Brady Blog- Trends and Talk

Why is a Seasonal Preventative Maintenance Routine Necessary In The Boiler Room?

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Cooler months can put greater demands on your boiler room equipment, and as a plant operator, the change in seasons can be a helpful reminder to review boiler room efficiency and safety. A seasonal preventative maintenance routine can help ensure that your boilers are ready to handle the demand when temperatures drop.

Efficiency

The change in season is a good reminder that it’s time to perform a combustion analysis on your boiler. This verifies your air to fuel ratio is correct and helps ensure you are burning your fuels as efficiently as possible. When air temperatures change, the density of that air changes as well causing the fuel to air ratio to change leading to incomplete combustion, higher emissions, and unburned fuel going out your stack. It’s recommended that you perform a combustion analysis and have the system calibrated by a trained professional twice a year.

General Maintenance

Autumn is also the time to address the general maintenance in your boiler room. Regular maintenance now can help avoid thousands of dollars in damages and unexpected downtime later. A professional water treatment program will ensure your heat transfer surfaces are protected from scale build up and corrosion and ensure your system is operating as efficiently as possible.

If your boiler uses two fuel sources, are you prepared to make the switch from gas to oil? Checking your fuel oil pump, strainer and burner nozzle will ensure a trouble free start up when changing over to oil is necessary. This is also the time to make sure your fuel tank is full and ready for the switch.

A visual inspection of your boiler, feed-water or deaerator system should also be included when preparing for the fall. Finding small issues such as minor leaks on piping, valves and shells, or signs of electrical overheating can help prevent them from becoming larger problems. You should also be sure to check the gas regulator vents for insect nests that may have been built over the summer and inspect bird and insect screens on your air intake louvers for debris to ensure you are getting the proper amount of combustion air needed for your systems to function properly.

Safety

The change in temperature is also a good time for boiler safety device testing; recommended tests include, low water cutoff and flame failure detection devices. These safeties ensure adequate water levels in your boiler are maintained and shut the fuel system down if a low water event is detected. Other devices that should be checked by trained technicians include; airflow switches, operating or limit switches for pressure or temperature, and low / high gas pressure switches.

Performing a seasonal preventative maintenance routine can help ensure that your facility is ready to not only meet its demands as the temperature drops, but to do so safely and efficiently. If you’d like to learn more about Brady’s heating solutions and how they can benefit your facility, visit: http://www.bradyservices.com/brady-heating-solutions.html

 


The Real Cost of Skipping Boiler Maintenance

Monday, October 10, 2016

The Real Cost of Skipping Boiler Maintenance boiler

Does your organization perform preventative maintenance on its boilers and industrial burners on a regular basis? If it doesn’t, you may want to consider adding it into your facility’s maintenance plan. Regularly scheduled preventative maintenance on your heating system components can help ensure that your equipment is performing efficiently and reliably for years to come.

Let’s start with the basics. 

 Preventative maintenance is a standardized approach to maintaining your heating equipment with scheduled inspections and adjustments. These inspections address maintenance needs on a systematic schedule and are based on industry standards and manufacturers recommendations. As part of a preventative maintenance program, the components subject to wear on your boiler or burner are inspected and depending on your application, additional tests may be performed on items such as safety, operating controls, relief valves, and combustion efficiency.

What are the benefits of preventative maintenance?

 Regular boiler maintenance can increase equipment lifespan, improve reliability, minimize repair cost and minimize downtime. Your equipment will also perform more efficiently if maintained properly reducing energy costs. Research from the FEMP O&M Guide (2004) shows that regular maintenance can reduce energy consumption from 5-20%. Continued use of damaged or faulty equipment can also lead to an unsafe operating conditions and operating environment. Regular maintenance inspections can help ensure your staff is working in the safest environment possible.

Still thinking about skipping regular preventative maintenance on your heating equipment?

Research from the FEMP O&M Guide (July 2004) has shown that regular maintenance can cut down on the number of unexpected breakdowns by 70-75%, reduces the overall cost of those breakdowns and reduces the length of downtime by 35-45%. What would the financial impact be from taking your steam plant or production burners offline to perform unscheduled repair work? To understand the true cost of downtime you must also include costs of lost goods and productivity, as well as the cost to bring in rental equipment, rush delivery on parts, and overtime rates from the service company in order to reduce the time your system is offline.

Regularly scheduled preventative maintenance can also minimize the potential cost and impact from these failures before they lead to larger, more costly issues. What could have been a $500 repair performed during a scheduled maintenance inspection could progress into a $50,000 emergency shut down next month. By implementing a preventative maintenance program, facility managers can rest assured knowing minor repairs don’t turn into catastrophic failures which means more reliable uptime for your production or facility.

So, if you haven’t considered adding boiler or burner maintenance to your facility maintenance plan, or if you’re thinking about cutting it from your budget, you may want to review the true cost of not maintaining your heating system equipment.

Are you looking for a preventative maintenance service provider for your heating system? Click here for a list of questions to ask to ensure you select a provider you’ll be satisfied with for years to come.

 


Questions to Ask When Choosing a Boiler Service Provider

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Looking for a new boiler service provider? How do you select the right provider for you? Asking the right questions during your search can help you find a long term partner that can keep your facility running and efficient.

steam plantSafety First:  Compare service provider safety plans. What steps does the company take to ensure their technicians and your employees stay safe? Do they have a safety program that offers regular workplace safety training? How many days they have gone without an accident? Are they willing to abide by your facility’s boiler safety plan, or any specific safety policies and procedures that are unique to your facility?

Manufacturer’s Representative: Are any of service providers also a manufacturer’s representative?Having arelationship with the manufacturer gives these companies an advantage because they can stay up-to- date on the product line, and technicians can receive training on specialized and new pieces of equipment.

Technician Education and Experience: Are the technicians trained to work on your equipment? Did they receive training directly from the manufacturer or did they learn on the job? Technicians that receive training directly from the manufacturer are educated on special features on the equipment, and have access to the manufacturer for support and other resources.

Reliability: Selecting a boiler service provider can be a long term commitment. By choosing a provider with years of experience and ties to the community you will be more likely to select a partner that will be with you for years to come. Where is their closest office located? You may want to consider a company with an office within a 100-mile radius of your location for a quick response time if unscheduled service is needed. Will you have an assigned technician? Having the same technician for the majority of your scheduled preventative maintenance visits allows the technician to become familiar with your equipment, facility, and staff. How many of the provider’s technicians are trained to work on boilers and burners? The size of the heating service group is especially important to ensure there will be coverage to fulfill the requirements of the service agreement.

Preventative Maintenance Program: Now review the preventative maintenance agreements from each provider. Does each agreement have a clearly defined scope of work and a predetermined schedule? A clearly defined scope of work will establish the service expectations between you and the provider. Are there benefits to being a preventative maintenance customer? Will you get service priority or a special service rate if repair work is needed? Finding a service company that has benefits for their preventative maintenance customers can save you time and money when unscheduled service is required. Also ask about the provider’s approach to truck stock and parts availability. A stocked truck reduces the overall project time by avoiding the need to make multiple trips to your site with parts.

Pricing and Cost: How can you compare service providers when the cost of service can vary? Though a lower price on a service agreement may save you money at first, a higher quality provider can save you money in the long run. Service agreement pricing should always be compared to the level of experience, skill, and safety record of the boiler service provider. The consistency of the regularly scheduled preventative maintenance inspections need to meet the service recommendations of the equipment per the manufacturer, and the documentation of these visits should meet the needs of your facility and organization.

Referrals and References: How did you hear about the service provider? Were you referred by a colleague or through a professional association? What service providers are being used by businesses similar to yours? Often times when a provider does work for a specific type of facility- hospitals or schools for example, they are more in tune to the needs of the organization and their business objectives. Do they have a list of references? An experienced provider will present you with a list of clients with similar facilities and needs. By asking questions on the professionalism, performance, and customer service of a provider you can gain insight into how the service provider manages their business and supports their clients.

Doing a thorough analysis in each of these key areas before selecting a boiler service provider can help ensure that you select a long-term partner that can maintain a safe, and efficient service plan for your facility. 


Choosing to Cut the Cord: What You Need to Know About Hardwired vs. Wireless Access Control Systems

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Are you looking to select a new access control system for your facility? There are two types of systems to choose from: a wireless system or a hardwired system. By asking the right questions and evaluating the goals for the system you can confidently select the access control system that is best for your building.

Tight budget… Tight schedule? Wireless access control solutions if designed properly will result in reduced labor costs, hardware and installation time. Cable costs are almost eliminated completely.

Access Control

However, you will still need special pieces of equipment specific to a wireless system, such as a wireless interface module to make everything in your system connect. Aesthetically speaking, a wireless system has the added benefit of no visible cables or boxes.

If your building is currently under construction a hardwired system could be a viable option since it would require running cable through door frames, as well as requiring the installation of conduit and pathways. It is easier for these materials to be installed while the walls are still under construction.

If you are looking to install into an existing facility, a wireless system may be a better option because it can reduce the risk of running into any unforeseen issues during installation, as a result of unexpected complications or structural issues behind existing walls.

If your facility might need to expand or modify the building layout in the future, a hardwired system can be a better option when it comes to scalability, since the architecture of the building and infrastructure could affect a wireless system. In an area where there are obstacles like thick walls or long halls, it can be difficult for a wireless reader to communicate with the system. To alleviate this challenge more repeaters and gateways may be needed, which can be more expensive than starting with a hardwired system.

A hardwired system can also be seen as a more reliable system when it comes to the security of encrypted data, simply because data is not sent via a wireless network, but wire to wire.

If you need your system to integrate with an existing system, a hardwired system maybe be your best option. Not all access lock providers have updated their product design to implement with wireless technology, so you could have more options to choose from.

The increased demand for building security and access control has left many facility managers wondering what type of system will meet the needs of their building. Taking the time to evaluate each system building use can help ensure you select the best system for your facility.


Dealing with Heat Stress

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Are you prepared for the hot summer ahead?

Do you work in extreme heat conditions or supervise those that do?

What steps do you take to protect employees from heat stress? Do you have a responsibility to protect your workers?

Working in heat

Summertime in North Carolina can provide one of the key ingredients in the perfect storm that can lead to heat related injuries. Recognizing the hazards and taking preventative measures could help prevent serious physical harm and or death.

Planning to prevent heat related injuries includes education on heat stress and heat strain. Understanding and being able to identify warning signs of heat rash, heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke is an important part of preparing for the impending summer weather. Do you know what to look for and how to treat these illnesses?

Environmental factors also play a role in workplace safety during the summertime. What does the heat index have to do with risk? Temperature, humidity, and clothing choices are some of the items to consider when calculating the risk of heat disorders.

Physical factors also play a role for each person working in extreme heat conditions. Prior heat injuries predispose workers to additional injury. Medical conditions, age, and weight are just some of many factors to consider when protecting your associates from the working conditions.

Prevention and control play a part in planning. Engineering controls, work practice controls, and personal protective equipment (PPE) can play a key role in a prevention plan. Implementation of acclimatization techniques for workers can also help associate prepare for summer work in warmer conditions.

Want to learn more? Join us for a webinar on June 23rd at 2:00 PM. Click here to register:

http://go.bradyservices.com/heatsafety2016