate gases, liquids, or slurries in a closed circuit. They are commonly found circulating water in a hydronic heating or cooling system.

A tap or valve used to draw off water.

It’s a valve that relieves excess pressure in the water heater tank. By doing so, it can prevent excessive pressure buildup that has the potential to cause a tank to burst and flood your home. It’s an unheralded but essential safety mechanism for your water heater.

An electric spark is an abrupt electrical discharge that occurs when a sufficiently high electric field creates an ionized, electrically conductive channel through a normally-insulating medium, often air or other gases or gas mixtures.

Gas valves are flow control devices used to handle and control the flow of gases such as liquefied petroleum, oxygen, and sour and natural gas. They are available in a variety of metal or plastic materials that are compatible with the media controlled and pressure requirements.

A low-water cutoff is a mechanical device (usually a float switch) that is used to turn off the burner or shut off fuel to a boiler to prevent it from running once the water drops below a certain point. If a boiler is “dry-fired” (burned without water in it) it can suffer rupture or catastrophic failure.

It is a valve or plate that stops or regulates the flow of air inside a duct, chimney, VAV box, air handler, or other air-handling equipment. A damper may be used to cut off the central air conditioning (heating or cooling) to an unused room or to regulate it for room-by-room temperature and climate control.

It is a short, curved, and very appropriately named, piece of pipe that sits under a gauge or a pressuretrol. It has two jobs. Its first job is to fill with water and keep the latent heat of steam from reaching through to the gauge or the pressuretrol.    

A small burner kept lighted to rekindle the principal burner.

A pressure gauge is used to indicate the steam pressure of the boiler. It is also called a steam gauge. It is usually mounted in the front top of the steam drum.

The boiler pressure relief valve (PRV) is a safety valve designed to relieve an excessive build-up of pressure inside the boiler.

A pressuretrol is a control used to control a steam boiler, by setting when the boiler should begin and end firing based on steam pressure.

Draft regulators or barometric dampers are devices used to regulate the draft on oil-fired furnaces, boilers, and water heaters.

The relay on a boiler is the part of the boiler system which triggers the boiler to release heat when the thermostat calls for it.

The spark electrode is essentially a spark plug placed directly in the path of the low-pressure gas flowing from the pilot light jet.

A spill switch is a device designed to sense and correct unsafe venting of combustion gases from a gas-fired appliance into a building.

The thermocouple is a gas furnace component located near the pilot light burner. It is a safety device that shuts off the gas if the pilot light goes out or the electric igniter fails.

A thermostat is a thermometer attached to a set point relay, which sends a signal to the boiler. The thermostat monitors the temperature in a target area. If the temperature falls below a preset temperature, the thermostat sends a signal to the boiler controller to initiate light off.

Any furnace that uses voltage other than standard commercial power needs a transformer. Whether for home or industrial furnaces, the transformer changes the voltage of the input power to a different voltage for use within the furnace.

A furnace flame sensor is a specialized safety component that is located inside of the burner assembly of a furnace. It detects and confirms whether or not there is a flame burning inside of the furnace.