Getting To The Bottom Of Boiler Pressure Problems

Posted on: 11 November 2019

Boilers are a proven and reliable technology for heating large commercial structures, but they are not without their fair share of issues. There are a variety of problems that can crop up with a boiler system, but inadequate pressure is by far the most common. Depending on the type of boiler used by your building, there may be a low-pressure warning or you may first notice an issue as heating efficiency drops off. Either way, low-pressure conditions should be fixed as soon as possible. Although low-pressure is not dangerous, it will reduce your boiler's ability to heat your building effectively and potentially drive up your energy costs as well.

The Basics of Boiler Systems

Boiler systems continue to see use in commercial settings because they are an efficient way to heat large structures. Although modern boiler systems in large buildings can be complicated, it is not difficult to understand the basics. In a typical boiler system, a boiler heats water sufficiently to turn it to steam. Pipes then distribute that steam throughout the building before ultimately returning it to the boiler as cooler, condensed water. Returned water is filtered and deaerated before being heated again. This last step is necessary to prevent contaminants from restricting the flow of water in the system.

The pressure of the steam is what allows it to travel through the building. For residential systems, this pressure can be relatively low. For large commercial structures, however, the system must often maintain a much higher pressure to sufficiently heat higher floors. If the pressure in the system is not adequate, some sections of the building may have no heat at all or may warm up only very slowly.

The Causes of Low Steam Pressure

Low pressure in a steam boiler system is usually caused by one or two broad categories of problems:

  • Leaks that allow steam to escape
  • Problems with the return system restricting condensed water from being reheated

Steam boilers are not fully closed systems, but they rely on a majority of the water within them cycling through the system continuously. Leaks in pipes reduce overall system pressure by allowing steam to escape. This loss of pressure will cause a noticeable reduction in heating in parts of the building that are beyond the leak, but it will also negatively impact the efficiency of the entire system. Restrictions or other problems in the return portion of the system will prevent water from being reheated, reducing total system pressure in the process.

Dealing With Low-Pressure Problems

Repairing problems with boiler systems in large commercial structures is well beyond the skill set of the typical do-it-yourselfer. Once you have determined that your building's boiler is operating below its required pressure, the best course of action is to call in an HVAC technician that specializes in commercial structures. An experienced technician will be able to determine the underlying cause of the low-pressure condition and ensure that your building's occupants can enjoy a warm and comfortable environment all winter long.

For more information, contact a commercial boiler repair service in your area.