If you have noticed that your building is no longer heating evenly, you may wonder if a problem with the old oil boiler is responsible. If so, look for the following three warning signs that your building's oil boiler is about to break down.

Oil Burner Is Burning Uneven Yellow Flames

One thing you should look for when determining the condition of your boiler is the flame on the oil burner. Normally, the flame burns blue in an even circle around the burner. However, if there is rust or air in the system, you will see gaps in the circle of fire.

You may also see a yellow flame burning on the burner. If you see yellow, this sign indicates that the boiler is burning too much carbon monoxide. Not only will your building heat unevenly, but the increase in carbon monoxide could greatly decrease the quality of the building's air.

Black Soot Cakes The Interior

While looking at the flame to discern its color, look around the interior casing of the boiler. You may see some black soot above the burner directly above where the flame constantly burns. This is normal.

However, if the black soot cakes the interior of the boiler or even extends to the outer casing, this is another sign that the boiler is burning too much carbon monoxide. As the carbon monoxide breaks down in the heat, the carbon leaves behind the black soot. Eventually, this soot may build up and start coming up through the vents.

Boiler's Tank Is Leaking

After inspecting the flame and casing, look at the bottom of the boiler unit to see if you find any puddles of water. If so, you may have an obvious leak in the system. Eventually, the leak may rust the system or become so large that the boiler cannot hold enough water to heat the building.

If you do not see an obvious leak but know that the water level has been falling, requiring make-up water to be added, you may have a subtle leak. This leak may be dripping inside the boiler casing where you cannot see it. This hidden leak could lead to rusting inside the boiler, leading to rapid deterioration.

If you notice one or more of the above warning signs, your oil boiler is in danger of breaking down at any time. You may want to contact a contractor who specializes in boiler installation to discuss your options for replacing the old unit before it fails and leaves your building without heat. Check with someone like Schweitzer Brothers for more information.