Wednesday, July 17, 2013

How Well Do You Treat Your Boiler?

I often interrogate dry cleaning and laundry operators about their boiler maintenance procedures, and I typically get interesting and troubling answers.  Here’s how it usually goes:
You have a blow down regimen – right?  Oh yeah, we blow it down at least once a week in the afternoon.
Do you treat your water?  Umm….no….it’s too expensive.
When’s the last time you cleaned your flues and burners?  I didn’t know you needed to do that.
So you get the idea.  Proper boiler maintenance is huge - it can save you LOTS of money and headaches.  How?  Water contains impurities that coat the water jacket or tubes in your boiler causing it to need more gas (higher utility bills) to boil the water in order to make steam.  Those impurities also coat the internal water and safety probes causing the pump to fail (think repair costs) and create problems like cutting off on low water safety because it can’t measure the water through continuity.  Properly maintaining your boiler, like blowing it down regularly, not only eliminates the problems I just mentioned but also the ones I haven’t even gotten to.
If you’ve been neglecting your boiler, here’s what I recommend:
1. Get a chemical company to analyze your water so you know what’s in it.  Using two companies is ideal so you can compare their findings and recommendations.
2. Based on the findings, you can then come up with an appropriate blow down regimen.  Follow it religiously.
3. Consult your owner’s manual for recommended flue and burner cleaning and follow it too!
So now your boiler is clean.  Your flues and burners are clean.  Your boiler is running efficiently, as it was designed to do, and the heat can penetrate the metal to get to the water without those impurities slowing the process, ultimately creating more steam at a LOWER utility cost.
Not only can you enjoy lower utility costs, you can also increase the life of your boiler.  We like Parker Boilers for their fast start ups, low cost of ownership, and ease of repair.  The average cost to install a boiler is anywhere from $2,800.00 to $4,000.00.  Add in freight in the rage of $700.00 to $3,000.00 depending on size. I haven’t even mentioned the cost of the equipment yet.  Taking all these things into account, doing things like treating your water doesn’t seem so expensive and properly blowing down doesn’t seem so taxing.