Whether you depend on your boiler for just hot water or also for heat, making sure it is in top working condition is vitally important. Knowing how to recognize and diagnose problems in advance can help you avoid a major breakdown at the most inopportune moment:
#1: Understand the gauge
All boilers come with a pressure gauge. It's important that you know where it is, not just so you can monitor the functionality of the boiler, but also so you can avoid the major safety risks that can occur when the pressure is too high. A technician can help you initially locate the gauge and indicate for you where the danger zone is located on the reading. Check the gauge daily to make sure it is within the safe zone. If it begins to creep higher, you may have a blockage in the system causing pressure to build up. In this case, shut down the boiler and call for an immediate repair. Overly low pressure indicates a leak, which also requires prompt repair but isn't as much of a safety concern.
Bangs and pops from within the boiler, also called kettling, are generally caused by hard water deposits building up inside of the boiler. Buildup can be caused simply because you have high mineral content in your water, or it could be a result of a malfunction in the boiler. For example, if the thermostat is reading wrong, the water could be overheating and resulting in greater mineral distillation and buildup. Having the boiler flushed and the deposits removed can provide an immediate fix, but you should also have the thermostat inspected and replaced if necessary.
#3: Hissing or bubbling
Other noises of concern are hissing and bubbling from within the boiler. Hissing may mean steam is escaping from a leak in the system, or that the system is overheating and releasing steam from a release valve. Bubbling often indicates that the water inside your boiler is overheating and boiling, which can also be a thermostat issue. Any of these noise concerns must be addressed immediately since an overheating boiler can burst and cause major damage or even injury. Turn down the thermostat or turn off the boiler so that it isn't running at too high of a temperature while you wait for a repair.
For more help, contact a boiler repair technician in your area to inspect and repair the problem.