Understanding Machine Maintenance For Manufacturing Facilities

Understanding Machine Maintenance For Manufacturing Facilities

2 Common Steam Boiler Problems

by Willie Horton

If you're a facilities manager, engineer, or technician responsible for steam generators (or boilers), you know that they present their own unique set of challenges.

This article outlines common problems with steam generators. Read on to learn more.

Scale Formation

One of the most common problems with steam boilers is scale formation. When water is heated, it naturally starts to break down into its component parts — including oxygen and minerals.

Oxygen helps form rust, while the minerals (calcium carbonate, magnesium carbonate, etc.) start to build up on the metal surfaces of the boiler.

This build-up, known as scale, can cause several problems, including:

  • Reduced heat transfer efficiency, leading to higher fuel costs.
  • Premature failure of boiler components.
  • Corrosion and pitting.

Scale formation is most commonly caused by:

  • Hard water: This is water that contains high levels of minerals, such as calcium and magnesium.
  • Poor water quality: This can be caused by several factors, including low pH, high alkalinity, or high total dissolved solids (TDS).

The best way to prevent scale formation is to treat the water going into the boiler with a water softener or de-alkalizer. These strategies will remove the minerals from the water, preventing them from building up on boiler surfaces.

If you already have scale in your boiler, make sure you remove it as soon as possible. You can use powerful chemicals to dissolve the scale, allowing it to be flushed out of the system.

Low Steam Pressure

If your steam boiler is operating at a lower-than-normal pressure, it could be due to different reasons such as:

  • A blockage in the feedwater line.
  • A leaking steam valve.
  • A problem with the condensate return line.
  • Air in the system.

The first step to troubleshooting low steam pressure is to check the water level in the boiler. Water is heated in the boiler to create steam. The boiler can't create enough steam if there isn't enough water. Make sure that the water level is at the proper level and that there are no leaks in the system.

If the water level is fine, you'll need to check for leaks around valves and in the steam lines. You may also inspect the condensate return line for any blockages or problems.

Consult a professional if you're still having problems with low steam pressure. They will be able to diagnose the problem and find a solution that works for your system. 

Contact a local professional for more info about steam generators


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Understanding Machine Maintenance For Manufacturing Facilities

Owning any kind of industrial manufacturing facility means working with a lot of equipment and machinery. When you're new to this kind of thing, you may be wondering about what kind of ongoing maintenance the equipment will need. If you're lucky, the prior owner has logs and records that will tell you what you need to do. If you're not, that's what we're here for. We're sharing information here to help business owners like yourself to take care of the equipment in your facility today. We will post new information regularly, so check back often for the latest tips and plans.