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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 16. Labor and Employment
Agency 25. Safety and Health Codes Board
Chapter 50. Boiler and Pressure Vessel Regulations
5/31/2020

16VAC25-50-370. Heating Boilers.

A. Standard boilers. The maximum allowable working pressure of standard boilers shall in no case exceed the pressure indicated by the manufacturer's identification stamped or cast on the boiler or on a plate secured to it.

B. Nonstandard riveted boilers. The maximum allowable working pressure on the shell of a nonstandard riveted heating boiler shall be determined in accordance with 16VAC25-50-360 C covering existing installations, power boilers, except that in no case shall the maximum allowable working pressure of a steam heating boiler exceed 15 psig, or a hot water boiler exceed 160 psig or 250°F temperature.

C. Nonstandard welded boilers. The maximum allowable working pressure of a nonstandard steel or wrought iron heating boiler of welded construction shall not exceed 15 psig for steam. For other than steam service, the maximum allowable working pressure shall be calculated in accordance with the ASME Code, Section IV.

D. Nonstandard cast iron boilers.

1. The maximum allowable working pressure of a nonstandard boiler composed principally of cast iron shall not exceed 15 psig for steam service or 30 psig for hot water service.

2. The maximum allowable working pressure of a nonstandard boiler having cast iron shell or heads and steel or wrought iron tubes shall not exceed 15 psig for steam service or 30 psig for hot water service.

E. Safety valves.

1. Each steam boiler must have one or more officially rated (ASME Code stamped and National Board rated) safety valves of the spring pop type adjusted to discharge at a pressure not to exceed 15 psig. Seals shall be attached in a manner to prevent the valve from being taken apart without breaking the seal. The safety valves shall be arranged so that they cannot be reset to relieve at a higher pressure than the maximum allowable working pressure of the boiler. A body drain connection below seat level shall be provided by the manufacturer, and this drain shall not be plugged during or after field installation. For valves exceeding two inch pipe size, the drain hole or holes shall be tapped not less than 3/8 inch pipe size. For valves less than two inches, the drain hole shall not be less than 1/4 inch in diameter.

2. No safety valve for a steam boiler shall be smaller than 3/4 inch unless the boiler and radiating surfaces consist of a self-contained unit. No safety valve shall be larger than 4-1/2 inches. The inlet opening shall have an inside diameter equal to, or greater than, the seat diameter.

3. The minimum relieving capacity of the valve or valves shall be governed by the capacity marking on the boiler.

4. The minimum valve capacity in pounds per hour shall be the greater of that determined by dividing the maximum BTU output at the boiler nozzle obtained by the firing of any fuel for which the unit is installed by 1,000 or shall be determined on the basis of the pounds of steam generated per hour per square foot of boiler heating surface as given in Table 2. When operating conditions require it a greater relieving capacity shall be provided. In every case, the requirements of subdivision 5 of this subsection shall be met.

TABLE 2
Minimum Pounds of Steam Per Hour Per Square Foot of Heating Surface

Fire Tube Boilers

Water Tube Boilers

Boiler Heating Surface:

Hand fired

5

6

Stoker fired

7

8

Oil, gas, or pulverized fuel fired

8

10

Waterwall Heating Surface:

Hand fired

8

8

Stoker fired

10

12

Oil, gas, or pulverized fuel fired

14

16

NOTES: When a boiler is fired only by a gas giving a heat value of not in excess of 200 BTU per cubic foot, the minimum safety valve or safety relief valve relieving capacity may be based on the value given for handfired boilers in Table 2.

The minimum safety valve or safety relief valve relieving capacity for electric boilers shall be 3-1/2 pounds per hour per kilowatt input.

For heating surface determination, see the current edition of the ASME Code, Section IV.

5. The safety valve capacity for each steam boiler shall be such that with the fuel burning equipment operating at maximum capacity, the pressure cannot rise more than five psig above the maximum allowable working pressure.

6. When operating conditions are changed, or additional boiler surface is installed, the valve capacity shall be increased, if necessary, to meet the new conditions and be in accordance with subdivisions 4 and 5 of this subsection. When additional valves are required, they may be installed on the outlet piping provided there is no intervening valve.

7. If there is any doubt as to the capacity of the safety valve, an accumulation test shall be run (see the current edition of the ASME Code, Section VI).

8. No valve of any description shall be placed between the safety valve and the boiler, nor on the discharge pipe between the safety valve and the atmosphere. The discharge pipe shall be at least full size and be fitted with an open drain to prevent water lodging in the upper part of the safety valve or in the discharge pipe. When an elbow is placed on the safety valve discharge pipe, it shall be located close to the safety valve outlet, or the discharge pipe shall be securely anchored and supported. All safety valve discharges shall be so located or piped as not to endanger persons working in the area.

F. Safety relief valve requirements for hot water boilers.

1. Each hot water boiler shall have one or more officially rated (ASME Code stamped and National Board rated) safety relief valves set to relieve at or below the maximum allowable working pressure of the boiler. Safety relief valves officially rated as to capacity shall have pop action when tested by steam. When more than one safety relief valve is used on hot water boilers, the additional valve or valves shall be officially rated and shall be set within a range not to exceed six psig above the maximum allowable working pressure of the boiler up to and including 60 psig and 5.0% for those having a maximum allowable working pressure exceeding 60 psig. Safety relief valves shall be spring loaded. Safety relief valves shall be so arranged that they cannot be reset at a higher pressure than the maximum permitted by this paragraph.

2. No materials liable to fail due to deterioration or vulcanization when subject to saturated steam temperature corresponding to capacity test pressure shall be used for any part.

3. No safety relief valve shall be smaller than 3/4 inch nor larger than 4-1/2 inches standard pipe size, except that boilers having a heat input not greater than 15,000 BTU per hour may be equipped with a safety relief valve of 1/2 inch standard pipe size. The inlet opening shall have an inside diameter approximately equal to, or greater than, the seat diameter. In no case shall the minimum opening through any part of the valve be less than 1/2 inch diameter or its equivalent area.

4. The required steam relieving capacity, in pounds per hour, of the pressure relieving device or devices on a boiler shall be the greater of that determined by dividing the maximum output in BTU at the boiler outlet obtained by the firing of any fuel for which the unit is installed by 1,000, or on the basis of pounds of steam generated per hour per square foot of boiler heating surface as given in Table 2. When necessary a greater relieving capacity of valves shall be provided. In every case, the requirements of subdivision F 6 of this section shall be met.

5. When operating conditions are changed, or additional boiler heating surface is installed, the valve capacity shall be increased, if necessary, to meet the new conditions and shall be in accordance with subdivision F 6 of this section. The additional valves required, on account of changed conditions, may be installed on the outlet piping provided there is no intervening valve.

6. Safety relief valve capacity for each boiler shall be so that, with the fuel burning equipment installed and operated at maximum capacity the pressure cannot rise more than six psig above the maximum allowable working pressure for pressure up to and including 60 psig and 5.0% of maximum allowable working pressures over 60 psig.

7. If there is any doubt as to the capacity of the safety relief valve, an accumulation test shall be run (see the current edition of the ASME Code, Section VI).

8. No valve of any description shall be placed between the safety relief valve and the boiler, nor on the discharge pipe between the safety relief valve and the atmosphere. The discharge pipe shall be at least full size and fitted with an open drain to prevent water lodging in the upper part of the safety relief valve or in the discharge pipe. When an elbow is placed on the safety relief valve discharge pipe, it shall be located close to the safety relief valve outlet or the discharge pipe shall be securely anchored and supported. All safety relief valve discharges shall be so located or piped as not to endanger persons working in the area.

G. Valve replacement and repair. Safety valves and safety relief valves requiring repair shall be replaced with a new valve or repaired by the original manufacturer, its authorized representative, or the holder of a "VR" Stamp.

H. Pressure relieving devices. Boilers and fired storage water heaters except those exempted by the Act shall be equipped with pressure relieving devices in accordance with the requirements of the current edition of the of the ASME Code, Section IV.

I. Instruments, fittings and control requirements. Instruments, fittings and controls for each boiler installation shall comply with the requirements of the current edition of the ASME Code, Section IV.

J. Low water fuel cutoff.

1. Each automatically fired hot water heating boiler with heat input greater than 400,000 BTUs per hour shall have an automatic low water fuel cutoff that has been designed for hot water service, located so as to stop the fuel supply automatically when the surface of the water falls to the level established in subdivision 2 of this subsection (also see ASME Code, Section IV).

2. As there is no normal waterline to be maintained in a hot water heating boiler, any location of the low water fuel cutoff above the lowest safe permissible water level established by the boiler manufacturer is satisfactory.

3. A coil type boiler or a water tube boiler with heat input greater than 400,000 BTUs per hour requiring forced circulation, to prevent overheating of the coils or tubes, shall have a flow sensing device installed in the outlet piping, instead of the low water fuel cutoff required in subdivision 1 of this subsection to stop the fuel supply automatically when the circulating flow is interrupted.

K. Steam gauges.

1. Each steam boiler shall have a steam gauge connected to its steam space, its water column, or its steam connection, by means of a siphon or equivalent device exterior to the boiler. The siphon shall be of sufficient capacity to keep the gauge tube filled with water and arranged so that the gauge cannot be shut off from the boiler except by a cock.

2. The range of the scale on the dial of a steam boiler pressure gauge shall be not less than 30 psig nor more than 60 psig. The gauge shall be provided with effective stops for the indicating pointer at the zero point and at the maximum pressure point. The travel of the pointer from zero to full scale 30 psig shall be at least three inches.

L. Pressure or altitude gauges.

1. Each hot water boiler shall have a pressure or altitude gauge connected to it or to its flow connection in a manner so that it cannot be shut off from the boiler except by a cock with tee or lever handle placed on the pipe near the gauge. The handle of the cock shall be parallel to the pipe in which it is located when the cock is open.

2. The range of the scale on the dial of the pressure or altitude gauge shall be not less than 1-1/2 times nor more than three times the maximum allowable working pressure. The gauge shall be provided with effective stops for the indicating pointer at the zero point and at the maximum pressure point.

3. Piping or tubing for pressure or altitude gauge connections shall be of nonferrous metal when smaller than one inch pipe size.

M. Thermometers. Each hot water boiler shall have a thermometer located and connected so that it shall be easily readable when observing the water pressure or altitude gauge. The thermometer shall be located so that it will at all times indicate the temperature in degrees Fahrenheit of the water in the boiler at or near the outlet.

N. Water gauge glasses.

1. Each steam boiler shall have one or more water gauge glasses attached to the water column or boiler by means of valved fittings. The lower fitting shall be provided with a drain valve of the straightaway type with opening not less than 1/4 inch diameter to facilitate cleaning. Gauge glass replacement shall be possible while the boiler is under pressure.

2. Transparent material, other than glass, may be used for the water gauge provided that the material has proved suitable for the pressure, temperature and corrosive conditions encountered in service.

O. Stop valves and check valves.

1. If a boiler can be closed off from the heating system by closing a steam stop valve, there shall be a check valve in the condensate return line between the boiler and the system.

2. If any part of a heating system can be closed off from the remainder of the system by closing a steam stop valve, there shall be a check valve in the condensate return pipe from that part of the system.

P. Feedwater connections.

1. Feedwater, make-up water, or water treatment shall be introduced into a boiler through the return piping system or through an independent feedwater connection that does not discharge against parts of the boiler exposed to direct radiant heat from the fire. Feedwater, make-up water, or water treatment shall not be introduced through openings or connections provided for inspection or cleaning, safety valve, safety relief valve, surface blowoff, water column, water gauge glass, pressure gauge or temperature gauge.

2. Feedwater piping shall be provided with a check valve near the boiler and a stop valve or cock between the check valve and the boiler or return pipe system.

Q. Return pump. Each boiler equipped with a condensate return pump, where practicable, shall be provided with a water level control arranged to maintain the water level in the boiler automatically within the range of the gauge glass.

R. Repairs and renewals of boiler fittings and appliances. Whenever repairs are made to fittings or appliances, or it becomes necessary to replace them, the repairs or replacements shall comply with the requirements for new installations.

S. Conditions not covered by this chapter. Any case not specifically covered by this chapter shall be treated as a new boiler or pressure vessel installation pursuant to 16VAC25-50-280 or may be referred to the chief inspector for instructions concerning the requirements.

Statutory Authority

§ 40.1-51.6 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR425-01-75 § 3.2, eff. July 1, 1974; amended, eff. November 1, 1978; July 1, 1991; September 1, 1993; Volume 15, Issue 05, eff. January 1, 1999 and April 1, 1999; Volume 35, Issue 02, eff. November 1, 2018.

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