A boiler leaking water doesn’t have to be the end of the world. Here are the first three things you need to check.
The average lifespan of a boiler is roughly 20 years, however, suppliers recommend checking your machine every year to make sure there are no major problems. Those who put off this task might find themselves paying up to $5,000 for a new commercial boiler.
If you recently discovered your boiler is leaking water, don’t panic about that big replacement cost yet. There are still a few ways to troubleshoot the issue.
Sometimes boilers that are old need a few small tweaks to get back to normal. Other times, water coming out of your boiler can be a sign of a bigger issue.
Before you call your local handyman or boiler supplier, take a few minutes to check these three things. Pinpointing the cause for your boiler leaking can be easier than you think.
Three Things to Check Before You Panic
As soon as you notice a leak, it’s important to take action before the issue worsens. You might worry that there’s a serious problem going on, but the water leakage might be due to a simpler issue. Most leaks can trace back to one of the following problems.
1. Pressure Issues
This is the most likely reason why you’re seeing water around your boiler. All boilers have a special outlet pipe that’s used to release extra pressure.
In order for the pressure to escape, the outlet pipe is put together without sealed fittings. This results in the occasional drip of water. If your “leak” is a tiny amount of water that’s coming out of the pressure outlet pipe, then there’s nothing to worry about.
If you’re seeing large amounts of water coming out of the pressure outlet pipe, this could mean there’s too much pressure inside the boiler. Check to see if your boiler’s gauge needle is pointing to the green or the red. If it’s in the red, you’ll need a professional to bleed your boiler to lower the pressure.
2. Loose Joints
Boilers contract and expand as the temperature changes from hot to cold. Because of this, it can cause the joints to loosen and leak water. Newly installed boilers may also need tightened joints.
If you’re seeing water, check all the fittings of the boiler. Be sure to cover every pipe and tube that goes into or comes out of the body.
Use a cloth to dry the area and then wait to see if water appears again. If the boiler pipework seems to be the issue, then a quarter turn might fix it. Otherwise, you’ll want to call a professional to make sure all the joints are nice and tight.
3. Damage to Seals or Body
Over time, your boiler will repeatedly contract and expand. This can lead to cracks and damages that cause leakages. If you live in an old home and suspect a crack to the body, it’s time for a new replacement.
Damaged seals can also result in a boiler leaking water. After years of use, rubber seals harden or fall apart from continued use.
If you’ve recently installed a new boiler and suspect damaged seals, it could be that your boiler has been running overpressure. If you suspect this problem, it’s a good idea to call a professional.
Other Reasons for a Boiler Leaking
Most boiler leaks come down to pressure issues, loose joints, or cracks. If you suspect a different problem, there are other things you can check. Remember that some issues are a simple fix, but your safest bet is to call in a professional right away.
Damaged Blowdown Valve
Part of your boiler upkeep is a process called a “blowdown,” which is done when the water seems dirty. It uses a quick opening valve that can sometimes be damaged.
If this boiler valve seems to be damaged, it can cause a large pool of water to collect. This is why regular boiler checks are a good idea for damage prevention.
Corroded Heat Exchanger
The most expensive and essential part of your boiler is its heat exchanger. This is the part of your boiler that takes heat from the hot gas to the water.
Unfortunately, over time the heat exchanger can corrode and split. This leads to a leaky boiler. When this happens, your best option is to replace your boiler.
Leaky Auto-Air Vent
When the pressure gets too high, your boiler will switch to the auto-air vent to release pressure. This auto-air vent uses a valve that opens and closes to let air out.
Sometimes the valve sticks, which leads to the air vent letting out both air and water. If you think your water leak is coming from the top of your boiler, then the problem could be valve leaks from the auto-air vent.
Sediment Trapped in Pressure Valve
If you suspect that your leak is because of a faulty pressure valve, then it could be that there is sediment trapped inside the valve. When this happens, the valve can’t close properly.
There are steps you can take to check it yourself if you feel confident you can do it without the help of an experienced professional. Turn off your boiler, let it cool, then lift the valve to let out water.
The water should come out with force and should look clean. If water keeps coming out after you’ve closed the valve, then you might have trapped sediment. It’s a good idea to call a professional if you suspect problems with a boiler pressure relief valve.
Get Repairs Done Quickly
The reasons for a boiler leaking can be either simple or complex, but either way, they require immediate attention. All boilers wear down over time and need regular upkeep in order to last through its expected lifetime.
Remember to always play it safe when considering DIY repairs. A loose joint can be an easy DIY fix, but major problems like a damaged heat exchange need help from certified professionals.
When you see a mysterious pool of water, you can check this list of common causes to decide how serious the issue is. Need help from a friendly expert? You can call our team of professionals at (402) 731-2727 to get it fixed right away.