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Sound Heating and Air Conditioning Inc. Blog

What You Need to Know About Boiler Kettling

Boilers are remarkably sturdy systems, much more so than furnaces and other forced air systems. This is because they have far fewer moving parts, which makes for fewer potential problems that they have to deal with. This does not make boilers invincible, however. There is a serious issue that afflicts quite a few boilers across the country: it’s called kettling. Read on to find out more about kettling, and the threat it poses to your boiler.

What is Kettling?

Kettling is a problem with your boiler’s heat exchanger, caused by long-term hard water exposure. The most common external sign of kettling is a deep rumbling sound, which usually serves as the first warning to homeowners.

Hard water is water with a high mineral content. It deposits small amounts of those minerals on the walls of the heat exchanger over time. Eventually, the mineral deposits grow large enough to restrict the flow of water through the pipe. These large deposits are called lime scale.

Why This Is a Problem

The lime scale traps water in the heat exchanger long enough to evaporate into steam, which puts immense pressure on the walls of the pipe. The deep rumbling sound common to kettling boilers is caused by the heat exchanger struggling to contain the steam buildup. If the buildup isn’t dealt with, the heat exchanger could rupture, causing widespread water damage and requiring replacement.

If you hear your boiler kettling, it is imperative that you turn it off and call for repairs as soon as possible. If caught early enough, the lime scale can be scraped out of the heat exchanger to return it to full function.

If your boiler needs repair, call Sound Heating. We offer a full range of boiler repair services throughout Tacoma, WA. 

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