Maintenance of a Steam Boiler
A steam boiler is an enclosed appliance that heats water so that it steams, creating energy. A steam boiler can be the size of hot water boiler, with the same purpose but a list of issues that can arise. Among the problems that can arise are expansion, contraction, corrosion and even explosion if the pressure gets too high. Regular maintenance of your steam boiler is essential to your safety and, in most places, the law.
It is important to check that the gauges on your steam boiler are reading levels correctly. One way to check the gauge is to measure the amount of water inside the boiler. Once you have an accurate measurement, check what the gauge says is in the tank. If it is not correct, you will have to have it calibrated. Check that the pressure gauge, once calibrated, is giving you a steam pressure level that is below the limit mark. If it is not below the limit mark, you should try using the relief valve. This will release a small amount of steam from your boiler. If you do this and the limit is still exceeded, you should contact a professional maintenance person immediately, as a high pressure can be very dangerous.
Part of regular steam boiler maintenance is to have it inspected by your local energy supplier as recommended. On a steam boiler, the average is to check it every 36 months, but some local governments require that you do it more often. A certified inspector must come out to your home and check general functionality of the boiler. It is recommended, although not required in most areas for inspections, that home owners remove all drain caps from pipes to ensure that they are free of debris and sludge. You will not be fined as part of an inspection if it is not done, but for the overall health of your boiler it is recommended.
To keep your steam boiler functioning year-round, there are a few general maintenance techniques you can perform. Make sure the room where your boiler is located is always clean and free from dust and dirt. These particles can get into the boiler and affect its performance. Make sure to descale your boiler regularly, and to add anti-corrosive chemicals to the boiler once a year. These can be obtained from your local hardware store. Make sure all the boiler venting is clear from obstruction and clean regularly. Also make sure the boiler room is well ventilated in case there ever is a leak. This is called combustion room, and will allow you more time to discover the leak before it becomes a real danger. It is also important that you keep a regular boiler log to record maintenance and issues with the device.