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porkfriedrice 08-12-2011 05:37 AM

Boiler Maintenance
I moved into my first home this past January, and was wondering about boiler maintenance. It is an oil-fired boiler, with hot water baseboard radiators. The boiler also heats our water. The unit is practically new (July 2010 on the sticker), so I'd like to make sure I do what is necessary to keep it going for awhile. I have one of those home improvement manuals, and it says to flush the boiler every year, also to change the oil filter. Anyone have any tips on doing this job? Should I not try to mess with it and just call someone to do it?

sgthvac 08-12-2011 10:17 PM

Call a professional, watch what he does and ask lots of questions. Oil fired boilers can soot up in a hurry if they are not set up properly or have sched. maintenance done every year.

porkfriedrice 08-12-2011 10:27 PM

So I guess you're saying that I shouldn't try to do this myself based on just what I read in a book? I'm always looking to save money by doing things myself, but not when I might mess things up.

sgthvac 08-12-2011 10:42 PM

You are correct, unfortunately. It's great to be book smart, but if you don't have the proper tools and test equipment you can really create some unsafe conditions. As I stated earlier, watch, and ask alot of questions.

porkfriedrice 08-12-2011 10:48 PM

Okay, thank you.

beenthere 08-13-2011 04:52 AM

Do not flush the boiler. Fresh water is the enemy of water boilers(not a great friend of steam boilers either).

Fresh water allows air to enter the system, along with more minerals. Air can cause oxidation in the system, and minerals just end up coating the heat transfer surfaces.

As for cleaning the flue passages, and flue pipe and chimney, while it can be done by you. A good filter in the vacuum is needed. changing of the oil filter, cleaning the pump strainer, and changing the nozzle can be done by you. But care must be taken with electrode adjustment. And if you don't have a combustion analyzer, you will need a burner guy to check it for you any way.

oh'mike 08-13-2011 06:41 AM

I think the book you have was not written buy a boiler man-----

Listen to the poster above---never drain the boiler except when needed .

REP 08-13-2011 07:45 AM

Hahaha.I wish I could figure out how to make "old" boiler water.I could make millions.
Nothing like that old, black, smelly, oxygen depleated water To keep a boiler clean.

Daniel Holzman 08-13-2011 08:45 AM

I have a 1959 built, oil fired boiler, which is the main heat source for my house, and used to be the hot water heater as well (indirect hot water system). I totally agree with previous posts, I do most of my own work on things, but I don't touch boiler maintenance, too much trouble. I strongly recommend that you check your system to make sure there is a backflow preventer on the cold water makeup line. My system originally did not have one, thereby theoretically allowing that old, greasy, black, oxygen deprived boiler water everyone is raving about to flow into the potable water lines in the house.

Modern code requires a backflow preventer, but obviously in 1959 it either wasn't required, or they didn't bother. I added one to the line, a relatively inexpensive Watts, when I changed the pressure regulator. If you don't have one, you definitely should add it, although my guess is with a system as recent as yours, the regulator may incorporate a backflow preventer, else there is a separate one on the line. Worth a check though.

porkfriedrice 08-13-2011 01:10 PM

Thank you for the replies. I was under the impression that the boiler was sort of like a car radiator, in that it should be flushed out every so often to prevent rust and corrosion. So this is not so? Anyway, I'll just have someone over here to check things out. I'll also look for that backflow preventer.

oh'mike 08-13-2011 01:22 PM

Car radiators are flushed out to remove the old coolant ----coolant/antifreeze breaks down with time and no longer performs its duty.

porkfriedrice 08-13-2011 05:05 PM

Okay thanks. Don't want to get into a derail about cars, so I'll leave it at that.

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