What are the Most Commonly Used Inhibitors for Boiler Treatment? 

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Do you know which inhibitors are essential for maintaining your boiler system?

Or the risks poor boiler water treatment can pose?

Proper boiler water treatment starts with the right scale and corrosion inhibitor program to ensure efficient and safe boiler system operation and prevent catastrophic failure. A comprehensive treatment program includes pre-treatment equipment, chemical treatment, and proper control of blowdown.

Boiler water treatment chemical programs use inhibitors to prevent corrosion and scale formation.

In this article, we discuss the common inhibitors used in boiler treatment and describe their role in maintaining the health and performance of your boiler system.

Boiler Corrosion Inhibitors

Corrosion is a common issue in improperly treated boiler systems. Left unchecked, it can result in system failure. Dissolved oxygen and carbon dioxide in boiler water make-up lead to oxygen pitting, condensate line corrosion, and general system corrosion. System pH or water alkalinity greatly affects the general corrosion rate for metal surfaces. 

The proper use of oxygen scavengers, neutralizing amines or film-forming amines can protect system components from damage. Maintaining the proper alkalinity level or pH balance in the feed water, boiler, and condensate system ensures optimum corrosion control. 

Boiler Scale Inhibitors

Corrosion is a common issue in improperly treated boiler systems. Left unchecked, it can result in system failure. Dissolved oxygen and carbon dioxide in boiler water make-up lead to oxygen pitting, condensate line corrosion, and general system corrosion. System pH or water alkalinity greatly affects the general corrosion rate for metal surfaces. 

The proper use of oxygen scavengers, neutralizing amines or film-forming amines can protect system components from damage. Maintaining the proper alkalinity level or pH balance in the feed water, boiler, and condensate system ensures optimum corrosion control. 

Consult With a Water Treatment Professional

Proper water treatment programs are essential to prevent scale and corrosion issues. Local water conditions, system operation pressure, use of mechanical deaeration equipment, boiler make, and model all need to be considered in the design of an effective chemical treatment program. The best way to ensure proper system protection is to consult with a professional. 

At Guardian Chemicals, we offer effective water treatment chemicals for your boiler and condensate system and professional service to meet the needs of building managers and property owners. Our experienced team uses the latest equipment and techniques. We work with you to ensure your boiler and condensate system is properly treated and maintained. 

Don’t wait for problems to arise, act now and see the benefits for yourself. Contact Guardian Chemicals to review your boiler program and ensure your building is running at peak efficiency. 

Frequently Asked Questions about Boiler Inhibitors

What are the Most Common Inhibitors Used in Boiler Water Treatment?

The most commonly used inhibitors in boiler water treatment are oxygen scavengers, neutralizing amines, film-forming amines, phosphates, phosphonates, polymers, and combinations thereof. 

How Do These Inhibitors Work to Protect the Boiler System?

Oxygen scavengers remove dissolved oxygen, preventing oxygen pitting. Neutralizing and film-forming amines protect against corrosion in the condensate line. Phosphates, phosphonates, and polymers prevent scale formation by precipitating, complexing, or dispersing mineral components. 

Are Specific Inhibitors Recommended for Different Boiler Types?

The choice of inhibitors can depend on the boiler type and operating pressure. It’s best to consult with a water treatment professional to determine the right combination for your boiler system.

What Factors Determine the Dosage and Control of Boiler Inhibitors?

Dosage and control depend on local water conditions, boiler operation pressure, and the presence of pretreatment such as water softeners, reverse osmosis units, and mechanical deaeration equipment. Regular monitoring and testing are crucial for effective control. 

How Do Inhibitors Affect Boiler Efficiency?

Proper use of inhibitors enhances boiler efficiency by preventing scale and corrosion, which reduce heat transfer and increase energy costs. 

How Often Should Boiler Water Inhibitors be Monitored and Tested?

Regular monitoring and testing are essential, but the frequency depends on the boiler’s operation and the water treatment program’s effectiveness. Consult with a water treatment professional for specific guidelines. 

What are the Signs my Boiler Inhibitor Program isn’t Working?

Indicators include increased corrosion rates, scale formation, reduced heat transfer efficiency, and fluctuating boiler water pH levels. If you think your current treatment program isn’t working, consult a water treatment professional to address your concerns. 

Can Inhibitors be Combined with Other Boiler Water Treatment Chemicals?

Boiler water treatment chemicals are not commonly “combined” but multiple chemicals may be fed into a system for proper treatment and inhibition. Boiler inhibitors are part of a comprehensive water treatment program. They are common ingredients in boiler water treatment formulations. 

Your water treatment professional should guide you on the water treatment chemicals required for your boiler system, their dosage, and use. 

What Should I Do if My Current Boiler Inhibitor Program isn't Working?

If issues arise, it’s important to consult a water treatment professional to help you assess and adjust the treatment program accordingly. When you’re ready, reach out to one of our water treatment experts for advice.

Originally published March 28, 2023. Updated with additional content and FAQ December 1, 2023.

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