Boiler water, when left untreated, can accumulate scale and corrosive materials over time. That’s why a boiler lay-up procedure is critical in mitigating corrosion, which can lead to leaks and other damages that compromises your system’s efficiency. 

Lost efficiency can skyrocket your operating costs up to a staggering £35,000 to £700,000, so it goes without saying that the water-side surfaces of steam boilers need regular maintenance to prevent its expensive demise. In that regard, there are two ways to go about it: 

Dry Lay-Up 

As the moniker suggests, this method works by removing an idle boiler of its water consents and sealing it dry until it’s ready for usage again. 

Breaking Down the Procedure:

Step #1: Be sure the operating control parameter concentrates maintain their limits up to the point it’s time to shut down the system;

Step #2: Let the boiler cool down for a few minutes, but don’t let it get cold. You can drain the boiler when it is hot to the touch but not scalding. 

Step #3: Flush away the loose particles and deposits, using chemical cleaning procedures if necessary; 

Step #4: Use a forced air heater to dry the water-side surface of your boiler; 

Step #5: It’s time to add a drying agent or desiccants like 100 pounds of silica gel, 20 pounds of calcium oxide, or 150 pounds of activated alumina for every 1,000 feet of boiler heating surface. This is to thoroughly dry the boiler, so distribute them in trays throughout the steam drum, mud drum, water tube boilers, as well as the top tubes for fire tube boilers. 

Step #6: Be sure to seal the boiler completely; 

Step #7: After two months, you need to inspect the moisture-absorbing chemical and replace them when you notice the silica gel is gummy, or the calcium oxide created crusts, or when the activated alumina turns into a mush. 

Breaking Down the Wet Lay-Up Procedure: 

Instead of draining the idle boiler, you can prevent corrosion by treating the water with chemical solutions. When it comes to using the wet lay-up method, the first three steps mirror the dry lay-up process, but it changes moving forward. 

Step #4: Treat water with catalysed sodium sulphite and caustic soda. Use this water solution to fill the boiler up until they stop the valve, though be sure it is softened and deaerated. This ensures the boiler water maintains a 200 mg/I SO3 with a minimum OH alkalinity concentration of 200 mg/I CaCO3. 

Step #5: Use a circulating pump to recirculate the water boiler weekly; 

Step #6: After recirculating the boiler water, be sure to maintain the sulphine and OH alkalinity concentrations within their respective control limits. 

The Bottom Line: Ensuring the Proper Procedure of a Boiler Lay-Up

Both dry and wet lay-up procedures for your boiler require technical expertise and operational knowledge, so it’s crucial to let professional boiler operators take over its maintenance to avoid any mishaps in the process.

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