All about the technical overview of the heating system

All about the technical overview of the heating system

13/06/22

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7 questions about spring cleaning in the boiler room

Spring and summer are a time of rest for people tired of the gloomy winter aura. During this period we charge the energy accumulators the fastest. It is also the time when we take up spring cleaning. An important element of these activities should be the maintenance of the home heating system – exploited in the cold months. In spring and summer, our heating system also “rests”. It’s bad if it’s resting inactively . How to take care of the heating system? What to do to make it ready for the next heating season? Today we advise you how to take up spring cleaning in the boiler room.

Why it is necessary to clean the heating system in the spring after the heating season?

In order to ensure that during next winter we will not be faced with an unpleasant surprise – for example a defect requiring immediate (therefore expensive) repair. During the heating season, inspections are much more expensive and you have to wait longer to see a professional. Who needs such problems? Heating fuel prices surprise us enough already. You should also be aware that in winter there can be a minor failure of almost any element of heating system, which does not have to be immediately visible. A defect can cause a lot of heat loss and badly affect our well-being. If the heating system begins to work inefficiently and unecologically, it will unnecessarily increase its operating costs. Maintenance carried out during the summer period will effectively prevent this.

Which installations require the most urgent inspection?

Spring cleaning should apply to every heating system – without any exception. However, it is especially important to inspect high-risk systems. We are talking about heating based on a gas boiler. Its leakage can cause irreversible tragedies – from gas leaks to explosion. Thus, gas systems require not only proper installation but also periodic, reliable renovation, with emphasis on checking  technological protection measures and cleaning ventilation pipes and chimney.

During reviewing a coal boiler, it is important to evaluate the efficiency of its automation and clean the surface, combustion chamber, and convection channels. With this type of heating fuel, soot accumulates everywhere and must be removed. This is not a matter of aesthetics, but economic reasons. A few millimeters of soot is enough to reduce heating efficiency and increase fuel consumption. Contaminations also block the discharge of exhaust gases. Older boilers should also be cleaned of scale.

In the case of increasingly popular heat pumps, during the review, you need to check the condition of the lower and upper source of heating (evaporator, condenser, filter, pressure), but also the cooling part. You need to focus on  isolation and efficiency of pump automation.

What need to be checked as part of the boiler room spring cleaning?

In the case of boilers, periodic maintenance mainly includes:

  • cleaning the combustion chamber
  • cleaning and adjusting the burner
  • checking the protective and controlling components of the device

In addition to the boiler review, the inspection should include the installation fittings and all heating elements. Regardless of the type of fuel, spring cleaning in the boiler room takes place in fixed stages. To be ready for frost, we need to know the answers to the questions:

  1. Is the boiler room properly ventilated?
  2. Are the wirings of the system definitely tight?
  3. Have the components of the installation been thoroughly cleaned of sediments and contaminants?
  4. Have any defects (loss, cracks) been detected and have they been removed?
  5. Have filters, gaskets, etc. been replaced? (if required)
  6. How did the diagnostic measurements turn out? (They should be carried out by a professional)
  7. How did the trial launch go?

What do you need to remember about while spring cleaning in the underfloor heating system?

When doing a review of underfloor heating, it is a good idea to start by cleaning up the manifold cabinet. Take a look at the manifold, rotameters, test the operation of valves. Next it is be necessary to: vent the heating loops – air in the loops causes uneven distribution of heat, check the water pressure – too low requires topping up, check the tightness of the connection of heating loops. Do not forget to regulate the temperature of the water supplying the entire system, on which the temperature of the floor and, ultimately, the room depends. Underfloor heating is a low-temperature system with a long warming-up time (in relation to radiator heating). At the beginning of the heating season we sometimes forget about this fact and increase the supply temperature to speed up the heating of the house. Let’s be careful with this! The supplying water to underfloor heating should not be warmer than 55°C – this may result in damage of the floor. Too high temperature could also lead to damage of the heating system and waste of heat, which multiplies our bills.

It is a good idea while doing spring cleaning in the installation of the underfloor heating to complement the system by the heating control devices. It is difficult to use this type of heating economically if it is not controlled zonally (a separate thermostat for each zone). It is worth choosing energy-efficient thermostats that will optimize the consumption of the heating source and reduce bills. If our house is already supplied with them, it is necessary to check the technical condition of the regulators, the control box (wiring centre), the thermal actuators. Check the cleanliness of devices, batteries, efficiency of all functions. If necessary, you will have time to replace the equipment to more efficient one.

What do you need to remember about while spring cleaning in the radiator heating system?

Before the next intensive heating season you need to vent the radiators. This can be done easily – just unscrew the valve and leave it open until only water flows out. Then you are sure that the air will not interfere with the water flow. Next you need to clean the radiators; outer panel, grille, ribbing. This is important because dusty radiators are unhealthy for the respiratory system; burnt dust worsens air quality and has an unpleasant smell. Finally, it is worth to repair any signs of corrosion, scratches and paint defects, which, if not  removed, can increase corrosion. Using the radiator heating system, it is also worth investing in automation for zone temperature control. Here, same as in the underfloor heating system, the benefits are felt mainly in our wallets. Although, of course, you can not underestimate the thermal comfort which is a result of adjusting the temperature of the rooms to the way we use them.

Can we do the review on our own?

In the case of gas installation, it is better to rely on professionals. “Tinkering” with it involves risk of damage or causing leaks. And we all know what that might entail. We can clean, vent and adjust other installations ourselves but only if we do not do it for the first time. Remember that we maintain the heating system for it to work efficiently and energy-saving. If we can’t do that, we’re unlikely to get lucky. It may or may not work. It would be pointless to pay extra money during the heating season for inefficient heating operation. It’s better to pay for an inspection and, along the way, learn how to do it in the future. The price of an inspection done by a specialist starts at about 200 PLN. The final amount depends on the type of installation and the improvements made by specialist. However, it is certainly less than the cost of repairs made quickly during the winter season. The old adage holds true that one pays dearly for negligence. It is difficult to disagree with.

The frequency of maintenance depends mainly on the type and quality of the fuel, but also on the boiler’s power and the way it is operated. This knowledge is acquired by the user in practice or can be obtained from a specialist. The best option is to check how often the boiler should be reviewed in the technical documentation received from the producer. Solid fuel boilers should be cleaned most often. Gas boilers work the longest without cleaning – however, as we know, they should be reviewed regularly for safety reasons.

Note: before using brushes, scrapers or compressed air, we must first cool the boiler. It should be obvious, but it’s worth reminding of.

Final preparations for the heating season – what is worth to remember?

By definition, a heating system should be functional for many years. However, any system, even the most resistant, contains components that wear away with time. This is natural. It is necessary to keep an eye on the subject if you want to maintain the efficiency of the heating system. It is also important  to invest in a good controlling system that allows for temperature zone control.

Why? If we decide to control the temperature throughout the house with a single thermostat, our rooms will not be effectively heated – temperatures in every room will be random. In some rooms too high, in others too low – trying to heat them, we will “pump” energy, wasting it. You can live this way but is it worth it? A modern system control will allow you to adjust the installation in the best way and reduce energy consumption. Spring cleaning the boiler room is not limited to a review of the boiler and installation fittings. While these are undoubtedly their key points, it is worth expanding our activities to buying building automation, which will support our energy-saving efforts.

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