The Lowdown on Commercial Building Boiler Inspections

  • Author: Fazal Umer
  • Posted On: December 10, 2023
  • Updated On: December 10, 2023

As a commercial building manager or someone responsible for maintenance in a commercial building, you might be dreading the time when the boiler in your building is due for inspection. It’s understandable, as the thought of the disruption it can cause, or what happens if they find something wrong, can be worrisome.

However, regular commercial building boiler inspections are necessary for maintaining your building’s heating system and ensuring it is operating smoothly and efficiently. This blog post takes a deep dive into what happens during a commercial building boiler inspection.

This includes what to expect during the inspection, the different types of inspections and tests that are typically performed, and the benefits of regularly scheduled boiler inspections.

By the end of this post, you’ll have a better understanding of the importance of regular commercial building boiler inspections and what happens during the inspection process.

The first thing you need to figure out when it’s time for a commercial boiler inspection is who will do it? The individual performing a commercial boiler inspection should ideally possess a thorough knowledge of heating systems and specifically, commercial boilers. This implies someone with a technical background, who is a licensed boiler inspector or similar.

Their expertise should encompass understanding of boiler components, operation mechanisms, and possible defects or signs of wear and tear. Proficiency in interpreting blueprints and schematics, as well as familiarity with safety regulations and inspection protocols, is crucial.

This is a particularly important point for commercial building boiler inspections, as this is quite different from inspecting the boiler in a residential property.

Experts such as those at Maryland Boiler Inspections can help with this. Experience in troubleshooting and problem-solving is also highly desirable. In sum, a commercial boiler inspection should be entrusted to a professional with a robust combination of theoretical knowledge, practical experience, and technical skills in the field of commercial heating systems.

So once you’ve identified the right professional for the job, what should you expect next?

Types of Boiler Inspections

There are typically three types of commercial building boiler inspections: visual inspections, external inspections, and internal inspections.

During a visual inspection, the inspector will examine the boiler for any signs of damage, such as cracks, corrosion, or leaks. They will also inspect the pipes, valves, and other components of the boiler system to check for any issues that may need addressing.

External inspections involve checking the boiler’s external fittings and pipework. Here, the inspector will visually inspect and examine the boiler’s safety features to make sure they are in good condition to keep the system safe during operation.

During internal inspections, the inspector will enter the boiler’s combustion chamber to examine any potential internal issues. Once inside, they will perform various tests to ensure the safe and efficient operation of the boiler.

For a proper boiler inspection that will deliver everything you need for a commercial building, you’ll want your inspector to do all three of these things.

Inspection Tests

So exactly what tests will be performed during these inspections? Your inspector will likely perform various tests, such as water level checks, pressure checks, and combustion efficiency tests.

During a water level check, the inspector will ensure that the boiler’s water level is at the right level, as too low or high a water level can cause significant damage. A pressure check will involve the inspector testing the boiler’s safety valve to ensure it’s in good working condition and can quickly release pressure when required.

During a combustion efficiency test, the inspector will check the boiler’s combustion process to ensure the system isn’t producing excessive amounts of harmful emissions. This test will evaluate the levels of Carbon Monoxide being produced by the system, which can have dangerous, life-threatening effects if not kept within safe levels.

In addition to the standard checks mentioned, the inspector may also carry out a series of more specialized tests to ascertain the optimal functioning and safety of the commercial boiler system.

One such test is the flue gas analysis, aiming to measure the levels of certain gases (Carbon Monoxide, Oxygen, and Carbon Dioxide) in the boiler’s exhaust. This test helps determine the efficiency of the combustion process and identify any potential safety hazards.

The inspector may also conduct a steam quality test, specifically for steam boilers. This test measures the amount of moisture in the steam, as excess moisture can lead to reduced efficiency and potential damage to the system.

In certain cases, an ultrasonic thickness test may be carried out. This test uses ultrasonic waves to measure the thickness of the boiler’s walls, helping determine if there’s been significant wear and tear that may compromise the boiler’s safety.

Lastly, the functionality of the boiler’s control system may be tested. This involves checking the operation of thermostats, pressure controls, safety valves, and other automated systems that control the boiler’s operation. These checks ensure that the control system responds appropriately under various operating conditions, maintaining safety and efficiency.

Regular Boiler Inspections

While a boiler inspection may seem like a hassle, it is imperative to conduct these inspections regularly. Regular inspections ensure that your boiler system operates safely, efficiently, and reliably.

Additionally, most boilers come with warranties that require regular inspections to remain valid. It’s also important to note that non-compliance or lapses in regular maintenance can result in significant fines.

A regular boiler inspection should be conducted once every year if your boiler operates at low pressure. If the pressure of your boiler is high, it may need to be inspected more frequently. Talk with your inspector to determine the appropriate inspection frequency for your boiler, based on installed safety devices and its operation.

Regular commercial building boiler inspections are vital for maintaining a safe, efficient heating system. Be sure to choose a certified boiler inspector to ensure the job is done correctly and efficiently. Keeping your boiler system in good condition could prevent unexpected repairs, keep your building occupants safe, save money in the long run, and reduce your environmental impact.

Avatar photo
Author: Fazal Umer

Fazal is a dedicated industry expert in the field of civil engineering. As an Editor at ConstructionHow, he leverages his experience as a civil engineer to enrich the readers looking to learn a thing or two in detail in the respective field. Over the years he has provided written verdicts to publications and exhibited a deep-seated value in providing informative pieces on infrastructure, construction, and design.