More than simply your steam systems maintenance support provider

MCL Energy started with steam boiler maintenance, servicing and repair support contracts and to this day we continue to operate within the specialist market place. This is why our steam boiler maintenance operations and support services are based on 40-years of practical and extensive experience. We provide a variety of contract formats to suit each client and can range from annual strip downs for insurance compliance to fully inclusive design, build, finance and operation contracts.

We focus on prevention by scheduling timely planned preventative programmes to minimise the need for reactive maintenance. Our multi-skilled steam engineers respond in normal and emergency situations and our services can include the following elements.

Steam plant support services including;

  • Daily operation of steam plant: Which includes attendance by our experienced operator engineers to ensure your plant is compliant with both PM5 and associated BG01 guidance. We also include all sickness and holiday cover so you need not worry that you plant is being managed and looked after correctly and timely. We can base attendance on SAFED 3 [72-hours] or either 5 or 7 days per week up to 365 days per annum.

  • Annual preparation for insurance inspections: Including but not limited to;
    • Remove man hole and mud doors where applicable, open up smoke passes removing debris.
    • Check operation of all adjustable door seals.
    • Strip steam and water mountings, grind in valve cocks etc.
    • Attend whilst insurance inspector present for Part 1 Examination. Boiler then reinstated with all disturbed seals, gaskets and packing’s renewed [consumables].
    • Flood boiler, fire and raise pressure to operating pressure
    • Attendance with inspector to witness protective devices operating correctly
    • Opening of flue gas economiser

  • Combustion service and support: Which can include flue gas analysis, gas train inspections and periodic combustion testing and reporting by either our own staff or specialist combustion providers. We can provide cover the majority of manufacturers to include Hamworthy/Saccke/Nuway/Dunphy/Weishaupt etc. We can also provide burner replacement and upgrade works.

  • Water Treatment services: This can include a periodic specialist visit and report and the correct mix and volume of chemicals to ensure your boiler internals are kept in good order. We may also provide granular salt in either pallet or bulk deliveries.

  • Periodic PPM visits: [daily/weekly/monthly/quarterly/bi-annual/annual] Agreed scope as part of service backed up with paperwork and reporting.

  • Ad-hoc or inclusive callout response: [facilitated by 24/7/365 bureau monitoring]. Bureau service provided for over 30 years now to ensure in conjunction with vehicle telematics that we attend on our contracted basis whatever the hour, day or night.

  • Chargeable breakdown and repairs: Agreed as part of service support package on fixed agreed basis.

  • Installation works: [pipes/valves/weld repairs/economiser installation/boiler installations/energy centre builds etc.]. Everything from a simple valve replacement or gauge glass column replacement to a burner, boiler or even new boiler house.

Steam Boiler Maintenance Frequently Asked Questions

Dependent upon the level of control and automation on the steam boiler then a good maintenance regime can be a simple as monitoring the level of Total Dissolved Solids [TDS levels] on a daily basis or using a chemical test tablet every few days. That ensures the internal waterway condition of the boiler is maintained. It would also be advisable to carry out some periodic PPM inspections, day on a monthly basis to ensure that steam boiler and associated systems are adjusted, lubricated and checked visually using trained competent engineers.

The mandatory annual insurance company inspection is usually every 12-month and falls under the pressure systems regulations whereby your engineering insurance providers inspector will by arrangement usually with your service provide strip down the steam boiler once offline, drained and cooled down remembering to hire in standby boilers where applicable. The inspector will then measure welds and check internal tubes and waterways along with the furnace ring welds to ensure integrity. Every 5 years this inspection extends to refractory removal [and its subsequent replacement] along with exposure and test of longitudinal weld seam [also known as peaking test] for structural integrity of the steam boiler shell.

You should not need to flush your steam boiler although it can be drained if having extended period of not running. The only other time you would chemically flush a steam boiler is where water treatment and monitoring has failed leading to internal scale build up which requires a potentially harmful chemical descale which can be damaging to the shell, endplate and tubes if not administered correctly by a specialist.

This can result in water carryover in the steam system pipework which can lead to issues with wetness of steam for production use along with potential water hammer which can be dangerous if excess carryover and dead legs without correctly positioned steam traps. The water levels within the boiler should be set up by experienced engineers to avoid excess water in the boiler leading to further issues.

As a general rule of thumb the economic lifecycle of a steam boiler would be in the range 25-40 years however we have seen examples of correctly operated and maintained steam boilers approaching 50-60 years old buy usually it the technical progression of controls and combustion systems that has led to replacement of these older units along with improved heat transfer rates on the newer steam boilers. If you put a correct maintenance regime in place along with good water treatment and a careful and thorough approach to daily operations then there are no reasons why any steam boiler would not last 50 years or more. Steam generators tend not too last quite as long however there are examples of older 80’s units still in operation after over 40 years service.

MCL Energy