A Guide to Boiler Maintenance: Ensuring Safety & Longevity in Your Boiler

boiler technicianYou likely already know how important it is to rent or purchase a boiler that fits your company’s needs. Any kind of new equipment represents a big financial commitment, as well as your time and effort. You want to make sure that you get the most out of your equipment and that your boiler can serve your facility for many years to come. In order to protect your investment in that equipment, you need to make sure that you are actively maintaining your boiler in order to keep it working safely. Thorough boiler maintenance can make a huge difference in the longevity of your boiler and its efficiency, which ultimately can save you a lot of money and trouble down the road.boiler inspection & professional boiler maintenance

The Two Primary Forms of Industrial Boiler Care and Maintenance

Boiler maintenance comes in two major forms. First, there is the daily maintenance that you perform on your own every day. We don’t necessarily mean that you should be attempting to complete all inspections of your boiler or replace boiler parts on your own. However, there are many ways that you can encourage good boiler health and practice preventative boiler maintenance without being a certified boiler professional.

The second form of maintenance comes in the form of professional boiler service, which should’ve just be reserved for when you experience an issue or an emergency situation. Boiler longevity, efficiency, and safety can be promoted through annual maintenance with a trained industrial boiler service professional. This professional will be able to perform more in-depth tests and inspections in order to generate an idea of how your boiler is doing, as well as determine if any preventative repairs or replacements should be made.

Think of your boiler’s health the way you might approach your own health. There are certain tasks you perform every day, such as eating right and exercising, that help take care of your body, but every year you should be checking in with a doctor for a more extensive physical exam. You want to catch problems before they become big issues.boiler longevity

What You Can Do Every Day to Promote Boiler Longevity

As we’ve mentioned, daily, preventative boiler maintenance is one of the most important things you can do to make sure that your boiler lasts. So, what do you need to do on a regular basis to promote boiler longevity?

One of the easiest but most helpful commitments you can make is to keep a regular boiler log in which you measure and note the basic operating statistics for your equipment. This log will come in handy for your reference and compile a large amount of data about your boiler’s performance over time. This data can be particularly useful if you have more than one staff member in charge of operating your boiler. Likewise, if you tend to have a fair amount of turnover, your boiler log will help replacement employees understand the history of your equipment.

Weather can have a big impact on boiler operations and maintenance. If you are heading into a cold season, prepare to take a few extra steps whenever the thermometer drops. Check for leaks and trapped water, and make sure that your boiler controls are all in working order. If you have concerns about how your system will handle extreme cold, talk to a professional about other ways you can be proactive in protecting your boiler before the winter weather sets in.daily boiler log

What to Record in Your Daily Boiler Log

Your boiler log can be as detailed as you’d like it to be, but there are a few basic measurements that you should record every single day. If you have had a previous issue with your boiler, you may choose to record other statistics and measurements that help you keep track of that particular problem as well. Your boiler log will be of great use to you when determining what is normal for your boiler and what might suggest that there is an issue that needs to be resolved. Your boiler log should include the following:

  • flue gas temperature
  • water levels
  • gas pressure
  • feedwater pump operations
  • operating temperature
  • fuel consumption

These metrics will offer a great baseline. Any changes to these metrics, whether immediate or gradual, can help pinpoint potential concerns. The sooner you are able to address a problem with your boiler, the better the chances are of avoiding an emergency situation, extensive repairs, a shutdown, and unsafe conditions.

emergency boiler

How to Find the Right Boiler Maintenance Firm

Annual boiler maintenance is a must for any industrial facility, and selecting the right firm to conduct this maintenance is one of the best ways to make sure your equipment is getting the kind of attention it needs. Look for a company that specializes in industrial and commercial repair, and also offers essential maintenance services such as punching tubes, emissions testing, welding, combustion chamber relining, and parts installation and replacement. While you may not need any of these services right away, if you do experience a refractory issue or a burner malfunction somewhere down the line, you’ll be glad to have already established a relationship with a company who knows how to handle these sorts of issues. You’ll also want to look for a firm that has their National S stamp and their ASME R stamp, which signify that they are certified to make specific combustion vessel repairs.

If your facility is located in California, consider giving Manley’s Boiler a call to schedule an inspection. Our technicians are fully certified and experienced to conduct annual boiler maintenance, repairs, and replacements. We also offer 24/7 emergency service, as well as boiler sales and leases. We work with some of the biggest facilities in the California region and are passionate about providing dependable customer service.

gas boiler

What to Expect from Annual Boiler Maintenance

Your boiler technician will likely begin by checking the burner first, before moving on to examining your boiler’s flue passages for soot and moisture, and taking a look at the vent pipe for any residue that could indicate condensation. Flame sensing rods will also be examined to make sure that there are no cracks or damages in the ceramic holders. Next, your technician will look at the exterior of the boiler, the fans and the blowers, the block valves, and combustion air proving switches.

Another component of your annual boiler maintenance inspection will involve your boiler service professional testing and examining your boiler while it is at full operating temperature to get a better sense of its functionality and efficiency. Once the boiler is running at its usual operating temperature, your technician will take a look at the flue gases, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and oxygen levels.

If you are in California, these emissions are monitored through AQMD protocol—legal stipulations that put a ceiling on the allowable emissions levels for your facility. Other states have other restrictions, but your service technician should be well-versed in the laws and protocols that your company must comply with when it comes to these emissions levels. If your boiler service professional determines that there is an issue with your equipment, they will give you an estimate for the work and a timeline for repairs.

modern boiler

The Wrong Way to Approach Boiler Maintenance

When some people hear the term “boiler maintenance,” they think they are in for a huge financial drain and end up putting off annual service. They may make the mistake of thinking that “maintenance” is synonymous with “repairs,” and if their boilers do not show any signs of trouble, then they don’t need to do anything more. Both of these approaches are the wrong way to think about maintaining your boiler and can lead to some serious complications.

Daily boiler maintenance helps establish a baseline for understanding the key statistics that describe how your boiler operates. It allows you to distinguish normal boiler behavior from problematic or atypical behavior so you can spot problems quickly. Just about every experienced boiler service professional has responded to an emergency boiler situation that seemed to come out of nowhere, when in truth, it could have been identified through either daily observation and maintenance or an annual service inspection.

old boiler system

Consequences of Neglecting Boiler Maintenance

Avoiding or neglecting boiler maintenance can have very serious consequences. If you neglect boiler maintenance visits, you will have no way of knowing if you are in compliance with AQMD emissions restrictions. With more and more governments looking to clamp down on emissions and create greener industrial processes, the fines are getting more extensive for any infractions. Generally, if you are found in violation of boiler emissions laws, you’ll end up paying hefty fines or even facing a shutdown—all of which can be avoided through a single annual maintenance appointment.

In terms of longevity, if you neglect maintenance, you could be putting a great deal of stress on your equipment by firing your boiler while there is an issue. A compromised boiler is an inefficient boiler, so you will also be costing your company more in terms of fuel and operating costs to get the same amount of work from your boiler that you are used to.

Of course, one of the biggest boiler concerns is always safety. If you put off your daily or annual boiler maintenance, you could be sitting on a big issue that could threaten the safety of your facility if it continues to go ignored. Don’t let a small problem compound into a bigger, more costly, and more dangerous one by foregoing preventative maintenance. It will end up costing you more time, money, and worry in the long run.

boiler system repairman

Education: The Best Tool for Boiler Maintenance

Learning about your boiler and boiler safety is one of the best ways to uphold its performance. Make sure you educate all employees on boiler room safety, as well as best practices when it comes to operations.

If you install new controls, rent a new boiler, or purchase a different model, make sure that you and your staff are educated on the new equipment. Read manuals, blogs, and any other literature that can keep you updated on the latest developments in boiler service and care. When someone rents or purchases a piece of equipment from Manley’s Boiler, Inc., our team makes a point of training all staff members on new boiler equipment after we install it. Be sure to use your boiler service professionals as a resource to uphold boiler safety and promote boiler longevity. They’re sure to have plenty of advice when it comes to maintaining your particular make and model of boiler. Even if you are not based in the state of California, you can follow the Manley’s Boiler, Inc. blog for up-to-date and informative articles on industrial boiler care.

Proactive, preventative care is the best way to extend the life of your boiler and ensure that your boiler is working as hard as you are. Don’t take any risks that will jeopardize the safety of your facility. When it comes to professional service and educational boiler resources, the team at Manley’s Boiler, Inc. is always here to help.