Boiler Inspector Combustion Safety Awareness Tool Beyond Standard Jurisdictional Inspections

10 Deadly Sins of Combustion Systems & How to Avoid Them

Most mandated jurisdictional boiler inspections only consider pressure vessel related issues. This document is intended as a support tool for risk engineers and jurisdictional boiler inspectors to assist in the assessment of combustion related issues that might be outside of their normal scope of work. The pictures and situations presented are intended to point out typical unwanted circumstances related to combustion system safety that may help you to offer more value to your customer’s inspection visit and reduce risks at their facilities.

All of the 10 “deadly sins” illustrated herein are real-life examples of what auditors at CEC Combustion Services Group, Inc. (CEC) have come across when evaluating the safety of combustion equipment. All of these examples may make for a dangerous working environment that could result in a fire or explosion under the right conditions.

11699 Brookpark Road - Cleveland, Ohio 44130 - 216.749.2992 - Fax 216.398.8403

find that sites are either not performing the testing altogether or are improperly testing the safety shut-off valves. Auditors at Combustion Safety. These are the safety shutoff and blocking valves. Tightness Testing of Safety Shutoff and Blocking Valves is not being done. Combustion Safety Product/Service Reference: • Tool Kit for testing • Interlock & Tightness testing • Training Combustion Mechanical. Inc. This is an obvious sign that the required tightness testing is not taking place. specially designed shut-off valves that are spring loaded to close. LLC . Equipment Standards/Codes and laws require these valves to be tightness tested on a regular basis. Leaking gas through these values into a combustion chamber can enhance the chance of an explosion. Gas trains keep gas out of the combustion chamber when equipment is off through a series of tight closing.CEC Combustion Services Group Page 2 1. Picture 1a Picture 1b The photographs show evidence of valve testing ports that do not appear to have ever been removed.

Photos c) and d) indicate bypassed safety circuits. This may or may not be an authentic controlled version of what really is in the panel. an obvious electrical jumper exists that bypasses a control. LLC . Combustion Safety Product/Service Reference: • “As Built” wiring documentation services • Training Combustion Mechanical.CEC Combustion Services Group Page 3 2. Critical safety components can be jumpered out and/or unreliable documentation may exist. and is of a different gauge and color. is connected with alligator clips. It’s a wire that is not the same as the others. Picture 2a Picture 2b Picture 2c Picture 2d The photographs show evidence of either poor wiring installations or poor documentation practices. The wiring diagram shown in photo 2b identifies one that has been “customized” in the field. Photograph 2a indicates circumstances where wiring is not labeled properly and modifications were made that may not be correct or accurate in addition to being extremely sloppy. In photo 2d a Popsicle stick is broken off and jammed into a pressure switch contact to hold the contract closed. In the case of photo 2c. Prints need to be neatly updated and verified such that they can be understood by an electrician without a higher than normal probability of error.

A listing of these types of issues. including some recall notices and service advisories. Most sites could not afford this amount of down time to their processes.combustionsafety. is available on our website under the Resource Center at www. Obsolete Burner Management Systems (BMS) can make for long outages and incomplete protection. The version on the right is an older model Honeywell. Additionally equipment has also been recalled or important safety advisories have been Combustion Mechanical. The version on the right is typical of a model that is out of production with components that are no longer available from the manufacturer.combustionsafety.CEC Combustion Services Group Page 4 3. Combustion Safety Product/Service Reference: • Gap Analysis • Upgrades Implemented • Website safety alerts • www. Picture 3a Picture 3b The burner management system (BMS) in photograph 3a is a new model RM7800 from Honeywell. LLC . Should this obsolete BMS fail a replacement will not be available which means engineering time to design a new wiring configuration and panel modifications to accept a newer

bleed vent lines. Set points are obviously wrong can render switches/instruments ineffective Picture 5a Picture 5b Instruments and safety devices without correct set points provide little to no protection. and steam pressure switches. and water column connections.CEC Combustion Services Group Page 5 4. Combustion Safety Product/Service Reference: • Tool kit for testing • Interlock – Tightness testing • Training 5. LLC . They should always be removed or at least locked open as soon as they are found. Switches that have the set point at the extreme range of the switch are either set incorrectly or the wrong switch is being used. Picture 4a Picture 4b Valves in instrument lines can be left in the closed position rendering switches out of service and functionally incapable of operating. This especially applies to high/low gas. Valves in the instrument lines can render switches / instruments ineffective. Combustion Safety Product/Service Reference: • Equipment commissioning • Documentation Combustion Mechanical.

When you find this condition it indicates that some of the actuator’s hydraulic fluid has leaked out. Automatic valve actuator failure (Safety Shutoff. Flame roll-out (hard starting) can be a warning for dangerous conditions that may get worse.CEC Combustion Services Group Page 6 6. Combustion Safety Product/Service Reference: • Tool kit for testing • Interlock Testing – Gap Analysis 7. LLC . Blocking Valve. mixtures are set incorrectly or combustion air to the boiler room is inadequate. puddling at the valve body (7b) and obvious excessive leakage with residual under the equipment (7c). Picture 7a Picture 7b Picture 7b Hydraulic valve actuator failures are sometimes indicated by the presence of hydraulic fluid on the valve’s exterior. Pilot or Vent Valves) can make for downtime and hazardous operating conditions. In these cases combustible mixtures exist outside of the firebox. This occurs when flues are blocked. Combustion Safety Product/Service Reference: • Tool kit for testing • Interlock – Tightness testing • Training Combustion Mechanical. The risk here is mostly one of equipment downtime when you least expect it since the hydraulic fluid is needed to open the valve to light the unit. These valves are usually spring-loaded to close (not needing the hydraulic fluid for closing). These photographs show oil stains on the sides of valves (7a). Picture 6a When the bottom of equipment is burned or scorched it may indicate flame rollout.

Inspections at more than 400 sites found that more than 60% leaked through in the closed position. Lubricated Plug Valves can be leaking through in the closed position or be frozen in place and inoperable. Combustion Mechanical. A typical plug valve showing the body. plug. Proper valve sealant inject gun is shown in (8c). A valve in the closed position that is leaking through the inside of the pipe downstream is indicated in (8f). A frozen valve that cannot be closed in an emergency is indicated in (8b). LLC .CEC Combustion Services Group Page 7 8. Picture 8a Picture 8b Picture 8c Picture 8d Picture 8e Picture 8f Lubricated plug valves fail in a number of ways including leaking through when in the closed position and by being seized. A valve that has been painted shut with no handle is shown in (8d) and (8e). and lubricant coating on the plug that makes the seal is shown (8a).

Combustion Safety Product/Service Reference: • Valve sealants. and valve service videos in stock • Internet “Super Store” 9. If an unstable flame happens back-up systems must recognize the loss of flame and be called upon to shut gas off.CEC Combustion Services Group Page 8 Lubricated plug valves need to be properly maintained on a regular basis. This makes for risks on the roof from ignition sources. This means injecting the proper sealant material and making sure the valves are exercised. LLC . If they are failed and leaking they can be venting natural gas from the gas train while the burner is trying to operate (9b). Vent Valves can be failed open disrupting operating conditions putting live fuel on to roofs and improper mixtures into burners Picture 9a Picture 9b Normally open vent valves are installed in gas trains to improve safety when equipment is off (9a). If these fail the risk of an explosion is increased. They allow gas leakage through the first automatic valve to get outside instead of to the firebox. We have found burners with unstable flames that cannot stay lit because of the pressure loss due to a failed vent valve. injection tools. Combustion Safety Product/Service Reference: • Tool kit for testing • Interlock – Tightness testing • Training Combustion Mechanical. When the burner tries to light they are supposed to close tight so all the gas goes to the burner. not optimum performance from the burner as well as increased fuel cost from the venting of the gas.

Outside Vent Terminations can be blocked with insect nests. Vent terminations are often found to be unprotected which increased the risk of blockage and restrictions due to insect nests (10b) and moisture entry.CEC Combustion Services Group Page 9 10. Picture 10a Picture 10b Picture 10c Most instruments and switches are vented devices that require pipes routed to safe locations outdoors (10a). Entry of moisture will result in premature automatic valve failure from foreign contaminants and rust. Combustion Safety Product/Service Reference: • Most all popular vent screen sizes are stocked and can be shipped overnight Combustion Mechanical. A clogged vent may mean that there is inadequate relief of gas when a component fails which may result in the component not providing the protection required. This allows for proper operation of the device and for gas to escape if a diaphragm failure occurs. Safety Codes require protected vent terminations (10c) with screening devices be installed that are turned down to prevent entry of moisture. LLC .

If you fail at your one chance it can mean death and destruction for those that may be working on or near the equipment as well as many innocent bystanders. You must find these few minutes to review your site! For more information contact: CEC Combustion Services Group 11699 Brookpark Road – Cleveland. If you are.combustionsafety. Consider the case of a lowly 100 gallon hot water heater. Ohio 44130 Phone: 888.3473 Fax: 216.CEC Combustion Services Group Page 10 GAS AND COMBUSTION SYSTEM EXPLOSIONS CAN BE AVOIDED Hopefully. It is also most likely going to take a culture change at your facility and a new found respect for this Combustion Mechanical. LLC . you are not a combustion system sinner. Please let this not be your first and final combustion equipment soul search but instead only a wake-up call. The energy stored in a 100 gallon hot water can be equivalent to 10 sticks of dynamite.8403 www. This equipment has the power to destroy many people and property on a massive scale.826. salvation can often be found in the form of awareness and training. If you really had 10 sticks of dynamite stored at your facility you would treat it with a great deal of respect.398. It only gives you one chance. This area of safety is not like fall protection or making employees wear safety glasses.

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