Your checklist: Heating boilers seasonal startup

With the fall heating season now upon us, it is time to go through the necessary steps needed before starting boilers after a lay-up period. While this list is not all-inclusive, it can serve as a guide for those responsible for boiler operation.

Before a boiler is placed in operation, boiler operators and other responsible personnel must check the entire system and carefully review operating procedures. Make sure that the boiler has a valid operating permit issued by BC Safety Authority.

Do you have your operating manuals?

All manufacturers of boilers and fuel burning systems supply operating manuals with their equipment. Unfortunately, many boiler rooms do not have manuals and operating instructions available. These manuals have either been lost or misplaced. Boiler operators and responsible supervisors must obtain these publications and see that they are read, understood, followed and available in the boiler room. Most of the manuals can now be downloaded from the internet by searching the boiler make and model.

Have you done your summer lay-up maintenance?

If you haven’t, you can still make time to accomplish necessary boiler and fuel burning system preventive maintenance. Here is a suggested checklist for such maintenance:

  • Drain and flush the boiler, open all handholes and manholes, clean and remove soot and scale from the firesides. Examine the boiler for damage and corrosion.
  • Have the boiler inspected by a licensed boiler contractor, as required.
  • Install new gaskets, replace all handhole and manhole covers, refill boiler and perform a hydrostatic test, if required.
  • Institute a suitable boiler water treatment program to reduce scale buildup and corrosion.
  • Have the fuel burning equipment cleaned and adjusted by a competent service technician. Verify operation of all operating and limit controls, interlocks and gauges.
  • Have the technician disassemble the low water cutoff and water feeding devices, and clean, recondition and reassemble them. Have the technician leak test all fuel safety shutoff valves.
  • Lubricate all mechanical equipment such as fans and pumps, verify motor rotation.
  • Check all boiler piping for leaks and missing insulation.
  • Make sure provisions are made for establishing and keeping a boiler log.

Perform these start-up checks

Immediately prior to boiler start-up, perform the following:

  • Check that all ventilation and combustion air openings and louvers are clean and free of debris.
  • Verify boiler water level.
  • Check that all stack dampers are open.
  • Examine the boiler furnace for foreign material.
  • Check the furnace and flue passes for fuel accumulation.
  • Make sure the manual fuel valves are open.

Normal start-up sequence

After completing the start-up checks, close the operating switch and commence the normal starting sequence. The following list suggests a typical starting sequence:

  1. Operating controls closed
  2. Interlocks (safety controls) closed
  3. Start fans and purge the boiler
  4. Purge requirements met
  5. Energize igniter
  6. Prove ignition flame within 10 seconds
  7. Energize main fuel valve(s)
  8. Establish and monitor main flame
  9. De-energize ignition, main flame proven
  10. Release firing rate (combustion) control to demand
  11. Normal operation

This starting sequence should be carefully observed to make sure that all steps are normal. Record all operating parameters in the boiler log book.

A normal shutdown should be initiated and after the post purge has been completed, check the furnace for flame cutoff and make sure there is no residual flame in the furnace. Have fuel safety shutoff valves repaired or replaced if required.

If you have any questions, contact your local Technical Safety BC boiler safety officer or call 1 866 566 7233 and we will have a boiler safety officer get in touch with you.

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