As winter approaches, many businesses start to crank the heating on after months of little use.

Watch out for the common signs below, however, which may indicate that your commercial boiler needs replacing. If you notice that your boiler is having any of these signs, have it checked straight away to help avoid complete breakdown.

A service or scheduled maintenance is far less inconvenient than a boiler failure, and hiring a temporary boiler while maintenance is carried out will ensure uninterrupted heating for your employees and customers.

1: Kettling

Kettling is the term given to those high-pitched whistling noises which emanate from your radiators or commercial boiler. It’s similar to the noise of an actual kettle boiling on the hob, and you shouldn’t be getting this sound from your boiler.

Whistling, gurgling, hissing, banging. These are common noises yet none of them are ‘normal’ and should be investigated.

When sludge and limescale build up in your boiler, it can have a huge knock-on effect. If it builds up on or around the heat exchanger, it can restrict the flow of water. If the flow of water is moving slower than it should be, it can lead to the water overheating and boiling, thus making the noises you’d expect to hear from a kettle.

Although more common in hard water areas, limescale and sludge build up can happen anywhere. If you’re hearing strange noises coming from your boiler, then the system will need flushing.

Limescale build up can significantly reduce your commercial boiler’s life expectancy and cost you more to run. If the heat exchanger isn’t working as it should, it requires more fuel to work as effectively.

2: Leaks

A leak from your boiler is always indicative that something else is at play. Depending on where the leak is coming from, it could mean several things.

Poorly fitted pipework, a broken seal, and a faulty internal component are just some of the possible sources. If not addressed, a leak can lead to corrosion and rust of pipework and elements, and can even cause severe electrical issues which can result in your boiler short-circuiting.

Leaks can be a sign that your boiler is nearing the end of its life cycle and should be looked at by a gas safe registered engineer; a plumber will not suffice in this situation.

If left, not only will a leak go on to cause further damage to the boiler, but it can also have adverse affects on your building such as damaged plasterwork and damp and mould problems.

3: Discolouration of Flames

A flame that burns blue is a sign of a healthy boiler.

So if you see an orange or yellow flame, get it checked out immediately.

A flame that burns anything but blue is often a sign of incomplete combustion meaning there’s a real risk of carbon monoxide, which can be fatal. Find out more about carbon monoxide and the signs to watch out for in our blog post here

A yellow or orange-tinged flame could be a simple fix such as too much air is getting into the system, or a blocked pilot tube. Whatever the cause, it needs addressing as a matter of urgency, as carbon monoxide poisoning can kill within hours.

4: Increased Need for Maintenance

If you find your boiler is needing more call-outs and services, it could be nearing the end of its life. While individual components can be replaced, the frequent need for this can quickly start racking up costs.

Combining this with the fact that a commercial boiler with parts that aren’t working effectively uses more energy, your bills could be far more expensive than they should be.

If you’re finding your energy expenditure is higher than you expected, consider the above points and decide if upgrading your system will save you costs in the long run. Remember, most boiler replacements pay for themselves in a couple of years with the amount saved with an efficiently running system.

5: Boiler Age

Most modern boilers are designed to last 10 – 15 years, while cast iron boilers should be considered for replacement if they’ve been in use for more than 20 – 30 years.

Even if they seem to be working okay, the costs you’ll save from the improvement in energy efficiency by upgrading will often pay for a new system within a couple of years –
and that’s not even mentioning the increase in costs you can experience by having an older boiler repaired. Boiler parts are often obsolete or rare, making the costs associated with repair skyrocket, even impacting insurance or boiler cover premiums.

In Summary

By knowing the signs that may indicate your commercial boiler is nearing the end of its life means that you can prepare in advance and take action before disaster strikes.

Don’t wait until the last minute before carrying out maintenance and fixing faults in the hope it will cause less disruption to your business or your customers.

Not only can dealing with emergency boiler breakdowns be extremely expensive, it can also be dangerous. Carbon monoxide, gas leaks, water leaks and boiler explosions are all very real risks of ignoring the warning signs listed above.

Enlist the help of a temporary boiler to keep heating and hot water running to your building completely uninterrupted. This allows you to have your current system looked at and even completely upgraded without the added pressure and inconvenience of no heating or hot water at all.

If you experience any of the signs above, don’t ignore them. Have them checked out immediately by a gas safe engineer, to ensure the safety of your staff, and your customers.

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