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Electric Boiler Problems

What is an electric boiler?

An electric boiler, as found in homes and businesses, is a boiler that uses electricity instead of oil or gas to heat the water which is then supplied to bathrooms, kitchen and HVAC systems. Electric boilers are a clean and efficient way to meet the hot water needs of a home or business, but at times can be complex pieces of engineering and problems do arise. Read below where Experts have answered electric boiler installation questions.

I have a water heating system with an oil boiler of 200,000 BTU. I want to switch to an electric boiler with the option of using oil when the ambient temperature is less than minus 12 degrees, what is the most economical method?

One option to consider would be to buy 2 inexpensive boilers, one electric water boiler and a oil fired; each of 100,000 BTU. Use the electric boiler as the primary and the oil boiler to supplement when it gets really cold. This will usually reduce electric bills significantly as using the electric boiler to its full capacity offers the maximum efficiency.

Would there be any issue to why a person could not buy a bigger BTU electric boiler than what would be recommended per 5,000 sq ft house?

In most situations, oversizing the boiler will or could ruin the efficiency at which the electric boiler works/operates and can also cause control problems. A person could have a professional heat loss analysis done and size the new boiler accordingly.

I’m thinking of an electric boiler installation to replace my very old oil fired one. Can you tell me if the electric boiler will take longer to increase the temperature in my home as compared to the oil fired one?

Electric boiler are slower to recover than oil fired ones so raising the temperature in your house will take longer than the time the oil fired option. Another problem you may face is that you will not be able to use a programmable thermostat because of the time taken for the heat to recover.

My electric boiler water tank that is made of copper is leaking at the bottom element, how can this be fixed?

If the leak is where the heating element is fitted, turn off the power to the boiler, let it cool completely and unscrew the element. Apply pipe dope/ pipe sealer and refit the element. If the leak is coming from a hole at the bottom of the tank body, drain it and use a high temperature sliver braze to plug the leak. Since not many plumbers use this type of brazing rod, you may have to call in an HVAC service technician as this is something they commonly use and is not always available to the general public.

I have a Thermolec electric boiler that seems to lose pressure every heating season. I have to call in a plumber each time to add water. Why does this happen and how can I save on the plumber charges?

There are many reasons for a drop in pressure. Water can be lost through pressure relief valves and fittings with tiny leaks which can be very difficult to detect. Having to add water once in a while is not uncommon. The best thing to do would be to call the plumber once again, ask him to show you how to add water and then do it yourself.

Because it is a complex piece of equipment and involves the use of both electricity and hot water, care must be taken when trying to resolve electric boiler problems. Follow the instructions provided in the trouble shooting guide in the owner’s manual. If this does not help or if the problem is not covered, it is advisable to get help from an Expert, both for reasons of safety and to prevent damage to the boiler.
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