Why regulate pressure equipment? Pressure = energy! Boilers and hot water heaters can generate pressurized steam, which contains an enormous amount of energy. If safety devices fail to stop a pressure buildup, the result can be a powerful explosion – enough to level buildings and cause injuries or deaths.
Even a small pressure vessel, operated incorrectly, can fail – with disastrous consequences. If a compressed air receiver fails, the energy released can send metal fragments flying through the air, damaging anything and injuring anyone in their path. Many pressure vessels contain flammable or toxic substances. Common examples include propane fuel and anhydrous ammonia. The failure of such vessels can result in property and environmental damage – and in serious cases, wholesale evacuations, injury, or death.
Where Is Pressure Equipment Found? Just About Everywhere!
Homes, schools, arenas, hotels, airports, indoor pools, malls, apartment buildings, office buildings, dry cleaners, auto repair shops – all have pressure equipment.
- Homes and small businesses may have boilers, compressed air receiver tanks, propane tanks, water heaters, or hot water tanks.
- Large public buildings may have boilers, air receivers, compressed gas containers, water heaters, hot water storage tanks, and expansion tanks for hot water heating systems.
- Small businesses may also use heating boilers, power boilers, water heaters, hot water storage tanks, propane storage tanks, anhydrous ammonia storage tanks, air receivers, and expansion tanks in hot water heating systems.
- Industrial plants such as refineries can have a large number of pressure equipment items, often much larger in size.
Who Protects Public Safety?
The Government of Alberta, through the Safety Codes Act and Regulations, sets the safety requirements for pressure equipment operating in the Province.
Owners are ultimately responsible for the safety of their pressure equipment. The failure of a vessel can lead to civil suits for damage or injury, criminal prosecution, and environmental penalties. There is also the risk of death, significant property damage, interruption of business, and higher insurance premiums. Accident prevention is definitely in the owner’s best interest.
ABSA delivers pressure equipment safety programs in Alberta under the Safety Codes Act and Regulations. We work in partnership with everyone in the pressure equipment “industry” – designers, manufacturers, contractors, equipment owners, operators, and skilled tradespeople. Our programs and services both enable and ensure industry compliance with the requirements of the legislation.
Be aware! Pressure equipment requires care, awareness, and regular professional maintenance to be safe.
As the owner of pressure equipment, you are responsible for ensuring its safe operation and proper maintenance, even if the equipment is exempt from the legislation.
This is for your protection – both from liability and personal injury. Should a vessel rupture and cause injury or death, you, the owner, could face civil and criminal penalties.
An owner’s responsibilities, in part, are to ensure that:
- pressure equipment covered by the Safety Codes Act fully meets the requirements of the Act
- the manufacturer’s instructions (including periodic testing, inspection, maintenance, and/or replacement) are followed
- the pressure equipment is protected by an appropriate pressure relief valve
- the pressure equipment is not modified without written approval from ABSA
- pressure relief valves are not be plugged off and are checked regularly to ensure that they work properly
- if the pressure relief valve leaks, or does not work when tested, it is replaced or repaired immediately to ensure it will prevent overpressure of the equipment
- pressure relief valves discharge to a safe location.For additional information see: AB-502 Guidelines For Care and Operation of Hot Water Heating Boilers
Typical Concerns Regarding Household Pressure Equipment
Important Note: Homeowners must contact qualified service personnel for advice and maintenance regarding pressure equipment.
Hot Water Heaters
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Have the relief valve tested. Replace it if it does not function.
- Never modify or use the heater for other purposes.
- Protect cylinders from corrosion, damage, and heat.
- Inspect O-rings at connections and check for leaks with soapy water.
- Always close the valve on the cylinder when not in use.
- Discontinue use if you suspect any problem.
- Never use a cylinder past the “end of life” date stamped on it.
- Never modify or use a cylinder for other purposes (see bulletins on News and Information page).
- Drain water from tank regularly to prevent corrosion.
- Never use damaged hoses or attachments.
- Use only hoses and fittings intended for compressed air, and rated for the maximum pressure your compressor can generate.
- Never use a tank after the “end of life” date stamped on it, if present.
- Never modify a tank or use it for other purposes.