Scranton, Lackawanna County -- Wayne Pisanchyn's Clarks Summit based plumbing and heating business has gotten rather busy lately. While taking care of customers with frozen and broken water pipes, he's also fielding calls from some worried homeowners. "We have had a dozen or so at this point which on one single event, that's a lot."
That event is this week's major water outage in Scranton that leaves homeowners concerned about their boiler system. Pisanchyn says the good news for most is that there's nothing to worry about. Those with electric heat, forced hot air or baseboard hot water systems should be in the clear. But homeowners with steam radiator style heating could face potential problems. "If you don't have water to put in the boiler, the boiler will automatically shut off and not operate."
Even at that, Pisanchyn says homeowners whose systems have been serviced and have been running problem free should be able to dodge a few days or even a week without water service. The real trouble is for homeowners whose steam based heating system have been experiencing problems this winter. "The people that have a system that may have a leak here or there are going to go through the water much quicker."
In a prolonged water outage, the boiler system would desperately need water and what would happen then would be the pipe that leads to a relief valve would be dismantled and water would be directly injected into the system. But this is something Pisanchyn warns should not be tried by homeowners. He says you better call a pro if, during a water outage, the water in your boiler's glass gauge is less than half way. "If it's getting down and you don't see it in the glass, you need to shut the boiler off immediately."
Pisanchyn says once the water service is restored, the rush of water will produce sediment in your boiler system. But, he added, that shouldn't pose a problem to your heating system.