Winter Commercial Boiler Maintenance for Your Building
Modern commercial boilers typically do not require an extensive amount of maintenance, but you can’t go completely hands-off when it comes to this potentially volatile source of heating. Before winter arrives and you find yourself relying on your boiler for everyday heat, take care of commercial boiler maintenance to ensure the system works effectively, safely, and efficiently.
Why Perform Commercial Boiler Maintenance?
Like any other mechanical system, boilers will tend to wear down over time. When this happens, the system will likely develop significant performance problems that prevent the equipment from producing enough heat for your indoor spaces. The equipment can sustain damage if its components are not working properly, up to and including catastrophic damage resulting in an explosion.
Who Should Conduct Commercial Boiler Maintenance?
If you understand the workings of a boiler, or if your maintenance or facilities staff has a similar understanding, you can usually perform commercial boiler maintenance in-house. However, in most cases, it would be preferable to leave this process to trained and licensed professionals who regularly work with boilers and are thoroughly familiar with their operation and the problems they can develop.
What Should Be Done during Commercial Boiler Maintenance?
A maintenance inspection and tune-up is intended to ensure your boiler works like it’s supposed to. The process will allow the inspector to find and correct small problems, adjust working components, and locate larger issues that need immediate attention or more extensive repair. A typical commercial boiler maintenance visit should be performed at least once a year, usually prior to heating season.
The maintenance appointment should include the following tasks:
- Check for cracks, holes, and other sources of water leaks: Give the boiler a careful visual check to see if there is any damage that could cause a water or steam leak. Take a look at the boiler and the area around it to see if there have been any water leaks. Any obvious leaks or damage should be repaired before the boiler is started for the season.
- Start the boiler to check for hard-to-find leaks: Fire up the boiler to see how it’s working. Check again for water leaks; under operating conditions, hidden water and steam leaks should become apparent. If you discover water or steam leaks at this point, shut the boiler down and have the leaks repaired. If there are no leaks, proceed with other parts of the inspection.
- Check the pressure gauge: When the boiler is at operating temperature, check the pressure gauge to make sure the internal pressure is at the proper level. Consult the owner’s manual or your plumbing professional for information on correct pressure levels. If the pressure level is too high, shut the boiler down and call for repair. Excess internal pressure can cause the boiler or tank to rupture or explode.
- Check the burner: Take a look at the burner and make sure it is working properly, producing even and consistent flames. If there are inconsistencies in the flame patterns, the burner could be clogged.
- Test safety devices such as valves and interlocks: The boiler will be equipped with a variety of safety devices that are designed to lower heat, reduce internal pressure, or otherwise reduce the possibility of damage, leaks, or explosions. Make sure these devices, such as pressure relief valves, are working properly. Faulty safety components could lead to serious problems with your boiler.
- Check exhaust pipes: Boilers that burn fossil fuels produce harmful exhaust gases as a byproduct of combustion. Make sure the exhaust pipes, vents, and flues are in good condition and are safely venting gases such as carbon monoxide to the outdoors.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about Plumbing, HVACR, Fire Protection, and Alarm Systems in Mechanical, Commercial, and Residential settings. For more information on the importance of commercial boiler maintenance, to schedule a maintenance appointment, or to view projects we’ve worked on, visit our website!