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Home Boiler Maintenance

I have an oil fired boiler with base board heating. I get a lot of vibration in the circulation pump when it first starts, which gradually reduces as it runs. The base board heaters generally make clicking noise when they begin to heat up. It has been suggested there may be air in the water lines. I note a shut off valve just downstream from the circulation pump followed by another valve with a drain hose pipe attached. Is it desirable to check the line for any air that may have accumulated and how does one do so giving the valve configuration described downstream from the circulation pump? It is an older system and I have no maintenance manual for the system. Thanks for your assistance. George

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Re: Home Boiler Maintenance

Dear Ranger25. Thank you for the information. What you state makes great sense. However, my knowledge of boiler system circuitry is so poor I am uncertain what precise steps I would take to purge the system. Would these steps be appropriate:
1. shut off valve to circuit just downstream to the pump
2. put a hose on the hose bib which is on theshut off valve just above the valve in # 1. Open this valve which will now drain water from the circuit??? Must I open a valve at some other point in the circuit upstream from the bib valve? If so I will have to see if I can find one and gamble on whether it would open or break off in the process. Is the valve the one you mention to open to drain air from the system?
3. How do I now put water under pressure into the circuit to purge it of any waste there??
4. What is the closure step to finalize the process and be certain the system is ready to function??
Sorry to be so uninformed. I hope my steps and questions make sense and your reply is anxiously awaited. Hamogf

Posted on Feb 01, 2008

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Re: Home Boiler Maintenance

It may just be trash in the lines, also. That is what the valve with the hose attached to it is for, the same as a water heater, it needs to be drained and blown out with higher pressure (not too high) water at least every two years. You will probably have considerable scale and possibly sedimentary buildup in your system due to the fact that routine maintainence has probably been ignored. In order to properly bleed the system of air, you have to find the highest point of the piping system, and if there is not already a hammer arrestor with a purging valve installed, it will need one. Then it's just a matter of cracking the valve a little until you get a stream of water instead of the hissing of the air. Simple as that.

Posted on Jan 28, 2008

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Does the boiler thermostat control the heat of the radiators as well as the hot water temperature? Does the thermostat control the water temperature and the pump - as our pump seems to be on all the...

There should be a control called an aquastat that regulates the temperature of the boiler. The thermostat will turn on the circulator to start the flow of water through the radiators. If the water coming back from the radiators is very cold, a control will shut off the circulator until the boiler can come up to a predetermined temperature then start the flow of water again. If you have a tankless coil for domestic hot water, you now have a triple aquastat that maintains the temperature for domestic as well as the boiler temp. So yes the boiler thermostat (aquastat) does control the heat of the radiators and domestic hot water. No the pump is regulated by your house thermostat. You should take an amp draw on the boiler and componants to find out what is drawing more electricity than it should and popping your fuse.

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Boiler doesn't fire up. 25 years old Amana outdoor boiler model #3612M-A Mfg # P68191-1F,It had leak in pump housing and replaced, replaced igniter ,but no fire, no leak in system ,pump are keep running...

How a Central Air Conditioning System Works

  • The typical central air conditioning system is a split system, with an outdoor air conditioning, or "compressor bearing unit" and an indoor coil, which is usually installed on top of the furnace in the home.
  • Using electricity as its power source, the compressor pumps refrigerant through the system to gather heat and moisture from indoors and remove it from the home.
  • Heat and moisture are removed from the home when warm air from inside the home is blown over the cooled indoor coil. The heat in the air transfers to the coil, thereby "cooling" the air.
  • The heat that has transferred to the coil is then "pumped" to the exterior of the home, while the cooled air is pumped back inside, helping to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature.
  • Central air conditioning can also be provided through a package unit or a heat pump.

  • Indoor comfort during warm weather - Central air conditioning helps keep your home cool and reduces humidity levels.
  • Cleaner air - As your central air conditioning system draws air out of various rooms in the house through return air ducts, the air is pulled through an air filter, which removes airborne particles such as dust and lint. Sophisticated filters may remove microscopic pollutants, as well. The filtered air is then routed to air supply ductwork that carries it back to rooms.
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Sep 10, 2008 | Amana Air Conditioners

1 Answer

My boiler heating is working but hot water is not coming. i want to know how to set hot water 24 hours 7 days

As I understand your question, you have a boiler with a 'summer/winter' hookup for domestic hot water.

Your boiler should run all the time, i.e. not be shut off by you. Your boiler provides hot water for baseboard heat in your home ... possibly through several 'zones' each controlled by an individual thermostat and circulator. Yours may be a steam system. If this is the case, you have radiators not radiant baseboard heaters and no circulators.

Your summer/winter hookup provides a constant supply of domestic hot water. It does this by taking cold water from your water main and passing it through a copper coil which sits inside your boiler and then to your hot water main in your home. Since the coil sits in the hot water at the top of the boiler, it is constantly being heated. This coil may be in a deteriorated condition in your case or it may be too small for your needs.

Several years ago, I did a small upgrade to my mid 1950's era American Standard boiler. The summer winter hookup in my case was mounted on a 4 inch cast iron boiler plug. The coil was 12 feet long (folded up to a package about 1 foot long). I was very afraid when the plumber came in with what amounted to a 10 foot long pipe wrench. My fear was I would have a pile of broken cast iron at the end of the day. All is well that ends well. He got the old one out and replaced it with a coil that consisted of 20 feet of copper tubing 3/4 inch in size (the folded tubing was about 20 inches long and fit nicely into the boiler). We now have all the hot water a household consisting of one guy and three gals would need in all but the extremest of times..

I think you r answer is here ... replace your summer/winter coil with a new, bigger coil.

Something else I did. My kitchen is 60 feet (pipe wise) from the boiler. It takes a long time to get hot water there. I put in a small electric hot water heater just under the kitchen. I put a timer on it so it runs for a couple hours in the morning and a few hours in the afternoon. The hot water line from the boiler serves as the cold water input to the heater. I now enjoy the convenience of quick hot water in the kitchen with the relatively low cost of oil heated water from the boiler as a relatively small cost of electricity.

My winter settings are 160 - 200 and my summer settings are 120 - 150 which seems adequate for our needs.

Thanks for your question at I hope I have been of assistance to you today.

Feb 05, 2011 | Air Conditioners

2 Answers

The boiler wont fire up and the blue light flashes once per second

Let's see what we can do to trouble-shoot this boiler--

First of all-- Are we talking about a Hot Water 'Boiler'-- In other words does this boiler heat water that circulates thru the house, to keep you warm?

Next-- What is your fuel?

Have you Shut the system down, to reset it?-- What happens when it comes back on again?-- Clicking sounds-- pumps trying to start-- solenoids trying to open, etc.-- Tell us what you observe-- so we can help you trouble shoot this problem.

Mack B

Jan 15, 2011 | Air Conditioners

1 Answer

I have a vulcan continental boiler , heating system , and its not fireing up , i think there is air in the system , whats the best way in to bleeding it out ?

Air in what system?--
The Circulating 'Hot' water?-- or in the fuel? (What kind of fuel?)

Normally a hot water boiler will fire, as long as ther is water in the boiler,
So-- are you suspecting there is Low water in the boiler?
Can yo hear the water circulating thru the water pump?-- is the water pump running?

Tell us more about what happens when you first give it a call for heat?
Do any fans or valve try to start?-- any indicator lights?

Tell us some of the obvious things, and maybe there is a clue in something you tell us or observe.

Mack B

Jan 14, 2011 | Air Conditioners

1 Answer

I'm a new plumber. I was asked to restart a burnham gas fired steam boiler in a fire damaged apartment. The boiler was drained last winter along with the radiators but was not winerized. I am their plumber...

1. You need to fill the entire system with water before you fire it, boiler AND radiators... Then, you would normally vent as much of the trapped air in the system as you could... It's not like you are only going to fill just the boiler and then pump that water through the pipes.

There is a temp setting on the boiler, but I don't think that's a solution. Remember that the water in the system is going to begin circulating as soon as you start the boiler. So, it will start circulating when it's cold, and then gradually warm up.

Your problem is not the sudden rush of hot water, it's going to be filling the system in the first place, and getting the boiler started before the system freezes up ...

I don't really have any suggestions for you though, other than perhaps renting one of those construction heaters ... and bring the building temp up a bit. But there's certain dangers associated with them too... Carbon Monoxide for one, fire is another (if used improperly).

Just thought of something: Fill the system with glycol based anti-freeze solution that's designed for heating systems. That oughta do it...

I'm guessing there's not a functioning water heater either at this point, is there ? If there was, you could possibly rig something up to fill the system with lukewarm water, and fire it before it freezes up.

2. You don't have a lot of choice. You have to fill the system, fire the boiler & wait.
It is going to take a long time to get the system up to temperature. Instant circulation is a double edged sword. The upside is you get a little bit of heat into the water & have it moving making freezing less likely. The downside is, it's hard on the boiler with that much cold water coming back you are likely to have condensation.

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2 Answers

Riello oil burner RDB with red plastic cover at the front wont ignite. I've tried bleeding the valve. The motor seems to make an electrical humming noise for about 12 secs, then the system attempts to...

The motor should spin when the boiler is switched on. One end of the motor spins the fan the other end works the pump. The control box then starts the transformer that starts a spark. The control box then opens up the oil. The boiler should then light if any of the above or the boiler does not light, the boiler will go to lockout.
From what you say the motor is not spinning, thus it could be the motor or more like the pump.


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oil eng.

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1 Answer

Vaillant Ecotec combi boiler - radiators working but no hot water flow to taps


The fact that you're getting a little burst of domestic hot water suggests that the boiler is capable of circulating hot primary loop water through the heat exchanger, but doesn't necessarily do so when it needs to.

What seems to be lacking is a recognition that domestic hot water is now being drawn off, and that the boiler needs to fire up and divert the primary flow through the heat exchanger.

A good place to start might be the flow switch (usually in the bottom of the boiler, where the cold water supply comes in) or the electrical connections to it.


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you may have many probs... 1 a poir boiler combustion. (not boiling the water) or just warming it up so it's not hot...that would mean your temperature sensor is broken or you have probs with the actual combustion process.. This could be an unsafe situation ..i would call a heating specialist right away.

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