What to Look for Inside your Steam Boiler.

By: Thomas Yoon

A steam boiler is a pressure vessel with a difference. The vessel
is subjected to heat stress of expansion and contraction, internal
and external corrosion, as well as intense heating on some of its
surfaces.

If we are not careful, the steam pressure can rise up very high,
and it can become a potential bomb!

Because of this, steam boilers have to be built to certain regulatory
codes, with regards to materials used in their construction, their
design, and their installation.

For the operator of the steam boiler, it is essential that the
boiler be operated safely. Although many safety devices are fitted
in all the boilers, they are not fail-proof. Humans are still
needed to monitor the condition of the boiler all the time the
latter is operated, even if it is just to acknowledge an alarm
buzzer or flashing light in a control room.

One of the most important ingredients of a boiler is the water
inside it.

The use of untreated water will lead to scaling,
corrosion or foaming. All of these have some detrimental effect
on the boiler or steam systems.

So, always treat the water properly.

But however well you treat the water, you will never know the
condition inside the boiler until you actually see it.

Waterside boiler inspection is carried out for that purpose. If
you are the person who enters the boiler manhole to make the
inspection, make sure that all your pockets are empty, and that
nothing can fall off. This is a good reason for this. Any object
dropped into the waterside can interfere with the heat transfer
process, and can also cause premature failure due to vibration
and rubbing effects.

What would you look for?

The presence of scale, corrosion, and distortion. All these will
cause problems later on.

But before you enter the boiler, please make sure that there is
enough ventilation, enough oxygen for breathing, no presence of
remaining steam, no chance of accidental entry of steam, and so on....

Think safety!

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