Boiler operation training – Learn how to start a boiler

How to operate a boiler?

The operating procedure of a boiler depends on the type and the manufacturer’s instruction. Yet, there are few common points that should be kept in mind while operating any type of boiler on board a ship. So lets get down to some basic boiler operation training and the general procedures for operating a boiler are as follows.

marine boiler

Before starting the boiler

The following things should be checked thoroughly before starting the boiler:

  • All the up-takes for the exhaust gases should be checked properly for a clear flow and to prevent any kind of obstacle or diversion.All the dampers should be checked for open position. All the vents should also be kept open.
  • All feed water connections, combustion air connections and pressure gauges should be opened or checked for proper working condition
  • Alarms should be checked for sound and proper working condition
  • The connections to the super heater and those in between the super heaters should be opened fully to prevent any kind of disturbance in the steam flow.
  • All the boiler water drains and blow-down cocks should be properly closed.
  • The boiler should only be filled with De-aerated water till slightly below the working level
  • All the header vents should be closed to prevent water leakage
  • Water level in the economizer should be checked and the vents should be shut off after blowing out any trapped air.
  • Forced draft fans should be checked for speed and sound. In case exhaust gas air heaters are provided, the connections to the forced draft fans should be diverted.
  • Fuel oil system should be checked for any closed valves and the fuel oil should be adequately heated before circulation to prevent any kind of pipe blockage.

Starting procedure

  • Firstly, the forced draft fans should be started to purge the system to remove any trapped exhaust gases or oil vapours.
  • All the air slides at different registers should be checked and closed, except the "lightning up" burner.
  • Th operating burner should then be lit for low firing rate and efficient combustion
  • The fuel oil flow should be matched with the speed of the fan to ensure a complete combustion with steady flame.
  • Once the boiler starts and steam starts coming out of the superheater vents, the superheater header vents should be closed.
  • As soon as the pressure reaches 210 kpa, the air drum vents should be closed.
  • The working pressure should be brought up gradually to avoid overheating and damage to refractory material .
  • After the main and auxiliary lines are warmed through, the drains should be closed.
  • All the water level gauges should also be blown through and checked to ensure correct reading.
  • The safety valves should be lifted and released when the pressure is 3 bar below the normal operating value.
  • Once the operating pressure is reached , the boiler should be put on load and the superheater circulatory valves should be closed.
  • All the vents, drains and by passes should also be closed.
  • The water level in the boiler should be properly checked and the cascade system should be monitored for correct operation.

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