Hot Water Boilers

Hot Water Boilers 

Hot water boilers are simple and efficient heating systems that are commonly found in homes in the New Jersey area. These systems involve a fuel source, a hot flame, heat exchanger and baseboards or radiators.

Typical Issues Hot Water Boilers

During the course of a home inspection, our inspectors look for a number of items to determine the hot water boiler system is properly functioning.

  • Water Leaks
  • Rust and Debris build up
  • System produces heat when thermostat turned on
  • Age of the System
  • Fuel Source

The most important component of the hot water boiler system is the heat exchanger. To determine if the heat exchanger is functioning properly, the heat will need to be on. Our inspectors will closely monitor the exchanger for leaks, a leaky heat exchanger is detrimental and would result in replacement of the boiler. Other issues regarding the heat exchanger that our inspectors look for is rust or debris build up on the bottom of the heat exchanger. Rust and debris build up can lead to the boiler system working less efficiently, potential leaks and in severe cases could cause the boiler to back draft hazardous exhaust gasses into the home. Debris build up on the heat exchanger can easily be cleaned or removed by a qualified HVAC contractor. Rust buildup is much more concerning and should be evaluated by a qualified/licensed HVAC contractor to determine if the system needs replacement. Another common issue seen with hot water boilers is leakage from the pressure relief valve. The pressure relief valve allows water to exit the boiler when too much pressure builds up inside the system. This typically happens when the expansion tank, the components of the boiler which protect the system from excessive pressure, is no longer in working order. This issue can typically be easily resolved by a qualified or licensed HVAC contractor. To avoid issues and to keep the boiler system in satisfactory working order, it is recommended that a HVAC contractor is brought out before the heating season to perform maintenance on the boiler. This process involves cleaning the boiler and making any necessary repairs to the system prior to use.

Fuel Source

Natural gas is the most common fuel sources for heating systems in the New Jersey area but there are a number of other fuel sources to create heat in a home. In the early parts of the 20th century many homes used coal or oil to heat their homes, these fuel sources are not very energy efficient or eco-friendly. Today, many people use natural gas or electricity to heat their homes, in comparison to oil or coal, which are much more dependable, efficient, and environmentally friendly.

Hot Water Boiler Operation

Hot water boilers are simple systems that involve various components which work together to heat the home. The hot water boiler, like any heating system, is controlled by a thermostat which is set to a desired temperature, the heating process begins when the temperature of the home falls beneath the desired temperature. The flame is ignited to allow heat to transfer from the flame to the heat exchanger and then into the cool water inside the heat exchanger. The water is then circulated to the baseboards or radiators in the home which produce heat to the house. The cool water from the baseboards is returned back to the heat exchanger by a circulation pump and the heating process repeats itself.