Looking for a simple solution to extend the life expectancy and improve the efficiency of your firetube steam boiler? The answer is chemical treatment.

Chemical treatment is critical in keeping your firetube steam boiler operating properly. Untreated boiler water contains oxygen and impurities that will damage the boiler over time. Oxygen will lead to oxygen pitting, or in extreme cases, will create holes in the boiler shell and tubes. This type of corrosion will cause the tubes to fail, which will ultimately result in boiler failure.

Chem Treatment1-1

During the evaporation process, impurities in the boiler water are left behind inside the boiler or the tubes. These impurities lead to scale build up on the tubes and boiler surfaces. Scale reduces heat transfer and drastically reduces efficiency. This leads to burning more fuel. In order to run at peak efficiency and reduce expensive boiler repairs, the boiler water must be chemically treated to reduce oxygen and impurities. 

Firetube boilers are commonly treated with chemicals to protect against scale build-up and corrosion. There are several common chemicals used to treat boiler scale and corrosion, including phosphates, sulfates, polymers and amines. Phosphates help prevent mineral scale build-up and sulfates protect metal components from corrosion. Polymers act as dispersants to keep mineral particles suspended in the water, which helps prevent scale buildup. Amines act as neutralizing agents and help to reduce corrosion.

In addition to chemically treating your boiler water, we recommend blowdown to remove water impurities. Blowing down a boiler consists of manually opening designated valves at the front, rear, sides and near the top of the boiler to drain the potentially poor water. Blowing down your boiler only takes a few moments but along with chemical treatment, it helps your system last longer and operate more efficiently. Learn more about scale and blowdown.

It's important to note that while cast iron sectional boilers can also be used to generate steam, this type of boiler should never receive chemical treatment. Adding chemicals to a cast iron steam boiler creates surging.

If you need steam boiler maintenance, or if you’d like to improve your steam boiler efficiencies, contact the steam experts at Wilkinson.


Contact us


Written by Elaina Schlumper