How to Not Destroy a Boiler Room

| Edward McKellar

Fall has arrived and the cooler temperatures are rolling in. Many systems have already undergone their annual maintenance (hopefully), and are running like a top. When boiler room maintenance routines are being planned and carried out, it’s a perfect moment to look at common reasons for boiler failures. There are many things that can cause a boiler’s efficiency to begin deteriorating and lead to system failures. Here’s a list of some of the more common reasons:

Lack of Water Treatment – Boilers depend on good clean water. Water contains a whole host of impurities that are dissolved within it. The mineral-rich water is often considered good for us, but it’s bad for boilers. Having a strategic water treatment plan in place is critical for steam systems.

Improper Blowdown – Personnel that is responsible for boiler room functions and maintenance should be well informed on both the proper procedure and frequencies for blowing down installed boilers. Accumulated solids within the vessel have to be removed with these blowdowns. Frequency can vary based on loads and other operating, or make-up water conditions. The previously mentioned water treatment plan will get you on the right track to getting these blowdowns performed.

Lack of Maintenance – Most failures of boiler or related equipment are a result of lack of maintenance. Boilers that get the proper maintenance are not only saving money, but they are safer and of course more reliable. The bottom line, create a maintenance plan if you don’t already have one!

Lack of Operator Training – You may be surprised just how many facilities hire operators and maintenance personnel who have very little to no experience with boilers. Boilers themselves are safe considering proper operation and maintenance procedures are followed. The best approach to having trained personnel within your facilities is through a formalized training program like Power Mechanical Inc Steam School. Click here for more information on upcoming dates and enrollment information.

Soot & Scale – Everything mentioned up until this point leads us to these two elements: Soot develops on the fireside of the boiler and scale develops on the waterside. The boiler itself does not produce soot or scale. These are indicators of problems that will only lead to bigger problems.

Low Water – Collectively, everything mentioned here can lead to a low-water situation. Boilers absolutely rely on a steady supply of water to safely function. Sophisticated controls and well-engineered systems ensure the boiler is getting the proper feed rate. Faulty level controls or accumulated solids can lead to a very dangerous situation for a boiler. Ensure the low water cutoff is being performance tested daily.

There are numerous reasons that boilers and steam systems can have service interruptions or failures. The list above covers several of the more common root causes that can lead to an offline boiler or an unsafe situation. The good news is that each and every one of these is totally preventable.

If your facility is looking to get on the right track with boiler room maintenance, efficiency audits, or comprehensive boiler training, give us a call to speak to one of our boiler specialists for your facility needs.




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