Corrosion is a threat any time you have a piece of equipment made of metal. There are various types of corrosion, but all can wreak havoc on an essential piece of equipment – especially one that regularly comes in contact with gases and liquids like a boiler system.
Boilers are too expensive not to invest in protecting them from corrosion. Taking steps to guard against corrosion can mean the difference between minor maintenance costs and a bill for a major boiler replacement.
Here is what you need to know to fight boiler corrosion in your plant.
Common Causes of Corrosion
The most common cause of corrosion in boiler tubing is feed water that is improperly untreated and contains contaminants in the form of dissolved oxygen.
Corrosion can also be caused by acidic chemicals, which creates acidic corrosion. The only time these chemicals are usually introduced into a boiler system is when the system is being cleaned and the chemicals are not properly flushed.
The Bottom-Line Costs of Untreated Corrosion
If you don’t manage boiler corrosion, potentially irreparable damage can happen to your boiler system.
This can call for anything from a minor repair of corroded components to a complete overhaul – or, worse, a complete replacement that can run in the millions of dollars in cost. Not to mention, if corrosion gets to the point of a major boiler overhaul, additional downtime will be necessary. This can cost more than the repair itself.
Bottom-line damage can be done before it ever gets to that point, though. Corrosion can result in damage and leaks that reduce the operational productivity and efficiency of your boiler, which will increase your energy costs significantly. These increasing costs can often be one of the first signs that corrosion is affecting the boiler, and by this point the corrosion has already been able to cause damage.
Fighting Back Against Corrosion
In football and war, it’s argued that the best defense is a good offense. In protecting your boiler, it’s the opposite: you go on the offensive against corrosion by defending your boiler with best practices.
Naturally, corrosion is going to occur in some respect because water and metal naturally don’t respond well with each other, but you can mitigate it significantly and make sure your boiler lives to the full length of its operational lifespan by taking one vital step: treating your feed water.
By treating your feed water, you are removing caustic contaminants that will degrade the integrity of your boiler components. Additives can absorb dissolved oxygen before it can reach your boiler’s vitals and protect against corrosion.
You can also defend your boiler by maintaining regular inspections and keeping the boiler clean. Just be careful if you use caustic chemicals to clean the boiler during downtime; mishandled chemicals can be just as devastating to a boiler’s internal surfaces as water, if not moreso.
Keeping a careful eye on your boiler can help you lessen the impact of corrosion and extend the lifespan of your boiler system.