According to the National Fire Protection Journal, failure of boiler safety protocol can result in explosions and catastrophic fires. These incidents cost the industry hundreds of millions of dollars each year.
Although these statistics are exponentially better than they were a century ago, there is still much room for improvement. The following information explains some of the most dangerous boiler safety scenarios and how you can avoid them.
Failure to Maintain Boiler Safety Valves & Boiler Safety Devices
All industrial and commercial boilers are equipped with a range of boiler safety devices to facilitate safe operation. Periodically, these boiler safety devices will require maintenance. In any case, it's especially important to pay attention to boiler safety valves and water level control.
Boiler Safety Valves
As the most important safety device in the system, boiler safety valves are used to relieve internal pressure if a series of failures occur in the system. While the boiler safety valve is relatively simple in it's operation, restricted flow or corrosion can affect its operation and result in hazardous outcomes. .
Water Level Control
Most systems combine the low-water cutoff and water-level control into a single unit. These boiler safety devices are designed to ensure the water level inside of the boiler doesn't fall below a safe, predetermined operating level. In the event this happens, these controls should automatically cut the boiler's fuel source off and shut down the boiler.
In order for the water level controls to function properly, the system should be inspected to ensure no scale or sludge exists on the interior of the system. These pollutants may hinder the operation and function of the water level controls.
Lack of Training
Far too many facilities assume training will happen on the job in an informal way. Most facilities consider training to be the knowledge passed from employee to employee in the break room or over coffee. While new equipment installations may necessitate a more formal training, once those with the formal training leave or retire, newer workers are left to operate on passed down information.
As a result, an alarming number of facilities do not have personnel properly trained in combustion equipment maintenance, shutdown procedures, equipment operations, or start-up procedures. However, it's imperative to ensure a group of employees or a designated employee is trained on key boiler functions.
One of the biggest defenses against accidents is preventative maintenance for your boiler. If your system isn't properly maintained, it can become less safe with every passing minute of operation. Dirt, dust, and debris will quickly accumulate in the burners and air fans, which has a direct impact on the air/fuel ratios and efficiency. Some of the most common issues associated with failure to have preventative maintenance that spell trouble and danger for your site are:
- Water level controls begin to accumulate sludge
- Pressure switch contacts and diagrams start to age
- Each time control valves cycle, they become sloppier
Each of these previously mentioned scenarios are all examples of maintenance or operational issues that could spell serious danger for your site. However, you can avoid all of these safety issues and extend the life of your equipment by having regularly scheduled preventative maintenance. There are even maintenance inspection tips you can do, regardless of your skill level.
Contact Applied Technologies of New York
At ATI of New York, we are the boiler and combustion related equipment experts. As the representatives for the leading boiler manufacturers in the world, we offer a full line up of cutting-edge equipment. Our sales engineers and factory trained technicians are available to provide guidance, so you can avoid boiler safety issues and get the most from your equipment.