Boilers play a critical role in many commercial and industrial settings, providing the heat and power necessary for a variety of operations.
Boilers work in the background, and are designed to be quiet and efficient, so it’s easy to forget about them. But a single fault with your boiler can quickly become a major issue – not only in terms of the costs, but also your employees’ safety.
Staying on top of your boiler inspection is very important, if you want to avoid any of the risks that come with neglecting it.
Increased Risk of Boiler Malfunction
Regular boiler inspections are essential to identify and repair any issues that could lead to boiler malfunction.
Boilers are complex machines with many different components that work together to produce heat and power. Over time, parts can wear down or become damaged, and without regular inspections, problems like leaking pipes, pressure valve failure, and overheating can go undetected. This can lead to unexpected equipment failure, which can be costly to repair.
An obvious risk of neglecting your boiler inspection is the safety risks it carries. There could be multiple ways this happens.
Fires & Explosions
Poor maintenance of boilers can lead to dangerous gas leaks, ignition of combustible materials like carbon buildup, and potential explosion or fire hazards. These risks are especially high in facilities that handle flammable materials.
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that can bond with red blood cells and cause serious health problems and can even be fatal. Neglecting boiler inspections can result in carbon monoxide leaks, which can pose a significant health risk to employees and other occupants of the building, particularly because it’s so undetectable.
Slips & Falls
A poorly maintained boiler can have leakages or malfunctions, which may result in water pooling on the ground. This can create a slippery surface that can be hazardous to walk on. This risk can be particularly concerning if the boiler is located in an area with high foot traffic, such as a commercial or industrial space.
Burns & Scalds
Neglecting your boiler can increase the risk of burns and scalds from hot water or steam. This can occur if the boiler is not properly maintained and malfunctions, causing the temperature of the water or steam to become too high. Additionally, if the boiler is located in a common area or workspace, individuals may be at risk of accidental contact with hot surfaces or water leaks
A malfunctioning boiler can lead to property damage, such as flooding, corrosion, and damage to surrounding equipment. Property damage can result in costly repairs and downtime, impacting business operations.
If a boiler fails unexpectedly, it can lead to equipment downtime. The time it takes to repair and restart the boiler is time that could have been spent on generating the power needed for business operations.
This results in high opportunity costs, and sometimes even a long backlog of work that can be difficult to catch up on. If there are schedules to stay on top of, equipment downtime can be quite a pain.
Without regular inspections, the likelihood of the equipment failing becomes higher, since any problems that could result in failure go undetected.
Increased Energy Costs
Boilers that are not properly maintained or inspected can lose efficiency over time, leading to higher energy bills.
On top of that, sometimes the controls are improperly calibrated and without inspections, this may go unnoticed. This improper calibration can lead to inefficient operations. For example, a boiler with a malfunctioning temperature sensor may not accurately control the temperature, resulting in higher energy consumption and wasted fuel.
Leakages in the boiler can also result in wasted heat, since the boiler has to work harder to maintain the desired temperature, thus using up more energy.
Non-Compliance with Safety Regulations
Boilers are subject to strict safety regulations and codes to make sure everyone in the building remains safe. Neglecting inspections and maintenance can lead to legal and financial consequences. From fines to regulatory sanctions, and – in a worst case scenario – even criminal charges.
Any accidents that are caused by boilers that were being operated without following safety regulations can even lead to lawsuits and compensation fines.
To comply with safety regulations, regular boiler inspections are required for all businesses.
Decreased Lifespan of Equipment
When the boiler isn’t maintained properly or inspected for damages, the problems start to build up and cause severe damage over time. Not all of these problems are necessarily noticeable at a cursory glance, and without a proper inspection, can go undetected.
This causes the lifespan of the equipment to go down, and you’d have to deal with costly repairs and replacements. Boilers that are well-maintained usually have a lifespan of about 15-30 years, but a poorly maintained one will likely fail you a lot faster.
From a business perspective, boiler damage can cause a lot of damage to your reputation. For one thing, the safety risk causes a loss in your customers’ trust and confidence. Neglecting your equipment may also suggest that the product or service you are delivering to your customers is not up to par, which may further cause customers to take their business elsewhere.
Reduced Water Quality
When water is heated in the boiler, minerals and impurities start to accumulate and create a layer of scale on the interior. This buildup can reduce the boiler’s efficiency and cause corrosion, which results in costly repairs and replacements.
On top of that, dirty water can also cause sediment accumulation and the growth of bacteria, which doesn’t just reduce the performance of the boiler, but also reduces the quality of the water itself.
You’d need to stay on top of maintenance to notice these problems, since they would not be visible from the outside.
Regular inspections can prevent the risks associated with neglect, and keep you from dealing with equipment failure, and costly repairs.
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