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Does Corrosion on a Boiler Mean It’s Finished?

condensing-gas-boilerA boiler uses water to provide heat to a home. That’s the basic description of one. And where water comes in contact with metal, corrosion can result. However, you shouldn’t expect to see corrosion forming along the parts of the boiler in your house—at least not for many years. Boilers are designed to resist corrosion for most of their service lives.

If you do see corrosion along your boiler, does it mean the boiler has reached the end of the line? Is now the time to call a HVAC company in Clovis, NM to schedule a new boiler installation? Possibly. We’ll look into this a bit deeper so you’ll be informed before giving us a call about what needs to be done.

Why a boiler may corrode in the first place

The answer to this may seem obvious: water meets metal. But it’s more complicated than that.

For corrosion to occur, the metal and water must be in contact in the presence of oxygen—the oxidation necessary for corrosion is transported by oxygen. This is where a boiler has an advantage: it’s a sealed system with no air inside it.

There are ways a boiler can corrode regardless of this protection:

  • Low alkalinity levels in the water (imbalanced pH levels)
  • The metal is exposed to oxygen through leaking or air entering the boiler feed
  • High temperatures and stress speeding up the corrosion process

The biggest corrosion threat your boiler faces is from the second issue (compounded by the third). A leaking boiler is always a major problem that needs to be fixed as soon as possible, not only to stop water damage and the loss of the fluid the boiler needs to work. Allowing air into the boiler will easily lead to corrosion. Technicians must not only seal the leaks, they must bleed the boiler of any air trapped inside it to stop corrosion from starting.

Another part of the boiler that can corrode is the heat exchanger, the component at the bottom of the tank that moves the heat from the combustion gases into the tank. Long exposure to combustion gases can lead to rust appearing on the exchanger.

The end of the road?

When you notice corrosion anywhere on your boiler, shut off the gas to it and call our technicians. They’ll inspect the boiler and find out how extensive the problem is. Corrosion on the heat exchanger can sometimes be fixed by replacing the heat exchanger—provided the corrosion hasn’t spread elsewhere. Corrosion in the tank that’s causing leaks usually means the boiler is finished. If the boiler is older than 15 years, this corrosion is a sign that the boiler has reached the end of its service life and it was already time to get a new one.

You can trust our boiler experts to provide you with an honest, informed opinion about the best route forward. We’ll see if we can fix the unit. If we can’t, or if the cost of the repair is too high compared to a replacement, we’ll work with you to find the best new boiler to meet your needs and budget.

When you need a plumber, call a Carpenter! Mark Carpenter Plumbing services the Clovis, NM area.

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