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What is Kettling and why is it Dangerous?

The sound of a kettle boiling is considered comforting and cozy by most people. It’s a bit less cozy when it comes from your boiler, however. If your boiler is making a deep, rumbling sound during operation, that’s called “kettling.” It’s one of the most damaging things that can happen to boilers, and needs to be addressed as soon as possible.

While you’re waiting for a professional to arrive, though, you should know what causes kettling. The more you know about the problem, the better equipped you’ll be to address it.

Let’s take a look at what kettling is, and where it comes from.

Causes of Kettling

Kettling is the result of overexposure to hard water, which is water with a higher than normal mineral content. As the hard water flows through the heat exchanger in your boiler, it deposits small amounts of minerals on the walls of the pipe. Over time, these mineral deposits can develop into lime scale, which will restrict or even block the flow of water through the heat exchanger. This causes the water trapped in the heat exchanger to boil and evaporate, which puts pressure on the heat exchanger. The rumbling sound is caused by the steam in the pipe straining to escape.

Effects of Kettling

Believe it or not, most boilers are not meant to actually boil water. When the water in the heat exchanger boils and evaporates into steam, it puts the pipe under far more pressure than it is designed to handle. If the pressure is not relieved in short order, the heat exchanger may burst and damage the boiler. Most boilers have safety measures in place to prevent things from getting that far, but it is still not a good condition to allow to continue. The deposits that cause kettling also prevent enough hot water from being distributed through the house, which will lead to a drop in heating.

If you notice that your boiler is kettling, you need to have it looked at as soon as possible. Call Design Comfort. We provide boilers throughout the Holladay area.

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