Industrial boilers account for a large portion of monthly energy bills. By being attentive to boiler maintenance needs, operators can reduce costs, improve efficiency, and prolong the life of their equipment. Listed below are five signs that may indicate your boiler needs to be serviced.
Water Leaks – Boiler leaks are usually evident by an accumulation of water at its base. A leaking boiler will typically use more energy to maintain its temperature setpoint, resulting in higher fuel consumption and increased operating costs. Any evidence of a leak should be addressed immediately, as leaving this unattended can lead to progressive worsening of the situation, corrosion, and possible rupture of the boiler itself.
Unusual Noises – Any unusual noise during boiler operation should be inspected to ensure that an underlying issue is not present. Noises often occur in the form of whistling, clanging or rattling and could be due to:
• A build-up of iron in the boiler system
• An inefficient fan
• A blocked system from sediment build-up
• A broken heat pump
• A damaged heat exchanger
Abnormal Smells – Strong metallic or sulfur-like odors from a boiler can be an indication of a gas or fuel leak. This should be dealt with immediately to eliminate the possibility of a fire or explosion. Any leak could be accompanied by odorless carbon monoxide, which poses a serious risk to personnel health and safety. In such cases, gas meters capable of detecting oxygen levels and flammable atmospheres should be used to ensure that no risk exists.
Soot and Corrosion Stains – The visible presence of soot in the boiler room and/or rust stains on piping and flue vents could be a sign of a system leak. If left unattended, these issues can lead to a reduction in boiler efficiency, increased fuel usage, and damage to ancillary systems and equipment.
Degraded Performance – Close and regular inspection of boiler logs may indicate a decline in boiler performance. This is usually evident in the increasing amount of fuel consumed to produce the desired quantity of steam, and is a sure indication that boiler maintenance is required.