- Long life span
- Requires little to no pumping energy
- Are efficient up to 95 percent or more
- Are extremely effective in heating a building
Proper Care of Your Steam Boiler
One of the keys to successfully maintaining your boiler is to read the owner's manual for the equipment. In this process, make sure to pay attention to any specific instructions from the manufacturer about your unique boiler. If possible, keep a copy of the startup/inspection manual for your boiler on file, so you can always refer to it at a later date.
If you notice any problems or have any concerns, you should immediately report the problem to the service technician. In any case, the annual service should always and only be performed by an experienced service agency or qualified installed licensed to perform maintenance.
Control and Safety Devices
Low Water Fuel Cutoffs and Water Level Control
The air-to-fuel ratio of oxygen to fuel being burnt during combustion is important for optimizing the boiler’s efficiency. If too much air is used, too much heat may be expended; by contrast, if too little air is used, an incomplete fuel burning may occur, resulting in waste. Analyze this delicate ratio and make adjustments as necessary to optimize efficiency.
The Water Gauge Glass
Stack Temperature Gauge
Other Areas of Steam Boiler Maintenance
Maintain Boiler Logs
If the boiler’s firing rate continuously cycles over short periods of time and with fairly small variations in load – this should be noted.
A Daily Checklist
- Listen for unusual noises or vibrations that are not the norm
- Look for water leaks under and around the boiler
- Look for blockages in the combustion air opening
- Remove anything blocking the boiler such as boxes, equipment, and items that interfere with its function
- Check for ice, snow, or other debris that may block the vent termination
- Look at all gauge readings such as temperature and pressure to ensure they are at the proper levels
- Watch for error codes and if found, report them to a professional or refer to your owner's manual if possible
- Complete a visual inspection of the entire boiler
- Check for unstable water levels
- Maintain a proper temperature in the boiler room which should not be lower or higher than stated in the owner's manual
- Look at the steam pressure and see if it varies during different loads
- Visually inspect the burner
- Check all relief valves
- Check water level controls
- Check boiler operating characteristics
- Inspect for water/steam leaks
- Inspect boiler for air leaks
- Check water treatment procedures and blowdown
- Inspect all linkages on fuel valves and combustion air dampers
- Check flue gas temperatures and composition
Check pilot and burner assemblies
- Look for leaks or weeping on the boiler relief valve and the relief valve discharge pipe
- Look for blockage, deterioration, or leaks on the flue gas vent piping and combustion air piping.
- If your system is a condensing boiler, check out the drain system, drain line, drain trap, and PVC fittings for blockages
- The low water cutoff is important so that the water levels are not too low as recommended by the manufacturer so make sure to schedule to have it tested
- Look at the burner flame if you can and if it does not look right or different from the usual look, make sure to correct whatever is causing it.
- Check for leaks in the boiler hydronic piping
A few notes about the burner flame
- If you see a flame blowing past the thermocouple or a large flame lifting past it, this may mean it is over-fired.
- If you see a small flame where the inner cone is not engulfing the thermocouple, this may mean it is under-fired.
- A yellow flame tip may mean a lack of primary air.
- Test operating controls, test safety controls, and check control settings
- Inspect the heating system and repair any issues
- Make sure the air inlet and vent terminations are free from obstructions
- The boiler's heat exchanger should be inspected and cleaned
- Look at the venting system for things like blockage, corrosion, and deterioration
- Make sure the joint and pipe connections are secure
- Check the wiring and boiler connects to be sure they are intact
- Examine and clean the burner assembly, igniter, and sensors
- Check the water pH levels to ensure proper range
- Look at the condensation system, clean, and flush if it is necessary for the system