How to Maintain Your Steam Heating System

Whether you have a forced air, hot-water, or a steam heating system for you home, it is important to have a professional heating contractor, with a license, inspect and clean your heating system once a year. While this may not seem important to everyone, it is essential for your family’s safety, as well as for the sake of your wallet. Dirty, maladjusted, or broken equipment has to work harder in order to do the job and, in the end, you will end up paying more just to compensate for your heating system, then you would have had to pay for a single service call.

Most of the adjustments that need to be done to your steam heating system should be performed by a licensed professional, but there are some basic maintenance tasks that you can take care of in-between visits, which will help to prolong the life of your heating system. These tasks are easy and safe to do, providing you adhere to the proper steps and pay attention to what you’re doing.

The first task that you can be sure to do, is to check the gauge for your steam. This should be performed on a monthly basis and, if it is not within a normal range, you should shut the system down immediately. If your steam gauge is too high, you will need to call a licensed repairman to come out and service your system.

You should also check the safety valve on a monthly basis. This valve is located at the top of your boiler and helps to vent any excess pressure, should your boiler exceed safe limits. In order to test this valve, wait until the system is hot and then push down on the handle to see if any steam comes out. When you do this, be sure to stand well away from the outlet, as the steam is boiling hot and can result in severe burns. If no steam comes out, you should call a serviceman to come out and replace or repair the safety valve immediately.

Water levels should also be checked once a month. This gauge has valves on each side of it and, when they are opened, allow you to test to ensure the water level is in the middle before then closing the valves down once again. If there is no water to be seen, you should shut off the boiler and allow it to cool thoroughly before adding new water. Some systems have an automatic water valve that will monitor the water levels and then add water gradually, so as to avoid damaging the boiler, should the system require it.

Keeping a watch on your steam heating system will help you to recognize problems as soon as they appear. When we are able to catch the little problems, we are often able to stop them from becoming big problems, as well as potential health hazards. With a little time and a discerning eye, you are sure to make things easier on your wallet and much safer for your family.

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