required for the particular test you are making. A hand boiler test pump can be used in building up the hydrostatic test pressure. If you do not have a hand test pump, buildup the required test pressure by continuing to run the feed pump after the boiler has been filled. In any case, be very careful that you do not exceed the specified test pressure. After the boiler is full, it takes very little additional pumping to build up pressure.
To avoid complications arising from changes in pressure caused by changes in temperature, you should use water that is approximately the same temperature as the boiler and the fireroom. In any case, the temperature of the water must be at least 70F.
While the hydrostatic pressure is being built up, the boiler should be very carefully checked for signs of strain or deformation. If there is any indication of permanent deformation, stop the hydrostatic test and make the necessary repairs. If it is not possible to make the repairs right away, give a second hydrostatic test, progressing slowly up to 20 psi less than the pressure at which the first test was stopped. If the boiler passes this second test successfully, the new working pressure of the boiler must be two-thirds of the test pressure reached on the second test, and all safety valves must be set accordingly.
Do not make any attempt to set up on leaky handhole or manhole plates until the pressure has been pumped up to within 50 psi of the test pressure. After all manhole and handhole leakage has been remedied, pump the pressure on up to test pressure. Check the pressure drop over a period of time. If all valves have been baked off, the maximum acceptable pressure drop is 1.5% of the test pressure over a period of 4 hours. If connected valves are merely closed and left installed, a drop test will not indicate the true condition of the boiler. The pressure drop test is conducted at boiler design pressure.
A tube seat should not be considered tight unless it is bone dry at the test pressure. Any tube that cannot be made tight under a hydrostatic test should be renewed or rerolled.
If there is an excessive pressure drop when there is only a slight leakage at tube joints, handholes, and manholes, the loss of pressure is almost certainly caused by leakage through valves and fittings. Valves and fittings should be overhauled and made tight.
At 5-year intervals, each boiler must be inspected for integrity of welds and nozzle connections. Lagging must be removed from drums and headers sufficiently to expose the welded joints and the nozzle connections. The welds and nozzle connections must be inspected visually from both inside and outside. If there is any doubt about the welds, they should be inspected by magnetic particle inspection or dye penetrant inspection. If any area, through examination (visual, magnetic particle, or dye penetrant) reveals that a 150-percent boiler design pressure hydrostatic test is warranted, and the area proves to be tight under test pressure, further investigation of the suspected area should be conducted. The investigation should continue until the true condition of the area is known, and if necessary, appropriate repairs are made.
Boiler firesides should be inspected for signs of damage to the refractory lining, tubes, protection plates, baffles, seal plates, support plates, and other metal parts. This type of inspection is usually conducted when the boiler is secured for fireside cleaning, but it should be conducted each time the boiler is secured.
Frequent inspection of refractories, together with early repair of any weak or damaged places, can do a lot to prevent refractory failure and to postpone the need for complete renewal. It is a good maintenance practice to inspect the refractories every time the boiler is opened up. Such inspections should be very detailed if you have reason to think the boiler has been operated under severe service conditions - steaming at high rates, burning low-grade or contaminated fuel, or undergoing rapid fluctuations of temperature. Severe conditions cause rapid deterioration of refractories and, therefore, increase the need for frequent inspections.
To make a proper inspection of boiler refractories, you should have considerable knowledge of the causes of refractory deterioration. Also, you should know how to tell the difference between serious damage, which may require a complete renewal of brickwork, and less serious damage, which may be dealt with by patching.Continue Reading