top of page
  • Writer's pictureETS

Boiler Repair | Breathing New Life into Commercial and Industrial Facilities

Updated: Apr 18

Let's Talk Boilers and Boiler Repair

In the intricate tapestry of commercial and industrial operations, boiler systems stand out as a crucial thread.


an image of the engineered temperature solutions logo and hvac technician in a boiler room with text 'lets talk boilers - Boiler Repair | Breathing New Life into Commercial and Industrial Facilities'

These thermal powerhouses are the backbone of HVAC solutions, providing essential heat for a wide array of applications. From creating a comfortable climate in office spaces to powering heavy-duty industrial machinery, boiler systems are indispensable.


Their significance extends beyond mere functionality. Boiler systems directly impact key aspects such as productivity, energy efficiency, and workplace safety.


However, these systems are not invincible. They are subject to wear and tear, and their efficiency can degrade over time if not properly maintained.


In the upcoming segments, we will embark on a detailed exploration of boiler systems, their components, and the importance of regular maintenance and repair.


Whether you’re a facility manager, a maintenance professional, or simply curious about HVAC systems, this blog post is for you.




 

a list of common commercial and industrial boiler issues with a background image of a steam boiler and two boiler engineers

Commercial and Industrial Boiler Repair

Boilers, the heart of many commercial and industrial operations, can sometimes encounter issues that require professional repair.


Here are some common boiler issues and how they are addressed:


Leaking and Dripping

This could be due to a variety of reasons such as a broken internal component, high boiler pressure, or a corroded seal.


Strange Noises

Boilers can sometimes make unusual noises like whistling, gurgling, or banging. This could be due to air in the system, low water pressure, or boiler kettling.


Low Pressure

If your boiler pressure is too low, it may not function properly. This could be due to a water leak in the system or a faulty pressure relief valve.

No Heat or Hot Water

This is the most common boiler issue and can be caused by a variety of factors such as faulty thermostat, broken diaphragms and airlocks, or failure of motorized valves.


Frozen Condensate Pipe

This is a common issue during winter. The condensate pipe carries the condensation from the boiler to the drain. If it freezes, it can cause a blockage that causes the boiler to shut down. A professional can thaw the pipe and insulate it to prevent future freezing.


Boiler Keeps Switching Itself Off

This could be due to low water pressure, a problem with the thermostat, or a lack of water flow due to a closed valve, air or the pump not circulating the water in the system correctly.


Radiators Not Getting Hot

This could be due to air in the system, a problem with the pump (in case the boiler is producing hot water, but the radiators aren’t heating up), or an issue with the pipe work.


Professional repair services play a crucial role in maintaining the efficiency and safety of your boiler. They have the knowledge, experience, and tools to diagnose and fix boiler issues effectively and safely.


They can identify issues that may not be apparent to the untrained eye, perform repairs that ensure the longevity of the system, and provide advice on maintenance practices to prevent future issues.


 

a picture of a commercial boiler room with text 'boilers explained' , and logo of engineered temperature solutions

Understanding Commercial and Industrial Boilers

Boilers are integral components of many commercial and industrial operations, providing heat for various processes.


They come in a variety of types, each designed for specific applications and with unique features.


Boiler Functions

Boilers serve two primary functions:


  1. Hot Water Production: Boilers designed for hot water production are integral to both residential and commercial settings. They heat water for a variety of uses, including freeze protection, powering commercial dishwashers, providing radiant floor heating, fulfilling hot water needs, and ensuring comfort heating. These boilers maintain a consistent supply of hot water, making them essential for operations that require a steady heat source.

  2. Steam Production: Steam boilers play a crucial role in various industrial processes. They heat water to produce steam, which is then used for a variety of applications. These include powering turbines for electricity generation, providing heat for various industrial applications, and facilitating agricultural soil steaming. The steam produced by these boilers can be directed to various points of use, making them versatile and essential in many industries.


Boiler Types Based on Design

Boilers can be categorized based on their design and construction:


  1. Fire-tube Boilers: Fire-tube boilers are designed with a simple and effective mechanism. They pass hot gases from the heating source through tubes within a water-filled drum. The heat from the gases is transferred to the water, converting it into steam or hot water. Their simple design and ease of use make them a popular choice in industrial and commercial settings, where they are used to generate either hot water or steam.

  2. Horizontal Return Tubular (HRT) Boilers: HRT boilers are designed with a horizontal orientation. They feature self-contained fire tubes along with a separate combustion chamber. The design allows for efficient heat transfer and effective use of space, making them suitable for facilities with space constraints.

  3. Scotch, Scotch Marine, and Firebox Boilers: These boilers come with various features that enhance their performance and efficiency. Scotch boilers, for instance, are known for their robust design and high efficiency. Scotch Marine boilers are designed for marine applications, while Firebox boilers are known for their compact design and ease of use.


Specific Types of Boilers

  1. Condensing Boilers: These boilers excel in efficiency by converting water vapor condensation into heat. They recycle waste gas, use less fuel, and deliver 95% energy efficiency.

  2. Wall-mounted Gas Condensing Boilers: These are the go-to type for commercial buildings due to their ease of installation and suitability for small boiler houses.

  3. Watertube Boilers: These boilers utilize water tubes to transfer heat from the firebox to the water in the boiler. They cater to residential, commercial, and industrial applications.

  4. Firetube Boilers: These boilers are favored in industrial and commercial settings due to their straightforward design and user-friendly operation.

  5. Electric Boilers: These boilers harness electricity to generate steam, which is used for processing purposes in hospitals, laundry facilities, and food processing plants.

  6. Steam Boilers: These boilers employ fuel to heat water to steam.

  7. Vertical Boilers: These compact boilers are easy to install and are typically used for small applications like residential heating.

  8. Industrial Boilers: These boilers are larger than commercial boilers and are constructed with steel up to 35 mm thick. They cater to industries that require a large heating capacity.


Boiler Types Based on Combustion Technology

  1. Fluidized Bed: Fluidized bed boilers use a specific combustion technology where solid fuels are suspended on upward-blowing jets of air during the combustion process. This results in a fluid-like behavior of the fuel, hence the name “fluidized bed”. This technology allows for more efficient combustion of fuel, leading to higher efficiency and lower emissions.

  2. Stoker: Stoker boilers use a mechanical system to feed solid fuel into the boiler. The stoker feeds the fuel at a controlled rate, allowing for steady combustion and efficient heat transfer.

  3. Spreader: Spreader boilers distribute fuel over the bed, allowing for more efficient combustion. The spreader feeds the fuel into the boiler in such a way that it is spread out evenly over the combustion bed, leading to more complete and efficient combustion.

  4. Traveling-grantor Chain-grate: These boilers use a moving grate system to feed the fuel into the boiler. The grate moves the fuel into the boiler at a controlled rate, allowing for steady combustion and efficient heat transfer.

  5. Thermic Fluid Heaters: These boilers use a thermal fluid as the heat carrier instead of water or steam. The thermal fluid is heated and then circulated through the system to transfer heat to the desired points of use. This design allows for high temperatures at low pressures, making these boilers suitable for applications that require high-temperature heat.


Boiler Types Based on Heat Source

  1. Gas Boilers: Gas boilers use natural gas as the primary fuel source. Natural gas is a clean-burning fuel, making these boilers a more environmentally friendly choice.

  2. Oil Boilers: Oil boilers use oil as a fuel source. They are often used in areas where natural gas is not available. Oil boilers can be a cost-effective heating solution in such areas.

  3. Husk Fired Boilers: These boilers use rice husk or other similar types of biomasses as a fuel source. They are a sustainable and environmentally friendly option, as they utilize waste materials as fuel.

  4. Water Tube Boilers: Water tube boilers pass hot gases through tubes which are surrounded by water. The heat from the gases is transferred to the water, converting it into steam. These boilers are typically used in industrial applications where large amounts of steam are required.

  5. Electric Boilers: Electric boilers use electricity to heat water or produce steam. They are a clean and efficient option, especially in areas where electricity is readily available and affordable.

  6. High-Efficiency Boilers: High-efficiency boilers are designed to minimize energy waste. They achieve this by utilizing advanced technologies and designs to extract the maximum amount of heat from the fuel.

  7. Waste Heat Boilers: Waste heat boilers use waste heat from other processes to produce steam. They are a sustainable option, as they utilize waste heat that would otherwise be discarded.

  8. Biomass Boilers: Biomass boilers use organic materials like wood pellets or chips as a fuel source. They are a sustainable and environmentally friendly option, as they utilize renewable resources as fuel.


Each type of boiler has its own set of advantages and is suited to specific applications. Understanding these differences can help in selecting the right boiler for your needs.


 

image of manometers, pipes and faucet valves of gas heating or water circulation system in a boiler room with text 'specifications'

Commercial and Industrial Boilers | Key Specifications


When selecting an industrial boiler, several key specifications are crucial to consider:


Heat Output or Capacity

This is the amount of heat energy that the boiler can output over time. It’s typically measured in British Thermal Units per hour (Btu/hour). In some cases, this capacity is expressed in terms of boiler horsepower (BHP), where 1 BHP equals 33,472 Btu/hour.


The heat output or capacity of a boiler determines the scale of operations it can support. For instance, a boiler with a higher heat output would be suitable for larger facilities or those with more intensive heating needs.


Maximum Temperature

This refers to the highest temperature that the boiler system is designed to reach during its operation.


The maximum temperature of a boiler is a critical factor as it determines the kind of applications it can support. For instance, certain industrial processes might require higher temperatures than others.


Maximum Pressure

This is the highest pressure that the boiler system is designed to withstand during its operation. The maximum pressure of a boiler is a crucial specification as it can impact the safety and efficiency of the boiler operation.


Boilers designed to operate at higher pressures are typically more robust and can support a wider range of commercial and industrial applications.


Efficiency

Often referred to as thermal efficiency, this specification defines the percentage of heat generated by the boiler that is effectively used to heat the water in the system.


It’s calculated by subtracting the stack loss (waste heat) from the energy input and dividing the result by the energy input.


The efficiency of a boiler is a critical factor as it directly impacts the operational costs. Higher efficiency means less fuel consumption for the same amount of heat output, leading to cost savings.


These specifications are crucial in determining the suitability of a boiler for a specific application. They provide insights into the performance, operational costs, and potential applications of the boiler.


Therefore, understanding these specifications is essential for making an informed decision when selecting a boiler for commercial or industrial use.


Standards

Industrial boilers are governed by a variety of standards that regulate different aspects of boiler design and operation.


Standards and codes established by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) are in place to validate the design of the manufacturer and guarantee the correct construction of the boilers.


The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set emissions standards and codes under the Clean Air Act to control the permissible air pollution emitted by boilers. This includes emissions such as sulfur oxide, nitrogen oxide, and other pollutants.


These standards ensure that boilers operate within environmentally safe parameters.


 

Essential Features of Industrial Boilers


Industrial boilers may come with several features and accessories that are important for users to consider:


Deaerators

Deaerators are specialized vessels where boiler feedwater is heated under reduced pressure to remove dissolved air. This process is crucial because the presence of dissolved gases in the water, such as oxygen and carbon dioxide, can cause corrosion in the boiler and steam system. By removing these gases, deaerators protect the system from damage, extend its life, and improve its efficiency.


Packaged Boilers

Packaged boilers are pre-assembled units, delivered to a site as a complete package. These boilers require only the steam, electrical connections, fuel supply, and pipework to be operational. Packaged boilers are characterized by their high heat release rates, good thermal efficiencies, and compact footprints. Their pre-assembled nature makes them easy to install, reducing setup time and costs.


Safety Valves

Safety valves are a critical safety feature in any boiler system. These are spring-loaded valves that automatically open when the pressure in the boiler reaches a predetermined level. By allowing the excess pressure to escape, safety valves prevent excessive pressure buildup that could lead to boiler failure or explosion.


Superheaters

Superheaters are sets of tubes located in the exhaust gas duct after the boiler. They are used to superheat the steam, or heat it above its saturation temperature. Superheating the steam increases the thermal efficiency of the process as it allows more work to be done by a given quantity of steam, reducing the fuel consumption.


Water Treaters or Conditioners

Water treaters or conditioners are used to treat the feedwater used in the boiler. Treatment processes may include softening, deaeration, and chemical treatment. This treatment is necessary to control the levels of minerals, gases, and other impurities in the water that could lead to scaling or corrosion in the boiler and steam system.


Each of these features plays a crucial role in the operation, efficiency, and safety of industrial boilers. Understanding these features can help in the effective operation and maintenance of your boiler system.


 


Importance of Boiler Maintenance

The importance of regular maintenance for your commercial or industrial boiler cannot be overstated.


Here are the key reasons why boiler maintenance is crucial:


  1. Efficiency: Regular maintenance ensures that your boiler operates at its optimal efficiency. This means less energy consumption and lower operational costs.

  2. Safety: A well-maintained boiler is a safe boiler. Regular inspections can identify potential safety issues, such as leaks or blockages, allowing to address them promptly.

  3. Preventive Care: Regular maintenance helps catch minor issues before they escalate into major problems. This can save you from costly repairs and operational downtime.

  4. Longevity: Regular maintenance can extend the lifespan of your boiler, ensuring that you get the most out of your investment.

  5. Regulatory Compliance: Regular maintenance helps ensure that your boiler complies with safety regulations and standards, protecting you from potential legal issues.


Regular boiler maintenance is an investment that pays off in the form of lower energy costs, fewer breakdowns, and a safer working environment.


If you’re unsure about the state of your boiler, it’s always a good idea to consult with a professional. Stay tuned for our next section where we will provide a detailed boiler maintenance checklist.


 

Boiler Maintenance Checklists

Maintaining your commercial or industrial boiler is a task that requires regular attention and a systematic approach.


Here are a few comprehensive checklists to guide you through the process:


daily boiler maintenance checklist with image of commercial boiler in boiler room

Daily Boiler Maintenance Checklist


  1. Leak Inspection: Conduct a thorough inspection around and beneath your boiler equipment to detect any water leaks.

  2. Temperature and Pressure: Ensure that the temperature and pressure readings are within the safe operating range.

  3. Display Panel: Review the display panel for any error or service codes that might indicate potential issues.

  4. Vent Termination: Check for any obstructions or debris in the vent termination and surrounding area of the boiler.

  5. Combustion Air Opening: Inspect the combustion air opening to ensure it’s free from blockages.

  6. Unusual Noises: Listen carefully for any abnormal sounds or vibrations from the boiler system.

  7. Air Filters: Regularly check and clean the air filters to maintain optimal air quality.

  8. Chemical Feed Water Treatment: Maintain the boiler chemical feed water treatment to prevent scale formation and corrosion.

  9. Boiler Log: Keep a detailed record of all checks, maintenance, and any boiler repair in a boiler log.

  10. Oil Filters: Clean oil filters at least twice a week to ensure smooth operation.


monthly boiler maintenance checklist with image of relief valve and pressure gauge

Monthly Boiler Maintenance Checklist


  1. Combustion Air and Flue Gas Vent Piping: Conduct a thorough check for any signs of leakage, wear and tear, or blockage in these components.

  2. Relief Valve: Inspect the relief valve discharge pipe and the boiler relief valve for any signs of leakage or weeping.

  3. Condensate Drain Line (for condensing boilers): Check the condensate drain line, PVC fittings, drain system, and drain trap for any blockages.

  4. Manufacturer’s Recommendations: Refer to the manufacturer or owner’s manual to ensure adherence to recommended maintenance practices.

  5. Comments: Maintain a record of all observations, identified issues, and actions taken during the inspection.


annual boiler maintenance checklist with image of commercial boiler and hvac technician

Annual Boiler Maintenance Checklist


  1. Heat Exchanger: Clean and inspect the heat exchanger to ensure optimal heat transfer.

  2. Connections and Wiring: Check all boiler connections and wiring for any signs of damage or loose connections.

  3. Water pH Levels: Make sure water pH levels are within the proper range to prevent corrosion.

  4. Condensate System: Inspect the condensate system, and clean and flush the system as needed.

  5. Flame Sensors, Ignitor, and Burner Assembly: Examine and clean these components to ensure efficient combustion.

  6. Venting System: Check the venting system for any signs of deterioration, corrosion, or blockage and ensure all pipe and joint connections are secure.

  7. Vent Terminations and Air Inlet: Inspect these areas for any obstructions that could affect airflow.

  8. Control and Safety Settings: Check and test these settings to ensure the boiler operates safely and efficiently.

  9. Operating Controls: Calibrate all operating controls to ensure accurate operation.

  10. Low Water Cut-Off: Clean and rebuild the low water cut-off to prevent the boiler from operating in a low water condition.

  11. Fuel Oil Levels: Check fuel oil levels to ensure adequate fuel supply.


You can also find some great downloadable boiler maintenance checklist PDFs at the gofmx website.

 

Conclusion

Boilers are an integral part of commercial and industrial operations, and their maintenance should be a top priority.


However, like any mechanical system, they require regular maintenance to ensure optimal performance.


The importance of regular boiler maintenance cannot be overstated. It is the key to ensuring the efficiency, reliability, and safety of your boiler operations.


It not only ensures the efficient operation of your boiler but also extends its lifespan and prevents costly breakdowns.


Remember, a well-maintained boiler is a well-functioning boiler.


banner with ETS logo and HVAC technician graphic, with text 'Let the professionals at ETS assist you with all of your commercial and industrial HVAC needs'

Click banner to contact ETS and request FREE quote!

 

If you enjoyed this article, stick around and check out others like it on the ETS blog page.



Commentaires


Les commentaires ont été désactivés.
bottom of page