Omnia Mechanical Group

571 Timpson Place Bronx, NY 10455

Phone: 212-534-2500

Contact us on email!

The Impact of Freezing Weather on Your Building’s Boilers

Steam heat is integral to the heating season in New York City. Nearly 80% of apartment buildings in the city use steam boilers fired by natural gas or oil. Hot water boilers account for many of the remaining heating systems. These systems are capable, but they can face challenges that affect their efficacy in the winter months.

As a building owner, understanding threats to your boiler is crucial to keeping your property habitable and complaint-free. Discover your boiler’s winter vulnerabilities and how regular boiler maintenance can prevent future issues.

Boiler Maintenance To Prevent These 4 Winter Issues

1. Supply Line Freezing and LWCO Malfunctioning

The most significant concern for boilers in the winter is the potential freezing of supply lines, particularly feedwater pipes. If the feedwater lines freeze, they deprive the boiler of necessary water. Frozen pipes are also at risk of bursts or breaks, risking significant water damage throughout the boiler room and other connected spaces.

However, water damage and heat loss are not the only potential threats to your property and tenants. If your system experiences a simultaneous failure of the low water cut-off sensor, the boiler may continue to operate with an insufficient supply of water. In extreme cases, the boiler may run dry. This problem can cause an explosion if not corrected.

2. Return Line Freezing

Return lines face a greater threat of freezing than supply lines, especially in a property with zoned heating. If your property has a zoned temperature control system, you likely reduce temperature settings in vacant units and unused areas in the building.

Adjusting temperature settings is fine and recommended for reducing heat loss and waste. However, turning the temperature down too much or even shutting it off completely in areas is risky.

Key to proper boiler maintenance is ensuring the system operates in an ideal setting. Mechanical equipment operates best in predictable climates. While your boiler may be in a temperature-controlled room, all of its pipes and return lines may not be.

Some of the system return lines may run through an area of the property that is shut down. When a property owner turns off thermostats in a specific area with a steam or hot water system, they may trap water in the return.

The trapped water does not return to the boiler for re-heating, consequently increasing the likelihood of freezing, especially for non-insulated pipes. Even if the water doesn’t freeze, which can have dire effects, putting it back into service by re-engaging the thermostats can still be problematic.

The secluded water temperature drops well below the ambient levels of the system. The rapid temperature drop when cold water touches hot boiler metal can cause contraction. Also, rapid cooling can cause boiler failure and safety risks.

Never shut down entire heating zones without consulting a licensed boiler technician. Reduce heat loss and waste by lowering temperature settings in unused areas but not shutting off the heat.

3. Inadequate Combustion Air

Boiler maintenance helps ensure that all essential components, such as the fresh air intakes, remain clear and operational. Boiler combustion requires oxygen, which can only come from the outside atmosphere when vents aren’t obstructed.

The size or volume of the combustion air system depends on the combined capacity of all fuel-burning equipment in the boiler room. Typically, a boiler requires at least two air supply openings in the outer walls.

In the winter, these openings can allow cold air into the boiler room, making the area unpleasant to work in. Some people may combat the cold by restricting airflow through the openings, covering them with cardboard or plastic.

Without adequate outside air, though, the burner must draw oxygen from the air in the boiler room, causing several potential issues. First, the boiler will continue to take oxygen from the room until little or none exists, raising concerns of asphyxiation or death for boiler room operators.

Second, the atmospheric pressure will fall in the boiler room, causing draft problems in the chimney vent. The atmospheric pressure at the top of the boiler chimney should always remain lower than the boiler room to draw fumes and gases out. If pressure drops too much in the boiler room, it causes pressure shifts in the chimney that mean furnace emissions may not vent as intended, allowing gases like carbon monoxide to build in the room.

Lower atmospheric pressure in the boiler room can also increase the risk of an explosion. Calray Boilers can perform boiler maintenance and inspections to ensure all vents and systems work as designed, reducing concerns of property damage or personal injuries. In addition, as a property owner, consider discussing the importance of boiler ventilation and air supply with staff.

4. Leaks

Boiler leaks are not only a winter problem; they occur all year round and can cause significant trouble and damage. Steam and hot water boilers have cyclical operations: The boiler heats and pushes the water or steam through the system; then, as the steam condenses or the water cools, it returns to the boiler for reheating.

If there is a leak or multiple leaks in your boiler’s system, it loses steam vapor or water, resulting in heat loss and energy waste. To compensate for the loss, the boiler needs to add more water to the system. The additional water is likely colder, requiring additional heating and increasing fuel consumption.

Depending on the quality of the makeup or feeder water, it may contain impurities like calcium and magnesium carbonate salts. The additional minerals can contribute to scale deposits in the system and affect the boiler’s efficiency.

Scale can cause metal temperatures to increase because it obstructs the cooling effect of boiler water. If left unchecked, scale deposits and boiler leaks can have catastrophic consequences.

Professional Boiler Maintenance and Inspections

Ensure Boiler Efficacy Through Annual Service Contracts

Steam and hot water systems are crucial to heating NYC apartments. During the winter months and beyond, these systems face a number of threats. An annual service contract with Calray Boilers can ensure that your boiler runs at its peak whenever it’s needed by keeping up with boiler maintenance. Call Calray Boilers at 212-722-5506 to learn more and schedule an initial inspection.


Our Privacy Policy

Omnia Mechanical Group(the “Company”) strives to ensure the highest standards for property listings and customer information privacy. Please review the following statement to learn about our company practices and policies. Please be aware that our Privacy Policy is subject to change at any time.

1. Purpose.

This Privacy Policy (“the Policy”) provides information on how the Company uses your personal information. By agreeing to the Policy, you agree to our collection and use of your personal information as described in the Policy. This Privacy Policy is effective for all new users of Sanitaryplumbing.com.

2. Personal Information.

You can browse some areas of omniagroup.nyc (“the Website”) without being a registered user. However, certain activities do require registration. (You consent to the transfer and storage of your information by registering with omniagroup.nyc).

3. Use of Information.

Our primary purpose in collecting personal information is to provide you with a safe and user-friendly experience. For example, the Company may use your personal information to:

  • Improve our services and the Website’s content and layout;
  • Provide the services and necessary customer support you request;
  • Resolve disputes, collect fees, and troubleshoot problems;
  • Track and record customer satisfaction with our services;
  • Protect the Company against error and fraud;
  • Inform you of special promotions and announcements;
  • Enforce our agreements, terms, conditions, and policies; and
  • As otherwise described to you at the time of collection.

We may occasionally ask you to complete optional surveys. These surveys are used to improve and customize your experience with Sanitaryplumbing.com.

The Company always provides you the ability to opt-out of further communication such as promotions and surveys; see the Opt-Out section below.

The Company does not share any of your personal information with outside organizations, companies, individuals, etc. The only exception to this standard is if such a disclosure is reasonably necessary to respond to any and all legal processes.

4. Links to Other Sites.

The Website may have links to other websites that may collect personally identifiable information about you. The Company is not responsible for the privacy practices of the content of those linked websites.

5. Safety & Security Precautions.

The Website has strict security measures in place to protect you and your information from fraud. Once your information is provided to Omnia Mechanical Group, we strive to ensure the confidentiality of your identity and information.

6. Opt-Out.

The Company provides you with the opportunity to opt-out of receiving promotional and other non-essential, marketing-related communications from Omnia Mechanical Group. If you would like to opt-out of these select communications, please see any of the Company’s email communications and follow the directions indicated.

7. Account Protection.

Your password ensures the security of your account. When choosing a password, the Company suggests using various characters. It is highly recommended that you do not disclose your Sanitaryplumbing.com password to anyone. (If you do disclose your password or your personal information with others, you are responsible for all actions taken in the name of your account.) If the security of your password is compromised for any reason, please contact the Company immediately.

8. Accuracy of Information

The Company does not guarantee the accuracy of information for any and all of its properties on the Website, and is not responsible for any errors or misrepresentations (made by Renters, the Client, or otherwise).

9. Cookies

The Company may place a small cookie on your computer’s hard drive. This allows us to personalize your use on the Website. In order to maximize the functionality and usability of the Website, you must set your browser’s preferences to allow both permanent and temporary cookies.

10. Changing Your Personal Information.

Should your personal information change, please immediately update your information on the Website. This will ensure the accuracy of our records. The Company does retain personal information from closed accounts in order to comply with law and collect and disburse any fees owed.

11. Third Parties

This Privacy Policy addresses only the use of information we collect from you. Since omniagroup.nyc does not control the privacy policies of third parties, you are subject to the privacy policies of those third parties. It is advisable that you consult with the management of third parties before you disclose your personal information to others.

12. General

We may amend this Privacy Policy at any time by posting the amended terms on the Website. All amended terms are immediately effective after they are initially posted on the Website.

13. Privacy Policy Questions & Concerns

Questions and/or concerns regarding the Policy should be emailed to the following email address: info@omniagroup.nyc.