A boiler safety checklist

Written by christie gross
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A boiler safety checklist
A boiler system is a critical component to a commerical building or facility supplying heat and hot water. (Boilers, ladders and pipes at a power plant, image by Andrei Merkulov from Fotolia.com)

A boiler supplies heat and hot water to a building. Although a boiler is manufactured to ensure safety and efficiency, routine maintenance is required to ensure it performs to specifications. One that is not properly maintained can malfunction and cause severe damage. A boiler safety checklist can identify potential problem areas, so they can be addressed to prevent an accident from occurring.

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Remove Deposits

Before putting a boiler in service after a period of low or inactivity, the systems should undergo a complete cleaning. All heating components, including the firebox, casings, ash pit and ducts should be cleaned to remove deposits, like dust and debris. Deposits that build-up in these areas can impact the system's performance, damage the boiler and even cause it explode.

Check for Flue Gas Leaks

Dust and soot found along sheet metal joints can indicate the flue is leaking gas. Check the boiler encasement for cracks, including the connection to the stack.

Ensure the Safety Valves Work Properly

The safety valve relieves pressure accumulated in the boiler to prevent it from exploding. For this reason, it's critical that the safety valve works properly. The valve should be tested once per month while the system is in service to ensure it's in good working order. According to the National Board of Boiler and Pressure Vessel Inspectors, the pressure of the safety valve must be equal to or less than the maximum permitted working pressure of the boiler.

Clean the Water Gauge

Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company inspectors contend that the chief cause of boiler failure is low water. Low water is usually first noticed as a leak that results in moisture or pool of water near the boiler. Clean the water level gauge glass, so you can effectively monitor the water level. Routinely inspect this gauge to guarantee it works optimally and replace it when needed. Inspect the boiler, valves and piping for a leak anytime water is found on the floor.

Insulate Water Lines

Insulate water lines in areas exposed to the elements. Insulating these lines not only protects the lines from freezing, but also guards against needless heat loss.

Lubricate Fans and Pumps

The boiler system relies on the operation of mechanical equipment to produce and transport heat and hot water. Lubricate fans and pumps at least once per year or more, if needed, to prevent them from breaking down.

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