Boiler maintenance can heat up your sales

Volume 4/ Issue 3/ December 2017

Funny how the people who change their smoke detector batteries every year and car oil every 3,000 miles let their boilers go year after year without even a thought of preventive maintenance. Then the boiler breaks down in the middle of winter, and you get an emergency phone call.

You can generate additional business, and help homeowners avoid unpleasant surprises, by offering boiler preventive maintenance service. Regular maintenance saves your customers money on fuel and replacement parts, and can also prevent potential hazards. Use the following “refresher” tips to create your own boiler maintenance program.

First, remember that hot water, steam, gas-fired, and oil-fired boilers each have special maintenance requirements. Oil-fired boilers in particular need more frequent inspection. Also, any boiler used to heat domestic water is operating year-round and should be inspected at least twice a year.

In general, a thorough boiler inspection/maintenance program involves checking:
• Fuel system – for proper operation, leaks and controls
• Combustion system – for boiler and exhaust leaks and signs of overheating
• Heating system – for leaks, uneven heating and zone balancing
• Circulator pump – for quiet operation
• Water – for cleanliness
• Gauges – for accuracy. Compare to a standard gauge.
• Expansion tanks – for proper pressure
• Controls – Follow the manufacturer’s recommended procedures
• Safety devices – Inspect safety relief valves, temperature and pressure controls, low water and flow-sensing devices

Manufacturers typically recommend specific procedures for inspecting their safety devices. Some general guidelines:

1. McDonnell & Miller low water cut-offs with self-cleaning probe should be removed and inspected and the probes cleaned or replaced every five years. Controls without self-cleaning probes should be checked every year.

Series RB-24E Low Water Cut-off for residential hot water boiler with self-cleaning probe


2. Mechanical feeders – remove and clean the strainer and the cartridge. Replace if necessary.

247-2 Mechanical Feeder/LWCO combination


3. Float-type controls – inspect the float mechanism and clean. Replace if necessary.


Series 150S LWCO-pump controller


4. Forced circulation copper boilers have flow switches in lieu of low water cut-off. Remove for inspection and clean every year. Check for deterioration of paddle and replace if necessary.


Series FS4-3 general purpose flow switch


Yes, it takes time and effort to remove and clean probes, floats, bellows or paddles, but if you skip this step, expect Saturday evening service calls. Inspect all controls and safety devices. Customers will appreciate your diligence when their boiler operates more efficiently and safely – and your business benefits, too.

For more information on boiler controls, or any steam or hot water heating questions, contact your local McDonnell & Miller Representative.

Click here to download the December 2017 SteamTeam pdf file.