If you own or take care of a building with a boiler, you undoubtedly want to keep it running great, no matter what time of year it is. When it comes time for a repair, you might end up spending more than you should if the crisis occurs after-hours or during a cold spell. Here are four simple tips to keeping your boiler in tip-top shape in order to avoid costly repairs. And they just might keep your boiler operating for up to 30 years or longer.
Keep a Daily Log
For most boiler malfunctions that require a repair, there is typically a progression of symptoms that manifest gradually, and they either get overlooked or they simply don't get noticed. One of the best ways to be alerted of an escalating problem that can be swiftly nipped in the bud is with the use of a daily log.
Every day, take note of the boiler's fuel consumption, flue gas temperatures, and water level. This provides you with a baseline to compare other readings to. Each week, you should go through the log and address any drastic changes you've observed in the numbers. For example, if your flue gas temperature has suddenly increased, it could signal that scale has accumulated in the system, thereby reducing the way the boiler transfers heat everywhere else.
Prevent Soot Accumulation
A buildup of soot in your boiler can be a serious issue, affecting how well it operates all the way to causing carbon monoxide poisoning if it's bad enough. Therefore, it's vital to make sure it doesn't accumulate in your boiler. And because soot comes from the burning of fossil fuels, if your boiler runs on oil or gas, you are susceptible to having an issue.
Too much soot can be caused by a number of things, such as a burner that's become clogged or dirty, inadequate air flow, or an air-to-fuel ratio that has dropped. One simple thing you can do every day (or if possible, at each shift change) is to perform a blowdown. This allows debris and impurities to clear out of the system. Cleanboiler.org has some really good instructions on how to do this safely.
Perform Chemical Treatments
Unless your boiler works oxygen-free—which it doesn't—expect some corrosion to occur. Corrosion can also come from water that's too acidic. Since obviously water and oxygen play an intimate part in how your boiler functions, it's a good idea to have it chemically treated regularly. This will neutralize the corrosive agents that are building up in the pipes.
How often you have it treated will depend on the type of boiler you have, how often or heavily it gets used, and the quality of the water. But on average, you should plan on doing it every couple of months. There are a number of companies who can provide you with boiler-water treatment chemicals, but it's a good idea to talk with a professional who can make a recommendation based on your type of boiler.
Perform an Annual Inspection
Even by performing all of the above for preventative maintenance, you can't always spot problems before they occur. In some locales such as New York City, an annual inspection is required by law. But even if it's not required in your state, you should have your boiler checked and cleaned once a year by a licensed professional.
The best time of year to have this done is right before the winter hits. This can help prevent you from being forced to make an emergency service call when the temperatures are bitter cold and employees or residents are counting on heat. During a cleaning, the system should be inspected for leaks. It should also be brushed out, vacuumed, the oil burner thoroughly examined for worn out parts, and the fuel efficiency checked.
Most boiler check-ups can be done in one visit and might take up to six hours or so. You can schedule a boiler repair by visiting http://www.customcomfortinc.com/. If you have daily logs and routine maintenance documented, this will make the inspection go that much easier.