Catch Air System Leaks Before they Drain Your Profits

Leakage is a fact of life in industrial air handling systems. The environment in boiler draft systems is corrosive and abrasive, and components wear out. The secret to maintaining efficiency and production capacity is field testing of draft systems. Field testing is the secret to catching a problem before it costs hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Because testing provides information to help you plan your next outage, and if you don’t catch and fix a leak at your outage, it could cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars or more before you can fix it. 

Testing for Leaks

The Industrial Efficiency Program (IEP) is at the heart of ProcessBarron’s approach to testing. During the IEP, we use technology to look for leaks anywhere in the system. Air-in leakage makes a fan work harder to do its job, making the fan consume much more power. And when you’re using more power, it creates more greenhouse gasses. 

We conduct mass flow balance testing at various locations in the draft system to locate and quantify system leakage.  We also look at O2 differentials throughout the system on the flue gas side of the boiler. We also use drones with thermal imaging to identify hotspots and measure changes over time. So, we can quantify and locate leakage, but that’s not the most helpful information we provide. Our draft system test program can also quantify the system leakage and calculate the excess operating cost associated with the system leakage.

This is really valuable information not only for the process engineers but also for maintenance planners and corporate accountants. It’s one thing to tell someone, “You’ve got 25% leakage in your system.” They can say, “Yeah, but we are still running okay.” But when we say, “You’ve got 25% leakage in your system, and it’s costing you an additional $250,000 a year in excess power usage,” we have their attention. That’s the kind of information people need to plan outages and maximize efficiency. 

Is Your Boiler Load Limited?

Some customers have a lot of leakage in their system because they are load-limited on the boiler. And if you can’t increase the loads on your boiler, it affects production. So leakage can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars for excess power, but it might point to an even more costly problem that is limiting your production capacity. The IEP can help you understand your boiler’s capacity and identify weak and inefficient problems in your system so that you can make the necessary adjustments to maximize production and profits. 

Plan Your Outage To Stop Leaks

A zero leakage system is always the goal for any draft system, however, in the real world this is not always an attainable reality. You can’t eliminate all the leaks in this kind of system, but you can catch and fix them before they cost you too much money. We quantify the leaks and estimate the repair cost so you can repair them during an upcoming outage. With this kind of testing, you can spend your outage fixing problems instead of finding problems, ensuring your system continuously operates at peak efficiency. 

Ultimately, the repair cost is what it is. A leak won’t fix itself. In fact, it’s only going to get worse. So, apart from following best practices in managing your system and airflow, the best thing you can do to minimize expenses and maximize efficiency is to catch and fix leaks quickly. You save money on power and remove a possible barrier to production capacity. 

Find Your Leaks

Contact ProcessBarron today to schedule your IEP. Our team will conduct airflow testing and thermal drone inspections to pinpoint and quantify problems so you can plan your next outage. Request an IEP quote today to get the information you need to maximize your efficiency and production.