Most Common Industrial Boiler Issues & How To  Fix Them

boiler_cmmsOne of the most valuable and important assets at any factory and refinery is industrial boilers. They are essential for the production of energy and other industrial operations. Because they represent such a significant investment, boilers are very valuable assets that require regular maintenance and inspections. Good industrial boiler maintenance is important for a number of reasons.

Whether your business uses its boiler for brewing beer, pharmaceutical processing, or for food processing capabilities; boiler problems are bound to happen and are every industrial and commercial organization’s nightmare The efficiency of your facility depends on the boiler’s capacity to meet the heating and/or steam processing demands. And when boiler issues do arise, it nearly usually happens when you least expect it.

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The most frequent boiler issues can range from blockages to lacking insulation. While certain boiler issues may have obvious observable symptoms, other issues may call for a more thorough inspection and research to really identify the reason. Call a qualified specialist, and never take a chance if you’re worried about the system or if your boiler is having issues.

It is best to get in touch with a specialist who can make repairs and guarantee the security of your system. Unfortunately, if a boiler problem is not fixed right away, it will only get worse over time. Routine maintenance and fixing minor commercial boiler issues before they progress into worse problems is the best way to fix any problems.

Let’s take a closer look a some of the most common industrial and commercial boiler problems.   

Note: Repairs should be done by a qualified technician.

Leaking Fluids

Leaks can happen almost anywhere in the system if you run a steam or hot water boiler. While visible dripping around the pipes or tank may be noticeable, some leaks, such as water spilling through your air vents, may not necessarily be so obvious. Hidden leaks make it far more difficult to pinpoint the issue precisely and demand the use of a water meter.

By determining if water is being lost in a closed system, a water meter can locate concealed leaks. A closed system leak will eventually cause the system to shut down because over time the available water level will decrease.

When a system leaks but the water level doesn’t decrease considerably, atmospheric moisture is likely getting into your boiler system. It can accelerate the deterioration of your boiler investment because atmospheric moisture is untreated water.

If your system has a leak, it might be more practical to replace the other sections of the system at the same time as you remove the leaking portions. This is due to the labor intensiveness needed to remove leaky boiler components from awkward angles. Under no circumstance should you ever try to fix a leak yourself.

Poor Maintenance Processes 

Irregular maintenance is typically the cause of every boiler issue, regardless of its physical appearance. Depending on how frequently it is used, every boiler should have routine maintenance done. If you don’t do routine maintenance, you can easily overlook minor concerns that develop into far more serious problems and even possible injuries.

In the worst situation, failing to examine your boiler could result in a catastrophic boiler explosion due to combusting fuel,  low water levels failed trip switches, and more.  Regular inspections can identify problems so that they can be before they escalate to more serious problems.

In comparison to potential catastrophic outcomes, boiler downtime, and productivity loss, the expense of maintenance is always insignificant. Make sure to plan routine maintenance and avoid skipping out on it. You can even perform a number of visual examinations on your own. 

Missing Insulation

Your system’s efficiency will suffer if insulation is missing. Your boiler’s insulation helps to keep heat inside the system. If the heat isn’t kept inside the system and can easily dissipate, it will take more fuel to keep the pressure and temperature where they should be.

Insulation that is missing is barely noticeable. The most efficient method for detecting this common boiler issue is with a thermal imager, but most facilities have limited or no access to one. It’s possible to identify a missing insulation issue by seeing rising energy expenses without an increase in boiler usage. If you feel that you have missing insulation, the best solution is to contact an experienced boiler maintenance professional for an inspection


Your boiler system may be considerably affected by poor water quality. Scale deposits made of calcium and other minerals can build up on your boiler and pipes, slowing or stopping the flow of steam. Your system’s deposits will increase the quantity of fuel needed to produce the same result.

It is a good idea to have a water treatment system for your boiler. Water treatment equipment works to prevent buildup and other problems caused by water minerals.

Low or No Heat Production

There are a variety of potential commercial boiler issues that might result in low or no heat production, ranging in severity from minor to major. Less serious issues include unclean burners that prevent enough heat from passing through could be the cause of poor or no heat generation. It’s important to regularly inspect and clean the burners in your boiler for both your safety and convenience. Burners can become clogged with dust and debris, which can be a major fire hazard.

Other possible causes may include a broken pump, a broken thermostat, a faulty ignition, or a safety switch that is causing automatic turnoff. No matter what kind of commercial boiler issue you’re having, you can’t be sure what’s to blame until you hire an expert to come to look at it.

Automatic Boiler Shutoff

There are a number of reasons why your boiler system can abruptly shut off. The thermostat may not be operating properly and provide false temperature readings or it may be completely faulty and provide no data at all. Another explanation can be a severe drop in air pressure, a broken pump, or obstructions in the valve.

If your boiler system is shutting off on its own or simply won’t turn on in the first place, then you should schedule a service appointment with an experienced expert to identify and fix the problem.

How To Prevent Commercial Boiler Issues

Your commercial boiler system is essential to the year-round warmth and comfort of your company, your staff, and your customers. As a result, it’s critical that you take every precaution to ensure that your boiler system is always efficient and running properly. Additionally, maintaining your boiler system will result in long-term financial savings. Here are a few techniques to shield your company against troubles with commercial boilers.

  • Create checklists to ensure that things are routinely inspected
  • Perform regular visual checks in the areas surrounding the boiler
  • Perform annual checkups to ensure everything is in proper working condition
  • Schedule routine maintenance and service appointments
  • Make sure that pipes are properly insulated
  • Check for leaks daily
  • Turn it on daily

The preventative maintenance procedures you follow directly affect your ability to keep your equipment operating effectively, safely, and dependably. Meanwhile, doing routine boiler inspections will lengthen the lifespan of your equipment, lower operating expenses, and reduce downtime. Naturally, as the years pass, some components will need to be repaired or replaced, and your system will need to be thoroughly cleaned on a regular basis to avoid fire threats, but the expense of maintenance and repairs is minimal when compared to the cost of getting a whole new boiler.

Importance of Industrial Boiler Maintenance

 One of the most valuable and important assets at the majority of plants and refineries is industrial boilers. They are essential to the creation of energy and other industrial operations. Because they represent such a significant investment, boilers are very valuable assets that require regular maintenance and inspection. Good industrial boiler maintenance is important for a number of reasons.

Regular Scheduled Maintenance – Helps Prevent Emergency Shutdowns

One of the most significant reasons why good boiler maintenance is so important is that it helps prevent boiler-related emergency shutdowns. In most industrial facilities, boilers are essential pieces of equipment. The plant’s entire operation could halt if the boiler breaks, halting production and costing the facility lost productivity.

Boiler Maintenance Increases the Boiler Efficiency

Boilers consume a lot of fuel. The boiler must run as effectively as possible in order to maintain low fuel and energy expenditures while optimizing output. The ability to identify and address boiler efficiency issues depends heavily on routine maintenance and inspections.

Scheduled Boiler Maintenance Increases the Lifespan of the Boiler

Boilers are very expensive capital purchases. No industrial plant or refinery will want to purchase a new boiler because they did not take sufficient care of their old boiler. Maintaining boilers properly helps them last longer and reduces the need for expensive replacements.

Routine Boiler Maintenance Helps Reduce Accidents

At almost all industrial plants and refineries, safety is of utmost importance. Accidents not only have the tragic risk of injuring human staff, but they also have the potential to severely damage the facility’s structure.   By properly identifying and addressing possible issues before they might cause accidents, good industrial boiler maintenance helps prevent boiler-related mishaps from happening.

Boiler Maintenance Saves Money

 A common thread among all of these significant advantages of proper boiler maintenance is that it ultimately saves the business money, whether the financial savings come from avoiding shutdowns, boosting productivity and efficiency, keeping the boilers in operation for longer, or preventing accidents. Regular boiler maintenance, inspections, and minor repairs require only a tiny relative outlay of cash but ultimately yield a significantly higher return.

Boiler Maintenance Improves Compliance, Regulations, and Audits

For an organization to be in compliance with rules and regulations, proper boiler maintenance is crucial. There are rules in effect in the majority of states and some municipalities that mandate annual boiler inspections by licensed inspectors. Businesses should generally follow appropriate boiler maintenance procedures in order to comply with general emission and safety standards. Regular boiler maintenance should be a routine aspect of day-to-day operations as well as a key component of more major plant turnarounds. 

Risks of Poor Boiler Maintenance

In an industrial setting, boilers are one of the most commonly used pieces of equipment. However, when you are dealing with combustible fuel, hot water, and steam held at very high pressure, you really need to know what you are doing. Large-scale catastrophes, including damage to both life and property, can result from boiler failure.

Take Charge of Industrial Boiler Maintenance

One of the most important pieces of machinery utilized in industrial processes is the boiler. Boiler failure can result in financial losses and disruptions to operations. In the worst-case scenario, it will do catastrophic damage, claiming lives and destroying property.

Comprehensive maintenance schedules checklists etc. must be put in place to manage your boilers more efficiently. One way to help keep up with preventative maintenance is to use  CMMS Software which stands for Computerized Maintenance Management Software. This allows you to schedule preventative maintenance in advance so that it is never forgotten by accident. With this software, you can make sure the boiler is checked on a regular basis and that any upkeep is always done regularly and not pushed aside when other work is needed. CMMS helps in a number of ways as well such as keeping up with your assets, scheduling work orders, and of course – preventative maintenance measures.

If you would like to learn more about how eWorkOrders can help you maintain industrial boilers or any other types of equipment or company assets, contact us for a free demo today.

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