… And for me, and for our boiler, it is now the Moment Of Truth.
Remembering the past issues
As you may remember from some previous posts (27.03.2017 – Pressure loss discovery in the heating system; 29.06.2017 – Heating system: technician advice) we have had multiple issues with our boiler: the water pressure was slowly but constantly decreasing, which led to the boiler stopping every now and then, or, the boiler kept running but the water/house wasn’t warm enough. Particularly the decreasing of the water pressure disturbed me as I didn’t have any clue of where the water was going: having a floor heating system, the idea of a water leak was terrifying me.
After multiple interventions of the technicians I finally discovered that the issue was related to a lack of maintenance and to my ignorance. In fact I always thought that the maintenance performed by Elco’s technicians was enough for the boiler to be in a good shape.
It is not.
The boiler has to be cleaned every year by a chimney sweeper, too. From what I understood the chimney sweeper opens the boiler and performs a chemical wash which removes the combustion residuals as well as the limescale which is generated while heating the water: further, in our specific model of boiler, the heat exchanger features many thin fins which get clogged easily, therefore I believe it is particularly sensitive and should be maintained with extra care. Indeed, after the cleaning, the boiler was working much better. But, my little quest wasn’t finished, as the loosing water pressure issue wasn’t solved yet. After further researches we discovered that, probably due to the accumulation of residuals in the past six years, the heat exchanger wasn’t waterproof anymore: we had to change ours with a new one. And, as often happens, the warranty already had expired!
How does it look like today, then?
As the technician said, after all the interventions, basically we now have a new boiler. Since the substitution I have been checking the water pressure with some apprehension, as I was afraid that it would start dropping again. From the measurements that you will see below you may notice that there is still some pressure loss, still it is slower than before: as you may observe, starting from June 2017 the pressure is decreasing way slower. I hope this is an acceptable level of pressure loss.
Here below some of the measurements that I have made during the past months. Please note that the change of the heat exchanger happened on the 29.06.2017. After that date the pressure loss is still there but happens in a time frame of over 2 months.
- Date: 27.03.2017 Water Pressure (bar): 2.0
- Date: 02.04.2017 Water Pressure (bar): 1.9
- Date: 11.04.2017 Water Pressure (bar): 1.85
- Date: 18.04.2017 Water Pressure (bar): 1.75
- Date: 29.06.2017 Water Pressure (bar): 1.9 – New heat exchanger
- Date: 30.06.2017 Water Pressure (bar): 1.9
- Date: 17.09.2017 Water Pressure (bar): 1.8
- Date: 03.10.2017 Water Pressure (bar): 1.75
- Date: 19.10.2017 Water Pressure (bar): 1.75
- Date: 28.10.2017 Water Pressure (bar): 1.75
How could you define what pressure loss is acceptable?
I have asked to the technicians what they expect as a normal pressure loss and apparently there is no rule and no answer I have got is the same. Therefore I believe that one way of getting a rough idea is to keep track of the changes, possibly starting immediately since the first installation of the boiler. This is very important because it would give you the starting point, when you know that everything works perfectly (in an ideal world/case, it should be like this, yes! :-))
This is one of the reasons why I’m writing about our boiler, which per se, is not at all an interesting topic: I try to keep track of the changes and of the major events, so that if something should ever happen, I have some sort of diary. And yeah, absolutely, turning on the heating is definitely a major event, or, The Moment Of Truth.
The Moment Of Truth
As the temperatures are slowly decreasing yesterday night I decided of switching on the heating for the whole house. And this is the Moment Of Truth! Will it work? Will the house heat up without too much hassle? And what will happen with the water pressure, will it increase a little, since it is going to be hot water running trough the pipes?
During one of the many diagnostic moment I had the chance to record some strange noises made by the boiler. This was after having opened again the water and I believe the noise we hear is the pump trying to get restore the correct flow. Those are my interpretations only though.