3 Valves That Can Bring Your Boiler Down

Boiler problems can be scary, but modern gas boilers are incredibly safe appliances with many redundant safety features. Of course, they can still fail and significantly reduce the effectiveness of your heating system. When this happens, your faulty boiler may leave you with a chilly home and a surprisingly expensive repair bill.

Since boilers rely on consistent water pressure, problems often occur in their many valves. These valves can fail over time, leading to a variety of potential systems. Keep an eye out for issues with these three critical valves that ensure your boiler can provide you with heat on-demand.

1. Gas Valve

Like any natural gas appliance, your home's boiler uses a gas valve to control fuel flow to its burners. Most gas valves open in two states: open or closed. The valve opens when you need heat, and it remains open until the water temperature reaches its setpoint. As a result, gas flow may turn on or off multiple times while the boiler is running.

If the gas valve seizes, then fuel flow to the burners will be reduced or entirely cut off. This situation can cause your boiler to stop running, or it may result in inefficient combustion that leads to reduced heating and increased gas consumption. In most cases, you'll need to replace your gas valve to repair the boiler's functionality.

2. Pressure Relief Valve

The pressure relief valve is an essential safety feature that keeps your boiler within its standard operating pressure. If system pressure increases for any reason, the valve releases water to bring the system back down to around 12-15psi (the normal range for residential structures). You may notice this valve dripping small amounts of water from time to time, which is normal.

Consistent dripping or significant leaks usually indicate a faulty valve, however. A relief valve failure can cause the system pressure to drop, preventing your boiler from functioning properly. Make a note of pooling water near this valve since that's a good sign that something is wrong, either with the valve itself or with excessive system pressure.

3. Drain Valve

Like storage water heaters, boilers include drain valves to make maintenance and servicing easier. These valves allow you to drain water from the system, but they can often become a source of leaks. Your drain valve should never leak when closed, so any water around or underneath this valve indicates a problem with your system.

Like the pressure relief valve, a leaky drain valve can reduce your system pressure. Some boilers include an automatic feed-water valve that can make up for this pressure loss, but it's still essential to repair any leaks. Replacing a faulty drain valve will ensure that your boiler can maintain the correct pressure levels, allowing your hydronic heating system to function normally.

For more assistance, contact residential boiler repair services.