Pressure vessels, such as industrial boilers, can be sensitive to a variety of scaling and heat loss issues if they are not properly maintained. Follow the five preventative maintenance tips below to ensure that your boiler remains safe, efficient, and reliable.
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.