If you need a new heater or furnace installed in your home and you live in an area that becomes extremely cold during the winter months, then an oil fired system may be best for your needs. Not only are these systems capable of producing a great deal of heat when the weather is quite cold outside, but they also allow you to heat your house efficiently when natural gas is not available near your residence. When you speak with your installation expert about the heating system you want, make sure that you ask for a digital low water cutoff. Keep reading to learn about the cutoff safety sensor and why a digital device is better.
What Does The Low Water Cutoff Sensor Do?
Most oil boiler systems utilize baseboard or upright radiators to heat the home. Instead of heating air, the boiler heats water and the heated water runs through the radiators. Water is pulled into the boiler system and it runs through a series of wide steel coils that sit on the top of the firebox. As the water heats up, it is forced through a water outlet pipe and moved to the heating zone that needs heat. As the water flows through the outlet pipe, a small device keeps track of the volume of water that flows past.
The small device is called a low water cutoff sensor. If this device senses that very little water is moving past the sensor, then the heating system is turned off completely. This is a safety feature, because a low volume of water within the oil boiler can cause serious overheating concerns. Specifically, the 4,000 degree Fahrenheit temperatures created by the boiler will be absorbed by the metal parts inside of it instead of the water, and they can begin to melt.
To prevent serious damage to your boiler and your home, the cutoff sensor will not allow your boiler to fire until it detects a normal volume of water moving through the system.
What Problems Are Caused By Traditional Cutoff Sensors?
While the low water cutoff sensor is an important feature of your boiler system, heaters are sometimes fitted with ball and valve types of devices. The ball sits in a valve that is attached to the sensor. As water moves through the outlet pipe, the ball moves upward and the sensor detects a good volume of water.
However, the mechanical device is likely to malfunction over time, especially if you have hard water. Hard water mineral deposits will build on and around the ball and keep it from moving freely. This will cause the heating system to shut down even though there is not a water volume issue. The device will need to be either replaced or flushed by your heating professional when this happens. This can cause serious heating problems if the issue occurs during the middle of the winter.
How Does A Digital Water Cutoff Work Better?
Digital water cutoff sensors utilize a small probe sensor that sits within the valve of the device to detect the flow of water. In this case, there are no moving parts and the sensor is much more likely to report the correct volume of water than a mechanical device. The sensor on this device detects the electrical conductivity of the water flowing through the outlet pipe.
While digital devices are far less likely to fail than traditional varieties, you still should make sure that you work with your heating specialist to have the sensor inspected once a year during your yearly maintenance service. Typically, the sensor can be tested through the electronics attached to it. If your heating specialist detects an issue with the sensor or if there is evidence of debris buildup both inside and outside the heating system, then the probe can be replaced or cleaned and slipped back into place.