Boiler Freeze Protection

| Edward McKellar

Wintertime has arrived and it is in full force in many parts of the nation. With temperatures plummeting in many regions across the United States it’s critical to ensure that everyone is mindful of freeze protection. The winter months can bring brutally cold temperatures throughout many parts of the country. Areas in the Northeast where many rental boilers are mobilized like New York, Philadelphia, New Jersey, and Washington DC can see freezing temperatures for many days. Head west to cities like Chicago, Indianapolis, Detroit, or Columbus, and icy conditions are business as usual. 

Regardless of where rental boilers need freeze protection to ensure they safely and properly operate. For obvious reasons, a boiler with frozen pipes will not produce the needed steam or hot water to meet load demands. A few precautions and careful attention to site and weather conditions can assure a temporary boiler is well protected against the winter elements.

Rental Boilers must be protected from freezing conditions during the months from October through April. 


  1. Awareness – This is the most important element of a proper freeze protection plan. Awareness involves knowing what the weather conditions are, understanding the site conditions, the installation and operations, and how all of these things correlate with one another. Personnel operating and responsible for rental boilers and accessory equipment need to be fully knowledgeable on the importance of freeze protecting the boiler.
  2. Insulation – Lines that are exposed to the elements must be wrapped in approved insulation. Jurisdictional requirements and regional climates could vary the needs of appropriate insulation needs, however, 3-4″ of approved insulating material covering all lengths of exposed piping are necessary. This measurement is a rule of thumb and installers should consult a local engineering firm based on the conditions of their area. Remember that the insulation needs to be covered with a protective layer as well and checked daily to ensure that it is in place.
  3. Heat Trace – Heat tracing is an excellent means to protect piping. This should be used in addition to insulation to ensure pipes do not freeze. Remember that fuel oil lines rely on proper viscosity for reliable combustion. Extremely cold temperatures can cause fuels to gel and lead to a host of other problems. Wrap those fuel oil lines with heat trace as well. Steam heat trace is very effective, however, should the boiler go offline, these small lines will condense near-instantly and could freeze. Use electric heat trace for continued reliability.
  4. Electric Heater – All Power Mechanical Rental Boilers, deaeratorswater softeners, and enclosed feed systems are equipped with one or more electric heaters. These high capacities heaters ensure that the interior of these units is well above freezing for continued operations. These units must be left on to ensure they respond to cooler temperatures inside the enclosed mobile boilers and related equipment. Check the heaters daily for functionality and inside temperature.
  5. Enclosure – Many of our rental boiler types are enclosed and help tremendously with freeze protection. Skid-Mounted or trailer-mounted units like the 75,000 lbs/hr watertube rental boiler or a 60,000 lb/hr Nebraska boiler are open to the elements. These rental boilers will need sheds erected around the burner ends to protect the controls and piping from the weather conditions. Contact your rental sales team for more information on building the proper shed or enclosure around your high-capacity rental boiler.

Trailer and Skid-Mounted Boilers are fully exposed and will need sheds built to protect critical lines. 

Remember, a frozen boiler will be going offline and will serve no purpose but a headache to the facility it’s servicing. Make sure and follow these guidelines to ensure safe and reliable freeze protection practices for your rental boiler. Contact your rental coordinator for all the necessary requirements to protect your rental boiler during your outage. 1-877-764-7832


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