Boiler Maintenance 101: An Introduction

Posted on: 19 September 2017

When you're dealing with a boiler system, you need to keep up with the routine maintenance plans to keep it running at its best. If you're not familiar with general boiler maintenance, that can make it challenging to manage. Before you find yourself facing a failing boiler system, it's in your best interest to familiarize yourself with what needs to be done, the signs of problems, and the situations when it's best to call in a professional. Here are some of the things you should know about your boiler system.

Prioritizing Efficiency

Especially when the boiler in the building is old, it's time to start thinking about upgrades to improve the system's efficiency. Most boilers will last up to fifteen years before needing replacement.

While the investment in the new boiler will be significant, the savings over time from the efficiency improvement will help offset that cost. When you're looking for that new boiler, though, make sure it is certified to be compliant with the ASME standards. If you aren't sure how old the boiler is, you can talk with a local boiler service technician at a company like Moorhead Machinery & Boiler Co. who can inspect it and help you determine both the age and condition of the system.

If your boiler isn't particularly old or you're not really ready to replace it, you don't have to. Just make sure to watch the gauges on the system regularly to ensure that the pressure in the system is staying within the designated limits of the boiler model, because those pressure levels are key to efficient operation.

Maintaining The Boiler

Maintaining the boiler system is the best way to ensure that you get the longest possible lifespan from your investment. You'll need to have it serviced once a year, including having the burners cleaned, the pressure system tested, the sensors inspected, the igniter measured and tested, any air removed from the system, and all of the pumps assessed. You'll also need to have every one of the safeties in the boiler system tested annually to be sure that they are functional.

Once or twice a year, you'll also want to have the pressure gauges calibrated. This ensures that you're getting accurate readings on the pressure inside the system. Depending on the model of the boiler, you may also need to have some of the components lubricated to keep them functional.

Understanding What Causes Failure

When you're not familiar enough with overall boiler operation, it can be confusing to determine what's actually going on when something doesn't respond properly. One of the most common causes of malfunctions with most boiler systems is corrosion. When there's any corrosion in the system, it can lead to inaccurate temperature readings and lock outs.

In addition, excess pressure in the system can lead to boiler failure. That excess pressure can cause damage to the seals, which will lead to leaks. You'll have to replace the seals and potentially the water pump, but make sure you address the source of the pressure problem, too. Otherwise, you may find yourself facing the same problem all over again.

As boilers age, physical damage can start to appear due to wear. For example, sometimes boiler units will crack from age. If those cracks start to spread or expand, you'll face water leaks. When your boiler starts showing signs of cracking, it's time to replace it.

Any time you see signs of water pooling around the base of the boiler unit, that's a sign that there's something wrong with the system. In those cases, it's in your best interest to call a boiler repair technician right away to ensure that the problem is addressed.

The more you know about boiler repair and maintenance, the easier it will be to keep your boiler system working at its best. Work with a local contractor to determine the best maintenance schedule for your system.