Repairing home based boilers is a complex task, as it involves handling of various boiler types and their internal architecture. As a customer, you may be familiar with some of the common problems in the system based on your experience. But there are many instances wherein you may not be aware of the exact problems. Then you decide on hiring a Mechanical Contractor. This article gives you a list of questions you need to ask them before deciding on hiring their services.
Generally the residential boilers are categorized into conventional, condensing, system, Combi, and energy efficient types. Conventional boilers may use gas, heating and electricity, while the modern boilers work mainly on gas and electricity. The contractor should have experience in working all types of boilers. At the same time, they should have technicians, who are specialized in the specific type of boiler you own.
Design Knowledge: The specialist should have a deep understanding of the boiler design and part functionality. The gas fired boilers have a complex internal design made of valve systems, air vents, base board heaters, under floor heating, water pumps, gas pipelines etc. They should know how to identify the exact point of failure and its causes. For example, the failure of the expansion tank may have resulted from the check valve, pressure reducing valve, or the flow control system. Identification of the failure symptoms and the causes is the key element, which can prove the efficiency of the technician. Ask him about his design knowledge related to your type of boiler. Every boiler (big, small, gas, oil or electricity driven) has its own unique design and architecture. In depth understanding of the system will help in faster and trusted troubleshooting.
Troubleshooting Knowledge: The troubleshooting methods should be oriented towards finding a long term solution to the problem. Ask him whether he prefers replacing the faulty parts or repairing them. Most of the experienced repairers would suggest detailed examination of the parts before taking a decision. They will consider the future failure point when the part or equipment is repaired. Then they can tell you approximately about the lifespan of the repaired component and the replaced new component under the existing condition of your boiler. If you compare the cost of replacement with the cost of repair (which may repeat multiple times in the future), you will know which one is better and safer. You can also ask him about the inspection and troubleshooting tools he uses. Calibration of these tools is highly essential, as it determines their reliability and efficiency. The technician should be capable of handling the corrective, preventive, and proactive (by predicting the failure point of specific parts connected to the existing faulty components) troubleshooting methods.
Are you licensed for HVAC and compact size boilers?
Residential accommodations with single family generally use boilers of 1 to 5 gallons capacity, depending on the number of outlet terminals and frequency of usage. HVAC boilers are used in apartments and multifamily residences. You need to ask this question because a repairer specialized in HVAC type may not be an expert in handling smaller size boilers and vice versa.
HVAC Boilers: repairing the HVAC boilers requires knowledge of probable hazards, failure points, diagnosing methods, emergency troubleshooting, etc. The contractor should have genuine replaceable parts and components in his inventory. After replacing the parts, he should be able to test run the boiler for a specific period of time to ensure trouble free working. He should be familiar with the ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers) standards and guidelines. According to the standards, he should be able to conduct NDA (Non Destructive Analysis), identify the control and safety devices and execute the troubleshooting procedures according to the standards. Having experience in working with HVAC systems will help him identifying and troubleshooting the problems in an efficient manner. All the high pressure boilers are included in this category.
Compact Boilers: Repairing compact boilers requires experience in handling electronic boards, control panels, sensors, burner, pies and valves etc. Since the parts are packed densely, he will require highly sensitive diagnostic tools to identify the problems accurately. Most of the modern compact boiler parts are preferably replaced, rather than repaired. It could be due to the lowered life expectancy of the repaired parts. Moreover, it is inexpensive.
What are the safety measures you follow?
The OSHA and the ASME have outlined certain specific guidelines related to safety of residential boilers. They cover all types and sizes. The qualified boiler repairer should be able to handle all the safety measures for parts. Technical safety is one of the key elements which need first priority.
Handling Valves: The pressure valves within the boiler and external areas have to be neutralized before taking up any repair operations. Detailed inspection of the stopper valves, safety valves, pressure reducing valves, etc should be done API-ASME codes. The same code applies for water pipes and other inlet and out system components.
Heating Systems: Direct and indirect heat sources of boilers should be repaired according to the ASME- 28-25-4 competency levels. The same standards apply for the tank and Tank-less systems.
Safety Controllers: All the controller parts, including the LCD display, panels, switches, and others should be repaired and replaced according to the API-ASME codes. It is better for you to be familiar with the basic aspects of safety and repair standards. Then you can ask better questions based on the safety guidelines.
What are the repair procedures you follow?
The repair procedures depend on the nature and intensity of the faults. However, the standard procedures include the following steps.
Repair/ replacement options (suggestions to you)
Post repair monitoring services are highly essential for high intensity failures. The specialist will be able to certify the repaired parts to be safe after a few tests according to the ASME and OSHA standards.