Did you know that valves require exercising, including those in your boiler room? For most valves, exercising is fully opening and fully closing a valve. The purpose of this simple exercise is to dislodge corrosion or sediment that will ultimately cause it to seize. Regular exercising should be part of your boiler room maintenance to ensure the valves will last much longer and be operational when needed, possibly during an emergency.
The Different Valves Used
There are many different valves used for various applications in your boiler room. Some valves require more than exercising. The plug valve often found on natural gas service piping requires periodic application of specialized lubricant and exercise to ensure proper operation. Finding a seized plug valve during a natural gas piping repair can result in the natural gas service to the building shut and end up costing a fortune.
The variety of boiler room valves is based on the characteristics of the products transported in the piping. There are one or more valves (s) on all boiler-connected piping, whether it is piping for the drain, fuel (gas/oil), heat (steam/water), or water supply. When servicing room equipment, the associated valves must operate to minimize service cost and duration. Replacing valves in your boiler room is expensive and usually has some considerable outside of the boiler room inconveniences. Ensuring you are maintaining all aspects of your heating system keeps overall costs lower.
A seized isolation valve on the domestic hot water mixing will require the building’s water shut (hopefully this valve works) and draining of domestic water piping. The time it takes to drain the building, shut down its water supply will lead to more expensive emergency boiler services.
A seized valve on the natural gas piping will complicate a potential repair and amplify the price and inconvenience. In New York City and parts of the tri-state area, replacing a natural gas valve before the appliance valve will likely require permits and inspections from the local city agency and utility. Pressure testing may be required, which can lead to extended natural gas service interruptions and repair costs. A focus on boiler maintenance and compliance not only makes sure your system is ready but it also saves you money in the long run.
The examples are almost limitless. Exercise your valves or enroll in a comprehensive boiler maintenance plan with a contractor that will. It is possible that exercising a valve not regularly will cause it to pass or leak from the stem. One possible fix is consistently exercising the valve several times until the passing or leak stops. If the condition persists, the valve may be serviceable with a gasket or packing kit. Worst case scenario, the valve will need to be replaced during the next planned boiler room maintenance shut down.
Adding valve exercising to your regular boiler room maintenance program is the ounce of prevention that always beats the pound of cure.