This page presents information from various sources on boiler inspections as it relates to the Live Steam hobby.
State by State Synopsis
This document provides a state-by-state synopsis of boiler rules and requirements. Search for the terms "hobby" and "miniature".
- You can look up the boiler rules in effect where you live. Go to http://www.nationalboard.org and click on Juridictions. You then select Canada or USA, then your province or state. When you click on Details it opens up a window , usually with a picture of your Chief Inspector and a link to their website. Most of these websites will have the Law or Rules and Regulations. Some of them will have an index, if they do you can quickly see if there is a section on hobby or miniature boilers. Others you will need to wade through the Law or rules to see what it says.
- A word of caution - you want to be careful if you do talk to an inspector. In some cases the boiler division has chosen to ignore the hobby - you don't want to do anything that will make them take official notice of the hobby.It may be wise to speak to your local club or other hobbyists rather than an inspector.
- Illinois, New York, and Texas have exemptions for Hobby boilers below a certain size. Maryland, Michigan, and Washington have rules that require inspection of hobby boilers but do not require an ASME stamped vessel.
- The Hobby Boiler rule for Texas is an exemption. I was on the advisory committee to the Texas Board of Boiler Rules working on rules for hobby boilers when Fred Springer contacted a legislator. He was able to get a bill passed to amend the law and grant the exemption. This took place back in the late 1980's and early 1990's. I left Texas in January of 1990; it was sometime after that the law was passed.
- The Law states that the following boilers are exempt - 3) manually fired miniature boilers that:
- (A) are constructed or maintained for locomotives, boats, tractors, or stationary engines only as a hobby for exhibition, recreation, education, or historical purposes and not for commercial use;
- (B) have an inside diameter of 12 inches or less or a grate area of two square feet or less; and
- (C) are equipped with a safety valve of adequate size, a water level indicator, and a pressure gauge;
- Pressure is not a factor.
- ASME code for miniature boilers has a 100 PSI limit. The ASME is a construction code; each jurisdiction(which is usually a state) decides what rules they want to follow.
- Here in Michigan you can run at any pressure you can show your boiler is safe at. One of my locomotives was approved for 235 PSI, but I ran it at 125PSI.
- Washington State Boiler Code declares that a hydro pressure test more than 200% of Maximum Allowed Working Pressure (MAWP) results in a damaged pressure vessel. This causes the State to downgrade the MAWP.
Club Inspection Policies and Procedures
- "Boiler Testing Rules and Regulations", Chesapeake & Allegheny Steam Preservation Society
- "Boiler Testing", Wirrall Engineering Society
- "Boiler Testing", 7-1/4 Inch Gauge Society
- Mini-Rail Boiler Testing Procedure
- "Australian Miniature Boiler Safety Code", Australian Association of Live Steamers
- "PLS Boiler Inspection Standard", Pennsylvania Live Steamers