Most of the facilities we service are highly dependent on their boiler system. The primary functions boil down, if you will, to climate control and/or process, which is why maintaining a fully operational boiler room is so critical to these facilities. Even the best boilers do break down, and often at the worst times: 4:30 on a Friday or right before a long holiday weekend. Being prepared for just such a boiler breakdown means having a spare parts program.
Spare parts can be the difference between getting the boiler up and running quickly or having to pay for expensive overnight shipping (if the part you need is even available, and in our experience that’s a pretty big if). Establishing an in-house spare parts program is the best way to prevent excessive facility downtime and ensure peace of mind, but how do you get started?
Know What You Need
First, identify the critical components that normally wear on the boiler system. This could include safety switches like low gas pressure or air pressure. A more extensive inventory would include parts such as spare fan motors and VFDs, but even these are just as likely to go bad at the wrong time. Every facility will be different. How critical is your boiler room to your facility’s operation? The more critical it is, the more extensive the spare parts inventory should be. If your facility absolutely cannot afford to shut down for any reason, then you will almost want to have a brand-new boiler in parts stocked on shelves and carefully inventoried. A complete parts inventory is expensive but weighed against the cost of boilers being down, it may be an asset you can’t afford to go without. On the other hand, if your facility has spare boilers and the heat or process is not as critical, then the spare parts inventory can be cut back to only include the items that most commonly break. A boiler contractor can help determine what these parts should be based on your needs and their own experience.
The second element of a spare parts program is organization. What good are parts if you can’t find them? Many places have parts thrown all over shelves or laying in boxes on the floor. We recommend shelves or cabinets that are dedicated to the boiler room spare parts, which will help keep away other clutter. Through the use of labels, bins, and other organizational items, the right part can easily be located or identified for reorder if missing from its inventory location. On top of this, it’s best to define a clear method on how parts should be checked out and used, either on a simple sheet of paper or as part of a larger digital inventory program.
Is It Worth It?
At Boiler Specialists we stock an extensive inventory of parts across many manufacturers in the boiler industry. We do our best to identify common parts and always have them in stock for pickup or delivery. Even still, we may not have everything your facility needs, which is why stocking your own spare parts is so important. To help you get the most bang for your buck, we can determine what level of spare parts your facility may need and lay out an inventory program to make sure you always have what you need when you need it. Remember, spare parts are like insurance. It may seem like a waste of resources until you experience a boiler breakdown for yourself. When a breakdown occurs and you’re able to avoid costly downtime thanks to your comprehensive and organized spare parts room, you won’t regret it.