Boilers can be dangerous if proper inspection and maintenance are not considered. Countless accidents involving boilers are reported each year. These accidents are usually because of breakdowns and unnecessary shutdowns. This is why boiler maintenance safety is so important.
Boiler accidents can also lead to loss of life and structural damage to equipment, plants, and facilities. Properly functioning safety devices are undeniably vital. An unexpected boiler breakdown can cost thousands in repairs and even more in business income losses and property damage. The cost of a breakdown or shutdown is much more when compared to the cost of inspection and maintenance.
Proper maintenance is therefore not only a safety issue but also an economic one. As a plant owner or manager, you don’t want to experience shutdowns or life threatening accidents. It’s imperative to teach your employees about the elements of boiler inspection, servicing, maintenance, and overall safety.
Every steam and water-heating boiler must have at least one safety valve, which plays a critical role in relieving the pressure generated within the system. It is important to keep in mind that a safety valve, just like other safety devices can malfunction because of different conditions, such as corrosion or restricted flow. Improper seating of the valve disk can lead to leaking which then results in corrosion.
Correct this condition immediately. The valve set pressure testing should be annual and the try-lever lifted once a month in order to ensure proper operation of the valve’s mechanism. If the conditions do not meet the standards, boiler shut down must occur right away and proper repairs or replacements done. Your employees should also understand that it’s not recommended to operate a boiler too close to the valve setting in order to avoid leaks and corrosion.
Operating and maintenance logs are imperative in the prevention of boiler accidents. The logs provide a record that shows the attention given to the equipment in terms of maintenance and testing. The logs play a critical role when it comes to the safety of the boiler since they detect significant changes that may otherwise go unnoticed in the operation of the boiler.
The operator of the boiler must be responsible for its operation and maintenance in order to ensure it is kept in good condition. A record of the maintenance and testing should be maintained on a regular basis. This will also make it easier to verify performed operations, who performed each operation, and when.
Loss of heat transfer, increased fuel costs or a furnace explosion are some of the consequences that can occur as a result of poor maintenance of a boiler, especially when it concerns the fuel system. The fuel system is made up of complex mechanical and electronic components and for the equipment to be safe and reliable, it must be properly maintained. If this is not considered, it can result in the ignition electrodes burning, the ignition transformers failing, fuel strainers clogging, as well as fuel valves and scanners becoming dirty and leaking. The buildup of unburned fuel in the furnace chamber increases the chances of a furnace explosion.
Your employees should ensure they understand the water level control and low water fuel cutoffs. This situation results in the boiler system cutting off its fuel whenever the water level falls below the predetermined amount. In order for the equipment to operate properly, the operators should make sure that the piping is kept open to prevent build-up of sludge or scale.
If the float chamber of the fuel cutoff is flushed out, that’s a clear indication that trouble may be developing in piping connections. A slow return, on the other hand, shows that the connection is being restricted. Flush out sludge and sediment regularly to avoid interference with the float and shut off level.
Many boiler accidents that occur are usually because of wrongly installed boilers, improper operation and lack of proper maintenance. Boilers are important in facilities that require burning of fuel in large quantities, handling of energy content steam in bulk, transmission of the steam through pipelines and use for various functions. However, all these processes pose a major threat to human and property safety due to the enormous destructive power if a leakage or explosion does occur. Due to such high-risk nature of boiler operation, safety-operating procedures should be observed.