One of the most common issues faced in industrial steam boilers is that of leakage. Although the leakages can be easily fixed, they can cause severe damage to the steam boiler system, process plant, and operating personnel. Therefore, it is prudent to take the necessary actions immediately after detecting boiler leakages. Regular maintenance practices help in preventing any hazardous damage and ensure efficient operations. Yet, issues like leakage, corrosion, carryover, etc., are inevitable and require appropriate actions to be taken promptly. Leakage in steam boilers leads to tremendous expense to the processing unit, reduced efficiency, increased maintenance requirement, and in extreme cases, complete failure of the boiler system.
If you are facing leakage in the steam boiler system, contact Rakhoh Boilers immediately for quick solutions by our experienced engineers.
How to Identify Leakage in Steam Boiler?
There are a few ways that indicate leaking of water in steam boilers to help determine the repairing plan. The buildup of water at the base of the steam boiler is a common indicator. But, it may be challenging to detect in the initial stage. The rust in the jacket or insulation also indicates leakages in the steam boiler system. Lastly, the amount of water can be measured by using a water meter. An increase in water usage indicates the possibility of water leakage.
Causes of Leakage in Steam Boiler:
Once the leakage is detected, it is crucial to find the root cause of the leakage and take appropriate steps to prevent further damage. Some of the common causes of leakages in boiler systems are as follows,
The pump is vital equipment in a steam boiler to run and circulate water throughout the steam boiler system. The pump valve or seal can be broken as the rubber seals harden or break due to consistent workflow. Depending on the extent of damage to the pump, repairing can be performed by either resealing the pump with a gasket kit or replacing the boiler pump entirely.
Pipes are the medium in steam boilers that transports the water throughout the boiler system. Improper installation or damage of pipes due to corrosion can lead to water leakage. In either situation, it requires replacement and proper installation of pipe.
- Pressure Relief Valve:
The pressure relief valve safeguards the steam boiler from excess pressure. During high pressure, the valves release steam and water from the boiler system. Leakage in the steam boiler can significantly impact the functioning of the pressure relief valve and resultantly cause damage to the boiler. The repairs for the pressure valve include the removal of lime or debris and resealing the valve.
Corrosion and rust impact the steam boiler system, allowing water to flow freely. Corrosion is also an indication of an outdated boiler system that needs replacement. On the other hand, corrosion is also caused due to poor feedwater quality that fails to remove the impurities from water. It causes corrosion in tubes and pipes, consequently leading to leakage in the boiler system.
- Thermal Fatigue:
Thermal fatigue is caused by improper feedwater temperature and quality that result in leakage. It is essential to inspect the area where the boiler is supplied with feedwater. With low feedwater temperature, high thermal shock leads to cracks in welding. The internal steam boilers face severe damages such as reduction of heat transfer in the components. As scale builds up on the boiler tubes, it acts as an insulator that hinders the heat transfer rate. As a result, boilers are vulnerable to overheating, leading to thermal fatigue. If overlooked, it may cause boiler failure.
- Improper Boiler Water Treatment:
Operating the steam boiler with poor quality boiler water can cause premature corrosion and scaling on the tubes, leading to boiler failure and reducing its lifecycle. Proper boiler water treatment is crucial to maintain the steam boiler system and prevent an increase in downtime.
Fixing Leakage in Steam Boiler:
- Stop firing and open combustion chamber to detect leakage easily
- Inspect leakage by filling the boiler with water at full capacity. Perform pressure test if required
- Opening the smoke side drain valve leads to the discharge of water if the boiler tube leaks
- Shut off the water supply to prevent increasing the water level
- Drain the excess water by blowdown techniques to prevent loss by boiler leakages
- In severe cases, seek help from professional boiler manufacturers or technicians
Rakhoh Boilers, with their 38+ years of experience and expertise as leading boiler manufacturers, suggest immediate actions for leakages in a steam boiler. We have supplied 3000+ efficient steam boilers in over 26 countries worldwide. We manufacture a range of steam boilers, waste heat recovery systems, thermic fluid heaters, and boiler accessories. As a trusted name in thermal solutions, we provide the best boiler services like steam trap assessment, energy audit, annual boiler maintenance, boiler automation, etc.
Explore our products and services on www.rakhoh.com