Boiler Troubleshooting: Common Issues and Solutions

30 Nov by Will Kruse

Boiler Troubleshooting: Common Issues and Solutions


Boilers are an essential component of your home’s heating system, providing consistent warmth throughout the colder months. However, like any appliance, boilers can experience issues that may affect their performance, efficiency, and safety. While some problems can be easily resolved by homeowners, others may require the expertise of a skilled professional. L.J. Kruse Co., a family-owned and operated plumbing, heating, and cooling company in Berkeley, California, offers comprehensive boiler repair and maintenance services to ensure your home stays warm and comfortable throughout the year.

In this article, we will discuss common boiler issues, how to troubleshoot them, and when it’s necessary to call in a professional for repairs. We cover everything from pressure issues and unusual noises to ignition problems and thermostat malfunctions. With this knowledge, you’ll feel more confident in identifying signs that indicate the need for a professional boiler repair or maintenance service. Remember, preventive maintenance is key to extending the life of your boiler and ensuring optimal performance.

Common Boiler Issues Homeowners Face

  1. Loss of Pressure: A boiler with insufficient pressure may struggle to heat your home effectively. Learn how to diagnose pressure issues and how to safely repressurize your boiler when necessary.
  2. Strange Noises: Unusual sounds coming from your boiler could indicate a variety of issues, such as air in the system, a faulty pump, or more serious complications that require professional attention.
  3. Ignition Problems: A boiler that fails to ignite may be experiencing issues with the ignition system, gas supply, or other components. Troubleshooting these problems can help determine whether professional intervention is needed.
  4. Thermostat Malfunctions: An unresponsive, inaccurate, or outdated thermostat can cause discomfort and energy inefficiency in your home. Learn how to identify issues with your thermostat and when it’s time to consider an upgrade.

Diagnosing and Addressing Pressure Issues

Low pressure in a boiler can lead to a reduction in efficiency and effectiveness. One common issue that homeowners might face is a loss of pressure in their boiler system. Usually, boilers display pressure levels on their built-in pressure gauge. Normal pressure is typically between 1 to 2 bar, and anything below this range indicates that your boiler may be struggling to heat your home effectively.

To address this issue, you can:

  1. Check for leaks in the system: A visual examination of pipes and radiators may reveal any obvious leaks that could be causing the loss of pressure. If you discover a leak, turn off the boiler and contact a professional to repair it.
  2. Repressurize the boiler: If there are no visible leaks, you can safely repressurize your boiler by following the manufacturer’s instructions. This often involves opening the filling loop valve located near the boiler, allowing cold water to flow into the system while monitoring the pressure gauge. Close the valve as soon as the ideal pressure range is reached. If you are unsure about this process, consult a professional for assistance.

Identifying and Resolving Strange Noises

Unusual noises coming from your boiler can be alarming and may signal several potential issues. Some of the common causes behind these sounds include:

  1. Air in the system: Gurgling noises might indicate excess air in your central heating system. To resolve this issue, you can bleed your radiators to release trapped air. Remember to switch off your boiler and allow the system to cool before attempting this task.
  2. Faulty pump: If you hear a loud humming noise, it might be caused by a failing circulation pump. In this case, a professional should be contacted to assess whether the pump requires repair or replacement.
  3. Kettling: If you hear a knocking or rumbling noise similar to a boiling kettle, this phenomenon, known as “kettling,” could indicate a buildup of scale or sludge inside the heat exchanger. This issue may require a system flush or heat exchanger descaling, which should be performed by an experienced professional.

Addressing Ignition Problems

A boiler that fails to ignite is a common issue that homeowners may encounter. Possible causes for this problem include:

  1. Power issues: Ensure that the boiler is connected to a powered electrical outlet and that the breaker hasn’t tripped. If the issue persists, consult a professional to examine your electrical connections.
  2. Blocked or defective igniter: Dirt or debris can accumulate on the boiler’s ignition probe or electrodes, causing the boiler to fail to ignite. A thorough cleaning by a professional, or in some cases, a replacement may be necessary.
  3. Gas supply issues: Ensure that your gas supply is properly connected and that the valve is open. If the problem persists, contact your gas provider or a professional technician to perform a thorough inspection of your gas supply connections.

Thermostat Malfunctions and Solutions

An improperly functioning thermostat can cause discomfort and energy inefficiency in your home. Common thermostat issues include:

  1. Unresponsiveness: If your thermostat doesn’t respond to input, ensure that it has functional batteries and a solid connection to your heating system. If the issue persists, consider contacting a professional for an assessment.
  2. Inaccurate readings: An incorrectly calibrated thermostat can cause your boiler to turn on or off at the wrong times, leading to energy waste and discomfort. A professional can recalibrate your thermostat to improve its accuracy.
  3. Outdated technology: Older thermostats may not offer the optimal level of energy efficiency and precise control found in modern, programmable or smart thermostats. Upgrading to a newer model can enhance your boiler system’s overall performance and efficiency.


By understanding common boiler issues and how to troubleshoot them, homeowners can feel more confident in identifying and resolving minor problems, as well as knowing when it’s necessary to call in a professional for repairs.

L.J. Kruse Co. is your trusted expert in the Berkeley, California area, offering comprehensive boiler repair and maintenance services to keep your home comfortable and energy-efficient. Our dedicated team is committed to providing exceptional customer service, ensuring your boiler system remains in top shape throughout the year.

Schedule a consultation with our professional plumbers in Berkeley, CA, today to ensure your boiler is ready to deliver warmth and comfort when you need it most.

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