Maintaining oil boilers is the key to assuring heat and hot water for a household. In fact, the workings of an oil burner are amazingly simple to understand. By focusing on certain elements that make up a boiler, a homeowner can be assured of years of trouble-free service, beginning from the day the system is installed until that time in the future when a more efficient model is purchased and placed on line.
The most common problem with oil boilers is a frozen condensate pipe. Most problems occur when the pipe is external and exposed to the cold weather outside. If the pipe is frozen, its likely that the boiler will shut down when it attempts to push hot water through the system. The easiest fix involves pouring warm water on the pipe to thaw it. This should be considered only a temporary solution unless standing outside at night in pajamas with a teapot of hot water is considered fun by a homeowner.
The best solution is to wrap heat tape around the pipe area that is prone to freezing. The best heat tape is one that is controlled by a thermostat. The thermostat senses when the temperature reaches a certain level and turns itself on to prevent frozen pipes. Non-automatic heat tapes should not be used on plastic pipes because the heat can damage the pipes. This heat tape should not be installed on leaky pipes because the tape could short out electrically. Some heat tapes wrap around the pipe while others will run along the side. Homeowners should follow the manufacturers instructions. Electrical tape is a good option to secure the heat tape to the pipe. Follow that by securing the entire pipe with pipe jacketing. This will solve the majority of frozen pipe problems.
Another common reason for a frozen condensate pipe is a narrow pipe or one set at the wrong angle. This is a problem created by the boiler installer. The solution is to call a boiler engineer to install a vertical, larger pipe.
The people at Which? offer several videos and articles to help households choose the right boiler service when a boiler engineer is needed. Information includes the following.:
* Boiler service contracts.
* A comparison of features and prices.
* Average costs for parts and services.
This page from Which? can be viewed at http://www.which.co.uk/home-and-garden/heating-water-and-electricity/guides/getting-a-good-boiler-service/.
Another necessary item to help maintain oil boilers is a maintenance manual. These manuals explain common boiler maintenance steps for homeowners. As is most likely the case, these manuals have been tossed away or lost. Fortunately, households can download a new manual by visiting the manufacturers website.
When dealing with open-vented boilers, another common problem is no pilot light. The solution calls for pushing the reset button for about 30 seconds to relight the pilot. The reset button should be held down for another 30 seconds after the pilot light starts up. If the pilot doesnt light or the flame is yellow, then ring up a boiler engineer to repair the problem.
If the upstairs radiators are cold and no air or water is released while bleeding them, the cause is likely a stuck ball valve in the expansion and feed tank. Another symptom of a stuck ball valve is a noisy circulation pump. The solution is to move the ball valve up and down. This should free the valve and get the water circulating again.
Finally, households need to be aware of hidden boiler flues. A flue is a pipe that carries away energy waste that is generated by a boiler. If this flue malfunctions, carbon monoxide could be released inside a home and cause injury or death. For that reason, the flue must be inspected periodically to ensure that it is operating as intended. Some flues may be hidden inside a wall. If thats the case, a flue inspection hatch should be installed.
Its a good idea to install a carbon monoxide detector in the house. These detectors cost between Â£15 and Â£30.
Maintaining oil boilers is an easy and straightforward process. Most problems that arise can be solved by the homeowner. Various websites offer help in choosing a boiler engineer if the need arises. By following a few easy procedures, homeowners can be assured of a steady supply of heat and hot water.
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