Brady Blog- Trends and Talk

Benefits of a Water Treatment Program

Friday, January 27, 2017

As a facility owner, you know that water plays a vital role in heating and cooling systems and process manufacturing. But, did you know that managing the quality of the water used in these systems is equally important? A water treatment program can help ensure your equipment continues to operate efficiently and safely for years to come.

Energy Efficiency

When the water used in cooling towers, air washers, steam boilers, and associated closed loop systems is left untreated, the results can be excessive microbiological growth, scaling, and corrosion in the equipment. This fouling creates a barrier on heat exchange services of your equipment that can interfere with the water’s ability to exchange heat, forcing the systems to work harder and increasing your facility’s energy costs.

Protecting Your Equipment

Corrosion can lead to irreversible damage of your equipment. It can cause pitting and rust that may bore holes and weaken the infrastructure.A water treatment technician will examine the equipment to determine the cause of corrosion and will treat the water to alleviate the issue. The technician will then monitor the corrosion rate to ensure it stays within the industry standard.

Safety

Uncontrolled microbiological growth in heating and cooling systems can cultivate potentially dangerous bacteria, such as legionella. This waterborne bacterium thrives in water between 75° and 115° and can be protected in a biofilm, making cooling towers ideal for growing the bacteria. Regular bacteria tests and treating the water can help ensure your facility does not develop or spread legionella.

To learn more about Brady’s water treatment program, and how it can help your facility, visit: bradyservices.com/services.html

 

 


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. 


Incorporating building heating requirements into your company’s contingency plan

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Unexpected system downtime is always a possibility in any business, so it’s best to have a contingency plan in place. While your building’s cooling needs are an important part of contingency planning, your heating requirements should not be overlooked.

PowerMaster BoilerA contingency plan prepares you to recognize the possibility of unexpected downtime and allows you to plan for the necessary resources needed to minimize the impact it has on your building and business.

When developing a contingency plan, it’s important to focus on three key questions; What are the possible emergencies that will occur? How are you going to respond? What can you do to prepare for it?

What are the possible emergencies that will occur? While creating a contingency plan you will document potential causes of system downtime, and analyze the financial impact it can have on your building and your business. How much will it cost your business to close for the day? What is the impact of a boiler or burner failure on your business?

During this process you will not only review each scenario, but you will evaluate potential solutions to help reduce the chances of it occurring. If you have issues meeting your facility’s full steam load with your current equipment you may barely be able to maintain the conditions needed to support your day-to-day operations in your facility. Are your existing boilers and burners in need of frequent repair? The contingency planning process may uncover opportunities for energy efficiency upgrades to your equipment. Burner upgrades often allow facilities to operate more efficiently using less energy and postponing costly boiler plant expansions. The redundancy resulting from these improvements could become an important part of your contingency plan.

How are you going to respond? Once you have documented the possible causes of downtime it’s important to prioritize the most critical building loads, highest financial implications, and processes essential for your business’ operations. If one of your boilers goes down in the middle of February, how will you need to respond to keep your business operating as normal? What are the critical parts of your business that cannot experience downtime? What does this mean to your steam plant capacity?  

At this point in the planning process you want to consider the options available to you when your building’s processes are forced to stop. Will you need to rent equipment? Boilers, water softeners, feed water systems, heat exchangers, and economizers may be necessary and should be accounted for in your contingency plan.

What can you do to prepare? While preparing your contingency plan you will address failures and the impact of your solutions on your facility. In your plan you will want to include equipment location, ease of equipment placement, client perception, and safety issues. You will also need to consider the logistical aspects of installing the temporary system including connections to your existing system, electrical necessities, and structural loads. 

Once your plan has been put into place and communicated you will want to schedule a reminder to do a contingency plan review. Your contingency plan should be reviewed anytime equipment is added or removed. You should also schedule a review anytime your building use or set up changes in response to business needs and demands.

Including your heating requirements in your contingency plan will ensure that you are ready to support every component of your HVAC system. Is it time to review your contingency plan to ensure you have proper coverage in case of boiler or burner failure?