Boilermakers are craftspeople who create, install, and fix boilers and vats that contain large quantities of gas or liquid. Boilers use pressure to heat fluids, including water, oil, beer, and other chemicals. When water is stored in a boiler, it generates electric power and gives heat to buildings, plants and factories. Boilermaker jobs involve the installation and maintenance of boilers, but additionally, these professionals fabricate steel and help to build bridges, furnaces and mining equipment, in addition to other projects.
Jobs for boilermakers also include installing and repairing air pollution equipment, blasting furnaces, water treatment plants, storage tanks and smoke stacks, installing heat-resistant materials such as refractory brick in fireboxes and vessels, and installing and caring for the pipes used in dams that direct water to and from the hydroelectric power-generating turbines. Boilermaker jobs are also necessary at electric power plants, which harness high-pressure steams within boilers to make the blades of the turbines, which are attached to electric generators, spin. In these plants, the fuel that generates the steam in the boiler is usually coal, and it is burned in the firebox.
Since a typical boiler lasts about 50 years, boilermakers’ jobs involve a number of components, including upgrades. Parts of the boiler such as the tubes, heating components and ductwork should be upgraded by boilermakers so that efficiency is consistently as high as possible. Boilermaker jobs also include inspecting all parts of the boiler, including the fittings, feed pumps, safety and check valves, boiler controls, water and pressure gauges and auxiliary machinery. Boilermakers are responsible for ensuring that all parts are working properly and that they meet safety requirements. Parts that no longer work or are outdated are replaced using tools, torches and welding equipment.
Boilermaker jobs also involve cleaning the vats of large boilers using wire brushes, scrapers and solvents. Leaky boilers must be patched up and weak spots replaced with stronger parts and sections to ensure optimum performance of the boiler. A boilermaker job description will always require that the boilermaker is familiar with the designs and patterns of boilers. This is because boilermaker jobs involve using tools and torches to cut and weld metal pieces together to repair boilers.
A boilermaker job also requires the professional to be skilled at putting together the sections and wedges of the boiler so they fit into place. This often involves the use of hammers, files and grinders. Boilermaker jobs involve the use of heavy, dangerous equipment, so only people who feel comfortable working with such tools should consider a career as a boilermaker.