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Why Do Pipes Bang When My Boiler Makes Heat?

boiler noises new jerseyA noisy boiler can be a fairly common problem for people who have a closed loop hot water boiler. Similar to a radiator in your car, your boiler is filled with water. But if air leaks into the system, the pressure rushes through the pipes. This results in a banging noise.

Why does this happen? Air can be drawn into the system in several different ways. This includes a defective valve, a broken bleed screw, a pressure leak, or previous repairs done to piping.

Another possibility is a problem with the expansion tank. Because water expands when heated and contracts when cooled, extra space is needed to store air. This is called an expansion tank. But air can be drawn back into the boiler from this device.

To solve this problem, you should contact your full service heating oil company and request an evaluation of your boiler.

Understanding Boilers

North Jersey has five times the number of boilers as the national average; South Jersey has 2.5 times as many.

There are two types of boilers: a steam boiler, most often found in older homes, and the modern, and more energy-efficient, hot water boiler. Steam boilers require special safety precautions because of the temperature of the steam (the water must be heated to 212°F). As a result, it is vitally important to follow a regular maintenance schedule.

Your boiler extracts heat from heating oil as it burns; this heats the water (or creates steam) that will run through the zones that are calling for heat. The heat is delivered through your radiators or baseboards.

The problem is that some heat (as much as 30% in some older boiler models) will be lost as exhaust, which means you are paying a lot of money for heat that will never reach your living space.

Condensing Boilers

In a high-efficiency condensing boiler, heat loss is reduced dramatically. By recycling heat from the exhaust process – and by operating at lower temperatures overall – your condensing boiler can improve operating efficiency by 10-15% compared to a non-condensing boiler.

However, a condensing boiler is not practical for all homes. Plus, condensing boilers cost more to manufacture. Installing a condensing boiler correctly requires highly trained technicians who know how to capitalize on the efficiency benefits of these sophisticated heating systems.

If you have questions about decreasing your energy use, reducing your heating costs or simply using energy around your home in smarter ways, make sure to contact your local heating oil company for advice.