Facility Maintenance Decisions

Boilers and Water Heaters Require Regular Checkups

By Dave Lubach, Associate Editor   HVAC

OTHER PARTS OF THIS ARTICLEPt. 1: Boilers and Water Heaters: Post-Installation IssuesPt. 2: Boilers and Water Heaters Go Beyond Basic InformationPt. 3: This Page

Following manufacturers' recommendations with regard to annual maintenance, startup testing and shutdown is important for operators when trying to ensure long-term performance of boilers and water heaters.

Other important factors to consider are the quality of water flowing through the systems and the cleanliness of the area around the unit to prevent chemicals from seeping into supply water.

"Make sure water chemistry is proper for the boiler, so take water samples, and see if there is any need for an inhibitor," Kopf says. "Regardless of the type of boiler, the water should be treated to keep the pH level at the neutral level. With time, there are some leaks, or you need to add water, and you just keep adding clean water and changing water chemistry. On an annual basis, you should check the chemistry and add inhibitor when needed."

In addition to regularly inspecting areas such as the vent run and expansion tank for water heaters, managers should make sure boiler rooms and water heaters are clean and free of products, such as soap, salt and other chemicals.

"Those kinds of items tend to shorten the life of a water heater," Holliman says. "They're very corrosive and cause the water heaters to fail early. It's also important to keep the boiler room clean and free of contaminants, such as salt for the water softener, and paint. If you're going to keep it in there, it has to be in air-tight containers, not contaminating the combustion unit."

A combustion analysis is recommended every two years to ensure the unit keeps running at peak performance, Holliman says.

"A lot of times, we'll be happy to look at combustion reports," he says. "We can tell a lot by looking at the combustion analysis of the unit whether it has the proper amount of combustion air or the vent's blocked or something like that."

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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