The Boiler Room Newsletter - A look at boiler operations, maintenance and safety
Chief Boiler Inspector
Linda Williamson
Phone: 360-902-5270

In this issue:

Back issues

A message from the Chief

Thank you for your interest in The Boiler Room. I hope these topics provide you with a better understanding of the work we do here in L&I’s Boiler Section.

Fall is here, days are shorter, nights longer and both are cooler.  It’s a great time of year to have that boiler inspected and serviced. A clean, well maintained boiler is a safer, more efficient boiler. With energy prices the way they are, you certainly don’t want to waste your money operating a dirty boiler.


Board of Boiler Rules

The Board of Boiler Rules has been busy helping our customers economic well being while keeping public safety the number one priority.  They are currently working on rules that impact both our state’s petrochemical and nuclear companies, as well as addressing union concerns regarding statewide “Boiler Operator Licensing.” This proposal was brought to Representative Steve Conway by the International Union of Operating Engineers. Representative Conway asked L&I to do a study on whether this licensing would be appropriate. The board held a special stakeholder meeting in August to consider this issue. L&I will prepare a final report to present to Representative Conway in December.

Board members Craig Hopkins and Faye Dietz will be leaving the board, as their terms expired in August of 2007. L&I, along with the remaining board members, thank them both for their commitment to public safety and for sharing their wisdom, experience and time.  As chairman for several years, Craig maintained a high standard of excellence for the board, setting a great example and giving us an opportunity to learn and hopefully continue in the future.

The department has received notice from the Governor’s Office of two new appointments to the Board of Boiler Rules. We would like to congratulate and welcome, Robert Olson, Product Engineering Manager at A. O. Smith Water Products Company, in Renton, who will be the board’s representative of manufacturers and Larry Trenda, Chief Design and Project Engineer at PSF Industries, Inc., in Seattle, who will be the representative of mechanical engineers.  Both of these gentlemen are bringing a wealth of knowledge and experience to the board.

The Board of Boiler Rules meets five times a year. The meeting schedule is posted on the boiler web page along with meeting agendas. The public is invited to attend.


Hot water tanks super-sized

The following is from an article provided by A.O. Smith. I think you will find it interesting.

Last December, A.O. Smith Water Products Company in Renton, Washington, received a large order for 60 specialty commercial electric water heaters to supply the hot water needs at a new luxury resort in Dubai, UAE.

The A. O. Smith plant in Renton specializes in designing and manufacturing water heaters and storage tanks for custom applications. All products designed and manufactured at this facility bear one of six ASME Code symbol stamps: S, M, U, UM, HLW, H.

The Renton team gathered to discuss designing and manufacturing this order, which included some of the largest products in the history of the facility.  Twenty of the 60 units were greater than 1,500 gallons, with the two largest specified at 3,500 and 4,000 gallons and standing nearly 18 feet tall. Adding to the complexity of the project was that, at the time the purchase order was taken, no drawings existed for the 20 large custom units. Through a team effort, drawings were created, materials were assembled, parts were ordered, costs were calculated, and manufacturing was planned. The first of the 3,500 gallon water heaters was completed in March 2007, with the 4,000 gallon units scheduled for completion in May 2007.

All of these water heaters were designed and manufactured in accordance with ASME Code, Section IV, Part HLW and will bear the ASME HLW Code symbol. For corrosion protection, these water heaters will be internally lined with porcelain enamel that is fired at 1600°F.  The 4,000 gallon units are 735KW (≈ 2,500,000 BTU/h) and will be capable of producing as much as 3,000 gallons of hot water per hour.

Not surprisingly, handling and shipping water heaters this large is very difficult.  The team designed an innovative saddle system with legs that protrude through the back side of the vertical sheet-metal water-heater enclosure. This saddle/leg system allows the large water heaters to be shipped horizontally. These units will be installed upright in the field by the use of lifting trunions that were designed specifically for the application.

As the large units are completed, they will be packaged at the factory in wood crates suitable for overseas shipping.  The remaining smaller water heaters will be shipped in containers. The units will be shipped from Renton to the nearest available sea port where they will be loaded onto container ships. Although the Port of Seattle is the closest port, space limitations necessitate some of the water heaters be shipped over land to Houston, Texas, then loaded onto ships.

Although these water heaters are among the largest that have been manufactured by A. O. Smith Water Products Company, the Renton factory is capable of building water heaters and storage tanks even larger than these giant units.

A. O. Smith Water Products Company, the largest division of the Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based A. O. Smith Corporation, manufactures water heaters, boilers, and water storage vessels in factories in the United States, Canada, Mexico, The Netherlands, and China.  A. O. Smith Corporation was founded in 1874 and enjoys a long tradition of engineering and manufacturing excellence.

End view of 3,500 gallon tank at 1600°F during the internal porcelain lining process.


Thank you again for reading The Boiler Room newsletter. If you have idea that you think would be of interest to boiler professionals, please send me an e-mail at Also, please recommend The Boiler Room to others you know in the industry. They can sign up here to receive it via e-mail.

- Linda Williamson, Boiler Chief


Save the date

I know it’s still early but please set aside March 14, 2008, on your calendars for the annual Washington State Boiler Inspectors Association meeting at the Double Tree Hotel at Southcenter. It is sure to be a great day that you won’t want to miss.


Boiler Staff News

In April, we welcomed Jim Eaton as a new pressure vessel inspector 1 in the Bellingham office. Jim is a Navy veteran, where he spent seven years as a mechanical engineer in a high-pressure steam plant. He was most recently employed as a boiler inspector for a private insurance company.

Tim Swanson, pressure vessel inspector 2 in Region 2, has completed a rigorous qualification process and is now certified by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) as an ASME team leader. This qualification allows Tim to conduct ASME reviews/audits of manufacturers of boilers and pressure vessels in this state.

Mike Carlson, a Pressure Vessel Inspector 1 from Region 1, was promoted to an inspector 2 position. In his new position, Mike will be able to perform inspections for boiler and pressure-vessel manufacturing shops.

We welcomed a new Administrative Assistant, Alicia Curry, who joined us from the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.

We are in the process of replacing Don Cumming’s position in Spokane, following his recent retirement. We hope that Don and his wife Jenny are enjoying some leisure time.  They were missed at our September training.

Please see the L&I Boiler Inspector Web page to find the inspector in your area.


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Board of Boiler Rules

Our next Board of Boiler Rules Meeting will be held:

January 22 & 23, 2008 at 10 a.m, Room 3
Tacoma Labor & Industries
950 Broadway, Suite 200
Tacoma, WA

Future meetings TBD. View the agenda and minutes from past meetings.

Washington State Boiler Inspectors Association (WSBIA)

Monthly lunch meetings:
The Washington State Boiler Inspectors Association (WSBIA) holds a lunch meeting on the first working Monday of each month to discuss current topics. The meeting is held at:

Andy's Diner
2963 4th Ave. S.
Seattle, WA

44th Annual Washington State Boiler Inspectors Association Meeting

March 14, 2008
DoubleTree Inn, Southcenter

To receive an invitation to upcoming events, contact the association at:


As the Department of Labor & Industries Boiler/Pressure Vessel Section, we are working hard to provide you with quality customer service. Sign up for our Listserv and receive safety bulletins and news.


Please see the L&I Boiler Inspector Web page to find the inspector in your area.

For questions about boiler regulations, fees and forms, please contact:

Tony Oda, Technical Specialist
Phone: 360-902-4983

Alicia Curry, Administrative Assistant
Phone: 360-902-5271

Karol Conly, Customer Service Specialist (Supervisor)
Phone: 360-902-5273

Kay Piesch, Customer Service Specialist
Phone: 360-902-5272

Annabel Schmidt, Customer Service Specialist
Phone: 360-902-5267

Department of Labor & Industries
Boiler Program
Phone: 360-902-6400
Fax: 360-902-5292

The Boiler Room is a Web-based newsletter from the Department of Labor & Industries' Boiler Program.

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