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Don't forget boiler room basics.

From management offices in Brooklyn and The Bronx to cooperative meetings throughout Queens and Manhattan, the deregulation of natural gas and electricity is the main topic of discussion. However, as the heating season rapidly approaches, now is the time for building managers and property owners to ensure their boiler room operations are in proper working order.

Responsible maintenance will lower your fuel costs, reduce breakdowns and extend the life of your equipment. Regularly scheduled maintenance check-ups and annual overhauls help to ensure dependable, efficient operation, even on the coldest day of the year. For example, a quarter-inch buildup of soot can reduce efficiency by one-third. Annual boiler cleanings can reduce your fuel costs by as much as 33 percent.

The following maintenance tips apply to commercial boilers with air/oil atomizing burners only, and Castle always recommends that only qualified personnel should operate, adjust or repair the equipment:

* Inspect the boiler room for oil or water leaks. Keep the room clean.

* Check the oil level in the air compressor or gear housing and fill if necessary. Be sure to use the correct lubricating oil.

* Check sight glass on the pre-heater to make sure there is no oil present.

* Look through the observation port of the combustion chamber to see if there is any carbon build-up or smoke.

* Check all burner linkages to be sure there has been no change from their original marked position. If there have been changes, the linkages need tightening.

* Check the water level in the boiler. Excessive loss may mean leaking boiler tubes, or a leaking steam or return line.

* Check the oil strainers daily and clean when necessary.

* Check the domestic hot-water temperature.

* Check the fuel-oil temperature gauges. (#6 oil only)

* Check oil gauge/inventory to monitor consumption and ensure proper inventory. Keep a daily inventory record.

* (For Rotary Burners) Check the atomizing cup and air nozzle daily. Never use a sharp instrument when cleaning. If damaged, replace the cup or nozzle.

Once a week, qualified personnel should:

* Open the blow-down valve of the low water cut-off while the burner is running. The burner should shut down when the water level drops in the glass, showing that the low-water cut-off is operating properly. This also removes rust and dirt from the float chamber.

* Check the weather-control settings.

* Check and clean the air filters.

* Check the boiler tubes for soot or water leaks.

* Check the boiler sight-glass, and clean if necessary.

* Visually inspect operating controls.

* The cover on the doors must be kept closed.

* Flush the below water line pre-heater.

* Observe the operation of draft controls.

* Observe the burner operation.

* Check the accuracy of the oil tank gauge by comparing it to a stick reading.

These tips are just part of what should become a daily, weekly, monthly and annual maintenance schedule. Castle Oil's complete Burner and Boiler Maintenance Checklist is available on the Internet at, or by calling Castle's Customer Care Center at (914) 381-6600 or (718) 823-8800.

(Louis Romano is a senior vice president with Castle Oil Corporation. Founded in 1928. Castle Oil Corporation is the largest independent fuel oil distributor in the New York metropolitan area. serving thousands of property owners and management firms. Additional services include burner service, natural gas marketing and home heating oil distribution.)
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Title Annotation:tips for building managers and property owners; Building Management & Maintenance
Author:Romano, Louis
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Sep 15, 1999
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