Doing Seasonal Boiler Maintenance The Right Way

Thursday, March 12th, 2020
the benefits of industrial boiler maintenance with allen's tri-state mechanical

If you use a boiler, seasonal maintenance is necessary to keep it in good shape. This is especially important during the winter months. Your boiler will need to be inspected often, whether it is heating your home or business.

What are the benefits of seasonal boiler maintenance?

There a few main benefits of this type of maintenance that you should know. First, it will keep your system in good shape. This will help save money on energy costs. Second, you can prevent bigger breakdowns from happening. This saves you money and stops shut-downs too. Finally, you will be able to keep your staff and customers more comfortable.

How an operator can inspect their boiler system

Boiler maintenance and repairs are detailed and complicated, but there are some things you can do on your own. It is important to take these steps at least every day during winter, but helpful to do them in all seasons.

  1. Check all water lines for leaks
  2. Check around the entire boiler for standing water
  3. Make sure the low-water cutoff device is working
  4. Look at the fuel lines to check for leaks too
  5. Watch out for operational changes, including a reduction in heat and odd sounds

What to look for during layups

Seasonal boiler maintenance should be done in the winter, but also in the seasons where the equipment is in a layup. One of the biggest issues you can encounter during a boiler layup is stagnant water. This can happen in new equipment that isn’t being used, during unscheduled shutdowns, and even in low-use points. When your boiler is not running, the stagnant water can be a breeding ground for microbial growth, which can result in corrosion.

Many times, boiler operators do not maintain their equipment in off-seasons at all. When maintenance IS done, it focuses on only one aspect of the system. But, both the waterside and fireside of your boiler should have seasonal maintenance.

Waterside cleaning

This part of the boiler is where water is heated to high temperatures or turned into steam. The focus of cleaning and maintenance here is to prevent and remove scale from building up. As the water moves through the pipes, minerals build up into a crust known as scale. This can reduce the heat formed in the boiler and decrease efficiency.

It is recommended that the waterside of your boiler be drained and dried completely and all valves blanked. To clean the waterside of your boiler, you must use a chemical descaling system. This will dissolve any mineral deposits (scale) that have built up over the winter season.

Fireside cleaning

This part of your boiler can become clogged with soot over time. This happens during the combustion that occurs in the tubes. Just like scale buildup, soot buildup will reduce the heat transfer and efficiency of your boiler. Cleaning the fireside is difficult and messy, but it needs to be done.

A professional boiler technician should inspect the fireside of the boiler twice a year. This should include all refractories, tube sheets and tubes, and the furnace. Here are some steps you can take while inspecting the fireside of your boiler.

  1. Look for pockmarks and blistering. This could mean that there are flue gasses causing corrosion that will eat away at the furnace and tubes. If this happens to your boiler, you can raise the temperature of the water to 170F, avoid short-cycling, and ask about upgrading components of your equipment.
  2. Check the tubes for soot deposits, which are created during the combustion process.
  3. Look at the tube sheets for leaking tube ends.
  4. Ensure all gaskets and seals are in good shape.
  5. Be sure that the refractory is airtight and that any cracks are sealed.

What to do during a startup

If something goes wrong with a boiler layup, that means the startup could not go well too. The best way to have a successful startup is to do the following and let the professionals handle maintenance.

  1. Ensure all valves are in the startup position.
  2. Close the lower blowdown valves and then open the drum vent valves.
  3. Open the high and low water column shut-off valves, as well as the sight gauge, to make sure the safety controls are properly blown out.
  4. When you start water filling, make sure to use soft water.
  5. Inject water treatment chemicals manually.
  6. Once everything is set up and running, do a boiler water sample test to make sure everything is running smoothly.

Do you need seasonal boiler maintenance?

If you need maintenance for your boiler, whether during use or in an off-season, contact Allen’s Tri-state Mechanical in Amarillo, Texas. You can reach us at (806) 376-8345 or Send Us an email to learn more about what our Boiler Technicians can do for you.