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Bartels Heating & Cooling Blog

What Is Kettling?

It may sound quaint – “kettling” – but it’s actually indicative of a fairly serious problem with your boiler. Our experts have come across the problem of kettling multiple times, so if you hear your boiler making a sound like a tea kettle just before it reaches its full boiling point, it is time to give us a call.

The Sound

The name “kettling” comes from the sound that your boiler makes, which is very similar to the sound a teapot makes when the water starts to get hot. However, rather than being a soothing sound, this sound coming from your boiler means it is time for repair.

The reason your boiler makes a kettling noise is that lime scale deposits have formed on the heat exchanger, a component that lay at the core of your boiler unit. Lime scale is hard and crusty, and is usually found in water that is high in mineralization, i.e., “hard water.” When the lime scale deposits become large enough, they restrict the water movement around the heat exchanger. This is not a good thing. Why? The water becomes trapped in the heat exchanger and becomes way too hot, causing steam to develop and the remaining water to boil and expand. Once the water starts to boil, your boiler will make the kettling sound.

Resolving the Problem

There are two options when your boiler is kettling. If the heat exchanger is not in bad shape, your Bartels Heating & Cooling technician can perform an acid flush and clean off all the lime scale, then re-install the heat exchanger. The second option is a full heat exchanger replacement. This will be necessary if the heat exchanger is too damaged to simply flush.

Kettling is one of those sounds you can’t ignore. If you think you may be hearing kettling noises from your boiler in Oxford, OH, call your Bartels Heating & Cooling expert today!

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