I have a boiler in my home, what maintenance do I have to perform?

Most new homes are using a combination heating system….furnace + boiler. A furnace heats air that is distributed throughout the house via a blower motor and the home’s duct system. The boiler uses hot water to heat your home. Hot water boilers distribute heat through small hot water pipes using a pump to heat baseboard but more commonly, in floor heating which provides efficient, consistent and cost effective heating.  The payback of having both is usually very quick especially with gas prices where they are in Calgary.

For those of you who never venture into your mechanical room and might not know what your boiler looks like here is a photo of what you might see.  Note the change from years ago…thank you science!


Boilers DO require maintenance on a regular basis. Boilers should be inspected a minimum of once a year. This should include all components of the boiler and the entire heating system. Heating fluid should be tested for glycol levels, color and ph. Venting also requires inspection for proper grade and overall condition. All inspections and maintenance should be performed by a licensed technician and all worn and suspect parts should be replaced immediately.

If no maintenance is performed on your boiler system, small problems quickly turn into large problems that could result in a hazardous condition in your home. Boilers that burn inefficiently can carbon up heat exchangers in a short period of time and cause a serious fire hazard. Inspection of the burners and maintenance for safe operation are imperative.

Boiler systems have backflow devices that protect your drinking water. In simple terms, these devices keep non potable water in your boiler system (non potable because it has glycol in it to keep from freezing) from entering your drinking water system. Testable devices are installed on systems that require a higher level of protection like these.  After all-your drinking water IS very important.  These devices need to be tested a minimum of once a year and if they do not pass the minimum requirement the device needs to be repaired or replaced and then retested.

City of Calgary requires these devices to be tested by a licenced cross connection tester and registered with the City of Calgary.  This may seem like it is a cash grab by the City but think of it this way-it keeps your drinking water safe from potential contamination so is worth the effort!  Paperwork is filed by the licenced tester with the City on your behalf.  If it is not, you will receive notices from the City of Calgary….they will just keep coming until you get this done.

This is new!

All sprinkler systems now require a testable device that needs to tested and registered with the City of Calgary if you are connected to the city water potable water system.  You can add this to your calendar and have both devices checked at the same time each year-most plumbing companies offer the service or cross connection testing.  Check out which ones do on whotocall.ca





Alana Kitchen
Alana Kitchen
Alana Kitchen, founder of Who To Call Inc. Taking care of a house with three boys I always needed a good drywaller on speed dial. When I moved to Calgary I quickly discovered it was an Olympic sport to find home service businesses that provided the quality service and advice I was looking for. This experience inspired Who To Call – a website dedicated to helping Calgarians find quality home service repair companies. Sign up to post your project and find quality companies today!
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