Once your new boiler has been installed and inspected, you are ready to start it for the very first time. Proper start-up is important for getting the full service life from your boiler. Require those who will be running your boiler to be present during the initial start-up. While each boiler will differ somewhat in its start-up procedure, there are certain steps common to all boilers.
Before starting your new boiler, make sure there’s an adequate water supply. The water used for the initial filling must be clear, clean and at a temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit or above. Make sure all steam and water lines are ready for operation. Check that fuel supply lines are clean, tightly connected and free of leaks. Check that electrical power has been connected where needed and that the voltage is correct. Make sure hydrostatic testing has been completed and that the testing found no boiler defects. Check that there is clear access for maintaining the boiler, burners and controls. If this all checks out, you are ready for initial start-up.
The pressure vessel of a brand-new boiler likely will have oils, grease, protective coatings, mill scale and other foreign matter from the manufacturing process. These need to be boiled out before putting the boiler into service. The exact process for doing this will vary with the type and size of boiler, but the general process is to fill the boiler with a solution of water, soda ash, caustic soda and laundry detergent, heat the boiler slowly to just shy of the boiling point of water, hold the temperature there for a time and drain out the dirty water. Allow the boiler to cool, then flush the interior with clean water and drain.
You now are ready to fire up your boiler. Fill the boiler with room-temperature water to the level specified by the manufacturer. Verify water level in the manner specified by the manufacturer. Make sure fuel feeds are operating at the correct pressure and flow volume. Following the burner manufacturer’s directions, start the burner on low fire and allow the boiler gradually to warm up to the boiling point. This slow warm-up will allow temperatures in all parts of the boiler to equalize. Observe the boiler for water or steam leaks. Allow the boiler to gradually reach its working pressure. If all appears in order, you can gradually open the valves that connect your new boiler to your existing steam or hot water piping system and put your boiler into service.
During the first couple of weeks of online operation, monitor the boiler safety systems to ensure your boiler is operating properly. Critical safety systems include flame firing-rate controls, temperature and pressure high-limit shut-offs, and low water cutoff control. During this initial operating period, the fuel-air mixture to the boiler burners may need to be adjusted to achieve optimal efficiency. Have a trained technician perform this adjustment.
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