It feels like winter is already here and if you haven’t yet started up your commercial boiler, you probably will soon. Boilers are great for keeping your space warm for the season, but they need regular boiler maintenance in order to operate properly. If you haven’t yet scheduled a check-up for your system, contact the professionals at Oliver. If your boiler is already good to go, here are some things to keep in mind during startup:
These days, there are many different ways to heat your home. The three most popular are by heat pump, by boiler, and by furnace – but what’s the difference between these methods? And which one is right for you? Our heating contractors share:
How They Work
Boilers do exactly what their name suggests – they boil water. Using a fuel (usually natural gas), a boiler heats water until it is hot. The hot water then flows through pipes to the various radiators you have in your home, which produce the heat that warms the room.
Furnaces produce heat via coils instead of water. They use a fuel (usually natural gas) to heat a set of coils, then use a motorized blower to blow air across the coils. The air becomes warmed and then travels through your duct work to your vents.
Heat pumps use electricity to move heat from a cool area to a warm one, which makes the warm space warmer in the winter and the cool space cooler in the summer. Because heat is simply moved (instead of generated), this method of heat can provide up to 4 times the amount of energy it consumes.
Heat pumps and furnaces are very similar in that they are used to heat your whole home at one time, so each room is around the same temperature. Boilers, however, work with the radiators you have placed in each room, so each room can have its own temperature.
The efficiency of each heating method depends on factors like the type of fuel you use, your climate, and the model of equipment. Every heater is given an AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency) rating that indicates how much fuel is converted to heat. The higher the AFUE rating, the more efficient the unit is. For example, a furnace with an AFUE of 80 converts 80% of the fuel to heat and loses 20% in the combustion process, where a furnace with an AFUE of 90 converts 90% and only loses 10%.
Give our heating contractors a call. We can help you find the best option for your lifestyle and your budget.
If you haven’t started up your boiler yet, you’ll probably be doing so by the end of the week – a cold front is supposed to bring chilly temperatures to the area and you’ll want to keep your customers and/or employees warm.
Boilers are a great source of heat, however, if they don’t undergo proper maintenance, they can cause fires, explosions, and ultimately, hundreds or thousands of dollars in damage. To avoid a boiler disaster, there are a few things you should consider before starting it up:
The Operating Manual
Boiler manufacturers are required to include an operating manual with each boiler they sell, so when you received your boiler, you should have gotten a manual with it. Before starting up your boiler, consult the manual and follow the directions and/or recommendations for startup.
To minimize damage risk, make sure that your boiler room is kept clean and well-ventilated. Also make sure that there are no boxes, cleaning supplies, clothing, and other storage items in the room. If something goes wrong, these items can easily catch fire.
Someone in your company’s maintenance department should be keeping a log of maintenance records. Before you start up your boiler, check the log to see if there have been any problems or unsolved issues recently recorded (such as leaks, wiring issues, pipe issues, and more). If so, you may want to hold off on starting it up.
What to Do
Before you turn on your boiler, know what to do in case of a fire. Review the emergency exit strategy and know where the cut-off switch is located. Also make sure you know where a first-aid kit is and where to access the nearest phone.
Prior to your boiler startup, check the following:
- Air Openings
- Make sure all combustion and ventilation openings are clear and unobstructed
- Boiler Water Level
- Make sure the water is at the correct level for startup
- Stack Dampers
- Make sure all stack dampers are open
- Make sure there are no frayed or damaged wires
- Manual Fuel Valves
- Make sure that all of the manual fuel valves are open
- Foreign Objects
- Make sure there is nothing unusual near, on, or in the boiler
- Furnace and Flue Passes
- Make sure there is no fuel accumulation in either of these areas
If you don’t already have one in place, set up a maintenance plan with our boiler maintenance experts. We’ll make sure your boiler is operating correctly and that there are no signs of danger to your commercial or industrial business.