The Costs And Benefits Of Industrial Boiler Maintenance

Tuesday, August 15th, 2017
the benefits of industrial boiler maintenance with allen's tri-state mechanical

Industrial boilers require regular and correct maintenance. When done properly, this maintenance improves safety and reliability and can cut down on the use of energy and water. As utility costs continue to rise for commercial and institutional facilities, so do the benefits of preventative maintenance. To enjoy the results of an industrial boiler maintenance plan, managers should understand the associated costs and benefits.

Cost considerations

The first thing to understand is that industrial boiler maintenance programs come with a price. A manager must consider the benefits as well as the costs. There are multiple advantages to implementing this type of plan. Preventing failures decreases downtime for workers and decreases costs for replacement parts. An industrial boiler maintenance program can also help improve safety and system reliability for your boiler, and help predict maintenance cycles. Most importantly, a maintenance program increases savings from water and energy usage.

If the failure rate for system components increases, an industrial boiler maintenance program may cost less than corrective actions. However, corrective costs are difficult to determine due to their unknown nature. Such costs could include lawsuits over failure to maintain safety measures. Ultimately, to understand these costs, managers must understand industrial boiler systems and their potential maintenance issues.

System specifics

The two most common types of fuel-fired boilers are fire-tube and water-tube systems. In fire-tube boilers, hot gases circulate through tubes that are submerged in water. In contrast, water-tube boilers send hot gases flowing over tubes filled with water. Both systems are used to produce steam and yield similar power, but that is where the similarities generally end.

Each industrial boiler component can be susceptible to unique maintenance issues, so testing methods for them can vary. The U.S. Department of Energy describes maintenance issues, and how to avoid them, in their manual for Operations & Maintenance Best Practices for Boilers. In the manual, you can learn various maintenance techniques and several other recommendations for good boiler practice. The majority of these checks are done every one to four years by contracted professionals who specialize in industrial boiler maintenance.

Managers should be well versed in the various components of each industrial boiler and their specific maintenance requirements. Drums are the most expensive components of boilers, with the most common maintenance issue being corrosion. Headers are also susceptible to corrosion and erosion, as well as metal fatigue. Main steam piping often suffers the same damage. By far, the largest number of occurrences of forced downtime for boilers come from tubing failures, which can be susceptible to flow obstructions. Other components to consider when determining maintenance needs are de-aerators, air openings, feedwater piping, flue-gas vent systems, the pilot, and main burners.

System diagnostics

There are several diagnostic techniques a manager should implement that can extend the life of an industrial boiler and increase its efficiency. If the system is closed-loop, installing meters on makeup water lines helps monitor flow and detect leaks. Where possible, an automatic surface conductivity blowdown system can be installed to accurately control TDS and optimize energy recovery. Routine checks of the boiler’s chemical make-up and checking insulation on piping and storage tanks are also advised.

Industrial boilers should be turned regularly to optimize performance, which strongly correlates with reduced wear on components. Water tubes and fire tubes should be cleaned and inspected regularly to reduce scaling. It should also be routine to check all safety devices, including pressure controls, pressure switches, scanners, gauge glass, and primary and auxiliary low-water cutoffs.

Expert industrial boiler maintenance in the Tri-State area

If you are looking for the best local plumbing company to handle your boiler maintenance and repairs, contact the professionals at Allen’s Tri-State Mechanical, Inc. in Amarillo, Texas. We provide industrial, commercial, and residential services throughout the Texas Panhandle and Tri-State area. You can call us at (806) 376-8345 or Contact Us by email to learn more. You can also visit us in person at 404 S. Hayden St. in Amarillo to see how we can help you.