What happens when a boiler is unsafe?
Everyday, our agency's boiler inspectors are charged with making sure that if any of the nearly 80,000 boilers and pressure vessels scattered across Minnesota are deemed unsafe, that the units are repaired or removed from service.
Because of its deteriorated and dangerous condition, a low pressure steam boiler in an apartment building was recently removed from service (red tagged) by state inspectors until repairs were made.
The boiler was not being operated by a properly licensed individual, and was very unsafe.
When our inspector discovered this situation, he immediately took the boiler out of service. He found numerous problems with the boiler including:
The controls on the boiler did not function.
When a repair company tried to remove the low water fuel cut-off from the boiler, the piping connecting it to the boiler broke off.
The staybolts (the small welded areas) on the sides of the boiler were deteriorated and leaking. These staybolts are attached to the outer and inner shell of the boiler and prevent the flat surfaces of the boiler from deformation and failure.
The bottom blow/drain piping was also very deteriorated and leaking. This could have caused serious injuries to anyone attempting to operate the blowdown/drain valve.
The repair company was able to replace staybolts, piping, sections of deteriorated boiler plate, and controls to allow this boiler to be operated safely until the end of the heating season. This boiler will be replaced with a new one.
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