If you’ve ever noticed your boiler giving off a deep rumbling sound, it means that your system is kettling. Kettling may sound bad, but don’t panic. Your boiler isn’t going to explode or anything. However, it will require serious repair if you don’t act quickly. Read on to find out more about what causes boiler kettling, and what it can do if you let it continue.
Boiler kettling is caused by hard water, which deposits calcium and magnesium in the heat exchanger of the system. Over time, these mineral deposits build up into lime scale, which restricts the flow of water through the heat exchanger. This causes water to become trapped in the pipe, eventually evaporating into steam. This puts immense pressure on the walls of the heat exchanger, producing the rumbling sound you hear during kettling. The heat exchanger is not designed to deal with this kind of stress, and if it is prolonged you will be at risk of severe problems.
Obviously, boiler kettling negatively affects the system. The system won’t be able to distribute heat as effectively while the heat exchanger is blocked, and the pressure from the steam will eventually cause the pipe to rupture. A ruptured heat exchanger can cause immense amounts of water damage to the rest of the system, not to mention the surrounding area. This is the biggest threat that kettling represents: the danger of causing thousands of dollars’ worth of water damage. This, not to mention the cost of replacing the heat exchanger, could end up being worth more than the entire boiler. If you notice that your boiler is kettling, it’s a good idea to turn it off and call for repairs as soon as possible.