Proper upkeep can prevent dangerous boiler operating conditions; however, the only way to be confident that a unit is functioning properly is to perform maintenance, testing and inspection. And of course, regular inspection of boilers is the law, which typically is controlled and governed by states, municipalities and cities. Boilers must be examined by certified inspectors according to a mandated schedule. The day-to-day maintenance and servicing of boilers is the responsibility of building engineers, plant- and facility-maintenance managers, or building managers.
Most boiler problems do not occur suddenly. Instead, they usually develop slowly over a long period of time - so slowly, in fact, that they often go unnoticed by maintenance personnel.
According to the National Board of Boiler and Vessel Inspectors, 81 percent of boiler incidents are caused by low water conditions, operator error or poor maintenance. All of which means they were preventable.
H2O, a blog from Morton Grove, Ill.-based ITT Residential & Commercial Water, notes several things to look for during boiler inspection besides regular wear and tear. Be on the lookout for:
- Age of the control, which can be determined by checking
the date code stamped onto each individual control.
- Records of the unit under inspection. Sometimes, a log of past
inspections and findings will be affixed to the boiler or attached in a packet.
The inspector should focus on frequency of and specific maintenance performed
on the unit.
- Signs of poor maintenance.
- Sediment buildup.
- Erratically functioning boiler controls.
- Overall boiler and boiler control performance and operation.