The purpose of a boiler inspection is to provide assurance of equipment integrity to minimize safety issues with operating a pressure vessel. A minimal frequency is established by law and the Insurance Company that is covering customer liability in case of any operational failures. It has a useful secondary function of acting as an early warning of potential problems and determine the water treatment program’s effectiveness.
An internal boiler waterside inspection consists of all waterside areas of the vessel (e.g., steam and water areas, blowdown lines, feedwater connections, and low water safety devises) as well as dearators, superheaters, economizers, and blowdown heat exchangers. If possible, this inspection should occur with the owner/operator present.
Steam boilers typically have an internal inspection once per year, at a minimum. Where water quality and/or program control is poor, more frequent inspection may be necessary.
All manhole and handhole covers should be removed to provide a thorough inspection. Have a working flashlight, camera, and a scraping tool, such as a knife or screwdriver, with you. Great care must be taken to insure that any items used during the inspection are not left in the boiler. Prior to an inspection, boiler internals such as baffles, feedwater lines/troughs, and any steam drying devices should be removed where needed to fully inspect the waterside internals.
What to Observe
Note: Take pictures and make notes on the current inspection. All observations should be compared to notes and photos of the previous inspection.
Upon conclusion of the inspection, discussions between the boiler inspector, owner/operator, and water management professional should be done to compare and contrast the conditions observed with that of prior inspections. Any concerns noted should be documented with a constructive action plan that can be taken to avoid recurrence.