Home Inspector Finds Boiler Defects
home inspection tech talk

This House Can Go Up In Flames

Heating system defects: An oil fired heating system must be properly serviced on a scheduled basis by a competent service technician to keep it running efficiently and to be sure that no safety hazards exist.

These photos taken during a home inspection are an example of an unsafe boiler that is in a hazardous condition.

In a boiler, the oil is burned in a fire proof chamber located under the boiler water jacket (this is similar to a flame burning under a pot of water boiling on a stove).

boiler defects

See Photo 1 which shows the front of the boiler, the oil burner is the device located at the bottom of the boiler. The burner fires oil in a horizontal position into the combustion chamber. From the front, the boiler looks OK except for some rust.

Photo 1
Front Of Boiler

Photo 2 shows the rear of the boiler before the oil burner fires, notice the burn marks on the rear of the boiler sheetmetal jacket; this is the first clue that something is seriously wrong (there should be no burn marks at all).

boiler defects

Photo 2
Boiler Not Firing

boiler defects

Photo 3 shows the rear of the boiler when the oil burner is firing, the rear of the boiler is red hot and the flame is ready to totally burn through the back of the boiler and the house will go up in flames long before the firemen can arrive to put out the fire.

Photo 3
Boiler Firing

Your home inspection engineer should carefully inspect your boiler for hazards; your service technician should continue to inspect the boiler at each service. It is highly recommended that home owners maintain a service contract with a competent service technician.

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