Soot Blowers Used in Shipboard Boiler Cleaning

Boiler cleaning and maintenance are always foremost in a boiler operator’s mind.  This means being fully versed in the general condition of the boiler and the way the boiler is being operated and maintained. Some of the items to consider are: have the exterior and interior surfaces of the boiler been cleaned by using boiler tube cleaners and descaler systems?  Do the refractory linings adequately protect the casing, drums, and headers?  Is the integrity of the pressure parts being maintained?

All parts of the boiler should be carefully examined when they are exposed for cleaningand overhauling. Then the conditions observed must be documented in the boiler record sheet or log. All unusual cases of damage or deterioration should be described, stating in detail the extent of the injury sustained, remedies applied, and the causes, if determined.

Soot blowers should be used frequently and in proper sequence to prevent the accumulation of heavy deposits of soot since they  interfere with heat transfer and are a fire hazard. The process of using the soot blowers is called “blowing tubes.”

Soot blowers are installed on the boiler with their nozzles projecting into the furnace between the boiler tubes or adjacent to them. They are arranged so that the soot is moved progressively toward the uptakes.The number of soot blowers installed, the way in which they are arranged, and the blowing arcs for each unit differ from one type of boiler to another.

When on a ship, before blowing tubes, the boiler operator must obtain permission from the deck officer on watch. Under some conditions, tubes cannot be blown without covering the upper decks with soot; hence the need for obtaining permission. On a cruise ship this process could be embarrassing for both passengers and crew!

Additional considerations to support shipboard maintenance activities:

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