Boiler Inspection Tips

Hello. I am preparing to go look at a relatively small boiler we are considering relocating. I am going to see it myself today for the first time. The details I do have:

  • It is an older model that isn’t produced anymore by the mfg.(but they have a direct replacement model, so I think I’ll be able to get parts if need be)
  • It’s a Bryan CL-75W-FDG flexible tube, gas fired unit
  • 18 HP / 600 MBH output
  • 90 sqft surface
  • 25 gal capacity
  • 30 psi

I don’t have much experience looking at old boilers for issues besides the obvious ones (connections, seals, corrosion). Is there anything nuanced or not-so-obvious that I should definitely be on the lookout for while I’m inspecting this unit prior to approving the relocation?

So the firebox refractor surfaces are shot. Total rubble, but the res of it looks in decent shape. It looks it’s age (built 1989) for sure, but with a rebuild of the firebox I think I can make use of this unit.

Fireside and waterside should both be inspected.

The Control system and safety shutdown devices should also be inspected, including the openings and piping to safety devices.

Being a former boilermaker, I cannot tell you how many times boiler inspections revealed waterside fouling and low water cut-offs not functional due to very poor water quality & no routine maintenance.

Fireside, any discoloration in the metal? Any non-uniform metal color? Build-up of soot in any location? Any distortion or unusual tube bends/sagging?

Wish you good luck!

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Thanks. The controls and safety devices look ok, but since this unit is offline, I’m not seeing them in action.

What I could see waterside didn’t look bad. Age and storage appropriate.

Fireside, I didn’t see a spot of soot except for discoloration of the refractor rubble. The tubes all looks pretty uniform and clean. Bends looked good and tight without any sagging.

I’m working on a quote for the repair to the firebox as well as some install costs. If that all comes in as reasonable, I’m going to give it a shot.

Be careful. One of my prevous roles was Project Manager. My personal experience, and what I recall hearing from more experienced Project Managers, was “it only cost a little extra to use used equipment”. In other words, we frequently paid more to get used equipment installed and functional, than our estimates for new equipment. There were a lot of surprises.

I will say, I never had to relocate a used boiler.

Good luck, SuperSalad!

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Aok, very good. Concur w/ Latexman comments.

Inspecting these items should not deter you in purchase, but they should be inspected and tested before placing boiler in operation.

Any idea of operating hours on boiler or past usage/application? Once operation location is known, water supply at that location is additional information for you to be aware of.

Any past inspection certificates from jurisdiction of the boiler?
Consider the new location jurisdiction has knowledge of this boiler.

Inspect the piping to pressure switch and low-water cut-off (both sides). If possible, disassemble the low water assemble and inspect. The piping and assembly should be clean metal surfaces, no scale/sludge, and have no pitting.

Inspect piping to fuel low/high pressure switches. Should be clean and free of debris.
Inspect flame sensor for cleanliness, alignment, and purge tubing/piping to flame sensor.

Boiler safety valves will need testing or replacement.

Hang in there and Good Luck!