Some Boston homes are heated by way of a steam boiler. Steam heat can be efficient or inefficient, but good maintenance can keep a steam boiler system working well for decades. In this post, I’ll talk about steam boiler inspections in Boston and what should be included in one.
Steam boiler heat systems differ from hot water heating systems in the way they generate and distribute heat. Unlike a hot water “heating” boiler, a steam boiler actually generates steam, which is then forced through the home’s heating system. The steam ends up in the radiators around the house and convection (the movement of heated air) distributes heat around the room.
An inspection of a steam heat system should include checks for safety and proper, efficient operation. The steam heat boiler should be checked to ensure that it is in good mechanical shape. If the boiler itself or the tank shows signs of corrosion, a replacement may be in order. The distribution pipes should be checked to ensure that all pipes are in good structural order; that all valves are opening and closing, and that all radiators are in good working condition. The distribution system should be checked for leaks and signs of mineral buildup on valves and at pipe joints.
Boiler safety inspections should include verification that the boiler is operating at a safe pressure; the water level in the boiler is appropriate; safety systems like shutoff valves and low-water cutoffs are working properly; the boiler is properly and safely consuming fuel; and that the boiler operation is not impeded by sludge, mineralization or debris accumulation.
Burners should be inspected, cleaned and adjusted. Sludge and debris should be removed from the system and drains should be checked and cleaned. Thermostatic controls should also be checked.
Boston Standard Plumbing & Heating can assist with steam boiler inspections, boiler maintenance and repairs of all kinds. If you would like more information about our steam boiler inspection and maintenance services, or would like to schedule an inspection, please contact us at (617) 288-2911.