Three tips to maintain your boiler and increase efficiency
If boilers aren’t regularly maintained, they have the potential to cost you more money than is necessary, so it’s a good idea to go check yours out and see what kind of condition it’s in. You may need to invest a little more time and effort to get it running efficiently this time, but if you implement the following changes in your preventive maintenance plan your boiler will stick around for longer, and I promise your wallet will thank you!
- Properly treat the water: Treating the water in your boiler is one of the most important steps in a boiler maintenance plan. If the water goes untreated, it becomes filled with dissolved minerals, gasses, and particulates, which can result in boiler scale. This reduces a boiler’s efficiency by 10% or more and can lead to downtime or expensive repairs if not addressed. Dissolved gasses, which increase the boiler’s corrosiveness, can also affect the lifespan of your boiler. Untreated water can reduce your boiler’s efficiency by 10% or more!
- Perform Bi-Annual Inspections: Bi-annual inspections ensure your boiler is in good working condition and lets you know of any maintenance to perform. Boilers need consistent attention to ensure they are running as properly and efficiently as possible. It’s recommended that you inspect your boiler and perform preventive maintenance once to twice per year. One of the things you should be looking for during these bi-annual inspections is soot accumulation, as it will decrease your boiler’s operating efficiency by up to 20% if not addressed for a few years. You should also chemically clean the waterside of the boiler or mechanically clean the fireside regularly to. Soot accumulation can decrease your boiler’s efficiency by up to 20%!
Taking your inspection to the next level: In addition to making sure nothing has accumulated in your boiler, check that the three side item limits (operating limit, high limit, and burner firing control) are set correctly. For more information on these controls, boiler expert Todd Mace is here to help!
Understanding the high limit: • What is the high limit’s purpose? It is considered the ultimate safety and requires a manual reset if it is tripped. • What temperature should it be set at? The highest temperature the boiler/system can safely handle. Understanding the operating limit: • What is the operating limit’s purpose? The operating limit’s temperature setting turns the boiler off in order to keep the water at the correct temperature and prevent the tripping of the high limit. If this limit is reached it is generally an automatic reset with no input required by the maintenance team. • What temperature should it be set at? Below the high limit with enough margin to prevent a nuisance high limit trip from overshooting. Understanding the burner firing control: • What is the burner firing control’s purpose? It adjusts the firing rate of the boiler to the set temperature point. • What temperature should it be set at? Lower than the operating limit. Otherwise, the operating limit will shut the boiler off and the firing rate will be 100% when the boiler re-energizes. This would be equivalent to driving your car by keeping the accelerator floored and turning the key on and off to control your speed.
3. Track maintenance over time
Tracking maintenance can indicate underlying issues with your boiler that you may not have found otherwise. It’s a great idea to keep records of all the maintenance that has been performed on your boiler. If something is wrong with it you’re going to want to know if this problem has occurred before, and if so how it was fixed in the past. This enables your team to fix the problem as quickly and efficiently as possible and maintain safe operation. Even the brand new maintenance technician will have an idea of how the boiler is typically serviced and won’t need to call on backup when figuring out how to perform its maintenance. You should also be tracking the boiler’s performance over time. Look for trends, such as an increased number of maintenance tickets, which may. Optimizing your boiler can save you upwards of 20% on gas consumption!