How to prepare a boiler for an inspection
Sometimes you will need to shut down and open up your boiler for a formal state-mandated inspection. Click here for best practices on how to do that.
What is a Boiler?
"Boiler" is typically defined as "a closed vessel in which water or other liquid is heated, steam or vapor is generated, steam is superheated, or any combination thereof, under pressure or vacuum, for use external to itself, by the direct application of energy from the combustion of fuels, from electricity or nuclear energy." Also included are fired units for heating or vaporizing liquids other than water where these units are separate from processing systems and are complete within themselves. This definition includes water heaters that exceed 200,000 Btu/hr heat input, 200 degrees Fahrenheit at the outlet, or 120 gallons nominal water containing capacity. Your state's Boiler Safety division can give you specific guidance on what that state considers a boiler and how it should be treated. For help finding your state's Boiler Safety Division, click here.
Why is it necessary to inspect boilers and pressure vessels?
Boilers and pressure can and sometimes do explode resulting in property damage, injuries and death. We are exposed to the dangers of boilers and pressure vessels daily. They are found in schools, churches, hospitals, factories and stores. The potential for accidents is well documented. To help understand how your boiler works, and ways to protect yourself, click here.
Who is responsible for ensuring a boiler or pressure vessel is inspected?
The owner or user is responsible for obtaining the required inspection and maintaining their boilers and pressure vessels in safe working condition.
How do I arrange for an inspection of my boilers and pressure vessels?
If the boiler or pressure vessel is covered by boiler/machinery insurance contact your insurance company to arrange for the services of a qualified insurance inspector. If the boiler or pressure vessel is uninsured a Deputy Inspector, employed by your state's Boiler Safety Program (if one exists) will perform the inspection. To find out how to arrange an inspection for your boiler, click here.
Who prepares the boiler or pressure vessel for inspection?
The owner or user is ultimately responsible for preparing the boiler or pressure vessel for inspection. The owner or user may perform these functions or contract it to a qualified individual or firm. To find a local certified Boiler Repair/Testing/Sales company to assist you with your boiler, click here.
Is there a fee associated with the inspection?
Typically there is a fee for inspections. Boilers can be inspected by an insurance inspector or a state (Deputy Inspector). Depending on the state, fees may be assessed for these inspections. To find out more the fees associated with your state, click here.
What is an inspection certificate?
The inspection certificate is evidence that the boiler or pressure vessel has been inspected and is safe to operate at the pressure shown on the certificate. Most state laws require an inspection certificate and operation without the inspection certificate is considered a violation of the law. To find out what your state requires, click here.
Why does an insurance inspector inspect my boiler?
If you maintain insurance on your boiler, the insurance inspector who is commissioned by your state will likely perform the required periodic inspections (usually taking over after the initial installation inspection was done by your state inspector - depending on the state requirements). If the insurance is canceled, a state inspector or your new insurance company's inspector will have to inspect your boiler.
My boiler/pressure vessel was recently inspected and failed. The violation has been corrected. What do I do now?
Contact your state's Boiler Safety Division so an inspector (state or Insurance) can be notified that your object is ready for re-inspection. Generally, after receiving a satisfactory inspection report (noting that the violations have been corrected), your state's Boiler Safety Division will issue a permit. Every state is unique, so please check with your state if you have questions by clicking here.
What is required to install a boiler or pressure vessel?
The person, firm or corporation performing the installation typically (depending on the state) must submit a "Request to Install" form or application to the state's Boiler Safety division and get approval (along with a permit number). Many of these forms are available online, if you would like to see what your state's requirements are for new installations or relocations, click here.
What is a variance, and who would need one?
A variance is ruling by the state's Boiler Authority that allows you to install or operate a boiler or pressure vessel that does not meet code requirements. A variance application is used for owners and users wishing to install a boiler/vessel not meeting the statutes or codes in its entirety and must be obtained prior to operation of the unit. For more information on how to obtain a variance from your state's Boiler Safety Division, click here.
What are the requirements for installing a used boiler or pressure vessel in my state?
If it is regulated, it must typically (depending on the state) meet all requirements for a new installation. In addition, a request to install used equipment must typically be approved by the state's chief inspector. For help in learning what your state requires, click here.
What is the difference between a high and low pressure boiler?
Low pressure boilers operate at a pressure of 15 PSI or lower,high pressure boilers operate at a pressure greater than 15 PSI.
What are procedures regarding welded repairs and construction requirements of boilers and\or pressure vessels?
Most states (but not all) require the repairs to be performed by a boiler repair form that holds an "R" Stamp (a type of certification) issued by the National Board of Boiler Inspectors. To view your particular's state's requirement on welded repairs, click here.