Maintaining a Building's Infrastructure The Health of Your Boiler System

 In many ways, a building’s boiler is like the heart is to the body: it provides heat and circulation; it  works unseen; and if it is not functioning, it won’t take long for life to go away. Maintaining this heat source of the community  is as essential as it is for a person with a heart problem to avoid the  conditions that lead to a heart attack. And when the weather gets colder and a  building’s boiler is exercised vigorously, it is crucial for the machine to be in top  shape. Failing to keep the boiler “healthy,” so to speak, so could lead to one of the worst building emergencies—a no-heat attack.  

 Keeping the boiler system operational is a combination of off-season maintenance  and routine checkups that must be performed correctly, or unnecessary problems  will plague a boiler and shorten its life span. So boiler service companies,  chief engineers and superintendents, or other building employees charged with  checking on the boiler, must be trained professionals who fully understand the  tasks they perform. Making an incorrect fix on a boiler or failing to fix a  boiler which needs repair isn’t always just a matter of slightly lowering the efficiency of the system through  inaction. It could be a question of needlessly costing a building’s residents more money than they’d care to consider, and more than they need to spend.  

 Heart Healthy

 You needn’t be a boilermaker or a building’s chief engineer or super to understand how a boiler works because the machinery  is actually fairly simple. It’s practically as simple as making tea.  

 “A boiler is a teapot, that’s all it is,” says Scott Golz, a manager for Spannuth Boiler, in Oak Park. “The biggest problem you have with a boiler is [fresh] water—if your system has a leak. That water has to be replaced and that adds oxygen,  which speeds up the corrosion process.”  

 Like any equipment, boilers sometimes will have problems. But regular  maintenance can prevent many of those problems such as excessive residue  buildup. To prevent excessive residue accumulating in the boiler, a building’s chief engineer or superintendent can open the boiler’s blow-down valve for a few seconds each day, which cleans out the residue. A  boiler’s motors also should be cleaned and lubricated once a month and the unit should  be checked regularly for leaks. A building’s chief engineer or the superintendent can find leaks in the boiler by walking  around it and inspecting it.  


Related Articles

After Surfside, Chicago Examines Structural Safety

Pros Weigh In

Fireplace Safety and Maintenance

A Valuable Amenity Shouldn’t Be a Liability

Signs of Structural Damage

What Boards, Managers, & Building Staff Should Look For



  • Hi, great website! So usfeul to get correct costs for various fuel. Incredible that many older folk were persuaded to replace their coal systems with oil (many losing their back boilers) in the name of efficiency. Most people I know in Donegal are using coal more than oil now and it's hard to get cheap wood We're lucky to have both options. The oil is used only minimally for winter mornings, gales and arctic freeze.RE outside outside boiler. Four years ago when being installed, I queried the builders several times re the rust factor, waste of heat etc etc and I hadn't even researched it but was talked down as though I had silly notions. Turns out I was right. Our wet climate has caused rust that is getting worse, to the point of near corrosion. Luckily boiler is flush against back wall so no underground warm pipe to freeze. I took precaution of lagging the pipe to oil tank though, a few metres away although have been advised that that one never freezes?? Have now put build round the boiler on To Do list for this year. At least, the wasted heat can keep some equipment and store stuff dry and my gardening clothes warm. Will make it into a usfeul store, allowing flue out and up through roof of course.PS Particularly enjoyed your future house design shared material. Keep up great work!
  • that it's more energy-efficient just leave the tasemortht on the same temperature all the time as it saves the energy it takes the furnace to reset.I say that it's more efficient to adjust the temperature and turn the tasemortht off when we aren't home because then it's not running when it's not needed. Which of us is right? Or are we both wrong? I'd like to know, but please cite a source if you can. Thank you!