Boilers can be a homeowner’s best friend during the cold winter months. By providing constant heat, boilers keep a house toasty warm and cozy. Proper maintenance, which includes boiler cleanings, will ensure your boiler runs efficiently even during the coldest weather.
In order to keep your house warm, a boiler heats water which then flows through pipes to radiators where the heat is then dispersed into the rooms. Unfortunately, the water leaves behind deposits which, over time, build up on the pipe walls and lower the system’s efficiency. A yearly boiler cleaning can save you money on your monthly heating bills.
While most homeowners will call a professional heating contractor for a boiler cleaning however you have decided to try cleaning one yourself. If so, follow these boiler cleaning steps:
- Turn off the boiler’s power and let it cool down. Don’t forget that temperatures inside a boiler can get close to 200° F. Yep, that’s really hot.
- Recheck that the power to the boiler is off. Don’t be ‘that’ guy, ok?
- Remove the chimney. Don’t freak out at all the gunk inside. That’s why it’s called ‘boiler cleaning.’
- Vacuum out the gunk. Special soot-filtering vacuums are available but you can just use a good shop vac; throw a towel over it to keep the soot inside the vacuum.
- Use a wire brush to clean scale from sides of pipes. These brushes can be purchased at most plumbing supply stores.
- Vacuum out this new pile of gunk. See above.
- Replace worn gaskets and filters as necessary.
- Lastly, carefully retrace your steps as you put everything back together. After putting the chimney back, it’s time to fire it up.
Remember, boiler cleaning is not only a messy job but it also involves some knowledge of the system. If you are at all unsure of what you’re doing, call in a heating contractor. Better safe and warm than sorry you didn’t call someone sooner.