Boilers tend to wear down over time and can be dangerous if not properly inspected. Here are some tips to insure the safe and efficient operation of your condensing boiler.
12 steps to follow for your boiler checkup:
1. CHECK THE FUEL LINES.
Thoroughly inspect the fuel connection Check the joints to be sure they are tight, the pressure gauges and thermometers that they are in place and tight and that the valves are operative. Also check for any leaks in the fuel line.
2. INSPECT AND CLEAN FIRESICE SURFACES.
Fireside surfaces should be inspected twice a year. The fireside of the boiler includes all refractories, tubes, tube sheets and the furnace. Look for signs of blisters or pcok marks. This is an indication that there is corrosion due to condensation of flue gasses.
3. INSPECT ALL BURNER REFRACTORY MATERIAL.
Repair any substantial cracks using a wash coat to seal small cracks. If there are any loose bricks, repair or replace them. Boiler refractors expand and contract with changes in temperatures. For this reason some cracking will happen.
4. INSPECT THE WATERSIDE SURFACES AND CONTROLS.
Scale and deposits may appear on any waterside surface and are most commonly located at the heat exchange surfaces with the highest skin temperatures. Deposits usually found in a water system are calcium scale and iron scale. (Scale prevents heat transfer inside the boiler and can greatly affect efficiency.) Also common is sludge which can be found on any waterside surface. It is most often found in the mud drum or at the base of a boiler, in the tube bundle or on the end bells of a chiller. Conduct a boiler bottom blowdown to clear sludge and sediment, control high water, and control chemical treatment concentrations (monthly or as needed).
5. INSPECT THE BURNER'S FLAME.
The burner is a very important component. It supplies the heat input by burning fossil fuel and is often adjustable for different fuel compositions, such as natural gas, light oil, diesel oil, LPG, or dual-fuel firing. Visually check the boiler’s flames. If there are inconsistencies in the flame patterns or color, there may be an underlying issue. Make sure everything is in order before proceeding. Failure to maintain the fuel system could result in excessive fuel costs, loss of heat transfer or even a boiler explosion.
6. INSPECT AND TEST ALL SAFETY CONTROLS.
Steam boilers use pressure control devices to ensure that the boiler does not build up too
much pressure that would make the operating conditions of the boiler unsafe. Any controls used to monitor the water level of the boiler should be checked after reinstalling onto the boiler. Inspect all the operating controls and look out for any signs that show of overheating. Also inspect the fuel train (this controls and the flame appearance may require the services of a trained technician for proper adjustments to assure a correct fuel-to-air ratio) and the emergency shut off switch. Recalibrate all operating controls.
7. INSPECT AND TEST ALL SYSTEM VALVES.
Check the boiler header valves, piping drains and vent valve. Inspect the vent to be sure it is not clogged and that the ventilation requirements for the boiler are met.
8. CLEAN THE CONDENSATE RECEIVER.
A condensate receiver is important because it captures the condensate emitted from the boiler and allows it to be reused. This improves the efficiency of your equipment and it also extends the life of your boiler. Over time, these can become clogged with sediment cause your boiler to stop working.
9. ANALYZE THE COMBUSTION.
Boilers and burners require a combustion analysis on a regular basis for proper operation. The combustion analyzer measures the air-to-fuel ratio of the burner and calculates the efficiency of the boiler. A combustion analysis should always be performed if you clean or replace the blower wheel, replace the blower motor, gas valve or gas pressure regulator.
10. TEST AND TREAT THE BOILER'S WATER.
Water treatment is needed before feedwater can be pumped into a boiler. A chemical treatment produces a reaction that consumes many of the scale-forming minerals. Water softeners are also used to remove calcium, iron and magnesium ions from the feedwater. Regulary test the boiler water and treat following the guidelines provided in the Installation and Operations Manual from the manufacturer.
11. MONITOR THE MAKE-UP WATER.
This is the water being added to the boiler and/or the boiler feed unit. The system operates via closed loop so an excessive amount of fresh (untreated, oxygenated) water added to the boiler is detrimental to the components. This can be a sign of a leak in the system.
12. MAINTAIN A BOILER LOG.
Keeping a record any problems and routine maintenance. It is crucial to catalogue inspection reports to allow you to determine if the current condition indicates equipment status is unchanged, improving or degrading.
Performing regular inspections of your system equipment is an important part of a successful preventative maintenance program. Visual inspections provide an indication of the overall health of your system and validate the results of your water treatment program.
Ohio Plumbing & Boiler is the company you can trust for your residential, industrial or commercial boiler repairs or replacement.
If you have a boiler leak repair, noisy pipes, or a boiler that refuses to heat, we can help. The experienced service technicians at Ohio Plumbing & Boiler can diagnose your boiler to determine the issues and will provide you with a detailed cost estimate before any work is performed on your equipment.