Skip navigation

24 Hour Emergency Service


What Does It Mean When a Boiler Has a Scaling Problem?

pressure-gauge-on-a-boilerHave you ever been told by a professional plumber or HVAC technician that your boiler can be affected by boiler scale? Perhaps you’re not sure how seriously to take this warning—scaling is a common problem but it doesn’t sound all that threatening right? Unfortunately, it can be, if it’s ignored for too long.

What causes scaling is high levels of minerals in the water—namely calcium and magnesium. This is also known as hard water and it leaves behind mineral deposits in your plumbing system, including in your boiler or water heater. It can lead to a reduction in heat among other issues.

A boiler that suffers from scaling and scale building for too long is in danger of breaking down, or even springing a leak. Read on as we explain further.

What Boiler Scale Looks Like

Do you ever see white or yellow buildup around one of your bathroom sink faucets, showerhead, or even your kitchen sink faucet? This is scale, otherwise known as limescale. It’s not to be confused with soap scum, although soap scum is a lot more common when hard water is present.

Anyway, this scaling can occur inside the tank of your boiler and the pipes that move hot water out of the boiler through your home.

At first, what happens is that small chunks of granular deposits can start collecting at the bottom of the boiler tank. In time, these deposits grow and coat the tank and the tubes, adding an insulating layer that you don’t want—it’s tough to remove and it settles on the heat exchangers, preventing the boiler from actually heating the water as best it can.

The Damage That Scale Does To Your Tank

Boiler scale can do significant damage to the tank of your boiler. As the scale sediment settles at the bottom, it becomes more difficult for the burners to ignite and for the heat exchangers to transfer heat to the water.

As heat attempts to reach the water, bubbles can escape through the tank, causing a rattling noise as the sediment bounces around. Eventually, this can wear down the lining of the tank, allowing corrosion to occur much sooner than usual.

Damaging Your Boiler Tubes

The same scale that damages the tank of your boiler can also damage the tubes and pipes that allow water to move from the boiler to the rooms of your home. As we mentioned above, the scale acts like an insulator that keeps the heat from moving properly throughout your home. This can eventually cause your boiler tubes to overheat and crack.

Otherwise, scale builds up to the extent that it blocks water from moving through the pipes at all, leaving you with a malfunctioning or even broken down system.

DB Heating & Cooling, Inc serves the heating and cooling needs of customers throughout Rockland County, NY as well as Bergen County, NJ and surrounding communities. You can count on us for expert Westwood, NJ heater service and more. Contact us today!

Comments are closed.