Get Your Commercial Boiler Ready for Use With This Maintenance Guideline
If you rely on your boiler to provide heating for your commercial space, it’s time to get the equipment ready for seasonal use with a thorough preventive maintenance inspection. Commercial boiler maintenance will improve the performance and efficiency of this equipment, helping you save money on your heating bills. Even more importantly, it will ensure this sometimes-volatile type of heating system will work safely and with less chance of injuries to personnel or explosions.
The Need for Commercial Boiler Maintenance
Commercial boilers are very reliable pieces of equipment. They have traditionally been so rugged and reliable that it is easy for building owners, maintenance departments, and others to skip maintenance operations for several seasons. The boiler may continue to work correctly for a few years, but a neglected boiler will eventually have performance issues. It will also become more and more likely that it will develop problems that could lead to hot-water or steam leaks, damage to the equipment, or in the worst cases, a catastrophic explosion that could level your facility and injure or kill anyone within range of the explosion’s effects.
How Often Should Commercial Boiler Maintenance be Performed?
In most cases, an annual round of commercial boiler maintenance should be sufficient to keep the equipment working efficiently, reliably, and safely. If you have a newer high-efficiency boiler, the need for maintenance could increase to every six months to keep the system working right and retaining its best level of efficiency. Consult with your local trusted HVAC professional for details about the best schedule of maintenance for your commercial boiler. Local or state codes may also mandate commercial boiler maintenance on a specific schedule.
What Should be Done During Commercial Boiler Maintenance?
Commercial boiler maintenance should be conducted by trained and qualified HVAC personnel with the knowledge, skills, and tools to perform the task properly. The risks associated with boilers are too great to rely on anything less than expert maintenance. Your technician may perform any, all, or more than the following tasks during the maintenance visit.
- Check the burner: Make sure the boiler’s burner is working correctly and producing heat like it should. Flames should burn consistently and evenly and there should be no conditions that impede performance.
- Check the combustion chamber: With the burner out of the way, the technician can also more easily reach the combustion chamber to clean it and check it. The coils in the chamber should be cleaned and inspected.
- Check vent and flue pipes: These pipes are critical for the removal of exhaust gases created by the burning of fuel. The vents and flues must be in good condition with no leaks, cracks, or other damage that could let gases escape into your building. If there is a white, powdery residue in the vents, there may be potentially damaging acidic condensation in the pipe. Stack temperatures can be adjusted to prevent condensation. Soot in the flue passages could indicate incomplete combustion or a too-rich fuel mixture.
- Check and change filters: Make sure the air filters are clean and fresh to provide the best level of filtration. Change or clean the filters, as appropriate.
- Test safety devices, valves, and interlocks: Thoroughly test safety controls, such as pressure-relief valves, low-water cutoff controls, burner controllers, and high temperature limit controls. These devices are designed to operate if operating conditions become dangerous and are critical to avoiding leaks or explosions.
- Test all system controls and operations: Make sure all the boiler’s controls work properly and that the entire system functions as required. Test flue gas composition and make needed adjustments. Adjust the fuel and oxygen mix for proper fuel burning.
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