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Having Issues with Your System? Check These Common Boiler Issues First

Having Issues with Your System? Check These Common Boiler Issues First

While a boiler operates on a simple principle — turning water into steam — it’s far from a simple piece of equipment. Everything inside a boiler needs to work together in harmony to maintain safe, efficient operation. If everything isn’t working together, a boiler will start to lose efficiency, which translates to wasted money in fuel costs. Believe it or not, though, most boiler problems come down to two main issues.

Water Level

Water levels in a boiler can affect performance and efficiency like nothing else. In order to work at its best, a boiler must not only start with the right amount of water, it must also maintain that water level as it operates. If a boiler’s control system can’t accurately match the feedwater supply to steam production, the water level will get out of whack, and that’s when the problems start. If your boiler isn’t operating like it’s supposed to, start by checking the water level.

Too Little Too Much Too Late

Too much water coming in will make your boiler bite off more than it can chew.  In other words, all that extra water will absorb heat, effectively cooling the temperature inside the boiler. That means lower steam production, and it means the boiler will have to burn more fuel as it struggles to make steam. If your boiler isn’t producing like it used to, or if it’s burning more fuel than normal, you may be dealing with an abundance of H20.

Too little water in the boiler is just as bad, though. When the water level drops below where it’s supposed to be, it can cause the water tubes to become exposed. If that happens, the parts of the tubes sticking out of the water will have nowhere to transfer their heat, and they’ll start to overheat. That means extra stress on the metal in the tubes, which means cracks, warping, or even ruptures. If your boiler is leaking, if it smells bad or smells “hotter” than normal, or if it’s making strange noises, make sure your water level is high enough.

Think Pure Thoughts

Most of the time, water level problems are caused by the quality of the water itself. Without clean, properly softened water, a boiler’s entire waterside can start to lose capacity and performance, which will result in getting too much or too little water in the boiler tank. 

If boiler water is too hard, the minerals and impurities it contains (especially iron) can react with the metal inside the boiler and cause corrosion. This corrosion not only weakens the boiler itself, but corrosion can also build up enough to displace the water the boiler needs in order to function properly. 

Even if the water doesn’t have a lot of iron in it, it can still cause problems. Dissolved solids that aren’t removed by softening or proper filtration will settle on the surfaces inside the waterside. When enough of this scale builds up, it can rob the boiler of feedwater flow and water capacity. Scale can also act as a heat insulator, causing inefficiency in the boiler’s operation while also creating uneven heating across the waterside surface. It can also start to clog or impede the function of other parts of the boiler such as deaerators, sparge tubes, and the preheating system.

Not Firing on All Cylinders

While the waterside can experience a lot of common issues, the fireside’s no stranger to them, either. The second most common cause of boiler issues has to do with the ability to make a consistent amount of heat to keep the water-steam equation in balance.

If a boiler can’t make enough heat, it won’t be able to convert very much water to steam. A lack of heat often has to do with the quality and consistency of fireside maintenance. Regular cleanings help prevent soot buildup, which can choke off burners and cause uneven heating. Burners also require regular inspection and tuning to make sure they’re within spec.

Without regular attention, the fireside can start to experience flameouts. When a flameout happens, excess fuel can start to build up around the malfunctioning burner. When that fuel reaches a nearby burner that is working properly, it’ll suddenly all ignite. If your fireside is rumbling, make sure your burners are all up to snuff. Be sure to check your air dampers as well, because combustion problems can also be attributed to too much or too little air.

Another common issue in the fireside has to do with control linkages. As boiler controls do their job, they tend to move around. This movement creates friction, and friction creates wear. The more the control linkage components wear down, the more play will develop in them. While that play or slack may seem insignificant, it can create enough variation in the supply of air, water, or fuel to cause your boiler to perform poorly.

How it All Stacks Up

Interestingly enough, one of the biggest indicators of boiler issues can be found at the tail end of the combustion cycle: the stack. If a boiler’s stack is running hot, that’s an indicator that something somewhere isn’t right, whether you’ve got too little water, too much fuel, or something else is out of spec. So keep an eye on your stack, and if it’s running hot, start looking for other issues that could be the cause.

 

Authorized Use Provided by our Partners at WARE Inc. 

If you are experiencing issues with your boiler, don’t hesitate to reach out to Icon Boiler’s team of professionals. We are always available to inspect, diagnose, repair, or replace any components in your system. Contact us today to start the conversation. 

 

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Maximize Efficency with Rental Boilers

Maximize Efficency with Rental Boilers

You may think that since you already own a boiler, there is no need to rent one. However, there are three instances where a rental boiler becomes a crucial component or the most practical option for ensuring uninterrupted business operations.

Contingency Planning

Natural disasters, power outages, and mechanical failures can strike at any time, leaving businesses vulnerable and unprepared. These disruptions can cause significant losses in productivity and revenue, making it essential for facilities to have a contingency plan in place. A well-designed contingency plan should include measures to mitigate the impact of these events, such as backup power systems, alternative workspaces, and rental equipment.

When it comes to contingency planning for facilities, the boiler system is a critical consideration. The boiler is responsible for heating and hot water production, making it an essential component for businesses that rely on these utilities. In the event of a boiler failure, a rental boiler can be an effective solution to minimize downtime and maintain productivity. A reliable equipment partner can provide prompt delivery and installation of a rental boiler, ensuring that your business can continue to operate as usual.

Developing a comprehensive contingency plan is crucial for businesses to maintain productivity and minimize losses during unexpected disruptions. A tailored plan that takes into account the potential risks of your facility should include backup systems and strategies, such as rental equipment, to ensure swift recovery. As a vital component, a rental boiler should be a key consideration in your contingency plan, and partnering with a reliable equipment provider can help you mitigate the impact of unexpected boiler failures.

Emergency Response

During an emergency response, having access to a rental boiler can be crucial for ensuring that essential services and operations can continue running. A rental boiler can provide temporary heating and hot water to buildings and facilities that have been impacted by a natural disaster, equipment failure, or other emergency situations. Without a rental boiler, these buildings and facilities may be forced to shut down, which can disrupt critical services and operations.

In addition to providing temporary heating and hot water, a rental boiler can also help prevent further damage to buildings and equipment during an emergency response. For example, in cold weather conditions, pipes may freeze and burst if there is no heat provided to a building. A rental boiler can help prevent this by providing heat to the building and ensuring that the temperature stays above freezing. This can help prevent costly damage to the building and equipment, which can save organizations time and money in the long run.

Overall, having access to a rental boiler during an emergency response can be essential for ensuring that critical services and operations can continue running. Whether it’s providing temporary heating and hot water or preventing further damage to buildings and equipment, a rental boiler can be a valuable asset in any emergency situation. Organizations should consider including a rental boiler as part of their emergency response plan to ensure that they are prepared for any unexpected events.

Planned Maintenance

In industrial plants and facilities, planned maintenance and downtime are inevitable. However, this does not mean that operations have to come to a complete halt. One solution to keep the facility running during maintenance and downtime is the use of rental boilers. 

When a facility’s primary boiler is down for maintenance or repairs, it can take days or even weeks to get it back up and running. During this time, the facility may have to shut down operations, leading to lost revenue and productivity. Rental boilers can be quickly installed and used as a temporary solution, allowing the facility to continue operations while the primary boiler is being fixed.

They also provide a cost-effective solution for planned maintenance and downtime. Instead of investing in a new boiler unit or renting one for an extended period, facilities can rent a boiler for the exact time they need it. This way, they can avoid unnecessary expenses while still maintaining operations. Additionally, rental boilers are maintained and serviced by the rental company, so the facility does not have to worry about maintenance costs or downtime associated with servicing their own boiler unit.

If you would like assistance in making your rental boiler decision, Icon Boiler is here for you. Contact us today to start the conversation.

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Repair vs Replace: How to Determine Which is the Right Move?

Repair vs Replace: How to Determine Which is the Right Move?

Nothing lasts forever — even your boiler. But your facility depends on your commercial boiler and its reliable operation. Consider these important factors before deciding whether to repair or replace this essential part of your system.

Service Life

When it comes to commercial boiler repair vs replace, one important factor to consider is the service life of the boiler. A well-maintained commercial boiler can last up to 20 years, but as it ages, the cost of repairs and maintenance can increase. At some point, it may make more financial sense to replace the boiler rather than to continue repairing it.

However, it’s important to make this decision based on the actual service life of the boiler, not just its age. A boiler that has been well-maintained and has a good service record may still have several years of life left in it, whereas a poorly maintained boiler may need to be replaced much sooner.

Working with a knowledgeable and experienced commercial boiler service provider can help you make informed decisions about when to repair or replace your boiler, based on its actual service life and overall condition.

Frequent Issues

Commercial boilers are crucial in maintaining a comfortable and productive work environment. However, like all machines, they can experience frequent issues that require attention. 

One of the most common problems that commercial boilers face is a buildup of sediment and debris, which can lead to reduced efficiency and even complete breakdowns. In this case, it may be more cost-effective to replace the boiler rather than continuously repairing it. Another common issue is a faulty thermostat, resulting in inconsistent temperatures and increased energy bills. Depending on the severity of the problem, repair may be the better option in this case.

Be sure to look at your boiler’s operating history. Check to see if the same problem keeps happening, or if new problems are cropping up. Recurring issues may indicate a problem with the installation that a technician can correct. Frequent, unrelated issues indicate your boiler may no longer be reliable, and you may need to consider replacement. Ultimately, the decision to repair or replace a commercial boiler depends on the specific circumstances and needs of the business. 

Weighing the Costs

When it comes to commercial boiler maintenance, one of the biggest decisions business owners face is whether or not to replace their system. While a complete replacement may seem like the best option for long-term efficiency, it can be a costly investment upfront. On the other hand, repairing a boiler may provide a temporary fix, but it can add up over time and eventually lead to higher costs in the long run. The key to making the best decision is to weigh the costs and benefits of each option carefully. Ultimately, choosing the right option can help you save money and improve the overall efficiency of your commercial heating system.

If you would like assistance in making your repair vs. replacement decision, Icon Boiler is here for you. Contact us today to start the conversation.

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Icon Boiler Partners with GPM and Obtains Seven New Pump Lines

Icon Boiler Partners with GPM and Obtains Seven New Pump Lines

GPM: PROVIDING ACCESS TO EUROPEAN-MANUFACTURED PUMP LINES

Icon Boiler and Global Pump Marketing (GPM) have recently entered into a strategic partnership, providing Icon Boiler with access to seven of their pump lines. GPM is a group of experienced pump professionals who represent premier equipment manufacturers from Europe. They know the products, industries we serve, and distribution channels. This helps make the products available to North American customers in a quick and cost-effective way.

Almost all boiler rooms will contain at least one pump, if not more. These pumps are essential to moving feed water into the boiler but they can be also used in different applications. The addition of these pump lines to Icon Boilers strategic products allows us to provide a larger inventory of high-quality equipment to our current and potential customers.

GPM PUMP LINES

DP Pumps is a premier manufacturer of stainless steel multi-stage pumps for projects in the water and liquids management fields for over 65 years.

Caster Pumps has been a leading manufacturer of magnetically driven, sealless pumps for decades. Now going by the name Greenpumps, but still offering the same innovative selection of Caster pumps and parts. Greenpumps is the authorized replacement parts for all old Caster pumps.

Established in 1932, Garbarino has been the industry leader in Centrifugal & Positive Displacement Pumps for the marine and industrial market.

Victor Pumps is a leading producer of two types of pumps, Self-priming centrifugal pumps with open impeller for industrial wastewater called S-Pump and the Rotary internal gear pumps for viscous products called R-Pump.

PEMO manufactures a variety of slurry pumps in vertical, horizontal, submersible, and specialty configurations. 

Calpeda has been a family-owned company for over 50 years. Specializing in pumps for OEM’s, Calpeda manufactures over 450,000 pumps per year in a highly automated factory. 

Located in Höpfingen, Germany, this 80+ year old company specializes in Archimedean screw pumps for high flow, low head applications. Many are used in flood control or at the headworks of wastewater treatment plants. 

Icon Boiler Ranks as BFS Industries #2 Representative

Icon Boiler Ranks as BFS Industries #2 Representative

BFS INDUSTRIES: THE LEADER IN HIGH PERFORMANCE BOILER ROOM EQUIPMENT

Icon Boiler is proud to partner with a long list of industry leading professionals. This allows us to provide our mission-critical customers with the best equipment and systems in the marketplace. From our efforts in 2022, Icon Boiler has recently been recognized as BFS Industries #2 Sales Representative for sales in our territories in North and South Carolina.

BFS Industries, LLC manufactures a complete line of Boiler Room Auxiliary Equipment, such as Deaerators, Surge/transfer systems, and boiler feed and condensate systems. Icon Boiler has been a BFS Industries partner since 2020. Myron Burnett, General Manager for Icon Boiler, states “We are pleased with how Icon Boiler’s partnerships continue to strengthen every year. BFS Industries has always been a valued partner of ours, and we are happy to see our success in this year’s final sales numbers.”

Tom Garbarino, President of BFS Industries, commented; “BFS is proud to be represented by such a fine organization in our home state.  Although Icon Boiler has only been our representative for a short period of time, they have done an outstanding job learning the product line, generating sales leads, and closing a lot of business.  We value the relationships that we have with our representatives, many of which span 30, 40, and 50+ years.  Based on their early success, we expect Icon Boiler to be one of BFS’ top representatives for many years to come.”      

We are proud of our Icon Boiler Associates, both in the office and in the field, for making this achievement possible for not only BFS Industries but for surpassing 2022 quotas for other strategic partners as well. Looking forward to Icon Boiler’s continued success in 2023!

ABOUT US

Icon Boiler is the premier boiler equipment and service solutions provider in the Southeast. At Icon Boiler we sell, service, repair, and maintain boiler equipment for mission-critical customers throughout the Southeastern United States. Our customers know us to stand for responsive, reliable, efficient, and safety focused service and expertise. Icon Boiler operates in various areas throughout the Southeastern United States.

ABOUT BFS INDUSTRIES

BFS Industries was founded in 1946 by John Garbarino and remains a family-owned business today. Their journey has taken them from modest beginnings in a small fabrication shop in Brooklyn, NY, to expanded facilities on Long Island to a modern, state-of-the-art office and manufacturing plant in Butner, NC. BFS Industries has over 70 years of experience in the design and manufacture of all types of boiler room auxiliary equipment.

Icon Boiler Case Study: McCall Farms

Icon Boiler Case Study: McCall Farms

ABOUT US

Icon Boiler is the premier boiler equipment and service solutions provider in the Southeast. At Icon Boiler we sell, service, repair, and maintain boiler equipment for mission-critical customers throughout the Southeastern United States. Our customers know us to stand for responsive, reliable, efficient, and safety focused service and expertise. Icon Boiler operates in various areas throughout the Southeastern United States.

ABOUT OUR CUSTOMER

McCall Farms cans vegetables under several different brands, distributing in the Southeastern US and throughout the country. The vegetables come from McCall’s own farms and from a number of carefully selected farming partners throughout the region. Every vegetable at McCall’s Farms goes from harvest to can within 12 hours, and often less. Their industrial boilers are an integral part of production and ensuring those vegetables get canned while they are fresh.

CHALLENGES

McCall Farms powers part of their canning operations with boiler-generated steam. Their boiler system includes two Johnston 1,600 horsepower, two-pass boilers, one Johnston 1,500, four-pass horsepower boiler, and a Johnston 1,000 horsepower boiler. The boilers had reached a point, mostly because of age and out dated control systems, where they were down several times a week, severely impacting production. The expert team at Icon Boiler also pointed out to McCall Farms that upgrading the boiler controls would decrease fuel consumption and reduce emissions.

ACTION

Icon Boiler has a sales-and-service partnership with Autoflame, the British manufacturer of the MK8, a micro-modulating system. The MK8 controls water levels in the boiler and maximizes efficiency and safe operation. The Autoflame MK8 works with steam and water boilers, kilns, and steam generators. It features a 12.1-inch multi-touch screen interface. Icon Boiler technicians installed four of these systems on boilers at McCall Farms, complete with a data transfer interface (DTI) so that boiler personnel at McCall receive emails when there is a change in boiler activity. Icon Boiler technicians shut down one boiler at a time and mounted the MK8, including installing sensors, mounting servo motors on the fuel and air, and rewired the boilers for the new control system. 

The installation of the MK8 allows the boiler technicians at McCall Farms to:

  • Manage each boiler from individual 12.1-inch screens.

  • Monitor the boilers from a remote location in the office complex.

  • Minimize downtime for the boilers, thereby maintaining production at peak capacity.

  • Create error and lockout logs, a feature which aids in

    troubleshooting future problems.

RESULTS

Brandon Berry, McCall Farms’ Utility Manager, reports that since the installation of the MK8, McCall Farms has gone from multiple boiler failures each week to only a few minimal errors. Even better, the Autoflame MK8 provides them with information so that they can better determine the cause of the errors and correct them. Additional benefits of the MK8 installation include:

“The MK8 substantially increases the lifespan of the boilers,” added Jason Davis of Icon Boiler. “The operator has a lot more data to look at, better control of the water level, and a greater ability to troubleshoot. This upgraded system at McCall Farms means they will get a lot more life from their boilers.” Berry explains that McCall Farms employs a dual-fuel system utilizing natural gas as the primary fuel source and oil as a back-up. The Autoflame unit is an ideal answer to their boiler needs because the MK8 is designed to work with these dual systems. Berry added that McCall Farms is looking forward to upgrading the remaining boilers with Autoflame controls in the near future

Contact the experts at Icon Boiler to determine if a burner control upgrade is the right choice for your business.

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