You are on page 1of 30

CHAPTER

2
2.1 INTRODUCTION - CHAPTER 2
ASME Section VII, Recommended Guidelines for the Care of
Power Boilers, falls within the purview of the BPV Committee on
Power Boilers (BPV I). There have been no signicant changes to
Section VII for the last several Editions and as of this writing neither
BPV I nor the ASME Board on Pressure Technology Codes and
Standards (BPTCS) have plans to update the document. With that
said, Section VII remains very useful tool for operators of power
boilers to follow. As stated in the Introduction of Section VII:
The purpose of these recommended guidelines is to promote
safety in the use of power boilers. These guidelines are
intended for use by those directly responsible for operating,
maintaining, and inspecting power boilers.
As with other ASME Sections, the nine subsectionsC1C9
of Section VII discuss guidelines for safe, reliable operation as
well as avoiding unsafe conditions in the power boilers.
This chapter is written from the perspective of Owner Operators
personnel experienced in operating, maintaining, and inspecting
industrial and utility power boilers. Certain parts of this chapter are,
in some instances, reiterations of Section VII subsections, which was
done to stress the importance of the information already provided; in
other instances, however, additional information is provided where it
is felt to be warranted. Where there are no comments on a section,
the material is believed to have been covered sufciently to not need
additional clarication. The reader is suggested to review existing
literature, such as manufacturers instructions or company procedures,
for additional pertinent information.
Section VII, along with Section VI [1], contains recommended
practices and thus serves as a guideline. Consequently, it is consid-
ered a nonmandatory standard; however, Section VII does discuss
many activities that the OwnerOperator personnel must master
before a power boiler is commissioned. New personnel, who might
not be familiar with boiler operation, maintenance, and inspection,
can use Section VII as an intro duction to these activities. Expe-
rienced personnel, too, can use Section VII, for they will nd it to
be a good periodic review of the essentials of power boiler opera-
tion, maintenance, and inspection.
Unlike how they treat other Sections of the ASME Boiler and
Pressure Vessel Code, jurisdictional authorities do not adopt Section
VII, so consequently its use does not become mandatory. Nor does
Section VII require interpretations (which are much-needed for the
other sections), for its relative user-friendliness enables any operator
of power boilers to use it in its present state. In light of the relatively
recent emergence of the on demand power availability and con-
sumption requirements, particularly in the United States, many large
industrial boiler operators and also operators of utility size HRSG
boilers are shutting boilers off when not required, even when the off
cycle is for a relatively short period of time. This obviously can
signicantly increase the number of operating cycles, often on boilers
that were not designed for highly cyclic operating conditions. This
changed mode of operation often results in fatigue type failures of var-
ious boiler structural elements. Experience has shown that the majori-
ty of boiler failures are due to misoperation in the eld either due to
improper operator training, or a change in operating conditions, pres-
sured by economics or environmental conditions. Thus, should it be
updated and maintained current, there is an opportunity for Section
VII to become more important to the power generating community.
Most U.S. jurisdictions and all Canadian provincial and territorial
jurisdictions have adopted certain ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel
Code Sections into law. Many have also become members of the
National Board of Boiler and Pressure Vessel Inspectors (NBBI, or
simply the NB). Typically U.S. and Canadian jurisdictions require
new boilers and pressure vessels to be registered with the NBBI and
repairs and alterations to be performed by holders of an NBBI Repair
Symbol Stamp (R-Stamp, or VR-Stamp in the case of pressure relief
valves). This means that all work performed on the pressure-retaining
parts of a boiler must be performed by accredited organizations using
approved material control and repair or alteration methods.
2.2 INTRODUCTION - SECTION VII
The Introduction clearly states that the Section VII guide-
lines apply to power boilers that produce steam for external use
SECTION VIIRECOMMENDED
GUIDELINES FOR THE
CARE OF POWER BOILERS
James T. Pillow, Edmund W. K. Chang and Geoffrey M. Halley
1
1
Edmund W. K. Chang and Geoffrey M. Halley were the authors of
this chapter for the second and third edition that was initially authored by
Edmund W. K. Chang for the rst edition. Editor.
2-2 Chapter 2
at a pressure exceeding 15 psig from the application of heat,
which may come from the combustion of fuels, from various hot
waste gases, or from the application of electrical energy. The
guidelines apply to the boiler proper and to the boiler external
piping as specied in the Code jurisdictional limits diagrams in
ASME Section I, Figs. PG-58.3.1a (given here as Fig. 2.1) and
PG-58.3.2 [2] or in ASME B31.1, Figs. 100.1.2(a) and (b) [3].
(The ASME Section I diagram for drum-boilers is included as
Fig. 2.1.) Furthermore, the reader should note that power boilers,
as they are applied in this guide, do not include Section I-type
locomotive, high-temperature water, and miniature boilers;
Section III-type nuclear power plant boilers; Section IV-type heat-
ing boilers (recommended rules are covered in Section VI [1]);
and Section VIII-type pressure vessels; and marine-type boilers.
The reader should also note that once-through-type boilers are
also not included in the discussions. This chapter claries who
should use Section VII to enable users of excluded boilers to go
to other sources for the needed information.
FIG. 2.1 CODE JURISDICTIONAL LIMITS FOR PIPING: DRUM-TYPE BOILERS (Source: Fig. PG-58.3.1(a), Section I of the ASME
B&PV Code)
COMPANION GUIDE TO THE ASME BOILER & PRESSURE VESSEL CODE 2-3
Section VII guidelines are not covered in detail. However,
Section VII does provide an overview of the activities necessary
for safe, reliable power boiler operation, maintenance, and inspec-
tion. The guidelines stress the importance of the checklist, of
which those in the Appendices are both helpful and essential to
the boilers safe, reliable operation, maintenance, and inspection,
and should be adapted by all OwnerOperators for use in their
own particular installations. (Checklists are discussed in the next
paragraph.) OwnerOperator personnel can become complacent,
believing that they will remember the required steps in any activ-
ity without using a checklista bad habit, for it will in all likeli-
hood create serious consequences in the future. For example, if
less-experienced personnel are required to act as replacements for
the normal boiler operators, they are likely to overlook some cru-
cial item if they do not use checklists.
A checklist is a listing of required activities in which each item
is signed off as it is completed. Although a checklist is not the
procedure, it is as an important tool for ensuring that repetitive
procedures are done correctly by listing the sequence of steps that
must be followed. Many OwnerOperators have assembled com-
pany procedures for the operation, maintenance, and inspection of
power boilers. In some cases, however, the companys procedure
book is kept at a location remote from the operating personnel and
is therefore not readily available if needed. Ideally, these proce-
dures should be under constant review, updated whenever changes
are made to the boiler installation or operating system, and made
readily available to plant personnel.
Throughout Section VII, the reader is reminded to consult the
following:
(1) manufacturers instructions;
(2) the ASME Code Section I;
(3) the National Fire Protection Associations Codes;
(4) the National Board Inspection Code (NBIC);
(5) the Authorized Inspector or Insurance Inspector.
Many OwnerOperators are familiar with the Electric Power
Research Institute (EPRI). Some may be members of EPRI and
thus have access to its publications regarding boiler concerns. Of
these publications, some may be relevant to Section VII guidelines
for which an OwnerOperator requires additional information.
Many independent books have been published as guidelines that
cover the safe, reliable operation, maintenance, and inspection of
power boilers. Unlike Section VII, however, these other guidelines
do not receive ongoing administration and updating, making Section
VII a logical rst reference. Section VII was added to the Boiler and
Pressure Vessel Code in 1926 as a branch of Section I and can be
compared to an attachment operating manual or guide. The title,
Recommended Rules for Care of Power Boilers, remained as such
until the 1980s, when the word Rules was replaced with the more
appropriate word Guidelines. For many years, a separate subcom-
mittee existed to administer Section VII with the greatest attention
focused on large electric-generating system boilers. However, with
declining interest in Section VII, the subcommittee became a sub-
group of the Subcommittee of Power Boilers (now BPV I) in the
1970s, with efforts made toward giving attention to smaller boilers.
Because the care and maintenance practice of boilers changed little
over the years, there was seldom a need to revise Section VII. With
the issue of the 1995 edition, Section VII was no longer listed as a
subgroup; presently, Section VII is still administered by the Section I
Standards Committee and is still issued with new editions of the
Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code.
Deregulation trends in power generation and greater permitting
and citing difculty of new plants add additional problems for
OwnerOperators. The need to extend boiler life requires renewed
emphasis in generating assets management and care of the power
boilers. To help them stay competitive a separate dedicated Section
VII Code Committee subcommittee may be warranted to tend to
the necessary changes and advances. The task of the subcom-
mittee would include taking care of errata and adding new tech-
nology and trends such as heat recovery steam generator
(HRSG) and solar boiler provisions. While a number of editorial
changes have been made, particularly in the 2011a Addenda,
a number of errata and needed clarifications remain. Examples
include FIG. C3.3-1, Typical Tubular Air Heater (i.e., exhaust
gases in is shown entering the hopper drain) and FIG. 6.1-1,
Typical Boiler Water Level Gage Installation (i.e., this figure
does not correlate with the text referencing it). Also, changes to
ASME Section I, PG-60.2.5 and PG-60.4 have yet to be updated
in Subsection C9.
The nine subsectionsC1C9of Section VII are reviewed
individually in this chapter to explain the reasons for which
each subsection exists. Each subsection is presented in sequence
of what would be required for the normal ongoing operation,
maintenance, and inspection of power boilersbeginning with
the fundamentals, then followed by the progression of time
from when a plant is newly started and then ages, requiring
maintenance and inspection to maintain safe, reliable operating
conditions.
The user of these guidelines should note that throughout this
review, ASME Section I, Rules for Construction of Power
Boilers [2], provides rules for the construction of power boilers,
whereas the National Board Inspection Code (NBIC) [4] provides
rules for boilers already placed into service.
The reader of this chapter should particularly note the rst few
sentences of each subsection and subsubsection, for they preface
the basic information to follow.
2.3 FUNDAMENTALSSUBSECTION C1
Section VII is a useful guide for both beginner and experienced
power boiler operating personnel. The Preamble and the Glossary
are both needed in addition to the Fundamentals subsection to
introduce or review common terminology used in Section VII.
Although it is obvious that the brief Fundamentals subsection
does not cover everything, it does attempt to introduce the basic
principles needed to understand the sections that follow. If addi-
tional information is needed, the user should consult such
resources as the boiler and equipment manufacturers installation,
operating, and maintenance manuals. It should be noted that if a
variance exists between the equipment manufacturers instruc-
tions and any other reference, the normal practice is to follow the
manufacturers instructions.
It is important that the boiler is operated in the manner for which
it was designed. For example, a boiler which has been designed for
baseload operation (steady state) may well suffer from fatigue type
problems if operated in a cyclic fashion (swing loaded), due to
varying thermally induced operating stresses. It is therefore impor-
tant that the boiler owner/operator and the manufacturer each have
a clear understanding of the manner in which the boiler is going to
be operated if problems are to be avoided down the road. Similarly
if the operating mode of an existing boiler installation is to be
2-4 Chapter 2
changed signicantly for reasons of economy or environmental
concern, then it would behoove the owner/operator to advise the
manufacturer and seek assistance in minimizing any operational
effects that may impact on boiler life or reliability.
2.3.1 Boiler Types
The Fundamentals subsection states that there are three basic
types of power boilersretube, watertube, and electricand
that these are the types that most operators will be involved with
at some time during their careers. Thus, operators should be
familiar with how the components differ between the three boiler
types to understand their functions and also to communicate intel-
ligently with other personnel. The three types can be further clas-
sied as either package boilers or eld-assembled boilers; retube
boilers and the smaller watertube boilers comprise the package
boiler population, whereas watertube boilers comprise most eld-
assembled boilers. Many references are available for readers to
familiarize themselves with the different boiler and system com-
ponents so that they may perform the operation, maintenance, and
inspection functions in a safe, reliable manner.
The Fundamentals subsection provides the basic facts concern-
ing retube boilers that include the following:
(1) common use is for small capacity, low-pressure applica-
tions in industrial process plants;
(2) they are available in either dryback (refractory) or water-
back construction;
(3) combustion gases pass through the inside of the tubes, with
water surrounding the outside of the tubes; and
(4) they make applying superheaters (when required) more
difcult.
Advantages of this boiler design include its simple construction
and less rigid water treatment requirements. Disadvantages
include the excessive weight per pound of steam generated, the
excessive time required to raise pressure because of the relatively
large vol-ume of water, and the inability to respond quickly to
load changes because of that relatively large volume of water. See
Fig. 2.2 for a typical retube boiler layout.
Electric resistance heating coil boilers are very-low-capacity
boilers and are not addressed further in Section VII. The basic
facts regarding the other type of electric boiler (the electrode
type) include the following:
(1) they use boiler water conductivity to generate the steam;
(2) the insulators supporting the electrodes must be cleaned or
replaced periodically;
(3) high voltages (up to 16 kV) may be used;
(4) protection is needed for ground faults, over current, and
loss of phase.
It should be noted that for item (1) of the preceding list, de-
pending on the design of the electrode boiler and the working volt-
age, the water conductivity required may be very high or very low,
making it imperative that the boiler manufacturers specications
FIG. 2.2 TYPICAL FIRETUBE BOILER LAYOUT (Source: EASCO Boiler Corporation)
COMPANION GUIDE TO THE ASME BOILER & PRESSURE VESSEL CODE 2-5
be adhered to. Minimal references are made to electric boilers in
general, for they have limited use as power boilers.
Watertube boilers comprise most utility power boilers as well
as the majority of the larger high-pressure industrial boilers. Basic
facts include the following:
(1) water ows inside the tube and the combustion gases ow
on the outside;
(2) lower unit weight of boiler per pound of steam generated;
(3) less time is required to raise steam pressure;
(4) greater exibility for responding to load changes;
(5) greater ability to operate at high rates of steam generation;
and
(6) close control of boiler water chemistry is required.
Throughout the rest of the Section VII subsections, the reader
should remember that the circulation of water through a natural
circulation boiler depends solely on the difference in the weight
of the steamwater mixture in the generating or waterwall tubes
and the weight of the water in the downcomers. Figure C 1.2-2
(Steam Drum with Tubes) is a basic diagram showing a simple
natural circulation loop and is presented as Fig. 2.3 in this chap-
ter. As the water is heated in the generating or waterwall tubes,
steam bubbles are formed and the heated steamwater mixture
rises through the tubes from the force of the weight of the
denser, unheated water in the downcomers, thereby establishing
circulation.
Considering the natural circulation concept applied to actual
conditions, take for example an older tangent-tube waterwall
boiler. The waterwall tubes reside surfaces should not be cov-
ered with any refractory to repair or prevent hot spots caused by
the deteriorated outer sealing refractory. If refractory is applied
on the reside surfaces contrary to original design, the natural
circulation in the refractory-covered tubes may be affected, pos-
sibly leading to deposit buildup in sloped tube sections and to
problems with tube expansion and contraction and causing dam-
age at the tube-to-header connections.
Another example is a boiler in which the outer insulation has
fallen out in places and the condition is neglected rather than
repaired. By understanding the fundamentals, it is obvious that
the natural circulation may be adversely affected. If the insulation
is missing in the upper areas, cooling may occur, making the uid
inside the tubes heavier. In addition, for tangent-tube waterwalls
the covered tube may expand and contract differently from adja-
cent uncovered tubesa difference that, if the tube-to-header
connections are rolled and seal-welded, may cause the connec-
tions to loosen. The boiler operator personnel must be aware that
the natural circulation ow rate will differ throughout the boiler.
This is especially helpful when evaluating boiler tube failures.
The longer water ow circuit with multiple tube bends will de-
nitely have less ow. This will promote deposit formation inside
the tubes and most likely resulting in tube metal overheating.
The Fundamentals subsection further emphasizes that to ensure
that unimpaired natural circulation is continued, the required level
of water must be maintained in the steam drum at all times. An
unacceptably low steam drum water level can reduce the natural
circulation ow rate to a level that may cause the generating or
waterwall tubes to overheat. National Board Statistical data on the
causes of boiler accidents spread over many years shows that
failure of the low-water fuel-cutoff device from lack of proper
maintenance is the most common cause of boiler accidents. The
low-water fuel-cutoff device must be maintained in good working
condition on all types of boilers to ensure that, while the boiler is
operating, the water level does not drop to an unsafe level. This
fact should be remembered when the reader reviews other sub-
sections that cover water level.
The importance of the steam drum of watertube boilers in sepa-
rating the steam from the steam-water mixture will be more easily
understood after reviewing the steam drum cross-sectional views
in Figs. C1.2-3(a) and (b) (Steam Drum Internals), which are
given here in this chapter as Figs. 2.4 and 2.5, respectively. As
mentioned, the upside-down Fig. C1.2-3b Steam Drum Internals
Double-Row Arrangement, Cyclone Separator Type was an exam-
ple why Section VII should be reviewed more frequently and
updated along with Section I. Of all the different watertube boiler
components, the steam drum has the most parts, of which the
design differs from manufacturer to manufacturer. Operating and
maintenance personnel must understand the function of each part
to effectively operate, maintain, and inspect a power boiler. In
some designs, the crawl space is so tight that the drum internal
parts should be removed during each overhaul outage to ensure
that the internal parts near the middle of the drum are not loose,
defective, or missing.
The steam drum is also a critical element of boiler internal
inspection. During retube boiler inspections, the shell, furnace,
tubesheets, and the rear waterwall of water-backed boilers are
important inspection areas. By inspecting inside the steam- and/or
mud drums of watertube boilers, or inside the shell and outside
the furnace and ue tubes of retube boilers, a good assessment
of boiler water chemistry (or treatment) is obtained. Access must
be provided for a thorough inspection to be made in all the afore-
mentioned areas.
Feedwater enters the steam drum below the normal water level.
In most watertube designs, the feedwater is directed toward the
downcomers to minimize the ow of steam bubbles to them,
which would reduce the head available to maintain natural circu-
lation. If the incoming feedwater enters at the ends of the steam
drum without a distribution system, the feedwater somehow has
to be able to distribute evenly throughout the drum length to
ensure that downcomers have nearly equal amount of water to cir-
culate. This will help ensure good circulation is established to
prevent overheating. In retube boilers feedwater is directed
along the inside of the shell away from any heated surfaces,
which minimizes the possibility of any damaging thermal effects
caused by cool-water impinging on the hot furnace or ue tubes.
FIG. 2.3 NATURAL CIRCULATION FOR STEAM DRUM WITH
TUBES (Source: Fig. C1.2-2, Section VII of the ASME B&PV
Code)
2-6 Chapter 2
Another example to show why maintenance and inspection per-
sonnel should be familiar with the different boiler parts is that, in
certain steam drum designs, several small nozzles come off the
feedwater pipe and are directed downward toward the downcom-
ers. Sometimes the maintenance personnel did not remove the
internals for access and so did not know that some of these noz-
zles were missing; in other cases, the maintenance personnel did
not understand the function of these nozzles and therefore did not
list the missing nozzles on a punchlist.
The steam drum deection bafes are another component used
to aid in separating the steam from the steam-water mixture that
enters the drum with which the operating, maintenance, and ins-
pection personnel should be familiar. As the steam-water mixture
enters the steam drum from the heated risers, the deection bafes
help separate the water from the mixture by directing the water
to the downcomers as free of steam bubbles as possible. These
deection bafes are designed so that individual pieces can be
passed through the drum manhole for removal or replacement. The
pieces are held in place by brackets, welded studs, and acorn-type
nutsthe latter covering the ends of the studs to slow the corro-
sion process. Many parts are needed, all of which should be in
good condition. Maintenance and inspection personnel should be
fully aware that loose parts can break away, causing ow restric-
tions or preventing the proper separation of steam and water. The
basic criterion is that the boilers natural circulation is aided by
keeping the steam separate from the water inside the steam drum.
Additional information is helpful here or in section C4.600
Blowdown to add to an inspection checklist that the continuous
blowdown piping (CBD) shown in Fig. 2.4 should be inspected to
ensure that the pipe holes are in the correct orientation and spaced
properly. Inspection personnel should be wary that the pipe holes
are normally positioned at the top of the pipe so deposits are
sucked in at the top and collected on the bottom to be drained out.
The piping should be cleaned out during outages. Obviously, this
aids in the boiler water chemistry to control conductivity and
deposits.
If chemical feed piping is provided, the pipe holes orientation
and spacing also needs to be checked along with holes plugging.
The holes are normally placed on the underside of the pipe.
2.3.2 Combustion
The Fundamentals subsection reviews the following basic
requirements for combustion: fuel, oxygen, and heat. Coal, oil,
and gas are the most common fuels used in boilers.
Although nonammable, oxygen is needed to support the com-
bustion of fuels. (Air is approximately 21% oxygen and 78%
nitrogen.) One should remember that even though nitrogen carries
away heat and makes no contribution to the overall combustion
process, it does react with oxygen to form nitric oxide (NO
X
)
FIG. 2.4 STEAM DRUM INTERNALS: BAFFLE-TYPE (Source: Fig. C1.2-3(a), Section VII of the ASME B&PV Code)
FIG. 2.5 STEAM DRUM INTERNALS: CYCLONE SEPARA-
TORTYPE (Source: Fig. C1.2-3(b), Section VII of the ASME
B&PV Code)
COMPANION GUIDE TO THE ASME BOILER & PRESSURE VESSEL CODE 2-7
compounds that are limited by environmental regulations. More
air for the combustion beyond the recommendations of burner
manufacturers normally reduces boiler efciency. Heat is required
to raise the fuel to its kindling or ignition temperature.
Probably the most useful information covered in this section is
the discussion about coal and oil and the need for maximizing the
fuel surface area exposed to air for faster, more complete burning.
The combustion of coal is improved by crushing or grinding the
coal into small particles and by creating turbulence with the air
supplied to thoroughly mix the fuel and air. The combustion of oil
is improved by atomizing the oil into a very ne mist and by cre-
ating turbulence with the air supplied, again to promote thorough
mixing. Fuel oil is atomized either mechanically with the high-
pressure drop across the oil-gun tip or by using steam or air to
create an emulsion that is then subjected to a shearing action at
the nozzle tip.
The Fundamentals subsection provides only the very basic
information about the combustion process. The reader should
consult other references to fully understand the process.
2.3.3 Boiler Efciency
Boiler operators should understand the fundamentals of boiler
efciency, particularly as fuel prices increase, and they can opti-
mize fuel usage by knowing what factors affect boiler efciency.
Stack losses are the predominant factor affecting boiler efciency.
Stated simply, boiler efciency is dependent on how much of the
heating value of the fuel is lost as either sensible heat or by incom-
plete combustion. Sensible heat loss is the heat content of the vari-
ous stack gas components (primarily nitrogen, carbon dioxide,
oxygen, and water vapor) that, upon traveling up a stack, are lost
to the atmospherea loss that may be caused by the oversupply of
excess air, by moisture in the fuel, or by humidity in the air.
It is important to remember that (as stated previously) air is
about 78% nitrogen and 21% oxygen. Nitrogen does not support
combustion; it travels up a stack with any unused oxygen and
helps to cool the boiler ame. The more excess air, the more heat
nitrogen traveling up a stack takes with it. Moisture in the fuel,
enhanced by ambient air humidity, becomes superheated steam
traveling as the fuel burns; it too is lost to the atmosphere upon
traveling up a stack. This section briey mentions that hydrogen
in this moisture also combines with available oxygen, to form
superheated steam, which makes less oxygen available for the
combustion process. This steam travels up a stack with the heat
normally used for the water in the tubes.
The cleanliness of boiler tubes both inside and out and of air
preheaters whether tubular or regenerative affects boiler efciency.
External cleaning of watertube boiler tubes is performed with
timely sootblowing. Steam sootblowing should only be done when
necessary. Excessive steam sootblowing will lead to an over use of
steam requiring additional water makeup and heating. Maintaining
clean watertube boiler tube interior is accomplished with proper
boiler water chemistry and occasional cleaning either chemically
or mechanically.
Another contributor to the loss of fuel heating value is incomplete
combustion. The subsection states simply that poor mixing of fuel
and air causes it, as does a lack of sufcient air supply. Poor mixing
in oil-red boilers may be attributed to poor atomization and the
poor mixing action of the fuel and oxygen. A sufcient supply of air
(which denotes a sufcient supply of oxygen) means a delicate bal-
ance of air. Too little air produces unburned hydrocarbons and may
cause ame instability, whereas too much air may allow an exces-
sive amount of heat to be lost up a stack into the atmosphere.
Including more basic information is helpful to understand why
a component is important. This information is helpful here or in
section C3.240 Oil Systems. For example, the ames of oil-red
burners must provide as complete combustion as possible.
Optimum ame condition of traditional burners is affected by
conditions of atomizer and refractory throat, position of the air
register or damper, and orientation of swirlers or stabilizers. See
Fig. 2.6 Simple Circular Oil Burner. The atomizer helps break
down the oil into smaller particles for the mixing with air.
Atomizers wear out and need to be replaced regularly. The bell-
mouth shaped refractory throat help create the aerodynamic con-
ditions for proper ame shape and combustion. Deteriorated
refractory or incorrect throat contour and dimensions will affect
ame shape and satisfactory combustion and should be inspected
regularly. The air register or damper delivers air into the burner
with the desired amount of rotation and velocity and helps control
the ame shape. Throttling the air register door produces a higher
rotary velocity of air through the burner, increases the rapidity of
combustion and tends to shorten the ame. The swirler or stabilizer
further creates rotation of air around a turbulent ame resulting in
laminarization of the jet ow and improves ame stability.
Understanding the function of the components will help the boiler
operator recognize why the components must be in satisfactory
condition and properly installed for optimum boiler efciency.
Although not mentioned in Section VII, the heat rate is com-
monly used to measure efciency in utility plantsa measure that
simply determines how much energy or fuel must be burned to
produce a certain amount of electrical energy that can be sold.
The units of heat rate are measured in Btu/kWh. This efciency
performance pertains to the power plant, not just to the boiler.
Industrial boiler efciency is typically expressed as output divided
by input. The ASME Performance Test Code PTC 4, Fired Steam
Generators, covers the testing methods.
The Fundamentals subsection provides basic information that
fosters thinking and helps to explain why and how power boiler
components function.
2.4 BOILER OPERATION
SUBSECTION C2
This may be the most useful subsection for boiler-operating
personnel. Despite this subsections title, however, maintenance,
inspection, and engineering personnel will also nd reading this
subsection to be of valueeither as new knowledge or as a
refresher for existing knowledge.
Again, the reader is reminded that one purpose of Section VII
is to help the OwnerOperator achieve safe, reliable power boiler
operation. This short subsection provides boiler-operating proce-
dures mainly for new boilers, but it can also be applied to inser-
vice boilers to help provide safe, reliable operation. It is stressed
that written procedures and checklists should be developed and
used by operating, maintenance, and inspection personnel.
This subsection provides most of the information necessary to
develop step-by-step boiler-operating procedures for the individual
stages of operation. The Preparing for Operation section pro-
vides just a sampling of sections called checklists: for example,
Safety Checklist for Inspection, Waterside Checklist, Fireside
Checklist, and External Checklist. The other sections of the
Boiler Operation subsection, although they lack the title Check-
list, can also be easily adapted for checklists used by operating,
maintenance, and inspection personnel.
2-8 Chapter 2
Because of the heavy volume of information to remember in
the safe, reliable operation of a boiler, relying on memory alone
would be foolish. It is hoped that boiler operator readers will
review existing procedures, or else develop their own procedures
and checklists after they review Section VII.
2.4.1 Operator Training
Some jurisdictions require qualied boiler operators or compe-
tent attendants of power boilers. As a minimum to be qualied,
the operator may be required to be familiar with the Section VII
contents. As the Boiler Operation subsection and the rest of
Section VII are reviewed, the reader will see that valuable infor-
mation is provided for safe, reliable power boiler operation, and
will also see that the Section VII contents can be adapted to
develop boiler operator training courses and examinations.
The Operator Training section is short and clearly written.
Safe, reliable operation does depend largely on the skill and atten-
tiveness of the operating personnel. In some plants, the operating
and maintenance personnel can be the same persons. Operator
training and retraining is a must, and operator attitude must be
one of attentiveness.
Operator training should include a knowledge of fundamentals
such as that which is presented in the Fundamentals subsection.
To have an appreciation of his or her job, and also for the encour-
agement of attentiveness, the operator should understand why cer-
tain functions are required to be performedan understanding
that may help prevent accidents or damage to the boiler. Operator
training should also include familiarity with equipment, in which
ones knowledge will develop with on-the-job experience and
periodic refresher training, and ones pride in work and attentive-
ness is fostered.
This section reminds the user that following the manufactur-
ers instructions enhances his or her operating and maintenance
skills. Some manufacturers issue periodic service bulletins to
alert the OwnerOperator of experiences indicating that
modications or corrections to his or her equipment may be nec-
essary. Plant supervisors should ensure that these changes are
communicated to operating and maintenance personnel. It is par-
ticularly important that product-recall bulletins on component
parts be directed to the appropriate personnel and then followed.
Many reference books have been written about boiler operations,
and interactive computer programs have been developed to assist
with continuous training.
This section also mentions that the written procedures prepared
before and during the commissioning period are of special impor-
tance. As was stressed previously, procedures and checklists are
extremely important for all stages of boiler operation, but just
having them is not enough; the procedures and checklists must be
used and revised whenever necessary. Unfortunately, many proce-
dures and checklists are published into books that are rarely used.
It is recommended that a periodic review of operating procedures
be handled in the same way that safety programs are handled.
FIG. 2.6 SIMPLE CIRCULAR OIL BURNER
COMPANION GUIDE TO THE ASME BOILER & PRESSURE VESSEL CODE 2-9
Safety training and refresher training classes become mandatory
to help ensure that personnel will be conditioned to practice safe
work habits and to show regulators that the company is serious in
preventing workplace accidents. Unless there are laws with seri-
ous consequences to lawbreakers specic work practices, such as
following operating procedures and use of checklists, will usually
not be practiced. In addition, as with safety programs, at a mini-
mum a review of operating procedures should be performed annu-
ally with quizzes included to encourage attentiveness and to
demonstrate that an ongoing training program is established for
the record.
2.4.2 Other General Guidelines
This section continues with reminders and preludes of precau-
tions covered in more detail in subsequent subsections. Here again
these precautions should be covered in the users procedures and
checklists. To prevent explosions, there is a constant reminder for
one to purge the reside of the boiler, during which the proper
water level and the proper furnace pressure must be maintained.
Clearance for boiler expansion must also be maintained.
Section C2.140, Maintaining Proper Furnace Pressure, men-
tions that boilers with positive pressure furnaces have furnace
pressure varying from 5 in. to 25 in. of water (1.3 kPa to 6.2 kPa)
as the boiler operates from minimum to maximum, and that
design pressure of furnaces rarely exceeds 28 in. of water because
of the cost of reinforcing the furnace wall support system. Boiler
operators can be misinformed when changing their alarm and trip
setpoints for high furnace pressure. The boiler manufacturer spec-
ications may state that the furnace is designed to withstand an
internal pressure (furnace design pressure) of 26.5 in. of water
gage with no permanent deformation of the furnace buckstay sys-
tem and as recommended by the National Fire Protection
Association (NFPA) standard NFPA-85, Boiler and Combustion
Systems Hazards Code. The boiler operator may be confronted
with the nagging problem of high furnace pressure caused be
dirty air preheater baskets and believe that he can change the high
furnace pressure trip setpoint to as high as 26 in. of water.
However, they may be unaware that the boiler manufacturers
design terminology may have a different meaning.
For one boiler manufacturer the furnace design pressure is
really the furnace yield point. They design the furnace with a
margin of safety between expected maximum operating furnace
pressure and the pressure at which the furnace begins to yield and
suffer permanent deformation, which may be 60 percent of the
yield point. The boiler operator should, therefore, follow a trip
setpoint of 16 in. of water or 60 percent of 26.5 in. of water (fur-
nace yield point).
According to design practice, the furnace yield point must be at
least equal to or greater than the forced draft (FD) fan capacity. If
the FD fan capacity is 26.5 in. of water, the furnace yield point
must be at least equal to this to withstand the maximum pressure
the FD fan can supply. However, this is not a safe operating pres-
sure. For example, in a worst-case situation of a run-away-fan,
the unit must trip long before the yield point or possibly suffer
permanent damages to waterwalls and points beyond. In addition,
since control systems may not function instantaneously it would
be risky to have the trip setpoint so close to the furnace yield
point. Before changing high furnace pressure alarm and trip set-
points, the boiler operator must know and understand the furnace
design practices and the risks.
A general list of reference resources is provided for use as
power boiler guidelines. In addition to the organizations listed in
those references, persons with access to EPRI and NBBI literature
may nd the information provided by these organizations highly
useful. This section reminds readers that most types of opera-
tional problems have previously occurred and that certain prob-
lems can be avoided by learning from the combined knowledge
and experiences of these resources.
2.4.3 Preparing for Operation
Once the new power boiler is erected or installed, it is time for
one to prepare for its operation. This section provides the check-
list format to ensure that nothing is missed before the res are
started. The rst reminder is related to jurisdictional inspection
requirements; states (U.S.), provinces (Canada), and some cities
have different inspection requirements, for some follow the provi-
sions of the NBBI, others require installation permits, and still
others require operating permits. The reader should note that a
permit is generally required from the local air pollution control
authority before the commencement of construction or installa-
tion, and as one of the rst steps in preparing for operation, the
responsible OwnerOperator must be knowledgeable of local
jurisdictional requirements. In most cases, the Authorized
Inspection Agency will assist the OwnerOperator with the
inspection and permit requirements.
The next reminder is chemical cleaning. (Internal cleaning is
also covered in Subsection C8, Control of Internal Chemical
Conditions.) For new power boilers, both alkaline boilout and
solvent or acid cleaning is necessary. The alkaline boilout is for
removing grease and oils; the solvent or acid cleaning, for remov-
ing rust and mill scales.
Section VII does not mention steam blowing as one of the pre-
liminary steps. New boilers with separate superheat or reheat sec-
tions usually include steam blow to remove manufacturing mill
scale and erection debris in these steam circuits to prevent dam-
age to downstream components such as the turbine. For in-service
boilers when superheat and reheat tube replacements are required,
steam blow may or may not be necessary depending on the
condence in the fabricator and erector leaving the tube free of
debris.
The following are brief synopses gathered from the preopera-
tional checklists presented in this section. Readers are reminded
to pay particular attention to the details of this section, for the
information as provided is good for training. These preoperational
checklists are preludes to the discussion in Subsection C6,
Inspection.
Safety Checklist for Inspectionfor the safety of inspecting
personnel entering the boiler. Part 2, Inspection, of the NBIC
provides useful guidelines to follow that consider inspection
to be the primary business of the NBBI, and it also stresses
the importance of lockout and tagout procedures [4].
Waterside Checklistto ensure that the accessible internals
are free of erection and/or manufacturing debris, with the
inclusion of precautions related to relocated or inservice
power boilers. The checklist includes inspecting the inside of
steam- and mud-drums for deposits, loose or missing parts,
and erosion-corrosion. In addition, similar comments apply to
the shell internals of retube boilers.
Fireside Checklistto cover the inspection of ducts, ues,
furnaces, windboxes, and vestibules. The discussion includes
looking for overheating in relocated or inservice power boil-
ers. Common areas to inspect are given as well. Dirty boilers
2-10 Chapter 2
or internal tube deposits at high-heat ux areas or where
burner ame impingement can occur can be inspected visu-
ally by using a ashlight beam directed parallel to the outside
of the tube surfaces, or they can be inspected by touch (e.g.,
sliding the hand over the tube surfaces to feel for bulges or
blistering along the reside surfaces). The noting of defects
during inspection is stressed rather than relying on memory
until the end of the inspection.
External Checklistfor use especially with new power boil-
ers. The inspection includes, for example, ensuring that free
access to burner equipment exists, as well as removing any
temporary shipping or construction restraints, verifying free
expansion, verifying that all instrumentation and controls are
operational, and checking that personnel protection from hot
surfaces is provided. When saying that Piping should be free
to move from cold to hot position, operations and mainte-
nance personnel should be aware that any high energy piping,
such main steam piping, should be oating, except at the des-
ignated rigidly supported areas. Routine inspection of the
constant and variable spring supports should indicate no
topped or bottomed out conditions of the spring supports.
Safety valve outlet guidelines are also provided, for the outlet
part of the safety valve is not designed to hold the pressures
seen at the inlet, thereby necessitating precautions when
attaching the discharge piping. The rule provided here is that
the safety valve should not support a weight exceeding the
weight of a short elbow and drip pan or a comparable weight,
and when one is in doubt, he or she should consult the safety
valve manufacturer. For safety valves outdoors, wind load can
add stress to the valve, especially if, the discharge piping
exceeds the short elbow and drip pan criteria. The proper
location of the safety valve discharge away from potentially
deleterious positions (i.e., where it could cause injury or
property damage) is also stressed.
The subject of hydrostatic testing completes the Preparing for
Operation section. It should be remembered that all jurisdictions
do not follow the same rules. For example, many jurisdictions
who have adopted ASME Section I requirements [2] may or
may not have adopted the NBIC requirements [4]. Therefore,
the boiler operator must rst be aware of his or her jurisdictions
requirements. ASME Section I requirements apply to new con-
struction or new boilers, whereas the NBIC requirements apply to
inservice boilers. When the boiler passes the hydrostatic test and
the manufacturers data report is signed by the Authorized
Inspector, repairs become the responsibility of the NBIC [4];
however, for both Section I and the NBIC, usually an Authorized
Inspector is required to witness the hydrostatic testing. Where
permitted by the jurisdiction, the boiler operator who holds an NB
Owner/User Inspection Organization accreditation may permit his
or her NB Owner/User Commissioned Inspector to witness the
hydrostatic testing after weld repairs are completed.
This section recommends that new power boilers be subjected
to a hydrostatic test of 1.5 times the design pressure. However, for
a boiler in service for an extended time period, such a hydrostatic
test is unreasonable because of advanced age and normal deterio-
ration. A provision of Part 2, Inspection, of the NBIC addresses
use of a pressure test at the discretion of the Inspector. The
method used for the test is to be as agreed by the owner-user and
the Inspector. This provision goes on to say that pressure tests for
repairs or alterations are to be in accordance with Part 3, Repair
and Alterations, of the NBIC. It should be noted that the purpose
of the hydrostatic test is to verify component tightness and to
check for gross design errors; it is not a proof test.
This section defines the normal, good practices in preparing
for the hydrostatic test, such as using new gaskets and ensuring
that the pressure gage has been recently calibrated. For safety
valves welded in place on high-pressure boilers, either gags or
hydrostatic test plugs are recommended. This section recom-
mends the use of test plugs for high-pressure boilers over 2,000
psig design pressure because of the possibility of misapplied
gags damaging the safety valve seat or spindle. It is recom-
mended that gags not be fully tightened until the hydrostatic
pressure reaches 80% of operating pressurethe same recom-
mendation given for inservice testing of safety valves to prevent
damage to the seat and spindle caused by thermal expansion.
(Safety valves are covered in more detail in Subsection C4,
Appurtenances.)
The Testing section discusses water temperature; the use of
deaerated, distilled, or demineralized water in nondrainable sec-
tions; the venting out of all air; the inspecting during the test; and
the returning of the boiler to its normal operating condition after
the test. The reminders provided in this section are useful and
appropriate as items for a checklist.
ASME Section I [2] species that the water temperature should
not be less than the ambient temperature, but in no case should it be
less than 70F. This minimum temperature prevents a brittle fracture
failure during the pressure test and, to a lesser degree, minimizes any
false leak indications from atmospheric humidity-induced metal
sweating. A maximum temperature of 120F is specied for the
safety of the Inspectors during close-up inspections if any leaks
occur.
It is noted that all air should be vented or removed from the
system before applying pressure. Air is compressible; as such, air
in the system will make applying and holding the test pressure
difcult. Safety is also a concern, for compressed air can be
explosive and dangerous to those performing the inspection.
2.4.4 Starting Up
This section provides many items that can be used in a check-
list format before starting up a new or inservice boiler and that
also act as good reminders. Placing the information in checklist
form simplies its use and ensures that important steps are not
missed. Relevant information to put into checklist form should
include verifying the following:
(1) that instrumentation and protective devices are operable;
(2) that valves are in good working condition and in the correct
open or closed position;
(3) that gage glasses are illuminated (if required) and function-
ing properly;
(4) that safety valves are free to operate and expand;
(5) that the main steam-stop valve stem will not be damaged by
thermal expansion stresses;
(6) that fans and boiler feed pumps are ready for service; and
(7) that the chemical injection system is operable.
In installations heavily reliant on computerized controls, boiler
operators still must provide at least one operable gage glass. Note
that ASME Section I, PG-60.1: Water Level Indicators, states
the following: When both remote level indicators are in reliable
operation, the remaining gage glass may be shut off, but shall be
COMPANION GUIDE TO THE ASME BOILER & PRESSURE VESSEL CODE 2-11
maintained in serviceable condition [2]. The use of the gage glass
is especially important during start-up when verifying the water
level at the gage glass instead of monitoring the remote level indi-
cators provides more ensurance.
This section reminds the reader of an often neglected or forgot-
ten fact: that ASME Section I, PG-60.3.7, species that shut-off
valves between boiler and gage glasses be locked or sealed open
[2]. PG-67.3.7 goes on to explain that the valves need not be
locked and sealed open under certain conditions: the boiler maxi-
mum allowable working pressure (MAWP) does not exceed 250
psig (1.7 MPa); the boiler is not hand red or red with solid fuel
in suspension; the burner control system stops fuel supply and r-
ing if the valves are not in the open position; and the minimum
valve size is NPS 1. This specication is obviously attributed to
the high importance of water level, especially if the remote level
indicators should fail.
Another useful reminder pertains to the main steam-stop valve
stem being eased up just enough to reduce thermal expansion
stresses. This information may be applied to repairs when a valve
is welded and the welds are heat-treated. Some maintenance per-
sonnel may be unaware of what is required: for example, leaving
the valve seat and stem closed may damage them.
The discussion moves in sequence from Establishing Water
Level, to Light-Off, and to Going On-Line. The boiler opera-
tor can develop written step-by-step start-up procedures from the
information provided. If the boiler operator already has such pro-
cedures, the information provided here can be used as a compari-
son to possibly improve existing procedures.
A basic Establishing Water Level procedure to which details
can be added includes the following:
(1) drum vent opened;
(2) economizer drains closed;
(3) superheater and main steamline drains opened;
(4) header vents opened;
(5) the boiler-feedwater line is lled; and
(6) safe, observable minimum water level is maintained.
There is a reminder in this section that the water temperature
should be as close as possible to the drum and header metal tem-
peratures to protect the thick-walled drum from excessive tempera-
ture stresses and also to prevent leaks in rolled-tube joints. The
boiler manufacturer species the temperature deviation limits: for
example, 100F (38C) between drum top and bottom and/or 100F
(38C) between inside and outside surfaces of the drum. The pro-
cedure must follow the boiler manufacturers requirements.
The Light-Off procedure may include the following:
(1) Light off and operate the specied burners that produce the
most uniform gas temperature distribution leaving the fur-
nace (furnace exit gas temperature, or FEGT). In many
cases, the specied burner may be the lower-middle burner
of a single-wall burner boiler.
(2) Maintain the water level within safe limits by feeding or
blowing down while the pressure is raised.
(3) Maintain the rate-of-pressure increase to keep within the
thick-metal-temperaturespecied gradients and the maxi-
mum metal temperatures for superheater elements.
(4) Close the drum vents when the steam pressure reaches
25 psig (172 kPa). Nondrainable superheater vents shall be
left opened to permit condensation to boil out.
(5) Check the free expansion of the boiler.
(6) Test the water column and gage glasses by operating the
drain valve.
(7) Test the safety valve by using a lift-assist device.
The reader is also reminded in this section that the curing (or
drying out) of new refractory is performed during the start-up
period. If proper curing and ring process is not followed, the new
refractory may spall or crack due to moisture in the refractory
turning to steam and expanding in the refractory. It is wise to fol-
low the refractory manufacturers instructions. This will minimize
refractory damage, and consequently, boiler hot spots during oper-
ation. This curing period may take from 48hr. to 1wk. to complete.
2.4.5 On-Line Operation
This section reminds the on-line operator which conditions
need to be monitored for the safe, reliable operation of a power
boiler. Boiler-operating procedures, if not already in existence,
can be adapted and developed further from this section. In addi-
tion, modications can be made to t the boiler operators experi-
ences. Maintenance, inspection, and engineering groups may use
this section to verify that a boiler is operating properly, for the
basic information provided in this section can be applied to any
boiler operation. A separate checklist may be assembled starting
with the waterside operation.
2.4.5.1 Waterside Operation Although feedwater treatment is
very important, its title is misleading. Feedwater is about half of
the water cycle; the other half is obviously boiler water. However,
it is agreed that a competent feedwater and boiler-water chemist or
engineer should prepare instructions for feedwater and boiler-
water treatment. If the boiler operator cannot justify having a water
chemist on his or her staff, then he or she must provide in addition
to the necessary chemicals all pertinent water chemistry instruc-
tions, training, and monitoring by means of companies specializ-
ing in this type of service. This subject is discussed further in
Subsection C8, Control of Internal Chemical Conditions.
Undesirable operating conditions are also reviewed in this sec-
tion, among which are the following:
(1) oil in the boiler water;
(2) low water level; and
(3) high water level.
In addition to informing the reader who knows that the fuel
should be shut off under extreme conditions, this section provides
other helpful information. When faced with the water level not
being visible in the gage glass, one is recommended as a rst step
to blow down the water column or gage glass to determine
whether the level is above or below the visible range. However, if
a water-level indicator and a level recorder are available for
comparisonand if the levels are in agreementblowing down
may not be necessary. As a second step, one is recommended to
shut off the fuel and air while continuing to feed the water.
Guidelines are presented for the high-water-level emergency.
Under the aforementionedand otheremergency conditions,
the question may arise if the operating personnel are satisfactorily
equipped and trained to react immediately and properly. The
boiler operator must ask him- or herself this question constantly;
moreover, he or she must have a program that ensures a proper
response to emergency conditions. The solution may be regular
training of personnel, a periodic review of procedures, or the use
of readily available checklists.
2-12 Chapter 2
2.4.5.2 Leaks As stated several times previously, Section VII is
helpful to operating, maintenance, inspection, and engineering per-
sonnel. For some persons, it provides new information; for other
(more experienced) persons, it is a useful review. This section
describes the steps to be taken if a serious tube failure in a water-
tube boiler occurs, among which the following are recommended:
(1) shut off the fuel ow;
(2) shut down the fans;
(3) shut off the feedwater supply.
The question of whether the boiler can continue to remain in
service if small leaks are discovered in waterwall areas is
addressed, to which this sections response is yes if the water
makeup is sufcient. However, other questions not addressed
include the following:
(1) Is the tube leak stream eroding or cutting adjacent tubes or
headers?
(2) Will the tube leak cause starvation and overheating of the
leaking tube downstream of the leak?
(3) Will damage be caused to other components if there is sub-
sequent wet y-ash plugging, causing channeling of gas-
ows?
(4) Will there be additional chemicals fed as makeup that can
cause underdeposit-type corrosion?
(5) Is the leak close enough to a burner that if the leak enlarges
it could possibly extinguish the ame?
An experienced engineer should review the considerations in
the foregoing list. When load demands are critical, operators
have been known to operate a boiler with leaking tubes for
days. Many of the foregoing considerations also apply to
retube boilers; however, it has been noted that occasionally
leaking tubes have been xed temporarily by applying a steel
conical plug at each end of the leaking tube. This type of x is
considered potentially dangerous, however, and is discouraged
because of the serious injuries that have occurred from this
practice.
Finding larger tube leaks is not a problem for most boiler oper-
ators. Indications of leaks normally include the following:
(1) high makeup water;
(2) excessive use of water treatment chemicals;
(3) visibility of leaks from observation ports;
(4) water coming from hoppers or from insulation; and
(5) white-vapor stack plumes.
Small leaks may continue undetected for a long time.
Ash removal is not addressed here except to say that Section
VII can be enhanced and provide better understanding by adding
pictures of the systems described.
2.4.6 Out-of-Service Operation
The operation cycle is completed with the shutting down of
the boilerin this case, a controlled shutdown. An orderly
procedure can be written on the basis of this section.
Manufacturers instructions should be consulted to ensure that
all details are covered.
It has been stressed throughout this chapter that comprehensive
operating, maintenance, and inspection information is provided in
ASME Section VII. From the information provided in the Out-of-
Service section, considerations for a controlled shutdown may
include the following activities:
(1) For oil and gas ring, reduce the load to the minimum sta-
ble ring rate. Coal ring requires placing igniters in ser-
vice until the mill runs until empty.
(2) For oil and gas ring, trip the fuel shut-off valves at the
appropriate time. Close all manual valves at the burners
immediately.
(3) As the boiler steam ow drops toward zero, close the main
feedwater control valve and manually regulate the water
level with the bypass valve.
(4) When drum pressure falls to 25 psig (172 kPa), open the
drum vents to prevent the formation of vacuum.
(5) Cool boiler at the controlled rate recommended by the
boiler manufacturer. Do not force-cool the boiler beyond
the recommended rates.
For step (5) in the preceeding list, the boiler manufacturers
instruction should be followed closely to avoid overstressing and
(consequently) damaging the boiler structure. As a general practice,
thermocouple differential temperatures are monitored as the boiler
is cooled. Some watertube boiler manufacturers recommend moni-
toring differential temperature readings between drum-top center-
line and drum-bottom centerline thermocouples, and also between
through-wall thermocouple differential temperature readings.
Some manufacturers, such as Babcock & Wilcox, may use a
drum wall-thickness of 4 in. (100 mm) as a guideline when rais-
ing the temperature or for cooling curves provided to the boiler
operator [11]. For drum wall-thickness of 4 in. (100 mm) or less,
temperature differentials of 100F/hr (38C/hr.). are used for both
top-bottom and through-wall differentials; for drum wall-thickness
greater than 4 in. (100 mm), however, some manufacturers pro-
vide separate heating and cooling curves for the boiler operator to
use when monitoring the two temperature differentials. The
expected practice is for an operator to plot the time-pressure-
temperature differentials as the boiler is cooled. Staying below
the chart differential temperatures will help to ensure that the
steam drum is not overstressed and cracked.
Waterside and reside cleaning is further discussed in
Subsection C6, Inspection. However, there are brief recommen-
dations given in this section that can be helpful reminders. One
important consideration is inspecting the inside of the steam and
mud drums and the reside surfaces before any cleaning is done.
Many operationally created conditions can be inspected and evalu-
ated before they are removed and lost during the cleaning process.
Before the inside of the waterside is cleaned and vacuumed, the
amount of deposit and other debris can be seen just after the man-
holes are opened; samples can therefore be taken and analyzed.
Any marks along the waterline can be investigated, and any areas
of active corrosion can be seen and evaluated before conditions
are disturbed. Conditions of the water treatment program can be
evaluated with this evidence seen rsthand, enabling samples to
be taken.
In addition, before the boiler wash, the inside of the furnace
can be inspected for the amount and type of ash and slag adhering
to the walls. Any ame impingement and clinkers can be inspected
and evaluated, and in the superheater areas, the amount and
type of ash and slag can be inspected and evaluated. For boilers
without sootblowers in the secondary superheat and reheat tube
sections due to over-designed surface areas, excessive attempera-
tion and vibration may be created due to ash and slag on and
between tubes. Convection section components can be inspected and
evaluated before the evidence is washed away, and soot-blowing
effectiveness can also be evaluated. Many OwnerOperator boiler
COMPANION GUIDE TO THE ASME BOILER & PRESSURE VESSEL CODE 2-13
inspectors, however, prefer the cleaner conditions after the boiler
wash. Conditions before the wash are extremely dirty in addition
to being warmer than desirable. Inspections before and after the
boiler wash necessitate additional time inside the boiler.
The subsection Boiler Operation is completed with the stor-
age of the boiler, of which the most common methods are wet
storage and dry storage. (Storage is covered in more detail in
Subsection C8, Control of Internal Chemical Conditions; it is
briey mentioned here because it represents the operating cycles
end.) Today, with newer, more efcient units (e.g., the combined-
cycle units), older, less-efcient boiler units are run only when
necessary. Although brief, this section provides many good con-
siderations for boiler operator personnel. The decision to store
wet or dry is dependent on the expected length of the storage
period, as well as the climatic conditions.
If the boiler unit is needed for emergencies, or if short-term
storage is planned, the boiler will be stored wet. This section
and most water chemistry expertsrecommend wet storage with
a nitrogen or steam blanket; for example, after lling the boiler
with treated water a low pressure (5 psig) (35 kPa) nitrogen cap is
applied. Nonetheless, some boiler operators may neglect to apply
and maintain this nitrogen cap; others, knowing that storage will
become necessary, do make provisions for the nitrogen cap. As
years pass, however, operating personnel may change and the rea-
sons why the nitrogen cap is needed may be lost or forgotten.
Thus the nitrogen cap connections and valves may become static
for years.
The reason for the use of nitrogen for a blanket is traceable to
basic water chemistry. Oxygen in the boiler water is a factor that
causes corrosion. With the oxygen in water, the iron tends to
relinquish its electrons and the iron ion goes into solution. The
nitrogen cap works in two ways: First, the oxygen in water (at a
higher concentration here than in the nitrogen cap) tends to leave
the water until equilibrium is reached; and second, if the boiler is
lled as full as possible with a suitable concentration of an oxy-
gen scavenger, the nitrogen cap provides overpressure to prevent
any inltration of air or oxygen.
As mentioned in the section for dry storage, the boiler must be com-
pletely dry. A desiccant should be placed in the drums, and the boiler
should be tightly sealed. For smaller boilers, a 5 psig (35 kPa) nitrogen
cap is recommended for the similar reasons as for wet storage.
HRSG manufacturers and erectors have used vapor phase cor-
rosion inhibitors during the lay up period after the HRSG leaves
the shop and before it is started up. These proprietary chemicals
are not new discoveries, having been used several years for pro-
tecting internal surfaces after shop hydrostatic testing while the
equipment waits for start up while a plant is erected.
Many articles exist that describe wet and dry storage require-
ments and procedures. A knowledgeable water treatment con-
sultant can provide references. For EPRI members, there are
publications that pertain to boiler storage [5]. The American
Boiler Manufacturers Association (ABMA) is another source
of information on water treatment requirements.
2.5 BOILER AUXILIARIES
SUBSECTION C3
This subsection covers several important boiler auxiliaries
including burner equipment, air heaters, economizers, boiler feed
pumps, auxiliary drives, draft fans, and dampers. Some may argue
that the economizer is not an auxiliary but part of the boiler.
However, in retube boilers the economizer is a separate piece of
equipment, and in watertube boilers, it is made of bundled tubes
and is supported similarly to the superheaterusually within the
boiler enclosure. Also, one may wonder why feedwater heaters
are not included for discussion, for they preheat the boiler feed-
water for better efciency and also preheat the feedwater to mini-
mize economizer thermal shock.
Future editions of Section VII can be made more comprehen-
sive by including feedwater heaters, and with more pictures or
illustrations of the auxiliaries for better descriptions. However,
pictures should not be like the ones of FIG. C3.6-2 Typical
Single Stage Turbine Drive (See Fig. 2.7 for example of lack of
parts description.) or FIG. C3.8-1 Typical Outlet Fan Dampers
(Multilouver). These pictures do not even attempt to call out the
parts of the component shown. They merely appear as if they were
included to ll in space.
FIG. 2.7 EXAMPLE OF LACK OF PARTS DESCRIPTION (Source: Fig C3.6-2 Section VII of ASME B&PV Code)
2-14 Chapter 2
Nonetheless, this subsection offers useful information about
boiler auxiliaries. As is the case for the boiler, the reader is
reminded that detailed operating instructions for these boiler
auxiliaries should be developed following the manufacturers
instructions. In particular, procedures for start-up, normal and
emergency condition operations, and shutdown should be devel-
oped for each boiler auxiliary. In addition to procedures, checklists
should be developed for safe, reliable operation.
Throughout this subsection, as each auxiliary is presented, the
reader reviews the following information:
(1) preparing the auxiliary equipment for operation;
(2) placing the auxiliary equipment into service; and
(3) normal operating conditions.
In essence, before a new boiler unit is started, the boiler opera-
tor should be familiar with each piece of auxiliary equipment to
be used. Regardless of whether the equipment is existing or new,
the appropriate personnel should ensure it is installed properly
and will operate as intended.
2.5.1 Fuel-Burning Equipment
The section covers gas-, oil-, and coal-burning systems in detail.
Regardless of whether a boiler operator has one, two, or all three
types of burning systems, for this critical equipment where explo-
sions are always a possibility it is obvious (as specied in the sec-
tion Preparation for Operation) that detailed procedures covering
the step-by-step operation of each burner system should be devel-
oped by the boiler operator personnel. In addition, as specied
continuously throughout Section VII, the manufacturers recom-
mendations should be included and followed in these procedures.
Some common steps and important precautions for all systems
are reviewed before each system is covered in more detail, exam-
ples of which are the following:
(1) Purge the furnace before any igniter or burner is lit
including purging whenever ames are lost and before
relighting. Follow the written companys and/or manufac-
turers procedures precisely. The use of a checklist is highly
recommended.
(2) Never operate burners at a rate below the safe minimum
level at which a stable ame can be maintained.
(3) The rate of ring during start-up must be controlled to not
exceed the specied or recommended drum-metal temper-
ature differentials and to not exceed superheater-metal
design temperature limits.
To enhance Section VII, a useful example can be added to sub-
section C3.243 Oil Burning, to show the consequences when the
noted precaution Oil spray should not be permitted to strike
burner throats is not taken seriously. Fires and damages occurred
when an oil gun assembly was not positioned properly or was
retracted too far from the refractory throat during operation. The
result was fuel oil spraying onto the refractory throat creating
clinkers that formed a barrier for the ignited fuel oil to rebound
into the air register and windbox burning and damaging burner
components and windbox casing. This obviously caused a forced
outage of considerable duration, but could have had a more seri-
ous consequence.
The readers should review the burner-type section applicable to
the systems in their plants and should also review their own com-
pany procedures regularly. Section VII covers many basic
reminders that the boiler operator should review periodically for
safe, reliable boiler operation. Answers to questions should not be
left unanswered; one should refer to manufacturers instructions
or other resources.
Before continuing, it is worthwhile to review by way of exam-
ple one of the many useful pieces of information provided in this
section and in Section VII as a whole. We review the important
steps that operators should take if a major boilertube failure
occurs, requiring the boiler to be taken off-line immediately.
Sometimes, boilertube failures are signicant causes of inservice
power boiler outages resulting in the loss of generation. Boiler
operators have adopted and optimized boilertube-failure reduction
programs, but nevertheless, large boilertube failures cannot be
totally avoided. Large leaks or ruptures can drop pressure and
water level very rapidly, put out the res, and possibly cause
excessive temperatures in superheaters and reheaters, all of which
would necessitate a boilers immediate shutdown. In its review of
the boilertube shutdown procedures recommended for coal, oil,
and gas burners, this section species that the following minimum
steps and precautions to be taken: shut off the fuel and, after
1520 min., shut down the forced draft fans; then shut off all of
the steam outlets (main steam-stop valve and auxiliary steam con-
nections) (it is stressed that the latter action be taken as quickly as
possible to prevent a sudden drop in pressure from the corre-
sponding sudden drop in temperature of the boiler water), shut off
the feedwater supply to prevent harmful thermal shock to the
thick boiler drums, and adjust the airow rate to its permissible
minimum to prevent harmful temperature differentials. These
steps can be compared with existing company procedures, and
they may be used to develop new procedures. Operating personnel
should either memorize the steps or have them readily available.
2.5.2 Air Heaters
This section presents an informative review of air heater opera-
tions. The review is applicable to both regenerative (See Fig. 2.8
Regeneration Air Preheater) and tubular air heaters. These step-by-
step proceduresbeginning with preparing the auxiliary equip-
ment for operation, followed with placing the auxiliary equipment
in service, and ending with normal operating conditionscan be
used to develop the boiler operators own procedures. From this
section checklists can also be developed.
This section alerts the reader to the possibility of res in the air
heater, of which the cause is primarily the accumulation of com-
bustibles in or around the air heaters. The review reminds the
reader that temperature-indicating instrumentation should be
installed at the inlets and outlets of both air and ue-gas paths
through the air heater. Doing so can warn of plugging conditions
or the presence of a re. Checking that burner equipment is oper-
ating properly can minimize the accumulation of combustibles,
and plugging may be minimized by proper soot blowing and off-
line water washing.
The reader is also reminded that units operating at low loads
may develop such problems as the accumulation of unburned
combustibles and the corrosion of the cold end or of ue-gas out-
let area. Units that must operate at low loads will not burn the
fuels as effectively as they do when burning at higher rates, and
the ue-gas outlet temperatures may fall below the acid dew-point
temperature. More frequent soot blowing is necessary when the
units operate at low loads. If off-line water washing is performed,
the procedures should be followed closely and the air heater
should be dried thoroughly before it is placed back in service;
otherwise the ash, soot, and other unburned com-bustibles will
immediately adhere to the damp air heater surfaces. Some owners
COMPANION GUIDE TO THE ASME BOILER & PRESSURE VESSEL CODE 2-15
include an acid neutralization system in their washes to help mini-
mize acidic corrosion after the wash should there be difculties
drying the air heater surfaces. The wash water is made more alka-
line to help neutralize the acidic condition caused by the wash
water mixing with the ash forming a low pH residue.
It should be noted that the FIG. C3.3-1 Typical Tubular Air
Heater drawing was revised in the 2004 Edition. See Fig. 2.9 to
show how the ue gas passes through the tubular air heater.
2.5.3 Economizers
This short section stresses that the economizer should be treated
as part of a watertube boiler (as mentioned previously). Three
items mentioned in the section Placing in Service are worthy of
further discussion: thermal shock, steaming during start-up, and
severe external corrosion. See Fig. 2.10 Typical Economizer.
Steaming is inherent to the economizer. As described, steaming
can occur during start-up if the feedwater ow is low or nonexis-
tent. Moreover, feedwater is not added to the boiler during its
initial start-up, so there would not be any ow through the econo-
mizer. The hot start-up gases pass the economizer and may form
steam inside the tubes that pass to the steam drum, leaving unlled
spaces in the economizer. Once the feedwater pumps start feeding
the economizer, water hammer may result and possibly cause dam-
age. To avoid water hammer, an economizer-recirculating line is
installed from the boilers lower water space to the economizer
inlet header, which will prevent the formation of any pockets or
spaces that steaming may tend to create and also pre-vent damag-
ing water hammer from occurring when the feedwater line ows.
Thermal shock is also inherent to the economizer. It can occur to
the hot and thick economizer inlet header as it is being fed colder
feedwater. Designwise, not much can be done to prevent thermal
shock except to inspect for cracking during outages. Inspections are
focused on the feedwater inlet area of the economizer inlet header.
Operating personnel should be aware that thermal shock problems
are possible whenever feedwater heaters must be taken out of ser-
vice because of feedwater tube leaks.
Severe external corrosion is possible whenever the fuel is laden
with sulfur, vanadium, iron, and sodium. The theory is that sulfur
and sodium combine at temperatures typical of the convection
pass to form a sticky deposit on the economizer surfaces.
Vanadium in the sticky deposit helps to catalyze sulfur dioxide
(SO
2
) into sulfur trioxide (SO
3
). Moisture from leaks or residual
boiler washwater will combine with the SO
3
to form a corrosive
acid, so obviously any leaks in and around the economizer should
be repaired immediately. During the boiler wash, a neutralization
process should be considered to minimize residual boiler wash-
water reacting with the SO
3
.
2.6 APPURTENANCES
SUBSECTION C4
Safety valves (now referred to as pressure relief vales in Section I),
pressure gages, feedwater regulator valves, and soot blowers are
important boiler accessories or appurtenances. This subsection
provides new, practical information for some boiler operator per-
sonnel, and serves as a review to more experienced personnel. The
amount of coverage given to each appurtenance appears logical in
the context of its importance for safe, reliable operation.
2.6.1 Safety Valves
The rst sentence of the section is all-important, for it states the
following: The safety valve is a key device used to protect
against overpressure conditions. In fact, the safety valve is the
last line of defense in protecting against a catastrophic failure of
the pressure vessel itself. The safety valve has such importance in
safe, reliable boiler operation that the NBBI conducts a repair
program to certify qualied safety valve repair organizations
under its VR Symbol Stamp accreditation program. Many U.S.
jurisdictions mandate the use of the NBIC [4] and require that
repair of ASME V-stamped and NB-stamped safety valves be per-
formed by an NBBI VR-Certicate Holder.
FIG. 2.8 REGENERATION AIR PREHEATER (Source: Section VII ASME B&PV Code)
2-16 Chapter 2
Much of the following information is from experiences with
this program, and should not be considered as ofcial interpreta-
tions of any code. Codes may be revised and readers should con-
sult the latest code edition and addenda for current information.
Besides providing the rules for certifying the safety valve repair
organization, the NBIC [4] provides guidelines and recommenda-
tions for the testing, inspection, and repair of safety valves. This
section on safety valves covers similar material as that covered by
the NBIC [4]. Section VII does not specically refer to the NBBI
VR Symbol Stamp accreditation program because it has not been
adopted by all jurisdictions. For more information regarding this
program, the reader can refer to the NBIC or ANSI/NB-23 [4]
(ANSI is an acronym meaning the American National Standards
Institute), or can visit the NBBI Web site: www.nationalboard.org.
The reader should note that this section pertains mainly to safety
valves that have been in service operating on the boiler.
Obviously these safety valves should be inspected and tested at
regular intervals; however, no set code-determined required time
period exists for this inspection and testing. This section recom-
mends that the frequency be determined by a valves maintenance
history; it implies that if there is any doubt one should use 1 yr. as
the starting frequency of inspection, testing, and possibly repair.
The annual activity should include the following:
(1) a thorough visual inspection;
(2) testing, preferably on the boiler at its operating condition;
and
(3) repair, if necessary.
Stated another way, if the inspection and testing reveal that the
safety valve will operate properly, and if it was not damaged dur-
ing testing, the safety valve in its current condition can be
returned to service and the next inspection and testing can be
scheduled for the subsequent set period.
2.6.1.1 Safety Valve Maintenance The reader should be aware
that the VR Symbol Stamp accreditation program follows the
requirements of ASME Section I, Power Boilers [2] for new safety
valves. Much of the information provided in this section is similar
to the maintenance information provided in the NBIC [4]. The
points listed in C4 paragraphs 120(a)(m) should all be included in
a safety-valve maintenance program, and are in the main easy to
understand; however, certain items will benet from further
clarication. Section VII FIG. C4.1-2 Typical Safety Valve (given
here as Fig. 2.11) shows the components of a typical safety valve.
In (b), it is mentioned that the most reliable way to test a safety
valve is on the boiler at operating conditions. However, this
method is not recommended for safety valves set to open above
600 psig (4 MPa)obviously for safety reasons. Testing of safety
valves on the boiler during operation requires one to closely
approach the boiler to hear the pop and the reseating of the disk,
and also to witness the amount of lift of the valve stem. A remote
lift indicator device can be rigged, but doing so is not always pos-
sible because of repair organization limitations.
In (f), a repair nameplate of the qualied repair organization is
required after the safety valve is disassembled and repaired. This
qualied repair organization may be a VR-Certicate Holder or
one that has received a special permission from a jurisdiction. If
the set pressure is changed, the corresponding new capacity must
be shown on the repair nameplate. It is specied in (f) that the
new capacity be based on that for which the valve was originally
certied. Typically, the NBBI publication Pressure Relief Device
Certications (also called NB-18) can be consulted to determine
the new capacity [6]. It contains formulas and tables for that task.
It should also be noted that if the operating pressure of the
boiler is derated by modication (or for any other reason), the
safety valves must be resized to pass the required capacity at
the lower pressure. The newly sized valves will generally be larger
than their predecessors; in some circumstances, they may actually
require the valve openings in the boiler to be enlarged.
In (j), checklist items are provided for visual inspection whenever
a safety valve is to be tested on the boiler. One of the recommenda-
tions is to gag the safety valve before any close visual inspection
obviously to ensure the safety of the inspecting personnel.
2.6.1.2 Safety Valve Testing This section states the following:
After visual examination and successful hand lift operation, each
FIG. 2.9 TUBULAR AIR HEATER DRAWING
(Source: Fig C3.3-1 Section VII of ASME B&PV Code)
COMPANION GUIDE TO THE ASME BOILER & PRESSURE VESSEL CODE 2-17
valve should be tested for the following operating characteristics.
This statement is not totally correct; if the valve were tested for the
three safety valve operating characteristicsthe opening pressure or
set pressure, the closing pressure or blowdown, and the capacitya
hand lift test would not need to be performed. The information pro-
vided in this section is very useful for the safety valve repair person-
nel and for the engineer in charge of the repair program. However,
when the NBBI VR Symbol Stamp requirements are followed,
testing is performed only to demonstrate the set pressure and
response to blowdown, as well as the seat tightness. (This testing
applies to an inservice safety valve after it has been repaired.) The
capacity or measurement of the spindle lift is crucial when a repair
organization is required to demonstrate the pressure-relief valve
repair capability.
The opening or set pressure for any safety valve must be within
the permissible variation specied in ASME Section I, PG-72.2 [2].
For closing pressure (or blowdown), it should be noted that as of the
1998 edition of Section I, PG-72.1 [2] was revised to expand the
maximum blowdown requirements for spring-loaded safety valves.
However, with the rst addendum after the 2004 edition the blow-
down requirement were eliminated. For capacity, the measurement
of the spindle travel or lift is useful for determining if the rated
capacity can be achieved without actually measuring the ow rate.
Both the original valve nameplate and the NB-18 publication [6]
give one the lift data necessary for determining the rated capacity,
but one is also reminded that the lift measurement is meaningful
only if the valve-adjusting rings are correctly adjusted.
As noted in this section, safety valve testing is normally per-
formed when the boiler is being shut down for inspection or for a
planned overhaul. If the safety valve is damaged during testing it
can be repaired during the outage. As would be expected, for this
testing the boiler operator should have a written procedure,
which should be reviewed before the testing begins. If safety
valve gag-ging is necessary, the seal at the spindle adjustment
must be cut. Testing involves gagging the safety valves not tested.
Under most repair programs, the testing must be performed by,
or under the supervision of, qualied pressure-relief valve repair
personnel. If the safety valve passes the visual inspection and
tests, it can be returned to service in its current condition. If a
seal was cut off, that seal must then be replaced. Under most
repair programs, only qualied safety valve repair personnel can
replace the seal.
Lift-assist devices may be used to set and check the set pressure
of certain safety valves. The safety valve manufacturers provide
these devices for certain models in their product line. As men-
tioned in this section, lift-assist device testing cannot verify valve
performance; only full-pressure popping can provide the valve per-
formance data. However, lift-assist device testing is permitted by
FIG. 2.10 TYPICAL ECONOMIZER (Source: Fig. C3.4-1 Section VII of the ASME B&PV Code)
2-18 Chapter 2
the NBIC [4] and ASME Section I for conditions in which full-
pressure popping testing is not practical, such as for high-pressure
and capacity safety valves welded to the boiler and wherever full-
pressure popping testing will almost certainly damage the seating
surfaces. For such exceptions, the repair organizations must meet
additional requirements to ensure that the repaired safety valve
will operate as intended. These additional requirements include
calibration of the lift-assist device by an authorized organization
on an established frequency (normally annual) and by developing
and following exact testing procedures.
Safety valve body drain and the discharge pipe drain should
always remain open. Two obvious problems may result if water is
allowed to collect in the discharge area of the safety valve: First,
water left around the seat disk area can eventually cause particle
buildup at the seating surfaces, eventually affecting set pressure
popping; and second, water that is unable to drain away can create
backpressure that may affect the valve performance. Water not
drained from the drip pan may be dangerous to passing personnel
should the safety valve pop. Using FIG. C4.1-3 Recommended
Safety Valve Installation (included as Fig. 2.12 Safety Valve
FIG. 2.11 TYPICAL SAFETY VALVE
COMPANION GUIDE TO THE ASME BOILER & PRESSURE VESSEL CODE 2-19
Installation) the bottom of the discharge piping should be posi-
tioned well below the top of the drip pan. Especially if the dis-
charge piping has bends that could increase the amount of
backlash should the valve pop. The side of the drip pan will mini-
mize the sideways spray to personnel nearby.
Before performing a boiler hydrostatic pressure test in which the
test pressure is near or exceeds the set pressures, the safety valve
may be removed if it is anged; or alternatively, gagged, or a
hydrostatic plug may be installed, installing a gag certainly being
the simplest. (However, one is reminded to not tighten the gag
screw excessively to avoid damage to the spindle and/or seat.)
Hydrostatic plugs take more effort to install. For many safety valve
models, hydrostatic plugs are required by the manufacturer during
shipment to prevent damage to the seating surfaces. If that is the
case, the manufacturer not uncommonly insists that his or her fac-
tory representative be at the installation site to supervise the hydro-
static plug removal before the safety valve can be put into service;
otherwise, any warranty is voided. In hydrostatic testing, the
hydrostatic plug is placed between the nozzle seat and disk, where
it protects the seating surfaces while adding space between the
nozzle and disk to increase the compression of the spring, thereby
allowing the 1 times working pressure for this type of testing.
1
2
FIG. 2.12 SAFETY VALVE INSTALLATION
2-20 Chapter 2
Another useful piece of information provided in this section is
that during boiler hydrostatic testing, a slight amount of leakage
may be expected across the seats because the seats are designed
for steam service, not for cold water.
(The reader is reminded that the information presented in this
section can be used with ASME Section I [2] and the NBIC [4]
safety valve sections to provide knowledge necessary for the
inspection, testing, and maintenance of safety valves.)
2.6.2 Safety-Relief or Relief Valves
This section covers the ASME Section VIII-jurisdiction safety-
relief and relief valves and other pressure-relief valves [7]. Safety-
relief valves can be used for steam, air, or gas; in other words, for
compressible uids and for liquid service. Relief valves are limited
to liquid service and to noncompressible uids. It is interesting to
note that because safety-relief valves are suitable for nearly all
services, relief can be by full-popping for steam, air, or gas, and
by small releases for liquid service. Relief valves provide for a
gradual release of liquid that is sufcient to lower the pressure; a
full, sometimes violent pop does not result.
Again, one should remember that the NBBI VR Symbol Stamp
program provides for certication of qualied Section VIII
pressure-relief valve repair organizations. A repair organization
can be qualied for Section VIII pressure-relief valve repairs
only, for Section I safety valve repairs only, or for both. The VR
Symbol Stamp repair program ensures that qualied repair per-
sonnel working under an acceptable quality system program do
repairs on Section VIII pressure-relief valves. The NBIC and/or
the NBBI should be consulted for additional information.
2.6.2.1 Inspection and Testing In a power plant, Section VIII
type pressure-relief valves are found on such boiler auxiliaries as
feedwater heaters, reboilers, fuel-oil heaters, air tanks, and certain
piping. In some jurisdictions, the NBBI VR Symbol Stamp repair
program includes the pressure-relief valves on these ASME
Section VIII feedwater heaters, reboilers, fuel-oil heaters, and air
tanks. Possibly, some OwnerOperators ignore these pressure-
relief valves over a period of years, never touching them unless
there was leakage.
The section recommends a periodic inspection, testing, and
maintenance program to ensure proper valve function. (The
modiers highly or extremely should perhaps precede the
word recommends to stress the importance of ensuring that
the pressure-relief valves of the protected equipment will open
at the predetermined pressure and at the minimum required capac-
ity, and also of ensuring that the valves are not frozen shut from
years of neglect.) This program should include verication of set
pressure, a valve-tightness test, and a test of valve lift (for steam,
air, and gas service). This program does not require the automatic
removal and stripping down of the valve. It depends on the ser-
vice uid, the time elapsed since the previous repair, and the
service experience recorded. A typical pressure-relief valve main-
tenance procedure includes the following:
(1) removing the valve from the equipment for the repair shop;
(2) performing a close visual inspection;
(3) testing on a test stand; and
(4) disassembling (if necessary).
If the valve passes the visual inspection and testing, it most
likely can be returned to the equipment without any further work.
As stated previously, the frequency of this program depends on
the service uid, the time elapsed since the last repair, and the
service experience gained by the boiler operator. This section,
however, uses 6 mo. to 2 yr. Some OwnerOperators may be
inuenced by unit overhaul periods; if they are on a 2 yr. over-
haul cycle, these Section VIII pressure-relief valves will be
inspected and tested every 2 yr. If overhaul frequency is to be
inuenced by operating and maintenance experience, it is impor-
tant to establish a history for each valve. One way to accomplish
this task is with repair checklists that also serve as written histo-
ries for the valves. The repair checklist records all relevant data
on each pressure-relief valve in addition to ensuring that the
proper inspection, testing, and repair steps are completed.
Whenever a replacement valve is procured, or whenever the set
pressure is changed or conversions are made to the valve, the
proper capacity must be assigned or conrmed. Unlike the provi-
sion for ASME Section I [2], the provision for ASME Section VIII
[7] does not provide criteria for assigning valve capacity to a pres-
sure vessela task that is left to the boiler operator instead.
For feedwater heaters, most boiler operators follow the Heat
Exchange Institute (HEI) criteria [8] for the shellside- and the
tubeside-relief valves capacities. The tubeside sees boiler feedwater
or condensate. The relief valve protects the tubeside should the inlet
and outlet isolation valves be closed and the pressure increases
from the effect of the shellside heat. Because feedwater and con-
densate are noncompressible, the tubesiderelief valve needs only to
release a small quantity of uid to reduce the pressure.
The shellside of the feedwater heater normally sees low-
pressure extraction steam; however, the shellside-relief is based on
a tube rupturing in two places within the shell, causing over-pressure
when isolation valves are in closed position. The relief valve is
intended to relieve the feedwater pressure (a noncompressible
uid) rather than steam. The reader should refer to the HEI
document [8] for further information.
The sizing or capacity of air tank-pressure-relief or air receiver
tankpressure-relief valves is sometimes based on it being at least
two times the air compressorrated capacity. Again, one is
reminded that the OwnerOperator is given the responsibility of
determining the required capacity.
This section briey reviews some of the available valve-
tightness tests. (Again, the reader should remember that these
tests are for Section VIIItype pressure-relief valves; the tests do
not apply to ASME Section Itype valves.) The section lists three
tightness tests: the bubble test (API Std. 527) [9], the wet paper
towel test, and the cold rod test. This section provides sufcient
information for the reader to decide which test is preferred.
In the section Lift and Blowdown, to measure the valve stem
lift while the pressure-relief valve is tested on a test stand under
shop conditions reveals whether the full-relieving capacity can
be reached. The rated lift can be found in the NB-18 publication
(or red book) [6] in addition to the manufacturers data. Only
Section I applications require that lift and blowdown information
be included on the original valve nameplate. One is reminded that
blowdown characteristics are only meaningful for steam, air, and
gas service, in which case at set pressure the valve fully pops or
lifts to reach as high a capacity discharge as possible. (Blowdown
is the difference between the set pressure and the closing pres-
sure.) For Section VIII-type valves [7], the preferred blowdown
should not exceed 7% of the set pressure or 3 psi, whichever is
greater. Blowdown does not pertain to liquid service in which
very little discharge is necessary for noncompressible uids to
relieve the pressure to an acceptable level.
Finally, it is stressed that when repairs are made the manufac-
turers instructions must be followed precisely, and the qualied
COMPANION GUIDE TO THE ASME BOILER & PRESSURE VESSEL CODE 2-21
pressure-relief valve repair personnel should work with the latest
manufacturers repair manual. Each step in the manual should be
followed; if any questions or discrepancies arise, the manufactur-
ers service or technical group should be contacted and its instruc-
tions followed. In addition, all critical parts should be procured
from the valve manufacturer or its authorized agent. (Critical
parts are the parts of the pressure-relief valve that affect ow and
valve performance.)
2.6.2.2 Testing This section describes requirements very similar
to those of the NBBI VR Symbol Stamp repair program. Certainly,
pressure-relief valves should be tested after being repaired to
ensure that the valves will function properly. There are various
methods used for testing. Inexperienced, uninformed organizations
may use the simple hydraulic hand pump for all testing for steam,
air, gas, or water service, whereas others use a nitrogen gas source
connected directly to the underside of the valve to be tested. Such
organizations eventually learn that these are not appropriate meth-
ods because testing should be performed with the same or similar
test media, and suitable capacity should be provided to test the
functions of the valve.
The more informed repair organization may add sophistication
to its testing program by constructing a J-watertube test stand
device for liquid service valves or a nitrogen gas test standdevice
for steam, air, and gas service valves. These devices are an
improvement from the rst methods, for the amount of capacity
for testing has increased, similar testing media are used, and the
strength or thickness of each design will determine the maximum
set pressure test. However, for the nitrogen gas test stand-device,
the capacity is often insufcient because of the sizes usually built,
the source capacity, and the hazards involved when testing is done
with a compressible uid. If steam service valves are tested, it is
recommended that the test stand have heating provisions to repli-
cate the inservice temperature of the valve.
More sophisticated repair organizations build or procure larger
test systems with larger volume test vessels and accumulator ves-
sels, digital pressure gages, larger pressure sources, and using the
proper test medium. They verify the quality of workmanship for
all functions (including lift and blowdown) depending on the
capacity of the test system and the size of valve tested.
Organized repair programs, such as the NBBI VR Symbol
Stamp program, require that the pressure-relief valve repair per-
sonnel pass the repair organizations pressure-relief valve training
program before being allowed to perform repairs. Only qualied
pressure-relief valve repair personnel should be allowed to per-
form the repairs under the repair organizations formal program.
Once qualied, the pressure-relief valve repair personnel should
be reviewed annually to ensure that prociency is maintained.
Repair includes valve inspection, repair, and testing. Testing
includes installing and removing test gags or hydrostatic plugs
and witnessing and recording test data on checklists in addition to
any testing on the test stand.
2.6.3 Pressure Gages
Pressure gages are key to the safe, reliable operation of boilers.
These gages should be removed, inspected, and calibrated on a
routine basisthe normal cycle of which may be once every
12 mo. This section provides information on the selection and
care of pressure gages with which all operating personnel should
become familiar.
Some operators lack a schedule for tending to their pressure
gages. One reason for not having a pressure gage maintenance
program is that it is too time-consuming. Also, the pressure gage
conditions may be veried by comparing two or more pressure
gages on the same system. One reason for the comparison method
is that operating pressures are normally less than the design or
maximum allowable working pressure; thus a certain amount of
plus-or-minus variation is reasonable. However, industrial boilers
do sometimes operate close to the design pressure.
Many OwnerOperators may be required by various repair pro-
grams (e.g., the NBBIs R- and VR-programs) to calibrate test
pressure gages within a certain time period of performing a test.
This is a quality control program requirement that encourages fol-
lowing the proper procedure as a whole. For the normal operation
of equipment, however, some OwnerOperators believe that the
comparison method may be sufcient if several pressure gages are
installed, such as on large boilers. If only one pressure gage is
installed, as is the case with many ASME Section VIIItype pres-
sure vessels as well as smaller industrial boilers, the comparison
method obviously cannot be performed. Thus a scheduled inspec-
tion and recalibration denitely should be in existence.
In an instrumentation recalibration program in which dead-
weight-testing devices are used to calibrate pressure gages, one
should not forget that these devices should be calibrated as well.
Deadweight testers appear simple and durable; nevertheless,
weights and other parts of the devices may deteriorate over time.
Depending on the environment in which they are used and stored,
the calibration period may range from 35 yr. The calibration sys-
tem used should be traceable to the National Institute of Standards
and Technology (NIST).
2.7 INSTRUMENTATION, CONTROLS,
AND INTERLOCKSSUBSECTION C5
This short subsection focuses on an important subject requiring
specialization, expertise, and experience. In this age of rapidly
changing PC technology, control systems are redeveloped con-
stantly. Instrumentation and controls personnel must stay abreast
of such changes. Only a few years ago, pneumatic-type instru-
mentation and analog control systems were still the norm, but
with the advancement in technology came the digital electronics
type instrumentation and digital control systems. Because the
response to operation has become faster and the hardware has
been found to be more reliable in digital systems, pneumatic sys-
tems are quickly becoming obsolete. Parts for older pneumatic
instruments may therefore be unavailable, so plants will nd it
necessary to change with the times to use hardware that is now
more readily available.
There still remain some small, older units in which the control
panel is located on a convenient operating area. Instruments are
visible from the panel where the operator is more interactive with
the equipment and continuously monitors the conditions. In larger
installations, however, central control rooms have become the
norm. In installations that used pneumatic-type instrumentation,
controls, and interlocks, operators spent most of their time in cen-
tral control rooms, listening and watching for alarms, monitoring
many circular chart recorders and other indicators, and making
adjustments with knobs and push buttons. By being remote from
the boiler and its auxiliaries, it was necessary for operators to
include as much redundancy as possible for safety reasons.
Modern power plants have all-electronic instrumentation, controls,
and interlocksall controlled by a computer or microprocessor
often referred to collectively as the distributed digital control system
2-22 Chapter 2
(DCS). Response is faster, hardware more reliable, and CRT-based
consoles can display many controls on one or two screens. The dis-
play area of coverage has become smaller, and controlling and
adjustment points are more quickly accessible.
Control engineers have become necessary to program the sys-
tems, using logic to institute various control strategies. In many
plants, the instrumentation and controls maintenance personnel
are called I&C technicians; as with the operators, they must have
a thorough knowledge of the instruments, controls, and interlocks
for the safe, reliable operation of the power boiler.
2.7.1 Indicators and Recorders;
Controls and Interlocks
These two rather brief sections provide basic information for
less-knowledgeable personnel and provide a good review for
more experienced personnel involved with instruments, controls,
and interlocks. From the basic information presented in these sec-
tions, readers have many publications available to expand their
knowledge on specic subjects. Regarding the section Checking
and Testing, boiler operators may become complacent with that
sections provisions for the maintenance of automatic controls;
they may forgo a regular, complete conditional and operational
check of instruments, controls, and interlocks. These two sections
therefore recommend annual conditional and operational checks
to ensure safe, reliable boiler operation.
Adding pictures or illustrations should enhance and provide
better understanding of the intricate subject of this subsection.
2.8 INSPECTIONSUBSECTION C6
This subsection concerns the inspection of inservice or operat-
ing power boilers. The particular inspections include the follow-
ing:
(1) condition assessment-type of inspections performed during
operation and during outages; and
(2) jurisdictional-operating permit inspections also performed
during operation and during outages.
The information covered in this subsection is similar to that
provided in the NBIC for NBBI-Commissioned Inspectors [4].
Section VII recommends two separate inspections: one by the
OwnerOperator, the other by the Authorized Inspector or Juris-
diction Inspector. (For Code inspections: Authorized Inspector
inspects new construction whereas an Inspector inspects inservice
boilers.) These inspections also depend on whether the jurisdic-
tion where the power boiler operates is an NBBI member,
whether it mandates the NBIC, and whether it has adopted the R
Symbol Stamp program requirements for the repair of boilers and
pressure vessels.
To ensure safe, reliable power boiler operation, these inspec-
tions should be independent. OwnerOperator Inspectors may
have varying titles: plant Inspectors, boiler Inspectors, boiler
engineers, or boiler maintenance engineers, for example.
Whatever their title, however, this subsection species that
OwnerOperator Inspectors should be knowledgeable by educa-
tion and experience with the construction, inspection, operating,
and maintenance procedures for power boilers, and should be
specically designated by plant managers. Stated another way,
plant Inspectors are boiler experts, their decisions of which are to
be followed. These plant Inspectors should be as knowledgeable
of the ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Codes as the Authorized
Inspectors are. Plant Inspectors should have detailed design
knowledge of the components used so that during inspections any
nonconformance can be evaluated and decisions can be made for
the proper corrective action. Plant inspectors should also be
knowledgeable of welding and nondestructive testing (NDT)
methods, for repairs usually involve some welding and inspection
by these methods. Plant Inspectors perform the condition assess-
ment inspection to ensure that the boiler is in good operating con-
dition and that it will operate safely and reliably. Authorized
Inspectors also perform the inspection to ensure safe operation in
addition to performing the operating permit inspection.
With jurisdictions having mandated the use of the NBIC [4],
some OwnerOperator have received accreditation as part of the
NB Owner/User Inspection Organization (O/U Organization).
One requirement for accreditation is that the O/U Organization
will employ Inspectors with valid NB Owner/User Commissions,
who obviously should have as much knowledge and experience in
inspecting power boilers as Authorized Inspectors, as well as
plant Inspectors. Inspections may include the inservice inspec-
tions for jurisdictional-operating permit requirements as well as
the repair and alteration inspections. When the plant Inspector is
also the O/U Commissioned Inspector, the two inspections
condition assessment and operating permitusually become one
inspection. It is believed that this method of inspection to ensure
safe, reliable power boiler operation gets better results than using
a third party Authorized Inspector, for the O/U Commissioned
Inspector is typically very familiar with the equipment inspected
and is normally made aware immediately of all problems as they
are happening and therefore can (when necessary) respond faster.
Bias should not be an issue with the required NB controls in
place. The O/U Commissioned Inspector has the same fears as the
Authorized Inspector when violations and penalties become
issues. One such fear is the loss of his or her NB Commission.
When the OwnerOperator does not have the O/U Organization
accreditation, the plant Inspector must perform the rst inspec-
tion, preferably by using a checklist of the items to be inspected
immediately followed by the use of discrepancy punchlists.
Follow-up to verify completion of the punchlist is then required;
the Authorized Inspector will then perform the jurisdictional-
operating permit inspection.
2.8.1 Inspection of Internal Surfaces and Parts
The rst paragraph of this section species the basic purpose for
the internal inspection and what areas should be inspected. Whether
it is the plant Inspector, the O/U Commissioned Inspector, or the
Authorized Inspector performing the inspection, the physical struc-
ture should be examined to determine its adequacy for service. The
next paragraph suggests that the reader review ASME Section I,
Fig. PG-58.3.1 (now PG-58.3.1a) titled Code Jurisdictional Limits
for PipingDrum-Type Boilers (See Fig. 2.1) or Fig. PG-58.3.2
titled Forced Flow Steam Generators [2] to dene the limits of
the power boileroperating permit inspection.
Obviously, this section pertains to the internal inspection during
outages. All listed safety precautions must be taken to protect per-
sons entering the boiler. Most boiler operators use an entry permit
system regardless of whether a conned space is involved. Sign-
in and sign-out sheets, which must be completed, are posted at all
manholes. Inspection inside the boilers should be of the buddy
system type in which the Inspector does not enter the boiler unless
he or she is accompanied by another person standing by outside the
manhole. A good safety reference is provided in the NBIC [4].
COMPANION GUIDE TO THE ASME BOILER & PRESSURE VESSEL CODE 2-23
Especially when inspecting large power boilers, it is very
important that the plant Inspector or the O/U Commissioned
Inspector be in good physical condition. As specied in the sec-
tions rst paragraph, the entire boiler shall be inspected. There
are many tight, small openings where an Inspector, to gain entry,
must hang on to a structural member and pull his or her weight up
through the opening. In addition, there are many dirty, dusty
spaces into which the Inspector must crawl on his or her hands
and knees. Naturally the Inspector must not fear small, conned
spaces.
The details provided in this section, along with checklists and
11 * 8 drawings, enable the plant Inspector to perform a rea-
sonable inspection and be able to record items requiring immedi-
ate attention or consideration. For boiler operators without their
own checklists, the checklists in the Non-Mandatory Appendices
provide a good starting point. Plant Inspectors must know in
advance what they will be inspecting. In addition, they must be
able to document ndings and provide the necessary punchlists to
correct any nonconformances.
For the inspection of the steam drum interior, plans should be
made to remove necessary internals to inspect the full length of
the steam drum. Some manufacturers have steam drum internals
with designs that make access extremely difcult. Loose, worn, or
missing components will not be seen if the steam drum access is
limited to only the two manhole ends.
When inside the furnace of a watertube boiler, the Inspector
should pay particular attention to any signs of burner ame
impingement. Flame impingement, plus a dirty interior waterwall,
may at rst show bulges or blisters on the reside. Later, these
bulges or blisters may cause tube leaks unless the boiler is inter-
nally cleaned. There appears to be a misuse of the term blister. A
blister may occur if the overheated tubewall had internal disconti-
nuities such as laminations or seams. Overheating caused by
ame impingement and internal deposits may cause the tube
material to separate outward at the lamination or seam. A bulge,
on the other hand, occurs through sound tubewalls and occurs
from the through-wall metal overheating that may be caused by
the ame impingement and internal deposits. During operation,
burner ame impingement can be observed through the furnace
view ports. During any overhaul outage, the plant Inspector
should verify that the view ports are clear and that repairs are
made before the boiler goes back on line.
The refractory should be inspected, especially for tangent-tube
boilers and wherever it is used for sealing (such as for tube pene-
trations). Maintenance personnel do not always realize that refrac-
tory does not last forever; the average lifespan is 1015 yr.
depending on the abuse to which it is subjected. Boiler washes
coupled with the sulfur in the ue gas help make the refractory
brittle and crumbly. Vanadium in fuel oils is also known to cause
refractory deterioration. Ensuring that the refractory is replaced at
the rst signs of deterioration can reduce hot-spot forced outages.
For the older watertube boilers, many OwnerOperators nd it
necessary to conduct condition assessments beyond the visual
inspections, which can possibly help ensure that an unplanned
forced outage does not occur. By anticipating problems, the boiler
operator may be able to properly plan and budget for the repair or
replacement. Much of this condition assessment involves the
monitoring of certain critical components over time, and it should
be noted that many of the more modern ame safeguard controls
used on industrial boilers have ring-cycle counters and elapsed
run-time indicators built into their annunciation system for this
very purpose. Techniques used for the condition assessment mon-
1
2
itoring include magnetic-particle inspection of welds to detect the
onset of fatigue and/or creep-damage cracking; ultrasonic thick-
ness testing to monitor corrosion and erosion; video-probe internal
inspections to monitor corrosion, erosion, fatigue, corrosion- fatigue,
and creep damages; metallography in-situ replications to inspect
for the onset of creep damage; and steamside-oxide-scale-thickness
measurements to estimate the remaining useful life in superheater
and reheater tubes. Tube samples are removed from the water-
walls to assist with the determination for chemical cleaning and
for tube failure analyses.
When headers are videoprobe-inspected, access may be
through the header handhole plugs; however, some utilities avoid
going through these handhole openings for fear of causing dam-
age to the header over time. Such utilities prefer to put forth more
effort by cutting tubes near each end of the header and installing a
pull-string to assist the videoprobe camera and insertion tube.
Less damage is created by cutting and re welding small-diameter
thin tubes. In re-tube boilers, areas to be inspected should
include the water leg at the back of water-cooled reversing cham-
bers and the upper surfaces of the furnace, both to check for
an accumulation of scale or other insulating deposits. In addition,
the tube-to-tubesheet joints and tubesheet ligaments should be
inspected for signs of leakage or cracking. Other areas to be
inspected should include all stays and also the welds at the
furnace-to-tubesheet joint.
2.8.2 Inspection of External Surfaces and Parts
The external inspection should take place both as a hot inspec-
tion during operation and a cold inspection during an outage. As
implied in this section, comparisons between hot and cold condi-
tions are made in addition to other checks. The checklists in the
Non-Mandatory Appendices also cover external surfaces. To
make inspections more orderly when developing site-specic
checklists, external items should be segregated into those items to
be checked when the boiler is in operation and those to be
checked during an outage.
For piping, hot and cold inspections must be performed by the
plant Inspector for the main steam line, or for the hot reheat lines
or cold reheat lines if they exist, and it is also recommended that
the boiler feedwater line be both hot- and cold-inspected. These
are all considered high-energy lines because of the high pressures,
or the high temperatures, or both. In case of damage, personnel
are at risk and damage to equipment may require a costly and
long outage period for repairs. Pipe support indicators and scales,
whether constant-support or variable-supporttype spring pipe
hangers, should be recorded and evaluated. The supports should
provide a free-oating piping system to avoid undue stress to the
piping system and connections to the boiler and other equipment.
Excessive vibrations should be evaluated and analyzed to prevent
fatigue-creep damages. Piping stress analysis programs are avail-
able and can be used with the proper training.
For boiler-operating permits, most jurisdictions require that a
6 mo. external inspection be performed when the boiler is operat-
ing. Obviously doing so will show whether the various compo-
nents are functioning properly. If the OwnerOperator is part
of an NB O/U Inspection Organization, the O/U Commissioned
Inspector can perform the necessary external inspections during
these 6 mo. inspections. For external inspections while the boiler
is operating, visual inspections will include inspecting the safety
valves, gage glasses, and pressure gages. Also, valves should be
inspected for signs of leakage through packing glands and gas-
kets; any leak has the potential to cause serious damage if allowed
2-24 Chapter 2
to continue, so it should be corrected at the earliest possible
opportunity.
2.8.3 Care and Maintenance
In addition to covering housekeeping requirements, this section
covers the inspection documentation, records, and logs that typi-
cally must be keptall constituting the history and events precipi-
tating a problem as well as the conditions that require xing. It is
desirable to enter all relevant information into a computer program
from which the information can be retrieved quickly and easily.
Many OwnerOperators have created computerized work
orders, with which planning and scheduling, monitoring, updat-
ing, and reporting are included. The plant Inspector may use these
computerized systems to input punchlist items so that such items
will be dealt with immediately, if necessary. Status records, along
with other information, can also be quickly retrieved.
More formal inspection reports or records of each inspection by
the plant Inspector may need to be treated in separate book for-
mats for reporting and archival purposes. These reports are usually
separate from the records assembled from the work order system,
and list the ndings, provide evaluation and analyses, and present
recommendations. However, because computer scanners are now
readily available, these reports may be entirely computerized for
storage and easy retrieval.
The plant Inspector or O/U Commissioned Inspector should
have easy access to all boiler information, especially for repair
instructions. Because most boiler drawings were originally drawn
and issued in large size, the plant Inspector may nd the reduced-
size boiler drawings in the manufacturers data books useful, or
he or she may prefer to reduce large drawings into 11 * 8 size.
It is stressed that 11 * 8 size drawings are easier to le in a
binder for each boiler, can be quickly reproduced in the copier,
and can also be reproduced by scanner when repair instructions
are communicated. (It is so true that a picture is worth a thou-
sand words.) As-built details can also be recorded on 11 * 8
sheets for more convenient ling and retrieval.
2.9 REPAIRS, ALTERATIONS, AND
MAINTENANCESUBSECTION C7
2.9.1 Repairs and Alterations
This section was added after the 1980 edition to acknowledge the
wide acceptance of the NBIC by jurisdictional authorities [4]. This
section is surprisingly brief for a subject of marked importance.
However, the NBIC is covered more extensively in previous sub-
sections, to which the reader should refer back for additional
information.
For maintenance personnel who are not too familiar with the
NBIC, it stressed that the Code applies to repairs and alterations
of power boilers and pressure vessels that are operating and hence
not of new construction. A more precise explanation is given by
Bernstein and Yoder in Ref. [10], who specify that once Section I
requirements are met and the data reports are signed, Section I no
longer controls the repairs and alterations. In many jurisdictions,
the NBIC assumes responsibility and provides the rules to follow.
The maintenance personnel should know or otherwise determine
if the jurisdiction is an NBBI member and if that jurisdiction
requires welded repairs and alterations to be performed by an
organization holding an NBBI R Symbol Stamp Certicate of
Authorization. This is contrary to Subsection C7.100 where it is
1
2
1
2
1
2
no longer true that Alterations to boiler pressure parts should be
made by an organization that holds a valid ASME Certication
of Authorization. As of the 2010 Edition 2011a Addenda,
Section VII has not updated this paragraph.
In the NBIC-mandated jurisdictions, to verify whether or not
the component needing welded repair or alteration conforms
to the rules of the NBIC [4], the reader should refer to the
ASME Code Section I Fig. PG-58.3.1a for drum-type boilers or
Fig. PG-58.3.2 for forced-ow steam generators [2]. The draw-
ings in these gures show what is boiler proper and what is
boiler external piping and joint. If the components to be weld-
repaired or altered conform to these two drawings, the R Symbol
Stamp applies and the repair organization must necessarily be a
Certicate Holder.
If the OwnerOperator organization has a maintenance group,
it is possible (if the OwnerOperator believes it to be benecial)
to apply for and obtain the NBBI R Symbol Stamp Certicate of
Authorization. As an R Symbol Stamp Certicate Holder, the
OwnerOperator is permitted to perform welded repairs and alter-
ations, including the emergency repair of boilertube leaks.
However, to qualify for the R Symbol Stamp Certicate of
Authorization, the OwnerOperator must have (as a minimum)
qualied personnel including welders; qualied welding proce-
dures; acceptable repair and/or alteration procedures; an accept-
able quality control or quality system program; and a third-party
inspection agreement with Authorized Inspection Agency (e.g.,
the Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection & Insurance Company). In
lieu of the Authorized Inspection Agency, the OwnerOperator
may choose to be an NB O/U Inspection Organization that pro-
vides its own repair inspections and in service inspections.
2.9.2 Maintenance
The purpose of this section is clearly stated in its rst paragraph
namely, that this section assists the maintenance group in the preven-
tion of unscheduled outages by dening the potential trouble spots
and conditions that should be checked during scheduled maintenance
outages or overhauls. It is stressed that because this presentation is in
general terms, the manufacturers literature should be reviewed for
detailed requirements.
Maintenance checklists or checks, are presented by component
based on historical data of items requiring maintenance attention.
(The actual checklist format is given in the Non-Mandatory
Appendices B and D.) In addition, these maintenance checklists
can be used as inspection checklists. OwnerOperator personnel
can use these checklists as a basis to create new maintenance
checklists, or for inspection and overhaul procedures and also the
OwnerOperator maintenance program. Despite the many reminders
for the reader to refer to the manufacturers literature, these check-
lists are quite comprehensive and worth studying. However, Sec-
tion VII will be enhanced if it took the extra step and provided the
answers to why each maintenance check item was necessary. For
example, why do you check the condition of burner throat refrac-
tory, or why check for slag build up on refractory? With more
answers to why, Section VII would be a go to book.
Operating checks related to maintenance are also presented to
prevent unscheduled shutdowns simply because the operators are
the personnel using the equipment and able to see rsthand the
actual operating conditions. The checks and checklists provided
in this section and in Non-Mandatory Appendices C and E help to
promptly detect problems that usually can be corrected before
they become serious.
COMPANION GUIDE TO THE ASME BOILER & PRESSURE VESSEL CODE 2-25
The applicable component checks should be reviewed, from
which company procedures should be developed if they are
nonexistent or otherwise improved. In many cases, company
inspection and overhaul procedures were developed many years
previously and thus have not been reviewed to incorporate latest
developments.
2.10 CONTROL OF INTERNAL CHEMICAL
CONDITIONSSUBSECTION C8
Most power plant personnel understand that water treatment
and monitoring of the water used in the boiler and auxiliaries are
critical in preventing boilertube failures and internal corrosion
damage. As with the other subsections, this one provides a good
introduction or review of the control of chemical conditions
within power boilers. Eight headings are covered, and under each
heading Section VII attempts to do the following:
(1) state the type of water treatment problem;
(2) describe how each problem may be recognized; and
(3) provide information about how these problems may be
corrected.
Many references are available for further study; see [11], [12],
and [13], for example.
2.10.1 Internal Cleaning of Boilers
This section briey discusses the internal cleaning of boilers,
including detergent cleaning (alkaline boilout), chemical cleaning
(via acids or solvents), and mechanical cleaning. This section
specically refers to new boilers or new construction. Both deter-
gent cleaning and chemical cleaning are part of the standard
start-up procedure for most new boilers, for they remove the manu-
facturing and erection contamination. Of interest to note is that
boilers operating under 900 psig (6 MPa) are not chemically
cleaned to remove mill scale but only detergent-cleaned because the
operating temperature does not warrant acid or solvent cleaning.
This section is short, considering the importance of cleaning.
The manufacturers instructions and the expertise of the chemical
cleaning companies are expected to be used extensively. However,
adequate information is given in this section for understanding
why cleaning is necessary.
Inservice boiler internal cleaning follows basically the same
procedure as for new boilers; however, items needing further con-
sideration do exist. Inservice boilers mainly involve chemical
and/or mechanical cleaning; detergent cleaning is rarely per-
formed unless there is a need to remove oil and grease. For exam-
ple, an intrusion of oil during operation or if a considerable
portion of the boiler was replaced would both necessitate deter-
gent cleaning. Replacing large sections of waterwall-tube panels
justies detergent cleaning for the removal of installation contam-
inants and shipping preservatives. The retubing of retube boilers
also falls into this category.
This section mentions that taking tube samples and analyzing
the deposit is essential in the cleaning of inservice boilers. The
chemical cleaning company receives representative samples of
tube sections and experimentally determines if cleaning is neces-
sary and, if so, which cleaning solution is optimal. (Usually this is
a trial-and-error procedure.) In mixed-metal condensate-feedwater
systems, waterwall-tube deposits may include an adhering layer
of copper, in which case the chemical cleaning is a two-process
operation with the second cleaning process used to remove the
copper coating. Therefore, taking waterwall-tube samples essen-
tially have the following two purposes:
(1) to determine the amount and composition of the internal-
tube deposit, and
(2) to determine which chemical cleaning solution is best.
It is very important where the tube samples are taken and how
many are taken for analysis. If specic boilertube problems did
not occur, and if no particular areas to target exist, tube samples
normally are taken in the highest heat ux area. For oil-red
watertube boilers, this may be approximately 2 ft. (.6 m) above
the top burners along this elevation of the furnace. However, for
boilers experiencing tube failure from overheating problems,
caused by the combination of internal deposits and ame
impingement tube samples may be taken in the waterwall where
the signs of ame impingement are most distinct.
It is obvious that selecting the correct tube samples for analysis
is not guaranteed, for random samples are taken with the hope
that they represent typical boilertube conditions. The more tube
samples taken, the better the chance of getting a correct sample;
for instance, many boiler operators take at least four tube samples
for the cleaning analysis. However, the more tube samples that are
taken, the more work that is required in replacing the removed
tube sections. A domino effect may be initiated, whereby in addi-
tion to creating more work there is a greater chance of there being
defective welds when replacing the removed areas and also a
greater chance of there being more areas where the tube weld root
causes water ow disturbances upstream, allowing deposits to
collect there.
It is important that as a minimum, the boiler manufacturers
post construction chemical cleaning piping setup for the new
boiler be followed for the inservice boiler cleaning. The manufac-
turer should know how to ensure that the cleaning uids reach all
areas of the boiler. However, should any ow problems not antici-
pated by the manufacturer occur, the boiler operator engineering
and chemical personnel must be sufciently knowledgeable to
make the proper adjustments for the ow of the cleaning uids to
reach all areas of the boiler.
Nonetheless, the boiler operator engineering and chemical per-
sonnel should evaluate and be aware of the possible restrictions
the different ow paths the chemical cleaning uid may have
from the downcomers to and up the wall tubes. The longer paths
or circuits with multiple bends will have less ow through them
during operation and cleaning. These circuits will most likely
have more deposits and will require more cleaning effort. In most
cases a forced ow cleaning system with external heating is neces-
sary to clean these longer circuits. The traditional natural circula-
tion chemical cleaning method does not provide adequate cleaning
for the larger utility boilers with differing circuit congurations.
This method uses the existing burners to provide the natural circu-
lation to move the chemical cleaning uid through the boiler. The
circuits with the lesser flow resistance will continuously receive
the cleaning uid, while the circuits with the most ow resistance
will get very little ow.
In areas of questionable ow and/or in tube-damaged areas, it
may be prudent for one to install anged-cleaning-tube sample
pieces. These are tube sections routed outside of the waterwall
with isolation valves and anges so that the tube sample can be
2-26 Chapter 2
removed and visually inspected to monitor the cleaning process
especially helpful when removing an adhering layer of copper.
One should remember that in jurisdictions where welded repairs
and alterations follow the NBBI R Symbol Stamp requirements,
chemical cleaning piping additions within the boiler proper and
boiler external piping jurisdictions follow specic procedures and
requirements. The O/U Commissioned Inspector or Authorized
Inspector must be involved in these processes.
Of course, with environmental regulations becoming more strin-
gent, the environmental engineer or consultant must be involved
for both possible air and water discharge concerns and permitting.
2.10.2 Laying-Up of Boilers
Older, less-efcient boilers are being taken out of service and
stored for future use. In areas where shortage of generating capac-
ity has been experiencedand the reserves are still marginal
utilities may choose to not eliminate these boilers until it is cer-
tain that they will not again be needed; such boilers are being
laid-up or stored. Similarly, certain industrial processes may oper-
ate only during certain times of the year so they may also be laid-
up or stored for the remainder of the year.
This section provides useful information for all sizes of boilers:
both watertube and retube. In addition, it provides the reader
with available options. It is the boiler operators responsibility to
locate and obtain the references necessary for detailed informa-
tion. Members can go to the EPRI publication [5]; otherwise the
boiler manufacturer can be consulted.
2.10.2.1 Waterside There are two methods of laying-up or stor-
ing boilers, both of which depend on the length of storage time and
climatic conditions. These methods are the wet lay-up method and
the dry lay-up method.
The wet lay-up method is recommended for shorter periods
(4 days to 2 weeks), at which time the boiler may be needed on
short notice (during standby) and where freezing is not a concern.
This section gives recommendations for boilers operating below
1,000 psig (7 MPa) and those operating above 1,000 psig (7 MPa).
In either case, the goal is to minimize the amount of oxygen in the
water; this is accomplished by initially adding an oxygen scav-
enger to the water to minimize oxygen content, and it is also nec-
essary to keep the pH reading close to 10 to minimize hydrogen
ions and electro-chemical reactions. The wet method also has two
different applications: the boiler and superheater stored and lled
to the top, and the boiler stored at normal operating water level.
In the rst application, to prevent oxygen inltration during the
storage period, the boiler is lled to the top (including superheater
tubes) and the pressure is maintained greater than that of the
atmosphere. A nitrogen pressure or cap of 5 psig (35 kPa) can be
applied and maintained during the storage period. Regardless of
whether one uses a boiler pressure or a nitrogen cap, the pressure
gage should be monitored at least weekly to ensure positive pres-
sure in the boiler. Maintaining a nitrogen cap can be difcult if
not impossible to maintain for older boilers.
In the second application, the boiler can be stored with the water
at the normal operating level and with the superheater empty. With
this method, the water is treated with a sufcient amount of an
oxygen scavenger and a 5 psig (35 kPa) nitrogen cap is maintained
throughout the boiler and superheater spaces. Again, the goal is to
minimize the oxygen concentration in the water and in the empty
spaces, as well as to minimize air in-leakage.
The dry lay-up method is recommended for longer storage peri-
ods (greater than 2 weeks) where the boiler is not on stand-by and
where freezing may be a concern. Three separate methods of dry
layup are recommended: the thoroughly-dried-with-desiccant
method, the circulated-dry-air method, and the nitrogen-ll blanket
method.
In the thoroughly-dried-with-desiccant method, it is critical that
the boiler be dried thoroughly and kept dried throughout the storage
period. A desiccant or a certain amount of moisture-absorbing
material must be placed in the drums and replaced periodically, and
all openings must be tightly closed. Although these tasks may seem
easy, it is not at all simple to ensure that all boiler internal surfaces
have been dried. In addition, there is a tendency for one to forget
about replacing the moisture-absorbing material on schedule.
In the circulated-dry-air method, the boiler must also be dried
thoroughly before one commences the storage and air circulation.
The air must ow over all areas, although to have it reach all areas
may seem impossible.
The nitrogen-ll blanket method obviously is the most appeal-
ing method used and is applicable to large industrial and utility
boilers. Nitrogen gas is lled as the boiler is drained, and a 5 psig
(35 kPa) nitrogen gas pressure is maintained throughout the stor-
age period. Oxygen in water is minimal, and air in-leakage is
prevented with the 5 psig (35 kPa) nitrogen pressure. Operating
or maintenance personnel must remember to maintain this 5 psig
(35 kPa) pressure. Maintaining a nitrogen cap or blanket can be
difcult for boilers in service. Closed valves do not seal tightly.
Safety is a concern if personnel need to enter the boiler spaces;
therefore, the proper amount of oxygen must be present when per-
sonnel enter the boiler.
Utilities have used vapor phase corrosion inhibitors (VPCI) as a
dry lay-up option. The VPCI chemicals are proprietary having
been around for years. A utility has reported its use for boiler lay-
up during a long outage for generator repairs. After draining the
boiler the VPCI powder was dusted in the steam drum using an
air horn, and the drum shut tight. The boiler was rinsed before the
boiler went back on line. The rinse water may contain ammonium
benzoate; therefore, disposal must be dealt with accordingly. Not
seeing VPCI discussed reinforces the need to review and update
Section VII regularly with the other ASME Boiler and Pressure
Vessel Codes.
2.10.2.2 Fireside This section is useful for any condition and
situation; it is not applicable solely for layup or storage. Boiler
operators may apply the information in this section for the resides
during overhaul outages whether they are for only 2 wk. or for
longer than 8 wk. Although short, this section provides useful
information concerning possible reside corrosion problems and
their solutions.
A fundamental fact is that sulfur-bearing fuels create corrosion
problems to surfaces in contact with the ue gas and also to sur-
faces that receive the runoff of the boiler washwater. Wherever
there is refractoryespecially old, worn refractorythe possibility
exists that the ash deposits will get into and between the porous,
crumbly refractory and metal surfaces. During the boiler wash
performed during overhauls, this ash deposit is wet and may
remain wet or damp throughout the overhaul outage.
Boiler washes for layup or overhauls should be a three-step
operation such as follows:
(1) water-wash with suitable pressure equipment;
(2) neutralize all surfaces using an alkaline solution (1% sodium
carbonate [Na
2
CO
3
]); and
(3) dry all surfaces.
COMPANION GUIDE TO THE ASME BOILER & PRESSURE VESSEL CODE 2-27
OwnerOperators should evaluate the process suitable for their
needs. Some may neutralize, wash, and dry before an overhaul.
With this process the boiler and air heater are rst soaked
overnight using an overhead spray system with an acid neutraliza-
tion solution. Then the boiler is washed.
During the layup, the accepted practice is to maintain a maxi-
mum 50% relative humidity.
The reader may use the information provided in section
C8.900, Fireside Conditions, to supplement this short section,
for C8.900 contains information about some severely corrosive
elements of coal and fuel oils. This section provides the funda-
mental information by reviewing the various publications written
about the subject.
2.10.3 Deposits and Internal Corrosion
This section discusses the water-touched boilertube internal
surfacesmainly the waterwall tubes, which experience the high
heat ux from radiant heat. In the Fundamentals subsection, nat-
ural circulation was explained. If the ow created by natural
circulation is not able to sufciently remove the heat from the
burners, the tube metal temperature design limit will be exceeded
and overheating damage will occur. This section discusses situa-
tions when deposits (i.e., scale, sludge, and oil) on the inside
surface of the watertube boilertubes can impede the transfer of
heat from burner ame to the water or to the steam-water mixture
owing inside the tubes. In this discussion of the aforementioned
deposits and internal corrosion, damage has a strong relationship
with these deposits. Similar comments apply to the waterside
surfaces of re-tube boilers.
2.10.3.1 Deposits Scale, sludge, and oil deposits are discussed.
It is apparent that the title of section C8.420 should be Sludge and
Oil. Scale and sludge are highly dependent on the quality of the
water source. Most smaller boilers do not have pretreatment facil-
ities such as demineralizers that remove impurities (minerals and
salts) by ion exchange; the most they may have are lters to
remove particles from the water source. Their water treatment to
control scale and sludge is based on proprietary additives provid-
ed by water treatment companies. In many cases, some form of
phosphate is added to react with the water impurities, helping to
form soft compounds that do not adhere to the tube surface and can
be removed only by adequate blowdown.
Other sources of deposits include the corrosion products of the
preboiler equipment including the condenser, feedwater heaters,
and associated piping. Air in-leakage can accelerate corrosion of
the carbon steel surfaces. For mixed-metal (i.e., copper and steel)
feedwater heaters, the air in-leakage, oxygen, and ammonia accel-
erate copper tube corrosion, the products of which enter the boiler
and, under certain conditions, will deposit and adhere especially
to the inside surfaces of the boilertubes that face the res.
2.10.3.2 Internal Corrosion Besides creating an insulating
effect and causing the boilertube metal to overheat, deposits can
act as sponges, concentrating certain types of corrosives against
the tube surface to cause underdeposit corrosion. This section
discusses some forms of underdeposit corrosion including caustic
corrosion or gouging, acid corrosion, and hydrogen damage. EPRI
has published several reports describing these failure mechanisms
in detail [13].
2.10.3.3 Internal Deposit Monitoring and Control of Water
Treatment The two monitoring tools mentioned to monitor inter-
nal deposit are embedded thermocouple and tube samples. Tube
samples were reviewed in previous sections. Embedded thermo-
couples have been in existence for many years, but perhaps its
cost discourages more widespread use in power boilers.
Nowadays you do not hear about utilities making new embedded
thermocouple installations to monitor waterwall tube deposit
build up. With the thermocouple junction embedded in the reside
tube-wall, changes in temperature can be monitored to track
deposit buildup and therefore to suggest when chemical cleaning
is needed.
The two aforementioned monitoring tools are used to monitor
internal deposits after they are formed. Section C8.430 Internal
Deposit Monitoring, briey mentions a deposit weight density
(DWD) range (20 g/ft
2
to 40 g/ft
2
) when cleaning is needed. It
would be more useful if existing cleaning guidelines specifying
three ranges when 1) cleaning not needed, 2) should consider
cleaning, and 3) must clean are included. This detailed informa-
tion will specify that these three ranges are dependent on the
boiler operating pressure. Obviously, to minimize or prevent the
internal deposits from building up, the best tool is proper water
treatment or a good water chemistry control program. Such a pro-
gram may include the following:
(1) selecting the proper water treatment method, such as:
AVT (all volatile treatment)
CPT (congruent phosphate treatment)
EPT (equilibrium phosphate treatment)
OT (oxygenated treatment)
PT (phosphate treatment)
(2) establishing adequate control limits or ranges of the con-
trolled items, such as the pH, oxygen, and chloride level;
(3) setting the proper locations and quantity of sampling
points, such as at condensate pumps, economizers, and
steam drums;
(4) providing modern, functional monitoring instrumentation
or meters;
(5) ensuring the proper training of all personnel involved with
items (1)(4) of this list, including operators and chemists;
and
(6) ensuring that the program is working, with management
and all personnel participating in it.
A brief description of sampling and testing of water for boilers
is given in section C8.800, Sampling, Testing, Controlling, and
Reporting of Analyses of Water. In developing the water treat-
ment program, the responsible water chemistry personnel can
refer to Table C8.8-1, Methods for Sampling of Water and
Steam; Table C8.8-2, Methods of Analysis for the Control of
Water for Boilers; and Table C8.8-3, Useful Tests for the
Control of Water for Boilers. EPRI members have several publi-
cations for personnel to reference in their program development
[5]. Once formulated, instituted, and working, this water treat-
ment program will help to ensure that the water treatment does
not cause overheating or corrode boiler components.
It should be noted that Table C8.8-3 Useful Tests for the
Control of Water for Boilers, along with its notes is an informa-
tive and handy guide for boiler operating personnel to get a basic
understanding of which chemicals are used to control corrosion,
deposits and carryover. Section VII can be enhanced further by
including a separate table listing and describing the use of water
treatment chemicals. Besides hydroxides, phosphates, and sul-
tes, adding polymers, chelants, and amines can make Section
VII a more handy reference.
2-28 Chapter 2
2.10.4 Corrosion Cracking of Boiler Steel
There are three categories of corrosion cracking reviewed in
this section: stress-corrosion cracking, corrosion fatigue cracking,
and hydrogen damage. Stress corrosion, or caustic embrittlement,
is caused by a stress-corrosion combination and results in cracking
along the grain boundaries of the steel, whereas corrosion fatigue
is caused by cyclic mechanical or thermal stresses that result in
transcrystalline cracking or cracking through the steel grains.
Additional, more detailed information on these two types of dam-
age is provided; refer to the list of references [11, 13].
EPRI reports that the susceptibility of stress-corrosion cracking
is more likely in austenitic stainless steel material having contact
with hydroxides and chlorides [13]. Because stainless steels are
rarely permitted by ASME Section I [2] for surfaces in contact
with water, this type of damage normally is found in the super-
heater section.
In addition, EPRI reports that corrosion fatigue cracking is
found mainly in water-contacted boilertubes, including supply
and riser tubes and the economizer [13]. Since corrosion fatigue
cracking (CF) is a major boiler tube failure mechanism, this sec-
tion should be expanded to provide more information. This addi-
tional information could be as follows: CF initiates on the inside
surface of the boiler tube, commonly at rigid attachments such as
buckstays and windboxes. Besides being transcrystalline or trans-
granular, the cracking is longitudinal to the tube axis, usually
multiple and parallel. The common method to inspect for CF is by
videoprobe inspection requiring access into the tube. Research is
being conducted by organizations such as EPRI to perfect nonde-
structive inspection methods using ultrasonic and digital radiogra-
phy systems to eliminate cutting access windows in the boiler
tubes. As an example, an older boiler operated in a cyclic manner
has tight 90 deg. tube-bends in the economizer above the inlet
header. During its later service life, cyclic stress works on the
existing residual stresses of these tight bends, resulting in crack-
ing at the sides of the bends where the original bending had
formed an egg-shaped bend cross section with sharper stress ris-
ers on both sides. After the damaged bend is removed, it is cut
perpendicular to the crack. The visual examination reveals the
cracks at the sides of the bend originating from the inside and cor-
rosion products wedged inside the crack. To summarize, the fol-
lowing appear to have inuenced the cracking:
(1) cyclic stresses caused by on/off cycling;
(2) residual stresses and stress risers on the sides of the tight
90 deg. tube bends; and
(3) corrosive condition on the waterside.
The water treatment program records should be reviewed for
the dissolved oxygen and pH readings, especially for sampling
points near the economizer inlet. The EPRI report mentions that
low pH readings may promote hydrogen cracking or embrittle-
ment at the crack tip, thus increasing the probability of the crack
opening even further [13]. Of course, the level of oxygen in the
boiler water can affect the oxide scale growth as the cycling stress
breaks off the protective coating at the side of the tube bend.
An excellent description of hydrogen damage is provided in
this section. Hydrogen damage is included with internal corrosion
or under-deposit corrosion. Actually, hydrogen damage can be
included with both underdeposit corrosion and the stress-corrosion
group, but the description in this section is reasonable. Hydrogen
is the smallest atom appearing on the chemistry periodic table,
and because of its small size, it apparently has a tendency to enter
carbon steel grain boundaries and react with the carbon. In weld-
ing, it is theorized that hydrogen ion can enter the heat-affected
zones (HAZ) of the weld and combine with other hydrogen ions
in the steel to form the larger hydrogen molecule. Under certain
conditions, and also because of the welded component loading,
the larger hydrogen molecule applies sufcient pressure to its sur-
roundings to cause cracking.
2.10.5 Auxiliary Equipment Corrosion
Section C8.560 Auxiliary Equipment Corrosion briey
describes feedwater component corrosion caused by dissolved
gases, especially oxygen, in the feedwater. To keep Section VII
current, it should also include the ow-accelerated corrosion
(FAC) mechanism in which a normally protective oxide layer on a
metal surface dissolves in a fast owing water. The underlying
metal corrodes to re-create the oxide, and thus the metal loss con-
tinue [14]. FAC is different from erosion corrosion mechanism
because it does not involve impingement of particles causing a
mechanical wear on the surface. It has the opposite effect of cor-
rosion caused by dissolved gases (oxygen). The presence of oxy-
gen helps to prevent FAC.
FAC normally affects carbon steel piping. The use of chrome-
moly piping will minimize or eliminate FAC. Boiler operators
with more air inleakage conditions experience less FAC damages.
FAC is a concern because of the possibility of larger diameter,
higher pressure piping thinning and rupturing causing property
damage and injury.
2.11 PREVENTING BOILER FAILURES
SUBSECTION C9
This subsection, the culmination of ASME Section VII, briey
reviews much of the material discussed in its preceding subsec-
tions. The reader is reminded that the purpose of Section VII is to
promote safety in the use of power boilers. Throughout this chapter,
safe, reliable power boiler operation, maintenance, and inspection
have been stressed. This subsection reviews some conditions that
affect this safe, reliable operation, maintenance, and inspection.
It reviews the three general classications of boiler failure,
which are repeated as follows:
(1) caused by overpressure;
(2) caused by structural weakening; and
(3) caused by errors in the operation of combustion equipment.
In the discussion of overpressure, equipment required to pre-
vent boiler failures caused by overpressure is reviewed together
with how the equipment can be misused. The rest of this subsec-
tion reviews precautions to be taken against conditions such as
furnace explosions or implosions.
2.11.1 Overpressure
The equipment or instrumentation included for the prevention
of overpressure boiler failure includes the following:
(1) steam pressure gages;
(2) water glasses or gage glasses;
(3) high- and low-level alarms;
(4) automatic trips;
(5) safety valves; and
(6) fusible plugs.
The operation and maintenance information provided on the
listed equipment is very useful. Even the most experienced boiler
COMPANION GUIDE TO THE ASME BOILER & PRESSURE VESSEL CODE 2-29
operator may nd some of the information new and reasonable.
The OwnerOperator can always use the information provided as
an instruction manual or as a source of review.
Pressure gages are covered in Subsection C4, Appurtenances. In
this section, operational errors and maintenance errors of pressure
gages are stressed. One error includes the failure to periodically test
for accuracy or instrument calibration. Many boiler operators fail to
verify that pressure gages are accurate; they may rely on comparison
with uncalibrated pressure gages already installed throughout the
boiler unit.
Gage glasses are discussed briey in Subsection C2, Boiler
Operation. In this section, the operational and maintenance
errors of water glasses or gage glasses are stressed, and more use-
ful basic information is provided. Many boiler operators fail to
test water columns and gage glasses on a regular basisif at all.
Level alarms should be tested at the same time that the water
columns are tested. Most boiler operators understand readily that
ASME Section I PG-60.1, Water Level Indicators, permit the
remaining gage glass to be shut off but maintained in serviceable
condition when both remote level indicators are in reliable opera-
tion [2]. Such activity constitutes seeing is believing-type think-
ing. However, it is possible that many boiler operators neglect this
remaining gage glass because the lights are broken, the glass is
dirty, the shut-off valves are frozen shut, and the bottom portion is
plugged with debris. Many operators also forget the locked-and-
sealed open requirement of ASME Section I PG-60.3.7 for the
rst valves off of the steam drum [2].
A common misunderstanding pertaining to gage glasses con-
cerns when the direct reading of gage glass water level is not
readily visible to the operator in the area where immediate con-
trol actions are initiated. Many boiler operators still believe that
a system of mirrors or ber optic cable system is required.
Section VII can have added value if it included clarications such
as mentioning that two independent, reliable remote level indica-
tors will satisfy this direct reading requirement making mirrors
and ber optics unnecessary.
2.11.2 Weakening of Structure
The review is begun in this section by listing its three cate-
gories of failure caused by weakening of the structure:
(1) weakening of pressure parts;
(2) failure of supports; and
(3) mechanical damage.
Then, this section lists and reviews conditions that cause weak-
ening of the pressure parts. These conditions include the following:
(1) overheating;
(2) loss of metal from corrosion;
(3) weakening of the furnace from improper combustion or
ame impingement; and
(4) soot blower erosion.
The review on the weakening of pressure parts begins with the
boiler start-up, then proceeds to cover many necessary precau-
tions. Again, it is stressed that the boiler operator must use the
proper procedures (and checklists) to ensure safe, reliable power
boiler operation. It is highly recommended that checklists for
boiler start-up be developed and followed during every start-up
period.
The review continues with coverage of control of water level,
erosion (via soot blowers), internal corrosion, external corrosion,
boiler shutdown, and boiler out-of-service time. Although this
subsection is essentially a review of the preceding subsections, it
does contain some precautions not previously discussed that the
reader will nd useful. Examples of such precautions are the
sequence for operating the double blowdown valves; the necessity
of not using waterwall-blowdown valves during boiler operation;
and the need to repair leaks at thick-walled components to prevent
erosional damage.
2.11.3 Operation of Combustion Equipment
Because of the hazard from explosion when fuels are burned,
this section notes that the review in Subsection C9 is not intend-
ed to provide detailed safety rules governing the design, installa-
tion, operation, and maintenance of fuel-burning systems. For
such detailed information, the reader must consult other sources,
such as the ASME CSD-1 Controls and Safety Devices for
Automatically Fired Boilers, for use on small boilers under 12.5
million Btu/hr. fuel input. The reader may also consult the appro-
priate section of the NFPA 85 Boiler and Combustion Systems
Hazards Code. The section Fuel Burning Equipment of
Subsection C3, Boiler Auxiliaries, should be used for general
recommendations and precautions.
A reminder: Only properly trained operators familiar with the
fuel-burning equipment being operated should be in charge of the
boiler units.
2.12 FINAL NOTES
This chapter has repeatedly emphasized that ASME Section
VII contains valuable information for the power boiler opera-
tion, maintenance, and inspection personnel. Section VII is a
practical boiler book, a good review for experienced personnel
and a good teaching aid for less-experienced personnel. However,
it cannot possibly provide all the details for such numerous
topics. Therefore, manufacturers instructions and other reputable
sources must be consulted for a more complete understanding of
each subject presented. Procedures and check-lists for operation,
maintenance, and inspection are critical requirements; they must
exist, be used regularly, and be reviewed periodically.
Finally, re-establishing a Section VII subcommittee or subgroup
is warranted. It appears that the Section I Standard Committee is
not able to keep up with or give attention needed to revise and
update Section VII. Being made available for sale, ASME should
provide the purchaser with a product that is current.
2.13 REFERENCES
1. ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code Section VI, Recommended
Rules for the Care and Operation of Heating Boilers; The American
Society of Mechanical Engineers.
2. ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code Section I, Rules for the
Construction of Power Boilers; The American Society of Mechanical
Engineers.
3. ASME B31.1, Power Piping; The American Society of Mechanical
Engineers.
4. ANSI/NB-23, National Board Inspection Code; The National Board
of Boiler and Pressure Vessel Inspectors.
5. EPRI TR-107754, Cycling, Start-up, Shutdown, and Layup Fossil
Plant Cycle Chemistry Guidelines for Operators and Chemists; The
Electric Power Research Institute.
2-30 Chapter 2
6. NB-18, Pressure-Relief Device Certications; The National Board of
Boiler and Pressure Vessel Inspectors.
7. ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code Section VIII, Division 1,
Rules for the Construction of Pressure Vessels; The American Society
of Mechanical Engineers.
8. Standards for Closed Feedwater Heaters; Heat Exchange Institute,
Inc., 1998.
9. Seat Tightness of Pressure-Relief Valves, ANSI/API Standard 527,
3rd ed., July 1991.
10. Bernstein, M. D., and Yoder, L. W., Introduction to Power Boilers
Section I of the ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code, PVP
Conference, Honolulu, July 1995.
11. Steam: Its Generation and Use, Babcock & Wilcox, 40th ed., 1992.
12. Kohan, A. L., Boiler Operators Guide, McGraw-Hill, New York, 4th
ed., 1998.
13. Dooley, R. B., and McNaughton, W. P., Boiler Tube Failures: Theory
and Practice, EPRI TR-105261, Vols. 2 and 3, Water-Touched and
Steam-Touched Tubes, The Electric Power Research Institute, 1996.
14. Flow-accelerated corrosion, Wilikipedia, Wilikipedia Foundation,
Inc.