Boilers are one of the most important pieces of equipment on a ship, as they provide heat and hot water. A boiler starting failure can be extremely inconvenient, and it can even result in dangerous situations.
On ships, boiler starting failure is a common occurrence. There could be several reasons for a boiler not starting. Fortunately, there are a few steps you can take to troubleshoot a marine boiler starting failure.
The fuel inlet valve to the burner is closed.
The fuel line for the boiler burner is made up of several valves that are located at the pump suction, fuel tank, discharge valve, or valve before the boiler burner. Any of these could be closed, resulting in fuel starvation.
The line filter at the burner’s fuel line inlet is clogged.
If the system runs on heavy oil, the filters in the line may become clogged. In order to avoid this, boiler systems are typically designed to switch from diesel to heavy oil during startup and heavy to diesel during shutdown. This keeps the fuel line and filter clean.
The boiler’s fuel supply pump is not operational.
The fuel pump not running can be caused by one of two factors. When the pumps are connected in pairs, the change over auto system is normally set to manual, and if the operating pump fails, the standby pump will not start automatically. Another cause is the pump tripping due to a short circuit in the system, for example.
A solenoid valve in the fuel supply line is broken.
The solenoid valve in the fuel supply line is not working properly. Although most systems now use advanced automation, it is possible that the solenoid in the fuel supply line is malfunctioning and not opening.
The flame eye is broken.
A flame eye is a photocell-activated flame sensor that is installed directly on the refractory to detect whether or not the burner is firing. If the flame eye unit fails, it will send a trip signal even before the burner begins to fire.
The air or steam ratio is incorrectly set.
The air fuel ratio is critical for proper and efficient combustion; if the supply of air is excessive, there will be excessive smoke, and if it exceeds the normal level, the combustion will burn off, resulting in flame failure.
The forced draft fan flaps are not working properly.
Forced draft fans (FDF) are used for pre and post purging to remove excess gases trapped inside the combustion chamber, and are linked to a timer to close the fan flaps. If the flaps fail, continuous forced air will enter the chamber, preventing the burner from producing flame and resulting in the boiler’s flame failure.
Any contactor switch within the Control panel is faulty.
The boiler control panel is made up of numerous contactors and PLC cards. Even a single faulty contactor can cause problems with the boiler starting.
The trip was not reset.
The boiler will not start if any previous trips, such as low water level, flame failure, emergency stop, and so on, have not been reset.
The main burner atomiser is clogged.
An atomizer is used in main burners to burn fuel efficiently. If the atomizer becomes clogged with sludge and fuel deposits, the burner may fail to produce flame and trip the boiler.
The pilot burner nozzle is clogged.
A pilot burner nozzle is very small and can become clogged with carbon deposits and sludge, resulting in flame failure. Some pilot burners have small filters that can become clogged after continuous operation, resulting in flame failure due to carbon accumulation.
The electrodes are not producing a spark.
Electrodes generate the initial spark for generating a flame, which may be caused by carbon deposits on them or a fault in the electrode circuit, among other things.
If you’re still having problems after following these steps, contact a marine boiler repair specialist. Boiler Repair Spare Parts can be challenging to source, thus working with a company that specialises in marine boiler repairs is essential. You should be able to get your boiler up and running again in no time if you have the right parts and professional.