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Serving The Chicagoland Area Since 1998


ServiceMax Blog

Answering Your Boiler FAQs


Boilers are used throughout Chicago and the surrounding areas. This is because they are highly effective at heating our homes even in the face of some seriously cold weather. But these systems are like other heaters in that they still need regular upkeep to help them do their job.

We want to make sure that you get the best performance from your boiler for the longest number of years. To do that, we are going to give you some helpful information to teach you more about how your boiler is meant to work so you know if and when it needs service.

How Do Boilers Work?

A valve attached to your boiler opens during operation, allowing gas to enter a sealed combustion chamber where it is ignited by an electric ignition system or permanent pilot. Heat is transferred to the water flowing over the heat exchanger by hot jets connected to a heat exchanger inside the boiler.

It is important to note that a boiler doesn’t boil water, the name is a little deceptive. Instead, a boiler heat water but not to point where it changes into steam. Similar to water heaters, boilers come in tanked and tankless varieties and heat water quite quickly. These are a great source of heating your home as they provide the heat needed for radiant heating.

How Long Will a Boiler Last For?

How long the boiler will last depends on how it is used and the amount of upkeep the system gets. So, how long does a boiler last on average? The estimated lifespan of a well-maintained boiler is 30 years. This duration is nearly double what is expected of furnaces, which average 15–20 years.

What Powers a Boiler?

Oil, gas, or electricity are all used by boilers to generate heat. The water inside the boiler is heated using the energy from the fuel source.

Do Boilers Need Maintenance?

Every boiler needs routine servicing and maintenance. It is recommended that an expert contractor performs an annual maintenance check. Since boilers only have a few moving parts in their design they will wear out slower than other types of heaters in general. Maintenance ensures that the parts that are present in the system are kept in good shape.

How Do I Know My Boiler Needs Repairs?

Figuring out if your boiler needs repairs or not is not always straightforward. You want to make sure you aren’t spending money you don’t need to, while also making sure your faulty boiler isn’t costing you by being ruined beyond repair.

Here are the warning signs to watch for:

  1. You Are Spending Excessive Money on Energy Bills. Excess energy consumption means your boiler is struggling to do its job and may need repairs.
  2. It Emits a Foul Smell. If your boiler smells like rotten eggs or sulfur, there is gas or fuel that isn’t being burned properly or combustion gases that are leaking out.
  3. It Isn’t Producing Even Heat. If you have started to notice cold spots throughout the house, there may be a problem with your boiler.
  4. Concerning Noises During Operation. Rumbling, squealing, or crackling are all sounds that a properly working boiler should not make.

Having trouble with your boiler? We are here to help, 24/7

Contact ServiceMax to schedule your next heating system repair or other boiler services.

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