Heat-Timer® Corporation

Spring has Sprung – What to do with My Boilers?

Spring and summer is actually a great time to maintain or upgrade the steam or hydronic heating system in your building or apartment complex. When you consider that the system can be offline for days or weeks now, without angry calls from residents, scheduling your HVAC guys to do this work is a no-brainer.. Especially when you consider that you can reduce your energy costs for the coming winter, and make modernizations that will forever keep you out of the boiler room at 3:00 AM during the next heating season.

Here are a few suggestions for summer preventive maintenance on your commercial boiler equipment:

  1. Start with a good cleaning

A dark, dirty, and cluttered boiler room is a boiler room filled with potential problems that you can’t see. Start your summer heating system maintenance with a good cleaning. Remove anything stored in the room that is not needed for boiler operation, replace any burned out bulbs, and consider upgrading the lighting to make maintenance easier. Finally, clean the floor and vacuum out the cobwebs and dust from the equipment. While you are cleaning in those dusty corners, look around.  Now that the place is clean, you can see all those potential problems.

  1. Give the boilers and hot water systems a thorough inspection

Look for water stains on the floor, rust on pumps or valves, droopy pipe insulation, and for damaged sensors or valve controls. These are all signs of pending failures. For steam systems, also inspect the main line air vents. Again, look for water stains and evidence of leaking.

Outside the boiler room, walk the building, check radiators and make sure the steam radiator air vents have not been painted over or otherwise abused. If you have installed remote wireless sensors, like the Heat-Timer© Wireless Sensor system, this is a good time to look into your control portal to see if any sensor in your building needs new batteries.

If you don’t have a heating control monitoring your building and critical heating system functions, maybe this is the summer to install it.  A Heat-Timer® internet heating control with wireless apartment sensors can give you instant information about your building’s health and the operation of boilers and valves in your system right on your cell phone.

  1. Too hot for you? – It may be time to insulate those pipes

If the pipes in your boiler room are uninsulated, or the insulation is damaged or missing, steam or hot water that is supposed to be heating your building is instead turning your boiler room into a sauna. Summer is the perfect time to insulate any exposed pipes and valves since they are all at a safe temperature.  There are three major advantages to insulating the system heating pipes and valves:

  • It reduces energy costs, and improves system balance, especially for those long runs to the far end of the building.
  • It reduces the temperature in the boiler room, making preventive maintenance or boiler repairs less grueling.
  • It prevents burn injuries while maintenance work is being performed.

Insulated pipes are also much softer when you bump your head on them. That alone may be enough of a reason to insulate.

  1. Clean and inspect the boiler

The boiler is the heart of the heating system. When properly maintained, it will provide heat reliably for decades. Neglect maintenance and it can fail in many sudden and expensive ways.

Summer gives you the time to drain the boiler so that both the fireside and waterside of the boiler can be cleaned and inspected.  A qualified technician should inspect and clean the burner and should also inspect, and if necessary replace, the three most critical safety systems on the boiler.

  • The blowdown valve
  • The low water cut-off switch
  • The pressure relief valve

Failures in any of these systems can result in a boiler shut down or even boiler damage. If you have decided to install a Heat-Timer© internet control this summer, you should note that stack sensors integrated with a Heat-Timer© control can warn you of boiler problems before they become serious.

  1. Upgrade your heating controls

Finally, while the technician is servicing your boiler, why not ask them whether it is time to consider upgrading the boiler controls?  Modern boiler controls, like the Heat-Timer® internet controls with wireless space sensors are designed to perfectly balance fuel consumption and comfort so that everybody wins. 

For example, the Heat Timer® internet controls come with self-learning software that continuously optimizes the heating logic for your specific building..  This reduces heating costs, while allowing you to monitor and manage your heating system from anywhere and receive programmable alarms in real-time. Clients with the Heat-Timer internet control with wireless sensors typically save close to 30% a year on their heating bills.

This Summer, It’s Cool to Install Heating Controls

Don’t wait until things cool off to start thinking of heating. These maintenance and upgrade tasks will give you the peace of mind that comes from knowing your heating system is not going to give you a headache this winter.

For more information on how to install and use a Heat-Timer® Internet Control in your building call our team today!