Home heating systems come in a few different types – forced-air furnaces, forced-air heat pumps, and boilers – and each comes with different advantages and disadvantages. For boilers, also known as hydronic systems, which use heated water to heat the different rooms of the home, one of the disadvantages is that, because they have water inside, is that they will occasionally leak. Depending on where they are leaking from you can usually determine exactly why your boiler might be leaking.
- Water is coming from the boiler itself – Water is surrounding the boiler
If the water appears to be coming from the boiler itself, either from inside or underneath, one of the most common issues is some kind of crack or break within the heat exchanger. The heat exchanger is the piece of metal which separates the water inside the boiler (which is going to be heated) from the fire (which is going to heat the water). As small cracks develop or connections around the heat exchanger start to break, then more and more water is going to leak from within your boiler. Cracks in, or around, the heat exchanger are typically serious issues and in most instances you should contact your local, licensed, plumbing professional for an inspection and potential repair or replacement.
- Water is coming from the T-P valve – Water is mostly on one side of the boiler
Similar to your home’s water heater, your home’s boiler works by heating water. Unlike your home’s water heater your boiler heats a lot more water a lot hotter, and all of this heat causes the water to expand and contract. Because of all of this expansion and contraction, your boiler has a very specific part called an “expansion tank.” When the expansion tank becomes flooded with water, then it no longer has the space available for the water to expand, and this causes the pressure, and temperature, inside of the boiler to increase. Your T-P valve (Temperature-Pressure relief valve) will leak water all over your floor when the pressure or temperature in your boiler gets too high and to prevent major issue from happening. Because your T-P valve is usually set to one side of the boiler, the water tends to only collect in that area. Though this is a less serious issue than the cracked heat exchanger and can usually be fixed by a simple cleaning or maintenance, still consider trusting a licensed boiler expert to ensure that the issue is properly diagnosed and that you are not overcharged.
- Water is coming from a leaky pipe – Water is ON or nowhere near the boiler
Homes with boilers and boiler pipes throughout the home can have up to several hundred connection points, where one piece of pipe connects to another. Over time, or through poor workmanship, each of these hundreds of connection points can wear down and develop leaks. Some leaks will be so tiny (even pinhole sized) that the leak point may not be noticeable, to larger leaks where the leak can be traced from puddle to leak. If you find water collecting on top of your boiler, or nowhere near your boiler, carefully search for the leak. Again, be VERY CAREFUL when inspecting boiler pipes as these pipes can be 140 degrees or more. Although, you can try folding a paper towel in half and wrapping it around the pipe, wait till you see the wet spot. While repairing the leak is a simple task, the boiler will need to be drained of water and then refilled, so trust the same professional who provides your seasonal maintenance.
There are many different methods for heating homes in NJ, PA, & DE. With only licensed, certified, and professional technicians you can “Trust Hutch” to fix your heating problem today. Learn what it means to be “Expertly Better,” call Hutchinson now at 866-953-8728, or browse our site.