Keeping a steam boiler running at peak performance doesn’t happen by accident. There are multiple factors that need to be assessed and addressed in order to operate a steam system properly; whether it is in a manufacturing plant, co-gen, at a hospital or in an apartment building. A poorly maintained steam boiler system will cost more to operate in the long run and could ultimately fail altogether.
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So in our last post we expounded on the dangers of filling a steam boiler with cold water. Oxygen pitting and corrosion are the biggest common issues; however, if you are unlucky enough to add cold water to a boiler that is already running, you could have a much more serious problem on your hands. Basic high school physics teaches us that metal expands and contracts under extreme heating or cooling. Add to that scenario a high pressure steam vessel and cold water and BOOOM! It’s not common, but adding cold water to hot steam system could cause an explosion; it has happened and probably will happen again. (But not at your facility, because you read this post and you have taken the precautions necessary to avoid a catastrophe of that nature.)
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Should you be pre-treating your boiler feedwater by running your makeup water through a dealkalizer? If you are a facilities manager or an engineer with a good amount of boiler system experience, you may know the answer to this question already; otherwise, you may be thinking:
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