Monitoring and Maintenance To Increase Boiler Efficiency
OTHER PARTS OF THIS ARTICLEPt. 1: Three Steps to Boiler Performance and EfficiencyPt. 2: This PagePt. 3: Smart Specification of Boilers and Water HeatersPt. 4: Boilers and Water Heaters: Spotlight on Safety
The latest generation of boilers and water heaters offer levels of efficiency and reliability that were unattainable in the past. If managers are to maximize these capabilities, they need to commit to a comprehensive program of maintenance. The set-and-forget practices of the past are no longer acceptable.
The manufacturers establish the maintenance requirements for boilers. Depending on the size of the boiler, these tasks might be required hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, semi-annually and annually. Failing to follow the schedule might save labor in the short run, but it will increase long-term operating and maintenance costs and shorten the boiler’s service life.
A new generation of monitoring systems is helping managers maintain the condition of their boilers. Not that long ago, operators and maintenance personnel could only monitor a few boiler parameters, such as temperature, pressure and maybe fault codes. Finding out more about the operation of the boiler required digging into the operation of the control system or taking different measurements. Sometimes, it required shutting down the boiler.
Today’s control systems give operators and maintenance personnel access to a range of operating parameters and histories directly or through the use of mobile devices. Unlike earlier generations, these controls are embedded in the boiler control system, allowing them to interface seamlessly with the boiler.
This new generation of boiler controls offers remote monitoring capabilities that allow operators to not only detect small changes in boiler performance but to adjust operations remotely. Critical alerts and alarms are sent to the operators allowing them to respond quickly, often without having to travel to the boiler site.
The systems also make it easier to track operational issues over time, helping maintenance personnel diagnose developing issues well before they affect the operation of the boiler. Reviewing the history of a boiler’s operation over time is critical when facing the inevitable repair-or-replace decision.