How to Maintain a Steam Boiler

Did you know a properly installed steam boiler still requires periodic maintenance? Some manufacturers suggest annual maintenance to extend the life of the boiler or reduce down time during heating season.

overheated boilerWhen you get to a pre-season maintenance call, first check out the boiler itself. Is it showing signs of premature failure? A few things to do:

  • Inspect the heat exchanger for signs of overheating, leaking, or flue gas condensation
  • Make sure to remove the burners and clean the tube of debris
  • Vacuum dirt and debris from the bottom of the boiler
  • Clean out the burners and then reinstall.

Next, you should look at the boiler’s low water cut off. Is it a probe style? If it is, remove it and inspect the probe for buildup, then clean and reinstall. If the boiler has a mechanical low water cut off, open the blow down on it to clean out sediment buildup and to verify proper operation.

Next, you should look at the makeup water device. If it is a newer style, like the Safe-Guard VXT-24, record the number of gallons of the screen. Excess makeup water into an existing steam boiler can cause new sediment buildup in the boiler, shortening the boiler life.