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Roadrunner Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing Blog

Boiler Kettling What You Need to Know

Have you ever noticed your boiler making a deep rumbling sound during operation? That sound is called “kettling,” and it’s a serious problem that can cause widespread damage if left unchecked. Your boiler isn’t going to explode or anything catastrophic like that, but the heat exchanger could very easily rupture if the problem isn’t dealt with. Let’s take a look at what causes boiler kettling, and what can be done about it.

Causes of Boiler Kettling

Kettling is caused by lime scale, which is caused by hard water. Hard water is water with very high magnesium and calcium content. As it runs through the heat exchanger in your boiler, the hard water deposits small amounts of magnesium and calcium on the walls of the pipe. These mineral deposits eventually build into lime scale, which restricts the flow of water through the pipe.

Though these systems are called “boilers,” most are not designed to actually boil water. Restricting the flow of water through the heat exchanger causes the water to boil in the pipe, becoming steam and expanding exponentially. This expansion puts a great deal of pressure on the pipe, which is what causes the rumbling sound you’re hearing. If the pressure isn’t relieved, the heat exchanger could rupture and cause immense water damage to the surrounding area.

Dealing with Kettling

If your boiler is kettling, the best thing to do is turn it off and call for repairs right away. If caught early enough, the lime scale can be scraped out of the heat exchanger to return it to full function. If the lime scale is too far advanced, we can replace the heat exchanger before it ruptures.

If your boiler is kettling, call Roadrunner Air Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration. We provide boiler services throughout Los Alamos, NM.

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