Guest Blog: Dealing with commercial plant boiler breakdowns

Plant failure can be catastrophic for a business and the down time entails disruption to service and loss of revenue. Jamie Ross-Davies from Ideal Heat Solutions gives his advice.

Ideal Heat are frequently called upon to provide temporary commercial boilers for plants across the south east.

Sometimes, providing a temporary boiler can be a quick process and a reliable, modern boiler can be installed within hours.

Sometimes however, the process can take days. Why? The answer is, it’s all down to design!

Designers need to ‘plan for disaster’ within their plant design. Whilst it isn’t difficult, it needs to be taken to a new level, much more valuable than the ‘twin head pump and standby boiler’ approach that prevails at present.

The good news is, it doesn’t require a lot of additional work, time, or cost. All that is required is the addition of a series of capped connection points for plant.

Picture the scene, the boiler breaks down, there is no supply of heat or hot water and the consequences quickly escalate. How would your organisation be affected?

Most probably: inconvenience, customer service delivery, cost, health and safety of employees, among others. First step is to source provision of a temporary boiler, in Ideal Heat’s case we would arrive within 24 hours and could install a temporary boiler within hours, unless one or more of the following is discovered:

• There is no provision for spare power
• The system requires a tapping
• New welded connections need installing
• The system needs a totally new plant room.

In these scenarios, recovery from plant failure can take days.
If comprehensive disaster planning had been factored in during the design stage, it would be a quick and simple process with minimal disruption to service.

Designers need to consider a single point failure study, plan for all that could happen if the plant fails. How viable would it be to install a temporary boiler?

Ideal Heat recommend that provision is made for a temporary boiler during the design phase. Ideal Heat recommend that provision is made for a temporary boiler during the design phase. A full range can be viewed here.

A series of capped connection points avoids the need for new welded connections. The addition of connection points would add pence to the cost of the design but would save far larger sums, as well as savings in time and inconvenience caused by their absence.

If a single connection point is incorporated in to the primary network and one on each secondary, parts of the system will be able to function during maintenance and repair work to the primary network.

Ensure the connections are line size with a valve and an end cap. These will also serve as flushing and testing points during routine maintenance. We also recommend inclusion of commando plugs for power provision as well as allowance for a temporary supply of water. If these small features are included at the design phase, when a boiler fails normal service can be resumed within hours instead of days.

Article by Jamie Ross-Davies from Ideal Heat Solutions.

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