Christmas is nearly upon us and the last thing you need when you have a house full of friends and family is your boiler to breakdown. Having an oil fired boiler serviced regularly can keep it operating at its most efficient. This reduces fuel bills and saves money on costly call-out fees for unexpected breakdowns. OFTEC recommends that oil fired appliances and equipment are serviced at least once a year or as recommended by the manufacturer.
There are many reasons why the efficiency of an oil fired boiler could be reduced. Here are a few:
- Excessive smoke and partially burnt fuel deposits can cause soot to form within the boiler heat exchanger, restricting the amount of heat that can be transferred into the heating system water. The cleaner the heat exchanger, the more efficient the boiler will be
- Oil nozzles regulate how much oil passes through the burner. The nozzles are consumable items that wear over time affecting combustion and lowering boiler efficiency. If they are not replaced, they could cause “sooting up” of the heat exchanger due to too much fuel passing through the burner
- Photocells can glaze over with deposits. Photocells are an important safety feature which detect whether the boiler has lit. If a photocell is dirty it may not be able to detect the burner flame correctly and could cause the boiler to shut down randomly. Boilers frequently switching on and off will be less efficient than those running for longer periods
- Electrodes can wear and attract soot and deposits. Electrodes produce a spark to light the fuel, if they are worn or in poor condition the boiler may not light. Again, causing inconvenience, inefficiency and increasing fuel cost.
Don’t Forget the Oil Tank & Supply
Oil storage tanks and oil supply pipes should always be visually checked during a service visit. The tank should be checked for water contamination, filter elements will need to be cleaned and/or replaced and fittings checked for oil leaks.
Appliances should be inspected, cleaned and components replaced as required when the boiler is being serviced. If your boiler is not serviced annually, it is at higher risk of breaking down and costing you more money.
Cleaning the boiler provides a chance to look for other tell tale signs that parts of the boiler may need replacing and an opportunity to inspect the combustion chamber for the condition of the material and welds. Old steel heat exchangers will often leave rust marks, which can give a warning that the boiler will soon need to be replaced. This approach can limit the possibility of water damage occurring and enables replacement work to be planned rather than having the inconvenience of trying to arrange a boiler replacement at short notice when a heat exchanger unexpectedly fails.
Long term damage can also occur if the boiler is not serviced regularly. During the combustion process, deposits will build up on the internal surfaces of the heat exchanger and the baffles which can decrease boiler efficiency. If left for a number of years, these deposits harden and with some designs of heat exchanger render it impossible to remove the baffles without destroying them. A replacement baffle will come at a significant cost on top of the routine service charge.
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