Your industrial boiler does not have a consistent workload throughout the year, and the demands you make on it change over the course of seasons. Different levels of output place multiple stresses on your boiler. For the most part, your equipment is designed to handle these stresses and fluctuations; however, there are actions you can take to ensure your boiler is always performing optimally during peak seasons.
In regions with cold winters, you will be relying on your boiler to heat your office or business facility for long periods of time, most likely during hours that are incredibly demanding on your system. To make sure you’re getting the most out of your system and that it is operating safely, Manley’s Boiler, Inc. is happy to offer some of our best tips. Read on to find how you can avoid common winter boiler problems and ensure optimal boiler performance during these peak periods.
The Many Benefits of Winterizing Your Business
It can be tempting to skip the process of winterizing your facility or to dismiss the need to make any adjustments to your space. However, when it comes to heating a large building over the course of an entire season, there are many easy, small, and inexpensive changes you can make. These small actions can amount to a large benefit in terms of how much you spend on heating and how effectively the heat generated by your boiler system is used.
In an unwinterized facility, there are many chances for heat to escape—through cracks under doors, uninsulated spaces, and heat loss within the boiler system itself. Preparing for the winter to avoid these boiler problems will help retain heat in your building and create a more comfortable work environment for your employees and customers. Winterizing has a number of benefits that include energy and cost savings.
If you’re worried about winter boiler problems, prep properly and you can expect to expend less fuel to enjoy the same amount of heat. Creating efficiencies in how your boiler functions can slash fuel usage dramatically, so never underestimate the benefits of taking the time to arrange precautions for peak boiler usage seasons.
Easy Steps for Winterizing Your Workplace
There are many small steps you can take to ensure that your boiler’s hard work isn’t wasted. Most of these changes are quick and easy. Once implemented, they’ll have a major impact on the dissemination of heat in your building, as well as a substantial effect on your heating bills.
- Wrap your pipes carefully.
Pipes can freeze and burst during the winter, so wrapping your pipes is a great way to prevent any problems your boiler may face this winter and keep heat in your system for longer periods of time. Wrapping indoor pipes with electrical tape or pipe sleeves can stop heat from escaping your boiler.
- Seal off windows.
Drafty windows are the one of the greatest contributors to heat loss in businesses everywhere. Make sure that you seal your windows with clear plastic or winter insulation film. This film won’t affect the appearance of your building, but it will certainly keep the heat inside.
- Prevent drafts.
Every winter, drafts affect buildings and warehouses, and contribute to major boiler problems. Draft stoppers and weather strips that are designed specifically for doorways and windows are widely available and inexpensive. They’re one of the easiest ways to stop cold air from entering your space through unprotected nooks and crannies.
- Keep vents clean.
Dirty vents that have a buildup of dust or sediment can prevent heat from reaching the various rooms throughout your building, causing your boiler to work harder. Clean your vents before the start of peak boiler usage season to make sure they’re clear enough to let air through efficiently.
- Update your insulation.
Fiberglass insulation is inexpensive and easy to install. Adding insulation to all the floors in your building—even the basement and around air conditioning units—works well when trying to keep the heat inside.
- Put your ceiling fans to work.
If you use ceiling fans during warmer months, it may seem odd to use them during the cooler ones as well. Since warm air rises, running your fans clockwise through the winter will help keep toasty air close to the ground.
- Use caulk for cracks.
If there are any crevices in your warehouse, office building, or plant that still let in air after you’ve put in window insulation and installed a draft blocker, use caulk to fill them in. Throughout the course of an entire season, every bit of warm air matters, so don’t let it slip through the cracks.
Prep for Winter and Forego Potential Boiler Problems
The more efficiently your boiler functions, the lower your fuel costs will be. Reducing the cost of running your business for an extending period of time can result in dramatic cost savings. While the insulation actions you can take to prevent winter boiler problems may seem insignificant, they can lead to major reductions in fuel usage over the winter months. In addition to making sure your building is well insulated, there are also several more steps you can take to ensure that your boiler is ready for the winter and operates efficiently.
Make Your Boiler Winter Ready
Keeping heat from escaping your building during the winter and preventing cool air from entering your boiler and causing problems is just one part of efficient boiler operation. You also need to make sure that your boiler is in the best possible shape before the cold sets in.
There are several issues that can affect a boiler’s performance. Such issues that can become exacerbated during winter months include leaks, trapped water, and refractory spalls.
Check for Leaks and Have Them Repaired
Leaks are a leading factor in boiler inefficiency—any time water is lost within the boiler system, that means that your boiler is converting water into heat that’s not reaching every room in your building. If you have a leak, this is a sign that your boiler needs to overperform and use more fuel to produce the same amount of heat you previously needed to keep your space warm.
Sometimes, you might stumble upon a leak if you notice water where it shouldn’t be. Most often, leaks are diagnosed by a boiler professional who is trained to examine your entire boiler system. Leaks also need to be repaired by a boiler expert, so don’t attempt to insulate or patch up any leaks on your own—you’ll likely be doing more harm than good this winter and cause more boiler problems.
Be Careful About Trapped Water
If you haven’t used your boiler since the end of last winter, there may be water trapped in your pipes. This water will be very cool since it has been sitting in inactive pipes for such a long time. When you turn on your heating system as temperatures drop at the end of the fall, the trapped water could flow back toward your boiler and shock your equipment, cracking it in certain areas.
Trapped water is also a common issue for facilities that operate zone heating. Consult with a boiler service technician who can help locate trapped water and assist in avoiding any shocks from that water flowing back to its source.
Maintain Your Boiler’s Refractory Materials
The refractory is any substance that lines your boiler’s combustion chamber and keeps heat within the combustion vessel. The refractory comes in several forms—most commonly Kaowool and tile—which are engineered to hold up to the extremely high heat and pressure that is produced during the combustion process.
Refractory materials generally last a long time, but over the lifetime of a boiler system, can crack or break down, resulting in heat loss. Just as you would take special steps during the winter to prevent other boiler problems with insulation, the refractory can be easily replaced by an expert.
Schedule a Professional Maintenance Visit
Even with these precautions, routine maintenance is the best way to ensure your boiler is performing as it should. A boiler expert will examine every aspect of your system and make recommendations for potential improvements, repairs, or controls that can enhance its operation. Safety is always the number one concern when it comes to boiler inspections, so don’t allow winter to cause a number of boiler problems. Get preventative inspection and maintenance on a regular basis.
Upgrading Your Boiler
Sometimes, the best way to make sure you’re ready for the winter months is to invest in a new boiler system. We understand that a new boiler is expensive, but in many cases, the losses of efficiency and fuel that come from firing an older unit will drain your wallet. It may be worthwhile to replace your boiler with a new system that is energy efficient and equipped for business through the long winter months.
There are a number of new models on the market that emphasize peak performance, while offering reduced emissions and low fuel usage. Boilers have become incredibly sophisticated and are engineered to be as environmentally friendly as possible. If you’re looking to reduce your carbon footprint, then eco-friendly boilers are an excellent option. At Manley’s Boiler, Inc., we can walk you through the finer points of various makes and models to help you make the best decision about leasing or purchasing boiler equipment.
Working with Manley’s Boiler
All of our technicians are extensively trained and prepared to handle any kind of boiler repair, day or night. Whether we offer tips on how to prevent winter boiler problems or we assist you with looking into industrial boiler rentals, Manley’s Boiler, Inc. is here to help. We’re proud to be a leading resource on boiler maintenance and repair, and we’re happy to share our knowledge to help customers.
Have questions or want to schedule an appointment? Get in touch with us online or over the phone.