Combating Boiler Corrosion

When dealing with any kind of product that has metallic elements, corrosion at some point is a guarantee. This is particularly true when items have components that are made from iron or steel. Corrosion is created as parts are exposed to water and oxygen and can result in disintegrating pieces and malfunctioning equipment. It can become a problem when corrosion appears on a vital piece of equipment, such as a boiler. Corrosion can also be a significant challenge if left untreated, resulting in complete equipment failure. But if you know what to look for and what causes corrosion, then some preventative maintenance for your boiler and other equipment will extend their life and keep operations running smoothly.

What Causes Corrosion in Equipment?

While boilers are a common piece of equipment in industrial settings, not everyone is aware of the best preventative boiler maintenance techniques to keep corrosion to a minimum. Corrosion, which is the pitting action of dissolved oxygen in water, is a common issue for boilers of all types. Corrosion in boilers then creates deep holes in the metal that can leak water and create costly messes, and even cause parts to breakdown. Untreated feed water containing dissolved oxygen contaminants is often the cause of this corrosion.

All forms of corrosion are not created equal. There are several types of corrosion that can impact boilers, depending on their setting and use. Caustic corrosion, for example, occurs when a concentrated caustic substance dissolves the protective magnetite layer of a boiler. This is typically caused by steam blanketing or localized boiling operations. There’s also acidic corrosion, which results from the mishandling of chemicals during cleaning operations. No matter what kind of corrosion your boiler may be up against, it’s important to take necessary preventative steps when you first notice an issue to keep it from resulting in catastrophic failure.

The Costs of Corrosion

Boilers provide a critical function for many manufacturing and industrial processes. Because of their role in the heart of these operations, boiler corrosion can result in significant safety concerns. Corroded parts can leak water and other contaminants to create slip hazards. Mechanical breakdowns from corrosion can also create dangerous work environments for employees as well as increase the risks of environmental damage.

Beyond the physical costs of corrosion, there are also significant financial costs that can come from the occurrence of corrosion. Repair costs to boilers that fail as a result of corrosion are steep – ranging from $50,000 to well over $1 million depending on the size of a boiler and its functions. This price comes in addition to the expense of operational downtimes caused by boilers that have to be taken offline for repairs. Because corrosion failures are expected, the costs of these issues can sometimes be offset by business insurance. But even then rising rates and deductibles make a much stronger case of implementing a much more cost effective preventative boiler maintenance routine into your recurring operations.

How to Minimize Corrosion Build-up

Since most metals don’t occur naturally, corrosion on these processed elements is going to happen eventually. But with the right approach, the effects of corrosion can be minimized and the usability of boilers can be extended. Treating the feedwater that goes into your boiler is the most effective preventative method out there. Additives can ensure that any oxygen that makes its way to the boiler in the feedwater is rapidly absorbed before it has the opportunity to form corrosive cells and blisters. By partnering with a qualified treatment expert you can find the right combination of treatment chemicals to remove any impurities that result in boiler corrosion.

Minimizing corrosion is not something you can have a casual approach to, however. To maintain the target level of protective chemicals in your boiler water then you need to implement a strict, regular service program to ensure the boiler stays clean and free of scale and corrosion problems. A proactive approach to preventative boiler maintenance is your best bet to extend the life of boiler systems and will save huge amounts of money down the road. Other preventative measures, such as periodically checking connections for nicks or other damages that can allow in oxygen, are also useful tips to keep in mind while performing routine maintenance.

Taking Care of Corrosion After it Occurs

If you’ve already noticed signs of boiler corrosion, it’s not too late to help your boiler out. Before spending the money to scrap your boiler and replace it with a new system, try utilizing a variety of cleaning chemicals to minimize damaging corrosion. Various specialty water treatment chemicals are available including corrosion and scale inhibitors, alkalinity and dispersing agents, and condensate line protection. Consulting with a treatment expert for a thorough assessment can help you determine just how extensive corrosion is and the best treatment methods available.

It is also important to train your crew on proper preventative boiler maintenance and monitoring protocols. This includes taking regular water samples and testing them to confirm that chemical values are being properly maintained. Documenting and reporting any signs of corrosion are also critical so you can stay on top of things before they result in costly breakdowns.

Trust the Experts

Combating corrosion can be a major challenge for your operations to take on. Having a strategy in place and consulting with professionals is vital to your boiler’s longevity. Manley’s Boiler, Inc. offers monthly, quarterly, biannual, and annual maintenance contracts to its customers. We offer priority service as a perk to our contract customers and a discount on replacement parts recommended during routine contract maintenance. If you’re unsure of a long term contract, Manley’s can provide you with one-time maintenance of your boiler. Our stellar customer service ensures you’ll be satisfied with our work.

Minimizing boiler corrosion is a critical task that must be considered to maintain costs and avoid significant breakdowns. Visit Manley’s Boiler today, and contact us with any questions.