How Boiler Cleaning Increases System Longevity

A boiler is one of the hardest working and longest lasting pieces of equipment in your facility. When properly maintained, boilers can keep things warm for fifteen years and, with older cast iron boilers, that lifespan can be well over thirty. In order to keep your boiler working efficiently for many decades, proper service and cleaning is a must.

Maintenance of the pumps and burners are critical, but special attention should be paid to the boiler tubes that, if neglected, can lead to expensive and catastrophic failures. The boiler tubes are where the water is heated (water side) and the fuel is burned (fire side). Maintenance staff have to clean both sides of the tubes to keep the boiler working properly.

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A Primer on the Complexity of Different Scale Deposits

Complexity of HVAC Scale Deposits

Last week, Tim Fregeau, Goodway’s Director of Sales, Liquid Solutions Division, hosted a webinar titled  “Scale: Why You Have It, What It Does and How to Descale Safely and Effectively“. During the presentation, Tim discussed the importance of knowing what type of scale you have. Due to the complex nature of many scale deposits, it is important to identify them correctly, and in the end, this can save time and money.

Different types of Scale

Here’s a breakdown of the common types of scale you might find in your industrial equipment:

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Scale 101 Infographic

Scale can wreak havoc on a facility’s equipment, energy bill and product output. That’s why it is so important to understand what it is, what it does and how to remove it safely. Download our Scale 101 Infographic below to brush up on the basics of scale and industrial descaling.

Download Infographic

Where is Scale Likely Hiding in Your Facility’s HVAC Equipment?

If your facility’s machinery uses water as a heating or cooling medium, you likely know any water formed deposits will negatively impact energy efficiency and equipment life expectancy. When higher amounts of water and evaporation deposits settle, scale builds up. Keep in mind that a good portion of scale is hiding out and building up in difficult to reach places. Focusing in on all areas including these hidden spots will help keep operational costs down and equipment running smoothly.

So where are these scale hiding spots? Let’s break it down by equipment type.

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A Facility Manager’s Guide to Understanding Scale and Why You Have It

When looking for efficiency killers in your plant, scale build-up in your hydronic equipment can be an obvious culprit. Facilities that use water for cooling and heating or power generation are most susceptible to the kind of heavy scaling that can reduce productivity. This is seen in pump pressure increases, approach temperature increases, and an increase in fuel consumption. When this happens, it’s time to take a look at possible scale accumulation.

So where did all that scale come from? While there are different types of scale, they can all be attributed to minerals within water falling out of suspension and depositing on surfaces. For many plants, these surfaces can be in the fill of cooling towers, inside pumps, or inside the tubing of heat exchangers.

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Neglecting Proper Boiler Maintenance Can Mean Major Loss in Efficiencies

One problem you see with boilers in large institutions such as schools and universities is that cleaning and maintenance can be overlooked. This is often because boiler maintenance is not in the scope of work for HVAC maintenance staff and falls in the scope for the plumbing staff, who often don’t realize it’s part of their duties. It’s also often a misconception of staff that the highly intuitive controls that most new boilers have will prevent issues and send alerts when they occur, but controls are primarily responsible for boiler function boiler maintenance is still imperative for optimal operation. Otherwise, a boiler can sit for years, gathering scale and dirt that affects performance and can even cause premature malfunctions and breakdowns.

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Latest Cooling Tower Legionella Outbreak Underscores Cleaning Solution Challenges and Importance of Ongoing Maintenance

Another Legionella outbreak linked to cooling towers this week re-emphasizes the urgent need for facility managers to develop an effective cooling tower maintenance program. As we mentioned in part one of this two-part blog series on cooling tower cleaning solutions, various studies strongly suggest 40% to 60% of cooling towers test positive for legionella.

This latest outbreak of the potentially deadly disease was caused by poorly maintained cooling towers in buildings around the central business district in Melbourne, Australia.

Five people between the ages of 51 and 71 were hospitalized. Authorities in Melbourne are analyzing 92 building systems in an attempt to lock down the source of the outbreak. While all five people have been discharged and are recovering, one had been on life support in intensive care.

Cooling towers with heavy limescale buildup on their cooling tower fill can be the perfect breeding grounds for legionella. Once the bacteria gains a foothold, it can infect the entire system. That means sick buildings and sick people, or worse. Short of sickness, dirty cooling towers can make your building smell bad, driving customers away. And there’s also the cost to your company’s image, which might never recover.

Limescale buildup in cooling tower fill isn’t just unsightly, unpleasant and dangerous. Dirty cooling towers increase costs, big time. Limescale buildup can dramatically decrease cooling tower efficiency. That’s potentially thousands of dollars added to your electricity bill for significantly reduced performance.

Still, cleaning dirty fill is a giant headache. It’s filthy, labor-intensive work, especially when done the old fashioned way, scraping limescale off by hand. Cleaning a heavily scaled up cooling tower usually requires multiple tools. Changing tools adds more time to an already labor-intensive process. No wonder so many businesses put off cleaning cooling towers.

However, there is an all-in-one solution available to help you keep your cooling towers clean that’s simple to operate. First, rinse down the cooling tower using an integrated power washing function. Then use an integrated chemical applicator to apply a powerful, yet safe, chemical descaler gel. The gel immediately reacts with limescale deposits to help dissolve and remove them, on contact. The final step is using an integrated turbo nozzle that includes a unique spray pattern to power clean the deposits. If limescale isn’t the issue with your cooling tower fill, use a foaming cooling tower fill cleaner and turbo nozzle combination to remove biological matter and dirt.

Check out this video to get a better sense of the simplicity and effectiveness.

An all-in-one solution means fewer man hours spent cleaning cooling towers and less downtime. That means you won’t have to put off cooling tower cleaning until the last minute, saving your company tens of thousands of dollars in reduced electricity costs annually — and no bad publicity for being the source of the latest outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease.

How Clean-in-Place Cooling Tower Solutions Reduce Hassle, Cost and Liability

Every year about 25,000 case of Legionnaires’ disease and 4,000 Legionnaires’-related deaths occur in the United States primarily due to poorly treated water systems. And your cooling tower’s hot, grimy water is a key contributor, according to a consortium of water treatment experts.

Why? When a cooling tower’s water reaches around 95 degrees in the hot summer months, legionella pneumophila, a ubiquitous aquatic organism, thrives.

Given such sobering facts, not to mention recent negative press, facility managers are certainly trying to be vigilant about cleaning their buildings’ cooling towers.

In a podcast on how to prevent legionella outbreaks, Ray Field, Goodway’s Liquid Solutions Director, says various studies strongly suggest 40% to 60% of cooling towers test positive for legionella.

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Why Removing Calcite (Limestone) from Landfill Leachate Systems’ Lines Require Specialized Descaling Chemicals

Calcite clogging is a major problem in the industry. This type of scale is typically associated with pipes, heat exchangers or other water handling equipment in general industry but it is also true that landfill channels can also become completely clogged with limescale. Typically the problem is ignored in landfills until it is too late and leachate channel systems become clogged resulting in back-ups of leachate flow. Ignoring the problem when signs of clogging are starting to happen only creates bigger headaches down the road. 

When it comes to cleaning calcite deposits in your leachate lines, there’s no better option than an industrial strength, specialized chemical descaler.  According to Goodway’s Director of Liquid Solutions, Ray Field, “It’s well documented that an inhibited acid descaler is the product of choice in these cases.” The main advantage to a chemical descaler is its ability to permeate throughout the entire leachate collection piping system. Alternatives like high-pressure water jetting may reach inside the first 75 feet of piping, but after that the scale down the channel is so deep that water jetting can’t get to the worst areas of scale. It then becomes a pervasive problem within the entire leachate network in the landfill.

Other alternatives include commodity acids — for example, commodity grade and concentrated sulfuric acid. But this can make a limescale headache even bigger. When adding sulfuric acid to calcite-clogged pipes, you’re going to end up turning your leachate lines into gypsum (or calcium sulfate). That’s a million times worse than even the worst limescale problem!

Power plants (and any associated landfills) provide an additional challenge. Each involve massive amounts of water. What’s more, they share a symbiotic relationship with regard to methane gas. Power plants pay landfills for their methane gas. When their leachate lines become clogged, methane metering from the landfill slowly chokes off — along with the amount of revenue going to the landfill from the power plant. That’s a direct result of letting calcium carbonate build up and going unchecked in a landfill leachate collection system. 

Certain chemical descalers are not only safe, but also dissolve mineral deposits extremely fast. For example, Goodway’s Scalebreak Liquid Descaler is biodegradable and dissolves calcium, lime, rust and other deposits from your systems. This particular descaler can be applied in a variety of environments that contain different materials, including steel, brass, copper, plastic and rubber. Thanks to Goodway’s customizable capabilities, Scalebreak products include special formulas specifically for stainless steel, maritime applications and potable water systems. Goodway also offers alkaline neutralizing crystals which allows lowering descaling acidity to meet your needs.

 Not only will specialized chemical descalers make systems operate more efficiently in the here and now, they will also increase the overall life of your systems with efficient and non-interrupted operation.

In the end, removing calcite from leachate lines requires customizable chemical liquid solutions for descaling — and maybe an aspirin or two if you’ve put it off for a while.

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How Chemical Descalers Clean and Maintain Boilers, Chillers and Cooling Towers

In this “Just Venting Podcast,” Ray Field, the Director of Goodway Liquid Solutions, discusses the physical and financial impact of scale build-up on boilers, chillers and cooling towers. Ray also provides tips on how to avoid expensive repairs, improve energy efficiency and decrease electrical costs by implementing an effective maintenance plan.

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