Steam Boilers are pivotal in manufacturing and process industries for heating and processing purposes. Although steam boilers are essential in industries, the maintenance of the boiler system is an important and challenging task for plant managers. One of the major steam boiler maintenance issues is boiler leakage. Boiler leakage should never be overlooked as it may lead to hazardous consequences such as corrosion of boiler components. Boiler leakages are found primarily during the winter season. It is because of the steam boiler operating overtime. As the temperature falls below zero, the water in the pipes and inside the steam boiler freezes into ice. Additionally, the condensate pipe removing the remaining steam and condensation from the steam boiler can freeze shut, hindering the steam boiler from functioning properly.
Detecting Boiler Leakages:
Determining boiler leakage helps in understanding the root cause of the leakages. It may be caused due to steam boiler pressure being too high or due to the pressure relief valve. Boiler leakages can be detected by
Causes of Boiler Leakages:
Let us learn some of the common causes of boiler leakages that can lead to the best course of action before causing any severe damage to the steam boiler system,
The pump is a vital component of the steam boiler that constantly runs and circulates water in the entire boiler system. Due to its continuous operation, the pump valve or seal can break easily as the rubber seals are hardened or destroyed by elements passing through the steam boiler system.
The repair depends on the extent of damage caused to the pump. One solution involves resealing the pump with a gasket kit, while another solution suggests entirely replacing the boiler pump.
The pipes circulate water throughout the steam boiler system. Therefore, the pipes leading in and out of the steam boilers are possibly the reason for the boiler leakages. It is mostly due to improper installation or the degradation of pipe connection caused by corrosion over time. Both the issue requires the replacement of the component and proper installation.
Pressure Relief Valves:
The pressure relief valve safeguards the steam boiler system from generating excess pressure. During extremely high pressure, the steam boiler releases steam and water. Such situations can result in significant damage, and therefore, it is important to detect and address faulty valves as soon as possible. Pressure relief valves are repaired by removing lime or debris or resealing the valve.
The rusting and corrosion in the boiler vessel deteriorate the boiler system and lead to water leakage. It is likely that the corrosion detected signifies an outdated steam boiler that needs immediate replacement. On the other hand, it is also possible that the corrosion is caused due to poor water quality.
A feedwater treatment system removes the harmful impurities, contributing to the build-up of scale in the steam boiler as well as the piping and fittings. Scaling in the steam boiler internals, safety equipment, and auxiliary piping indicates poorly treated feedwater.
Thermal fatigue is usually caused due to improperly regulating feedwater temperatures and quality, resulting in boiler leakages. It is essential to assess the feedwater and examine if the feedwater temperature is too low as it leads to thermal shock cracking the welds in an area where the hot boiler water is introduced to the low-temperature feedwater. One of the primary issues internally of the steam boiler is the reduction of heat transfer to the components.
As the boiler tubes and tube sheets are the mediums between the hot combustion gases and the boiler water, the scale build-up can significantly reduce the heat transfer rate. It is because the scale acts as an insulator instead of a conductor. The reduction of heat transfer rate leads to overheating of the boiler components, causing metal fatigue and failure. It is mainly found in cases of cracks, ruptures, or complete boiler failure. Overlooking these issues can eventually result in boiler failures.
Preventive Measures for Boiler Leakages:
Short-Term Preventive Measures:
In some of the causes of boiler leakages, a simple fix is enough to avoid the leakages. If the water is leaked due to issues in the pump and pipes, resealing or replacing the part is ideal prevention. It is an easy and immediate fix that helps the steam boiler operate as soon as possible.
Long-Term Preventive Measures:
In certain situations, it is essential to replace the entire steam boiler system if the boiler leakage is caused by rust or corrosion. It indicates that the boiler is outdated and may fail in operating despite any short-term repairs.
Regular maintenance is the best method to avoid issues like boiler leakages by determining the cause at the initial stage before it can cause any damage to the steam boiler.
Since our inception in 1983, Rakhoh Boilers have emerged as a leading boiler manufacturer in India and Overseas with 3000+ successful boiler installations in over 26 countries. Our product range includes efficient and reliable industrial steam boilers, waste heat recovery systems, thermic fluid heaters, and boiler accessories. We also provide excellent boiler services like energy audit, steam trap assessment, boiler automation, annual boiler maintenance, etc., to ensure the efficiency and productivity of steam boilers.
For more details, visit www.rakhoh.com