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Commercial Boiler Breakdowns: Common Reasons Why They Happen

September 8th, 2021

Last updated: September 19th, 2022

Like most developing technologies, boilers today are much more reliable, better built and designed for long term operation. But however much you invest in planned maintenance, things can still go wrong. Boilers are very important to businesses in terms of health, safety and welfare, and some may need hot water supplies for production processes or water treatment systems, so investing in a good, modern boiler is an important decision for a business.

However, boilers can break down and need repair. They switch off, leak, run loudly, fail to heat water, lose pressure or increase pressure too high. This can result in a breakdown of your boiler, so what can cause this? Understanding how commercial boilers work will also help you foresee potential issues and improve its efficiency. Here we look at the most common reasons.

Commercial Boiler Age

Commercial boilers work hard, particularly over the winter months, so wear and tear of components is unavoidable. Thermal and mechanical stress can cause leaks, rust and corrosion, leading to mechanical failure. Over time, debris and dust will also accumulate to restrict the efficient operation of the boiler and dirty water and sludge can also find its way into the boiler.

You can clear this by flushing the system, which can clean it out and allow free movement of components, and this will also improve the efficient operation of the boiler. Other common problems caused by age are the build-up of lime scale and the pilot light switching off more regularly.

Of course, every boiler has its own shelf life. This has improved greatly in recent years but it is still true to say that they won’t last forever. Like a car, eventually the cost to keep getting it repaired and maintained will not be worth it any more. If you inherit a commercial boiler, check the age of your boiler and whether it could be approaching the end of its life cycle.

Commercial Boiler Leaks

Components within the boiler can fail to create a water leak. This is usually through wear and tear and corrosion, and can happen most commonly in the pressure valve, pump seal or heat exchanger. Leaks can also occur through the pipework, because this can corrode over time. Water can escape through the smallest gaps, so this is not always due to age, and this can also occur in newer boilers because the pipework joints have not been installed properly and water escapes through gaps in the joints.

As commercial boiler breakdowns go, this is certainly one of the worst, and needs to be seen to as a matter of emergency.

Commercial Boiler Pressure

You can experience problems with both high and low pressure in a boiler, so it is important to have good control over this and to monitor it closely. High pressure can be caused by the filling loop tap not being firmly closed. If air gets in the system the pressure increases and you will lose heat in the boiler and will need to bleed the system. The pressure on your gauge should ideally read between 1 and 1.5 bar, and the ‘safe’ zone is usually clearly indicated on the gauge for you to monitor.

Pressure is something that you will get checked in a regular service but it is also a good idea to check this yourself from time to time, ensuring that your boiler pressure is in the safe zone. If not, you may need to call Robinsons Facilities Services to check your system and see if it need to be maintained by “bleeding” or diagnosing any other problems.

Low pressure can also occur, and if this happens regularly you may have a damaged component, a system leak, a faulty thermostat or a poor seal in your pipework. Again you can use your filling loop tap to adjust the pressure. Low pressure can cause the boiler to shut down completely. This can be worrying at the time, but is usually a safety precaution to stop the boiler overheating.

Heat Loss

Poor insulation in your property, an old property or installing a boiler that is too small for the property you are heating or creating hot water for, can all cause stress on the system. This is a design fault in the sense that you need a bigger boiler for this kind of property from the outset. A boiler that is working too hard creates stress on its components and can therefore shutdown suddenly.

No Regular Servicing

A very common reason for commercial boiler breakdowns is simply that it is not regularly serviced. Regular servicing will save you money in the long run and will increase the lifespan of the boiler, helping your business in the long run. Critical cleaning and inspection will lead to worn components being replaced before they fail. This increases the long term reliability of the boiler and lessens the chances of unforeseen breakdowns. It also ensures the boiler is always running to its optimum efficiency, again leading to cost savings in energy bills.

You can speak to Robinsons Facilities Services about all these issues, and we can agree a commercial boiler maintenance schedule for your commercial boiler. We can also advise about boiler design to ensure you have a system that is compatible with the size, age and structure of your premises and operational needs, so get in touch with our boiler experts today.

Working across Yorkshire, we cover North Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, East Yorkshire and South Yorkshire and offer a fast, efficient response time to all breakdowns and repairs. Contact us today for all planned, reactive maintenance or emergency call out.

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