Is It Time to Consider a New Boiler?

A sturdy boiler can provide many years of effective heating for your commercial building. However, even the most reliable boiler system will eventually start to fail. When properly maintained, commercial boilers can last for 15 years or more – many have been known to last much longer than that. Here is an introduction to boilers and some factors to consider when deciding if it’s time start preparing for a boiler replacement.

Boilers: the Basics

Boilers use combustible fuels such as natural gas or oil to heat water and produce steam that provides hydronic heat for a commercial building. Boilers also provide hot water for bathrooms, kitchens and industrial operations. Boiler and hydronic equipment can work at low or high pressures, depending on the type of system, but hot water will always be present. Safety precautions should always be taken when working with commercial-grade boilers.

Evaluation Factors

  • Age – Age is often a prime consideration when thinking about replacing a boiler, but it’s not the only factor. A properly maintained boiler will most likely last longer than one not maintained. Boilers that are 15 years or older may be coming to the point where age is likely to become an issue.
  • Performance – Over time, a boiler may start losing efficiency and heating performance.  When this happens it’s a sign that your boiler may be a good candidate for replacement.  Preventative maintenance and professional repairs will keep your equipment working longer, but eventually an aging boiler will need to be upgraded or replaced.
  • Condition – A boiler that is still in good condition will probably last a few more years. In considering and evaluating the condition of your boiler, there are many factors to consider; the metal condition, any rust present, leaks, the function of burners and burner controls, the condition of the doors, even the brickwork in the combustion area.

Things to Consider Before you Replace your Boiler

  • Size – Your replacement boiler must be the proper size to provide sufficient amounts of hot water or steam for your facility. When talking about your boiler, size refers to the system’s functional capacity to produce heat, not its actual physical dimensions. The HVAC professionals at Oregon Cascade Plumbing & Heating can conduct a load calculation on your building to determine how much heating you need. With this information and professional guidance, it is relatively easy to select a boiler that will meet your needs.
  • Efficiency – Older boilers typically offer lower efficiency than newer models. This means they use more fuel to produce the same amount of heat. New boilers offer higher operational efficiency, giving you more heating at a lower cost, by using less fuel. Commercial boilers are rated using an AFUE (annual fuel utilization efficiency) rating. Boilers with an AFUE of 80 or above are considered high efficiency and can earn government Energy Star program certification.
  • Installation – Proper installation is essential when your boiler is replaced.  Pressure produced by hot water and steam can pose a danger in an improperly installed boiler.  Dangerous gasses, water leaks or even explosions can result from an improperly installed boiler.  Make sure only qualified professionals install and service your building’s boiler.
  • Ventilation – Boilers burn combustible fuel, and as a result they produce gases and fumes.  The most common and most dangerous of these gasses is carbon monoxide, a highly poisonous gas can’t be seen smelled or tasted. A properly ventilated boiler system ensures combustion gases are safely and effectively routed out of your building, keeping everyone inside safe.


The professionals at Oregon Cascade Plumbing and Heating can maintain your boiler to prevent problems and extend the lifespan of your system.  When the time comes to replace your boiler, we can make sure you have the right system, professionally installed, with an ongoing preventative maintenance program to keep it in tip top shape. Call us today to schedule an assessment of your buildings boiler or plumbing system.  503-588-0355


3 Big Differences Between Commercial & Residential Plumbing

Plumbing is plumbing, which may make you wonder if there’s a difference between commercial plumbing and residential plumbing. After all, they both use the same kinds of material and a toilet or a sink is the same wherever it’s located.  Right?  In the Willamette Valley, there are many companies that provide both commercial and residential plumbing services. When dealing with a commercial plumbing project, the company you choose should be aware of the differences. Here are three of the biggest:

  • Size – The most obvious difference between commercial and residential plumbing is size.  Commercial work requires a lot more piping, outlets and fixtures than a home.  A business plumbing system must also be able to handle a much higher demand than a residential system.
  • Multiple floors -While a home may have multiple stories, in most instances, it’s no more than 2, maybe 3 if there’s a finished basement or attic.  A commercial structure is usually much, much larger.  Each level of a business requires toilets, sinks and in some cases commercial kitchens, laundry facilities, multiple water heaters or boilers.  Increased demand for water and gravity are important factors in making sure piping and water pressure are correct for each individual building.  A good, experienced plumber understands the differences and can help you make the most of your plumbing system, no matter the size.
  • Variety of problems – While a residence can have a variety of issues, they are, for the most part, fairly standard.  Businesses on the other hand, with large commercial plumbing systems, face a much wider variety of issues.  Commercial plumbers must be knowledgeable, and capable of understanding and quickly repairing, a much broader array of problems.  Code compliance is critical in a commercial setting, and an experienced plumber must be aware of all commercial plumbing code requirements to help protect his commercial customer.

When you experience a plumbing problem at work, you need a plumber with the experience to handle any size problem, in any type of commercial building.  Here in the Willamette Valley Business Owners have turned to the experienced plumbers at Oregon Cascade Plumbing & Heating since 1969.  We have the knowledge and experience to handle your commercial plumbing problem, no matter the size.  Call us today to experience the Oregon Cascade dedication to service!