Your boiler plays a critical role in your facility to maintain comfort through heating or steam to maintain a critical process. Boilers count on fuel to operate and the more you keep your boiler in good health, the more you can maximize efficiency, thus saving fuel. A carefully followed maintenance program will ensure your boiler will continue to operate reliably and safely.
Facilities rely on boilers for a myriad of applications whether heating, process steam for materials production or power generation. If your boiler becomes inefficient or even inoperable because of wearing components, it can cost your business dearly. You can prevent process interruptions and increase dependability by proactively following a comprehensive preventative maintenance (PM) program.
Wear and tear can cause strain on your boiler system leading to inefficiencies. There are numerous factors that can affect boiler efficiency; seasonal temperature changes, the quality and temperature of the boiler feedwater and maintaining a properly tuned burner for optimal combustion. For instance, a leak somewhere may cause a drop in pressure, causing the system to use more fuel to keep to acceptable pressure levels.
A boiler can be a dangerous piece of equipment if it is not understood and respected. Operating it properly requires training and support from qualified individuals who not only appreciate the workings of the equipment but the hazards too. From electrical components, water level control, safety valve piping and proper confined space procedures, boiler safety is of utmost priority when it comes to boiler maintenance for the safety of the personnel.
It’s the Law
An issue that causes a boiler to break down can easily be hazardous to nearby personnel, so much so that following a PM program for your boiler is the law. In the state of Massachusetts, each boiler or pressure vessel must be thoroughly inspected annually.
Recommended Preventative Maintenance Frequency
The best place to reference when operating your boiler is to refer to the manufacturer’s operation manual for proper PM recommendations and keep the manual handy for future reference.
Tracking your PM data is a good way to start collecting useable maintenance data to make decisions about updates to optimize your boiler based on real data. The trending can also help boiler operators identify anomalies in performance to help aid in troubleshooting issues.
Daily: Boiler operators should perform a quick daily check to identify potential problems like:
- Inspect around the boiler for leaking water
- Listen for unusual noises or vibrations
- Ensure there are no obstructions of materials around the boiler
- Check temperature and pressure ratings
- Ensure venting is not obstructed with debris, snow or ice buildup
Preventative Maintenance Boiler Logs
Download our recommended high-pressure power boiler or heating log to track your daily boiler inspections.
Monthly: Each month, you should perform a more comprehensive inspection. Some of the things I would recommend checking include:
- The combustion air piping, and flue gas vent piping for leaks, blockages or signs of wear
- Check the relief valve discharge pipe and boiler relief valve for leaks.
- Inspect the condensate drain line, piping and drop trap for blockages (if a condensing boiler)
Annually: a licensed trained and certified professional should be brought in to perform a rigorous boiler inspection and complete any needed maintenance repairs. The annual service should include:
- A thorough boiler test and inspection
- Inspect and clean the boiler’s heat exchanger
- Check connections and wiring
- Perform a pH level water test
- Inspect the condensate system and flush the system if required
- Examine and clean the flame sensors, ignitor and burner assembly
- Inspect the venting system for integrity and blockages – make sure all joints are secure
- Review the vent terminations and air inlet
- Check the control settings, test the safety controls and operating controls
- The final inspection should include a full report of the evaluation with recommendations on any further work required.