Few greenhouses have a comprehensive boiler maintenance program. This gap should be corrected as soon as possible. Here’s why.
Regular boiler maintenance improves reliability and safety in a greenhouse facility. Scheduling regular checkups also minimizes operating and energy costs, reduces CO₂ emissions and increases equipment life. Heat distribution may also be more uniform, resulting in lower thermostat settings.
The two main types of boilers are steam and hydronic (hot water). Despite the operating principles of each boiler being the same, a steam boiler requires significantly more maintenance.
Over the years, boilers have incorporated more automated functions. They still require human intervention however, to perform as efficiently as possible and to identify safety problems.
Consider using the following checklist for setting up regular boiler maintenance:
- Check steam pressure, steam flow and fuel consumption.
- Check stack and water temperatures. They can reveal faulty instruments or faulty equipment, as well as indicate mechanical and combustion problems.
- Inspect combustion air inlet for blockages.
- Look for water leaks around the boiler; and around steam, condensate or Flue Gas ducts.
- Check for any odours as an indicator of a fuel leak.
- Check the burner flame. Look for any difference from the norm.
- Watch for any error/service codes and give them to the service contractor.
- Listen for any unusual equipment vibrations or noises.
- Visually check for leaks in steam piping, valves, flue gas vent piping or any other components.
- Test low water cut-off. The low water cut-off ensures the boiler’s water levels do not fall below those recommended by the manufacturer.
- Check the relief valve discharge pipe and boiler relief valve for any signs of leakage.
- Combustion Tests will measure boiler efficiency at several firing rates. Any issues should be addressed immediately and not later.
- Inspect boiler tubes and heat transfer surfaces.
- Evaluate Boiler Sizing, Add Feedwater or Condensing Economizers
Our experience at 360 Energy is that regular boiler maintenance helps greenhouses avoid unnecessary energy costs and reduce their carbon footprint. We can help you make this your standard practice as well.