Boilers are some of the sturdiest and reliable home heating systems on the market today. They have fewer moving parts than most systems, which means fewer chances to have a breakdown. However, boiler systems are not invulnerable. There are a few problems that can arise with boilers of which you should definitely be aware. Most of those problems begin with unusual noises coming from the boiler itself. Let’s examine some of the noises that you really don’t want to hear from your boiler, and what you should do if you do hear them.
A rumbling noise coming from your boiler is a sign that it is kettling. Kettling is a serious issue that is caused by mineral deposits building up on the inside of the boiler’s heat exchanger. These mineral deposits are caused by hard water (water with a high mineral content) running through the boiler over a period of years. As the water runs through the heat exchanger, it deposits small amounts of minerals on the walls of the pipe. Eventually, these mineral deposits build up enough to restrict or block the flow of water through the heat exchanger. This causes the water to evaporate in the pipe, creating steam and putting immense pressure on the heat exchanger. This is what causes the rumbling sound you hear when a boiler is kettling. If you hear this sound, you should shut your boiler down right away and call a professional to fix it.
A gurgling sound is often heard in the pipes that are connected to the boiler, and run throughout the house. Gurgling is often accompanied by uneven heating, or even no heating at all depending on the layout of your heating system. It is caused by air bubbles in the pipes, which impede the flow of water and lessen the system’s ability to heat. The way to solve this problem is to drain all the air out of the system, which is best done by a qualified HVAC technician. Once the whole system is purged, the gurgling should stop.