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Posted by Karen Balint

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In March and April, in most parts of the country, we see the weather getting warmer. As the weather warms up, there is less need to run a steam boiler for heating. During the winter months, when steam is produced for heat, boilers are typically treated with chemicals to protect the entire system from scale and corrosion. It is just as important to protect these valuable, expensive assets during the off-season to ensure that they will provide another fall and winter of heat without any mechanical or operational issues.

If boilers are not laid-up properly during the off-season, any metal that is on the water or fireside that is exposed to moisture and oxygen has the potential for severe oxygen pitting and general overall corrosion. Oxygen ingress into the system can result in oxygen pitting that can cause water-side leaks during operation in a matter of weeks or months. Overall corrosion products from anywhere in the system typically migrate back to the boiler and form iron deposits on the tubes which prevent efficient heat transfer, increases fuel costs, and may result in further under-deposit corrosion. The small investment in laying up a boiler pays dividends throughout the year and increases the overall life and efficiency of the boiler system.

There are two basic ways to lay-up boilers during the off-season. If the boiler will only be off-line for one to four weeks or the boiler has to remain in stand-by for use during the off-season, a wet lay-up is required. A wet lay-up involves refilling the boiler completely with softened, deaerated water after it has been properly drained and inspected, then treated with an oxygen scavenger, hydroxide alkalinity and a dispersant to maintain levels in a range to prevent oxygen pitting and general corrosion. The chemical levels need to be checked on a weekly basis and added to the system if the levels are lower than recommended. There are also all-in-one products for wet lay-up that provide complete protection without having to check weekly for corrosion products. Rochester Midland can provide complete, detailed procedures along with product information for both types of lay-up and assist you with the proper wet storage for your system.

If the boiler is going to be off-line for more than a month, a dry lay up is the preferred method of storing the boiler. The dry method involves draining the boiler according to detailed instructions provided by the boiler manufacturer or water treatment company and inspecting the internals. The boiler is then dried with warm air to remove all moisture. With the manholes open, the boiler is lightly fired to complete the drying process. A small auxiliary space heater can also be used to provide the necessary heat to remove all moisture.

Once the boiler is as dry as possible, it is highly recommended that a Vapor Phase Corrosion Inhibitor be used per the product directions from Rochester Midland and then the boiler openings closed. Rochester Midland Corporations AssetProtect is the easiest, most effective and efficient way to protect your boiler system in dry lay-up.

RMC's AssetProtect is a Vapor Phase Corrosion Inhibitor that diffuses through the boiler and into void spaces, adsorbing onto metal surfaces in hard-to-reach spaces. It works in every part of the system. The water-soluble pouch of Vapor Phase Corrosion Inhibiting powder protects 1,000 gallons of volume and dissolves when the boiler is refilled. It does not need to be removed at start-up and the metal internals are protected from corrosion during lay-up and at start-up.

Plan to protect your investment and extend your equipment life. Off-line corrosion prevention pays off in terms of costs and headaches avoided. Those who have spent thousands of dollars on boiler tube, steam-trap or other corrosion-related repairs will be the most aware of how significant the ROI for comprehensive seasonal layup can be. Rochester Midland can provide pricing, detailed instructions and product use instructions, along with the expertise to lay up the system in the spring and start it up again in the fall.

Contact your RMC Water Energy Rep Today for Additional Information!

Topics: Water Treatment, boilers, Corrosion Protection, Asset Protection, Boiler Lay-up, BWT


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