In the State of Michigan mechanical, electrical, and plumbing codes are statutorily required to be updated every three years, however there is not a time-based mandate on boiler codes. Since last year the MI Bureau of Construction Codes has been working to update adopted boiler codes through the rule making process. These new rules went into effect May 3rd, 2023 which supersedes the 2013 rules we’ve been utilizing for the past decade. Subsequently the adopted codes have also fast forwarded a decade and are updated to the following editions:
2018 ASME B31.1
2018 ASME CSD-1
2019 ASME boiler and pressure vessel code (BPVC)
2019 NBIC (Parts 1-4)
ASME stands for The American Society of Mechanical Engineers. While we typically utilize ASME resources as they apply to pressure vessels and piping systems for comfort heating or industrial processes, their purview includes all mechanical engineering which is incredibly broad.
ASME B31.1 addresses Power Piping, meaning high pressure and/or high temperature as defined by codes, rules, or statutes. ASME has a very specific definition however states often amend applicability to meet their intended application of the code.
ASME CSD-1 provides manufacturers, owners, and contractors with minimum construction and testing requirements for boilers and water heaters specific to controls and safeties.
ASME BPVC refers to a complete set of standards for the safe design, manufacture and maintenance of boiler and pressure vessels. Hot water heaters have different standards than low pressure boilers which are different from high pressure boilers, etc. These standards cover an extensive array of equipment ranging from the smallest of water heaters to nuclear power plants.
The NBIC (The National Board Inspection Code) is completely focused on pressure equipment safety, and they work very closely with ASME and other industry associations to improve safety by improving the uniformity of construction, installation, repair, maintenance, and inspection of pressure equipment. The NBIC is broken into four sections.
Part 1, Installation – requirements and guidance to ensure all types of pressure-retaining items are installed and function properly.
Part 2, Inspection – provides information and guidance needed to perform and document inspections for all types of pressure-retaining items.
Part 3, Repairs and Alterations – provides information and guidance to perform, verify, and document acceptable repairs or alterations to pressure-retaining items regardless of code of construction.
Part 4, Pressure Relief Devices – provides information and guidance to perform, verify, and document the installation, inspection, and repair of pressure relief devices.
While ASME and the NBIC update codes and standards on regular cycles the State of Michigan does so infrequently, this results in large learning curves for engineers, suppliers, contractors, and owners as entire code cycles are skipped. Along with many professional organizations in our industry Pleune Service Company is committed to keeping customers up to date, informed, and most importantly, safe.
Many commercial buildings are heated by a boiler system. A boiler is a system that uses pressurized hot water or steam to provide heat and/or hot water to the facility. The main purpose of a CSD-1 test is to inhibit boilers from damage and to prevent boilers from operating in an unsafe manner. When boiler safety components are not regularly examined and maintained, it can lead to operational malfunction and safety hazards.
All boilers in the State of Michigan are subject to ASME (The American Society of Mechanical Engineers) CSD-1 inspections. The statutory requirement for this safety testing is found in Michigan Act 407 of 2016, commonly known as the Skilled Trades Regulation Act. Per Act 407 Rule 27: (1) The owner shall ensure that the installation, maintenance, operation, and testing of controls and safety devices is pursuant to manufacturer’s instructions and ASME code CSD-1, 2009 edition, except as modified by these rules. This brings up the question, what exactly is ASME code CSD-1? According to ASME “The rules of this Standard cover requirements for the assembly, installation, maintenance, and operation of controls and safety devices on automatically operated boilers directly fired with gas, oil, gas-oil, or electricity, having fuel input ratings under 12,500,000 Btu/hr.”
ASME CSD-1 is broken down into four primary sections known as Parts:
Part CG General includes Periodic Testing and Maintenance requirements.
Part CE Electrical addresses Electrical Requirements
Part CW Steam and Waterside Control covers Low-Water Fuel Cutoffs, Water Feeding Devices, Pressure Controls, Temperature Controls, Safety Relief Valves, etc.
Part CF Combustion Side Control covers items such as purging and flame supervision requirements for gas and oil-fired boilers, it also delves into electrically heated boilers.
In addition, ASME CSD-1 includes Nonmandatory Appendices, Tables, and checklists to help users understand and meet the code. While performing safety tests per CSD-1 are necessary we must test them pursuant to the manufacturer’s instructions as noted above. This makes every situation unique as manufacturers differ significantly in their engineering and design approaches just as applications vary by industry, application, and physical location. Our job is to understand all applicable requirements and test procedures that apply and make sure that all safety devices are tested to the appropriate standard.
Failure to comply with CSD-1 testing and completing necessary repairs can result in your boiler being locked out, loss of occupancy to the facility, potential fines, or an unsafe mechanical environment. Boilers are powerful systems and failures due to negligence can cause property damage, unexpected downtime, and loss of life, which is why CSD-1 testing is so important. Boiler service can be costly, so it is suggested to maintain your boiler on a regular basis, rather than paying the high cost for emergency service.
Pleune Service Company has recently completed its second temporary boiler for utilization. This equipment has the capability of 5,000,000 BTU’s (approximately 145 HP) of low-pressure hot water service. The unit is housed in a secure shipping container that has external hook ups of return and supply water as well as electrical service. This equipment could be used for an unplanned failure of existing hot water boiler or could be applied for interim use of additional process or comfort needs.
Pleune Service Company has an additional 1,000,000 BTU boiler (approximately 30 HP) in a smaller enclosure which can be pulled behind a standard pick up or work van.
The current lead time on new boiler equipment could leave you without heat if an unexpected failure occurred. These temporary services could provide limited down time, while you wait for your new equipment to be received and installed. If you have questions about your system compatibility with our temporary boiler or would like more information on these services, please contact us!
Poor water quality is among the most frequent causes of boiler failure. Boilers and deaerators can perform efficiently and effectively when equipment purchases are considered and informed by past performance and future use. A focused preventive maintenance plan, which is frequently undermined by time and staff constraints, is critical to maximizing boiler and deaerator life.
Being intentional and taking adequate time to plan a maintenance program — even before ordering a boiler and deaerator system — will increase uptime and safety.
Preventive Boiler Maintenance Starts Before Fabrication
As predictive maintenance is usually cost prohibitive, and run-to-failure is a poor choice, Pleune Service Co. typically focuses on preventive maintenance. Equipment selection, the operating environment, and operator skills need to be understood to create a meaningful preventive maintenance program. In a quality-oriented program, the tasks, responsibilities, timing, and required data are mapped and shared with the entire maintenance team. Regularly scheduled discussions mean they are more likely to be effective.
Preparing for a new boiler system’s installation is key to getting a system off to a successful start. Water quality and contaminants must be addressed prior to installation. Prevent issues wherever possible and plan how to address contaminant and water quality fluctuation once the system is operational
The biggest failure of any plan is being relegated to a binder on a shelf or a file on a computer. A boiler’s preventive maintenance plan must be a living document, regularly reviewed during maintenance meetings. Individuals must be accountable for assigned tasks. Put those tasks on calendars and ensure they are completed.
When it comes to developing an action plan, be specific about tasks, timing, who is responsible, and where to record the gathered data. The plan also needs set decision points for key service and parts replacement.
Activities to be included in the plan include blowdown, skimming, burner maintenance, combustion analysis, checking safeties and operating controls, water quality testing, etc. Maintenance should never be delayed because a system seems to be performing well. Problems can arise without any warning, and it’s better to schedule downtime than to have to recover from an emergency.
Tasks will be mapped out by each piece of equipment and divided among daily, weekly, monthly, and annual timeframes. Each task must be assigned to a responsible person. Of course, the plan needs to be updated for personnel changes and must be a part of any new team member’s onboarding and training. This also helps build a culture of intentionality among maintenance team members.
A good set of safety and performance maintenance instructions provided by the boiler manufacturer and related equipment suppliers will help in crafting an intentional maintenance plan. However, consider factors specific to each boiler’s use, location, operator skills, and working conditions, and adjust as needed.
Poor Water Quality Leads to Failure
Water quality is among the most frequent reasons for boiler failure, so it should be at the forefront of a preventive maintenance plan.
FIGURE 2. The wrong air/fuel mixture in this boiler’s burner generated soot, causing greatly reduced temperature transfer to the water. The result is higher fuel bills and a reduction in efficiency, which can damage the boiler.
Whether using a hydronic or steam boiler, water chemistry is what protects or attacks the wet side of the boiler. Cast boilers can crack from overheating sections due to sediment or mineral buildup. Firetube and watertube boilers are more likely to have tube leaks at the tube sheet and other high-stress areas. Failure to manage particulate, PH, inhibitors, and oxygen scavengers properly can damage boilers quickly.
A well-maintained closed-loop hydronic system with little feedwater may do very well with an annual water sample. Corrective actions based on lab reports can generally be done early enough to prevent damage. However, a steam system is very dynamic and requires frequent testing so adjustments can be made quickly. Each time an adjustment is made, regardless of system, time to equalize is needed before more samples are taken.
Maintenance teams must be committed to regular water quality testing. Treating feed and system water to minimize contamination requires a great deal of human touch and attention. However, boiler and deaerator manufacturers can help ease preventive maintenance with some simple and thoughtful features.
Efficient Boiler Maintenance Made Easier by Boiler Fabricators
A thoughtful design process will make sure the right equipment is selected, which maximizes the life cycle of the equipment. The easier the equipment is to service, the more likely all tasking will be completed as intended.
First and foremost, be sure boiler and deaerator fabricators are American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)-certified and adhere to the organization’s industry-standard boiler and pressure vessel code (BPVC). ASME sets the industry’s guidelines for safe and effective boiler and pressure vessel design, construction, maintenance, and operation. Manufacturers who are certified have demonstrated their proficiency in building the equipment and undertake additional inspections of their work.
ASME-certified manufacturers also have been shown to develop relationships with their customers, listen to their needs, and offer improvements to help their boiler and deaerator function effectively and efficiently to provide the best return on investment.
Since water quality is a big driver of boiler and deaerator failure, share feedwater quality conditions with the fabricator. While corrosion cannot be completely eliminated with materials and welding choices, boiler life span certainly can be extended when paired with a well-executed maintenance plan.
Intentional Fabrication and Service Raise the Bar
Boiler manufacturers that are intentional about providing good access to service and repair pumps are worth additional investment. Fabricators, like Rexarc, understand the need to ease and simplify service and maintenance. The best manufacturers understand the need to maintain and service boiler components and will make it easier to do so.
FIGURE 3. The results of an improperly tuned boiler.
Manufacturers can label components and access areas by stamping the metal rather than applying labels that can dislodge in typical boiler operating conditions. Metal stamping key access points and components also eliminates costly trial-and-error access and unnecessary downtime. In addition to labeling, clear instruction stamps can assist with easy repair and replacement of parts.
Built-in inspection ports on key components also ease service options. Boiler and deaerator systems are massive closed systems subjected to corrosion. Viewports can help see within the pressure vessels to check for corrosion damage to help operators achieve more uptime.
Above all, the boiler and deaerator fabricators need to understand the design intent and life cycle expectations to make sure the specifications are correct for the application. A quality fabrication partner will do the load calculations and ensure the design and engineering support the use case. They also will learn the client’s short- and long-term plans for the equipment’s use along with maintenance and service capabilities.
In addition to building boiler systems meant to be maintained and serviced, manufacturers can provide a high level of support, including training at the factory and localized training with representatives. System startup assistance also ensures operation of a new system gets off to a solid start.
On the end-user side, it’s imperative to use the boiler and deaerator as intended. Though many might think this goes without saying, it’s not unusual for a boiler to fail because it’s being used beyond its capacity or in a different manner than intended. Each boiler system is built to the owner’s specifications and needs, so it needs to be used and maintained as such.
Boiler maintenance does require the correct skill set and mindset. If an internal maintenance team does not readily have those skills or time — many are stretched thin — seek help from a qualified service provider. The efficient operation of a boiler and the safety of a facility are nothing to leave to chance. Being intentional is no accident.
~ Compliments of Today’s Boiler Magazine, Fall 2022 Edition
Pleune Service Company recognizes the challenge of long lead times on purchasing new boilers and the problems it may cause our customers in the event of an untimely breakdown. We have recently completed a brand new portable one-million BTU hot water boiler. This unit is currently configured for natural gas fuel but can be converted to propane. Its design temperature is 180 degrees F° and is piped with an isolation heat exchanger to the customer heating loop. This boiler is housed in a mobile trailer and can be hooked to your system for emergency or planned shutdowns with minimal advanced notice.
We are also working on building a three-million BTU steam boiler. It will be housed in a shipping container which allows it to be used in many environmental conditions. This boiler is currently configured for low pressure steam and natural gas fuel. The projected availability of this unit will be fall of 2022. Stay tuned!
Contributes to Significant Changes to Heating & Cooling Equipment
Due to recent energy code updates, significant modifications will be made to all roof top heating and cooling equipment with a special emphasis on base model equipment. These changes mean that manufacturers must retool the production lines to accommodate these changes. The manufacturers are setting ordering cut off dates for equipment to be produced under the current code. While the dates vary by a few weeks between manufacturers, most have identified June 2022 as the final timeline to order under the existing energy code. The changes will incur significant price increases by as much as 30% over current costs. In layman’s terms, what used to be classified as the high-end efficiency equipment will now be base-model equipment.
Price increases from the manufactures have been growing consistently, so if you plan on replacing equipment and don’t need the highest efficiency models, now would be a good time to get on the schedule and get your equipment ordered.
Refrigerant is a working medium used in refrigerant cycle of air conditioning systems and heat pumps where in most cases they undergo a repeated phase transition from a liquid to a gas and back again. Refrigerant varies dependent on the chemical composition it is made up of and is not a one size fits all for each unit. R22 is made up of carbon, chlorine, hydrogen, and fluorine and has been banned from production and importation in the United States as of January 1, 2020. This has been put in place by the EPA as this freon causes harmful effects on the ozone layer. What does this mean as a consumer?
R22 is still currently available as recovered, recycled, or reclaimed refrigerant. Although this does not make R22 units obsolete at this time, with the current supply and demand we have seen significant increases in price and only expect to see further increases as the supply diminishes.
As this freon becomes obsolete unit conversions or replacements will need to take place which come at a cost. Converting an R22 system is not a simple process, this could include but is not limited to:
Replacement of the compressor
Replacement of the compressor oil
Replacement of the evaporator
Replacement of the condenser
Replacement of the copper lines
These extensive system changes are required as differing freon types have very different heat-transfer properties and use chemically incompatible lubricating oils. This brings up the hard decision to convert the unit or to replace the equipment.
As a contractor Pleune Service Company strives to be as transparent as possible about these processes. We make every effort to inform our customers of major changes ahead of time, such as this, so you are well informed and decisions can be made during your budgeting processes. It is not a matter of if, it is a matter of when these updates will have to be made.
Our representatives are available to help answer any questions you may have. Please call us at 616-243-5434.
Pleune Service Company completed another boiler retubing job on an existing Cleaver Brooks boiler for a school system in Lansing. We removed 148 tubes from the boiler top pass. We then installed new roll sealed 2 ½ inch steel tubes. The boiler was pressure tested and reassembled for heating service this coming school year in fall 2021. A large steam trap survey was also completed in the classrooms and halls, with replacements to follow on failed traps. Our specially trained technicians are ready to assist on your next boiler project!
Cleaning of equipment coils is a vital part to maintaining your equipment. It is recommended to have coils cleaned late spring after cotton wood has fallen. This timing gives optimal results for the once-a-year cleaning recommendation. Coil cleaning is a simple process of brushing and hosing away debris build up. In more severe cases a chemical cleaner or splitting of coils could be required to be sure all debris is removed from the coil. The removal of the debris build up is important to allow for proper air flow and heat transfer which could cause substantial reduction in temperature control and overall efficiency.
Clean coils help increase operating efficiency which assists in lowering the operating psi, temperature, and amps so the unit does not have to work as hard helping in extending the life of your equipment, improving indoor air quality, and lowering energy consumption of the unit.
Oil analysis is a key tool used to ensure that compressors stay up and running. Compressor Oil or Lubricant is a necessary component in any air conditioning system that uses compressor(s) in its compression system. There are three main purposes of the oil: lubrication, removal of heat and for sealing.
There are three main categories of oil analysis which include: fluid properties, contamination, and wear debris. To expand on these:Fluid properties focuses on identifying the oil’s current physical and chemical state as well as defining its remaining useful life. The properties answers questions such as:
Does the sample match the specified oil identification?
Is it the correct oil to use?
Are the right additives active?
Have the additives depleted?
Has the viscosity shifted from the expected viscosity? If so, why?
What is the oil’s remaining useful life?
Viewing the contamination of the oil can answer questions such as:
Is the oil clean?
What types of contaminants are in the oil?
Where are the contaminants originating?
Are there signs of other types of lubricants?
Is there any sign of internal leakage?
Wear debris determines the presence and identification of particles produced as a result of mechanical wear, corrosion or other machine surface degradation and answers the following questions:
Is the machine degrading abnormally?
Is wear debris produced?
From which in ternal component is the wear likely originating?
What is the wear mod and cause?
How severe is the wear condition?
The lab may also look at the acid and base numbers. If the acid number is too high or the base is too low, the oil needs to be changed. Routine oil sampling is important to a successful maintenance program. Oil testing provides essential information to determine the condition of your equipment and that unscheduled downtime is minimized.
Contact Pleune today if you have any questions regarding your compressor or to schedule an oil sample!