Facility Maintenance Decisions

Boilers and Water Heaters: Post-Installation Issues





By Dave Lubach, Associate Editor   HVAC

OTHER PARTS OF THIS ARTICLEPt. 1: This PagePt. 2: Boilers and Water Heaters Go Beyond Basic InformationPt. 3: Boilers and Water Heaters Require Regular Checkups

When replacing boilers or water heaters in institutional and commercial facilities, maintenance and engineering managers must ensure the project meets a series of important goals, including reliability and life-cycle costs. The new equipment also must deliver increased sustainability in the form of energy efficiency.

But sustainability considerations do not end once installation is complete and the unit is up and running. Training and inspection considerations, testing and maintenance strategies, and the specification of diagnostic tools and technology to help technicians carry out proper maintenance are all important factors to consider to ensure boilers and water heaters operate at maximum efficiency and offer a significant return on investment.

The good news for managers specifying boilers and water heaters with sustainability and long-term performance in mind is that, thanks to improving technology, the overall performance of boilers and the ability to maintain them has never been better.

"The information that's provided by many of the new water heater and boiler controls makes maintaining and efficiently operating the equipment a whole lot easier," says Matt Schulz with A.O. Smith Corp.

Initial Considerations

Once boiler and water heater installation is complete, managers need to address three basic but necessary factors to ensure units to perform as designed, says Michael Gambill with Weil-McLain:

  • budgeting of funds for routine maintenance and system repairs
  • using software to maintain records of maintenance needs
  • deciding whether to perform maintenance in-house or outsource to a licensed contractor.

Manufacturers say that venting issues often lead to critical problems with startups of boilers and water heaters. For example, venting that runs too long or has improper terminations can shorten the service life of a boiler or water heater.

"Venting and gas-pressure problems are our primary problems for startups on boilers and water heaters," says Howard Holliman with A.O. Smith. "A lot of products are vented out the side wall or direct-vented, so going side wall, we're limited in distance. It seems like no matter how far we can vent, they always need to add just a few more feet to it.

"With gas pressure, facilities usually have an undersized gas piping, or regulators aren't properly sized for the equipment, and it causes hard starts and other issues."


Continue Reading: Energy Strategies

Boilers and Water Heaters: Post-Installation Issues

Boilers and Water Heaters Go Beyond Basic Information

Boilers and Water Heaters Require Regular Checkups



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  posted on 10/21/2013   Article Use Policy

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