“It is critically important that your school’s boiler is properly maintained.”
It isn’t exactly news that schools have to accomplish a great deal with very little. Our schools are entrusted with teaching and nurturing the next generation in a safe environment. An important part of maintaining a safe and comfortable environment is keeping your boiler system properly maintained.
Schools which have older, less efficient boiler systems should consider replacing them with newer, more efficient (and environmentally friendly) models or retrofitting them to bring them closer to today’s standards. Not only does this help provide a better environment for your students and staff, but it can save your school district a considerable amount of money over the long haul. American Boiler Company has helped many New Jersey schools to maintain safe and efficient boilers.
Why should you, as a school administrator, concern yourself with your boiler’s performance? Besides the obvious cost savings, there are safety concerns. For example, in 1992, 49 New Jersey schoolchildren (grades 1-4) were diagnosed with exposure to MetHb. The cause was traced water which was heated by the school’s boiler system. The ultimate culprit was a faulty backflow check valve, something which could have been caught in a thorough inspection.
It is critically important that your school’s boiler is properly maintained. This includes the following routine checks and maintenance:
- Daily Maintenance: Every day, your maintenance team should blow down the gage glasses (for steam boilers), the make up feeder (for low pressure steam boilers), or the boiler itself (for steam boilers). Additionally, they should check the burner flame and the control linkage for abnormalities. They should also check the system for leaks on a daily basis.
- Weekly Maintenance: Every week, your maintenance team should check the lubrication oil levels on the compressors. They should also check the strength of the main and pilot flames. These readings should be recorded. Other items which should be checked (and recorded) include the timing and failure cutoff, burner operation, igniter operation, and chemical treatment tank levels.
- Monthly Maintenance: Every month, your maintenance team should check the air filters. These can be cleaned or replaced as needed. You should have the water treated and check the results (American Boiler Company handles this for our clients). Other monthly maintenance includes lubricating the bearings, testing fans, testing the interlocks, checking the shutoff valves to ensure that they don’t leak, testing the hot water cutoffs, and pressure testing.
- Semiannual Maintenance. Twice each year, your maintenance team should perform slow drain tests, check the combustion control, check strainers and atomizers (steam boilers only), recalibrate gauges and instrumentation, check the flame failure system, inspect all of the burner components, wiring, valves, piping, and interlocks.
- Annual Maintenance: Once per year, your maintenance team should conduct a turndown test of the pilot flame. They should check all diaphragms and coils. The firesides should be cleaned and the boiler should be drained. Hand holes and manholes should be opened. Burners and fans should be cleaned, gaskets replaced, and valves should be tested for leaks. The entire boiler system should be professionally inspected and adjustments should be made to the fuel burning system as needed.
In short, there’s a good deal of work that goes into maintaining a safe boiler system for your school. Your best bet is to have trusted professionals like American Boiler Company work with your maintenance team to ensure that you are in compliance with all laws and applicable maintenance schedules.