Power Plant Descaling: More Important Than You Think

Sometimes when we in the industry think of descaling power plants, we mainly think of the large condenser boxes that create steam and run turbines. And while that is a huge part of the operation, there are dozens of other applications where water is used within a power plant.

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The most common scale ingredient is CaCO3, or calcium carbonate, the main ingredient in hard water. Herein lies the problem: if thousands of gallons of water are flowing through boilers, heat exchangers, condensers, cooling towers and other parts of a power plant, scale is likely to build up.

How Stuff Works shows us how a nuclear power plant works. The Centre for Energy shows us how a thermal power plant works. And the U.S. Geological Survey shows us the inner workings of a hydroelectric power plant. Although the plants vary in operation, function and components, what the illustrations show is that a power plant contains numerous large applications with water circulating through them, requiring descaling.

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Fool-Proof Ways to a Clean Vending Machine

Cooled vending machines are basically refrigerators with coils requiring cleaning and maintenance just as refrigerators do. Heated vending machines contain boilers that need descaling.

Because food (and food particles) may remain in a vending machine for long periods of time, it’s also important to address bacterial and mold growth.

If vending machine operators pay little attention to equipment maintenance that can lead to expensive emergency repair calls. Vencoa Vending Machines estimates each call – for just one issue – can cost as much as $200 while regular scheduled maintenance by the route person only costs one or two dollars more than the regular fee. Routine, preventive cleaning saves money, leading to increased revenues.

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How to Clean Industrial Boilers – Checklist Download

We’ve covered cleaning your facility’s cooling system in our Spring Cleaning Checklist posts. Now it’s time to address cleaning boilers and heat exchangers.

Fortunately, Goodway makes it easy for you to start today. Below are two printable cleaning checklists to get the ball rolling:

Checklist 1: “How to Clean Industrial Boilers
Checklist 2: “How To Clean Heat Exchangers

(Note: You must provide your email address to get access to each checklist.)

We’re writing a series of blogs to explain each checklist in more detail. This first post in the series addresses industrial boilers. The second post will discuss cleaning heat exchangers. We’ll address the importance of cleaning these systems and reference the checklists, including what tools/products you need to get the job done right.

Here’s more about this week’s topic – cleaning industrial boilers:

The U.S. Department of Energy has released a tip sheet addressing energy efficiency for boilers. The agency’s data shows fuel consumption may increase by up to 5% because of scale. Preventing scale build-up can result in substantial energy savings. Both firetube and watertube boilers can experience build-up and reduced efficiency. Proper testing and regular cleaning reduces fuel consumption and allows systems to operate more efficiently. Higher efficiency and a clean system reduce the cost of repairs and lengthen the system’s lifespan.

How often you should clean you boiler depends primarily on the environmental conditions affecting your system. Regularly testing your boiler’s efficiency is the best way to understand how often cleaning is needed. Rising stack temperatures indicate a dirty system. Testing can also identify other problems including fouling on the exchanger, dirty burners, improper firing ratios and impingements on the flame. Goodway’s Stack Efficiency Tester measures stack temperatures, O2 and CO. The device calculates CO2 along with excess air and combustion efficiency.

The U.S. Department of Energy recommends a visual inspection whenever boilers are shut down. A video scope shows you what’s there and helps you determine if all the scale has been removed during the cleaning process. Remove scale with acid cleaning or through mechanical means, according to the U.S Department of Energy. Use one of our cleaning tools to loosen deposits.

Choose from a variety of brushes and scraper tools to attach to our cleaning tools to remove everything from light to thick deposits. Our liquid descaler breaks up tough deposits from water tube boiler tubes. One of our popular items is our descaler equipment with pH analysis. It automatically descales while monitoring pH. As more chemicals are needed the equipment injects more, until the boiler is clean.

The “How To Clean Industrial Boilers” checklist explains the step-by-step tube cleaning process in more detail. As an additional tip, the U.S. Department of Energy recommends consulting with your local water treatment specialist to consider modifying the feedwater treatment.

With Goodway’s boiler tube cleaning technology, it can take as little as an hour to descale a boiler. Goodway is a global leader in boiler cleaning technologies. We use the latest technologies and innovations to bring you the cleaning tools that enable the fastest cleaning process for boilers.

Next Steps:


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?

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Pressure Washer to Boiler Tube Cleaning: Developing a Building Maintenance Checklist

As cold weather continues to cover much of the U.S., buildings will need to rely more heavily on their HVAC system. If you perform routine upkeep on your furnace, heat pump, and filter systems, chances are good you’ll continue to experience a comfortable winter.

Technology and maintenance standards are constantly evolving, and realistically, no one person has the time to just sit at a desk and keep up with all of the changes. Proactive, preventive maintenance requires scheduled tasks to occur at specific time intervals – a little planning can help avoid many of the problems associated with reactive maintenance. Not only can it reduce downtime costs, save energy and eliminate recurring problems but it can also extend the useful life of equipment or a building.

I often speak with facilities maintenance team members and have been surprised by some of what I’ve learned over time. One thing that comes up over and over is that many of these staffers don’t necessarily have facility maintenance backgrounds – they haven’t been formally trained to do the jobs they currently hold. I also heard that maintenance personnel often find themselves working with little guidance or technical support. It could be a recipe for inefficiency or worse.

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How to Develop an HVAC Maintenance Checklist

[Editor’s Note:  If your looking to boost your HVAC career download our 2012 interactive infographic: HVAC Career Development Map]

The purpose of an HVAC maintenance checklist and having a functional preventative maintenance system (PMS) is to be proactive versus reactive regarding system maintenance. The bottom line: HVAC equipment is mechanical and mechanical equipment can fail.  Planning ahead and knowing how to properly develop a checklist and prepare PMS schedules is essential to timely scheduling, accomplishment, and documentation of work responsibilities. It is important to remember, though, that developing an HVAC maintenance checklist and its scheduling is only one part of PMS management. Knowing your systems end-to-end and being aware whether it’s time for coil cleaning, cooling tower maintenance, duct work cleaning and boiler cleaning is required as well.

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Keys to HVAC Success: Coil Cleaning, Cooling Tower Cleaning & Boiler Cleaning

There are many paths that can lead to a career in building and facilities management.  Some paths may involve having done something horrible in a past life for which you are now being punished.  The rest seem to be related to having some experience and expertise in one or more aspects of the business,  such as electrical, plumbing or general maintenance.

One aspect requires knowledge in all those areas – HVAC.  Mundane activities such as coil cleaning, cooling tower cleaning, duct cleaning and boiler cleaning are key. A building’s HVAC system uses plumbing and pipes for the circulation of water and coolants or refrigerants.  It uses ducts and fans for the movement and circulation of air and other gases, and it uses all manner of general equipment such as blowers, gears, vents and switches.

Below is a video demonstration of Goodway’s CoilPro Coil Cleaning System

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Goodway Presents: EPA’s Wise Rules Help Save Energy and Reduce Pollution

In a recent post we here at Goodway Just Venting talked about the Operations and Maintenance guide published by the Department of Energy (DOE). It turns out that this is not the only resource available to you from our friends in this nation’s capital.

The DOE’s Industrial Assessment Center (IAC) visits plants around the country and makes recommendations about how to reduce energy costs and improve efficiency. It is a service available at no cost to many small- and medium-sized businesses.

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Goodway Analyzer: Flue Gases Are Window to Energy Efficiency

As you are probably aware, Goodway is a huge advocate of a regular maintenance program for your equipment. Cleaning of tube bundles and heat-transfer surfaces is critical to operating your equipment in a safe, efficient and cost-effective manner. While those maintenance functions are critical for improving safety and efficiency, by their nature, they don’t address the money and energy that is literally and figuratively going up your chimneys.

Taking the measurements you need to evaluate the efficiency of your boiler or other combustion-based equipment doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. Truth is, measuring stack efficiency could be one of the easiest and smartest things you do this year ensure performance improvement.

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Let’s Talk Boiler Cleaning!

Let’s talk boiler cleaning — we here at Goodway Just Venting talk about it a lot! If I only had a nickel for every time I heard that I’d have, well… a nickel.  Or maybe a dime, but not much more. And more’s the pity, as you will see as you read this post all the way through to the end.

As we promised some time ago, we will do the heavy lifting of reading through the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Federal Energy Management Program’s O&M Manual, now in its third release.   Our first look was at chillers. Now, its time to give boilers a whirl.  Given the huge numbers of fire-tube, water-tube and electric boilers present in operation around the country, it should come as no surprise that they get a close look in this new manual.

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