How to Extend Boiler Life

The average lifespan for a boiler ranges from twenty to twenty-five years, but it is possible to keep a boiler up and running efficiently for longer. As you might expect, the more effort you put into maintaining your boiler, the longer you can expect it to function. Here’s how to extend boiler life.

  1. Regular, Professional Maintenance  A commercial boiler should be inspected and maintained once a year by a certified professional. This inspection should include the motor, with replacements or parts repairs made as needed. The inspector should make a visual inspection of all heat exchange surfaces to look for corrosion, scale, damage, or debris.  Between professional maintenance, make a visual check of the boiler once a month to identify any potential problems. The fuel pump should be inspected once a quarter, and replaced at the first sign of malfunctioning.
  2. Initiate a Water Treatment Plan  The water in your boiler contains a wide range of contaminants that, left unchecked, can reduce the boiler’s lifespan and efficiency. Dissolved minerals, gasses, and particulates contribute to damage and corrosion. To combat this, many organizations now maintain a water treatment plan for their boilers.  Dissolved minerals within the boiler accumulate on heat-transfer surfaces, producing scale—a mineral build up that reduces heat transfer. A thin layer of scale is sufficient to reduce boiler efficiency by more than ten percent. Dissolved gasses may react and cause corrosion, while particulates can worsen either problem.  Proper water treatment uses chemical additives to combine with dissolved impurities, neutralizing them and keeping them suspended. Monitoring water quality is essential, as changes in the chemical balance of boiler feedwater dictate changes in your water treatment plan.
  3. Retrofitting  As boilers age, they lose ground to newer models with more efficient parts and technology. Retrofitting allows you to gain the benefits of advancements in boiler design without investing in a new model.  Retrofitting has numerous advantages. Older boilers can be brought up to the latest certification and approval codes. Safety and efficiency can be improved, and you can lower both energy costs and emissions. And, of course, you extend the life of your boiler. Potential locations for retrofitting include: 
    – Burners
    – Combustion controls
    – Emission controls
    – Flame safeguards
    – Fuel trains
    – Thermostats
  4. A Clean Environment  Your boiler combusts a combination of air and fuel. Keeping the area around your boiler as dust-free as possible provides your boiler with cleaner burning air. Maintaining an open area around the boiler also reduces the risk of fire.

Learn more about boilers by taking our two-day, instructor-led course about Boiler Operation, Maintenance and Safety. You can also watch our previous webinar about boilers here.


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