It’s something we hear far too often from customers when our Climate Control Company technicians are called out for repairs, “I didn’t think our radiant heat and hot water boiler needed regular maintenance.” Many times the comment comes from a homeowner bundled up in a ski jacket after the heat suddenly stopped working on a really cold day.
We understand how it happens. Boilers and radiant heat systems are much quieter than forced air heating and air conditioning systems in Aspen homes. Additionally, you don’t feel the air blowing through the house so it’s easy to forget about them. It is a mistake, and unlike a furnace that may still be working but having a hard time keeping up, when a boiler breaks down, it tends to do so suddenly and with no warning signs. You simply wake up one morning to a cold house.
So, what does boiler maintenance amount to? Here are just a few of the things an expert Climate Control technician will check during a service call:
TDS (total dissolved solids)
When the water is heated to boiling, impurities are left behind as solid material and can form a sludge. Over time, the amount increases affecting the boiler efficiency. The technician can measure the TDS and determine if they have reached a dangerous level.
Since carbon dioxide is nearly always present in the combustion process, it combines with the water when it’s heated and forms carbonic acid as a byproduct. Chemically, it’s the same process that forms acid rain. If the water becomes too acidic (low pH) it can damage the piping system. A simple pH test is required to determine if further treatment is necessary.
All radiant systems should have additives in the water to protect the boiler, along with pipes, valves, and connectors. A water quality test will determine if the protective elements are still present. Because it is a closed system, a drop in the level of those protective ingredients could be a sign of a water leak.
All of those problems can be a little more severe on the Western Slope because many homes have hard water. The minerals can cause calcification on the heat exchanger, and cause corrosion damage resulting in a shortened lifespan.
If your boiler has not had routine maintenance, you need to call Climate Control now and make an appointment. Our certified technicians will do all of the tests listed above. The results will determine their next step. If a water treatment is needed, we are a big believer in the Fernox line of water treatment products. [If you’re skeptical, this video showing the benefits of Fernox may change your mind] We believe in it so much, the cost of the Fernox treatment is now included in every contract for new and replacement boilers. Climate Control believes it is that important.