Steam Boiler Preventative Maintenance
Preventative maintenance (PM) is necessary for all industrial steam boilers if managers want to maximize uptime and minimize repair costs. In this guide, we’ll discuss how to have an effective PM program.
A PM program will cost your business money, so it’s important to understand how the benefits of maintenance stack up to the associated costs. The most obvious advantage of maintenance is preventing boiler failure, which can lead to hours or even days of expensive downtime in some cases. However, you should also consider:
- Increased safety and reliability
- Reduced replacement costs
- Better inventory management
- Predictable downtime for maintenance
- Reduced downtime during steam boiler annual inspection
- Increased energy efficiency
- Water savings
These advantages are significant, but many managers still wonder when the right time is to start a preventative maintenance schedule. PM programs are the most beneficial when system components develop higher failure rates, and when repairs start costing more than implementing the program. It’s also important to take into account the less obvious costs associated with component or system failure, like potential lawsuits and general loss of goodwill.
Here are some crucial reasons to implement a PM program:
Clean Your Boiler Periodically
Scale, soot and other forms of residue can cover the inside surface of a boiler’s tubes, thereby reducing heat transfer efficiency and increasing the chance of a breakdown. A coating of residue as little as 0.03 – 0.05 inches thick can reduce heat transfer by upwards of 10%. Cleaning of tubes, whether by mechanical (brush) or chemical means, should be done at least annually and will help to prevent this issue.
Reduce Boiler Blowdown
High concentrations of total dissolved solids (TDSs) in boiler units can cause matter to precipitate from the water and create scale. This build-up reduces efficiency and increases the likelihood of boiler failure. Regular and minor, boiler blowdowns involve draining water from the boiler and can prevent high TDS concentrations that allow solids to precipitate.
Monitor and Manage Water Quality
Water quality has a significant impact on boiler performance. In order to maintain water quality in a boiler, regular checks/testing of dissolved minerals, returned condensate, and the presence of a de-aerator are essential. Inspections should take place more frequently as the size and operating pressure of the boiler increases.
Insulation is important for any surface with a temperature frequently in excess of 130°F. Un-insulated steam and condensate piping, valves, or fittings on boiler systems can result in critical heat loss and reduced boiler efficiency. It is therefore necessary to inspect and repair insulation regularly.
Maintain Accurate Service/Maintenance Logs
The best way to ensure a boiler is performing efficiently is to maintain accurate service and maintenance logs. Recording water and flue gas temperatures, as well as pressure, on a daily basis provides the information needed to maintain optimal performance and diagnose problems as they arise during
the course of operation.
Boiler Solutions combines leading technical and operational expertise, single-source capabilities and proven processes. Our team helps our clients achieve superior operational safety, reliability, and cost efficiency. With our experienced and highly trained technicians, we meet our client’s operational challenges with confidence and trust.
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