What types of equipment breakdown should my business watch out for?
Nearly 10% of boiler or pressure vessel inspections uncover failure in some part of the system-and that likely understates overall building equipment risks.
The most common areas of concern include:
- Boiler or pressure vessel main unit. Issues are usually related to the age of the system, how hard it has performed through its lifetime, and the quality and frequency of regular maintenance.
- Pressure relief devices. These include the over-pressure relief valve, the safety valve, the temperature and pressure relief valve, and the rupture disk and are prone to corrosion, leakage, and physical damage.
- Burner management system (BMS). The “brains” of the boiler, the BMS controls the sequence for burner start-up, operation, and shut down. Faulty wiring or poor condition can cause issues.
- Pressure and temperature controls. These need to be wired properly, have covers in place and show no signs of deterioration.
- Water level and flow controls. Sludge is a sign these are blocked, and corrosion indicates leakage.
- Fuel Trains. Designed to regulate the flow of fuel to the boiler, fuel trains are usually excluded from jurisdictional boiler inspection requirements, yet where they are inspected, they have a high percentage of violations.
How can I prevent equipment failure?
Building systems inevitably age, corrode, and deteriorate. But vigilance and maintenance can minimize dangerous boiler, HVAC, or pressure vessel breakdowns.
- Perform regular visual inspections. Many issues of deterioration or corrosion will be obvious on vessels, valves, wiring and controls.
- Adopt predictive testing technologies. For example, infrared thermography can detect electrical deficiencies (or “hot spots”) that are not visible and can lead to fires. Chubb Risk Engineering Services maintains its own network of industry certified infrared thermographers and equipment.
- Schedule regular equipment maintenance and boiler repairs. Proper upkeep will extend the life of your equipment and ensure optimum system safety.
- Adhere to proper procedures during start up and shut down. There’s a high incidence of mishaps when systems are starting up and shutting down, so extreme care must be taken.
- Plan for replacement. Updates to controls and safety devices can extend the life of the system. And as no boiler, HVAC system or pressure vessel lasts forever, make sure your business is prepared financially to replace key equipment.
- Ensure your jurisdictional inspections are completed by an approved agency. In service of our clients, Chubb is an accredited Authorized Inspection Agency (AIA) with the NBBI and our equipment breakdown risk engineers are licensed to provide jurisdictional inspections to boilers and pressure vessels throughout North America.
- Consult with your jurisdictional inspector whenever you are experiencing difficulties with your boiler or pressure vessel.
Awareness, proper maintenance, regular inspections and having experts on your team can help keep systems running, extend the life of your equipment, provide a financial safety net if the worst happens — and prevent tragedy.
Risk engineering specialists at Chubb are trained to identify and help mitigate potential boiler, HVAC or pressure vessel risk factors that are associated with a wide range of industries and market segments, as well as enable restoration and recovery efforts.
Learn how Chubb's Risk Engineering Services can help protect your business.