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5 steps for CHP maintenance

Maximise the benefits of Combined Heat and Power by prioritising maintenance.

The efficiency of Combined Heat and Power (CHP) enables you to provide customers with energy cost savings and reduced carbon emissions. Deliver the right level of aftercare to deliver continued reliability and longevity. 

Maximise the benefits of CHP by following these five steps:

1. Protect the gas engine with periodic inspection and servicing

Most CHP units for buildings comprise of an alternator driven by a spark ignition gas engine. They come either fully packaged with an integral heat recovery system or are custom-built. Periodic inspection and servicing of this cogeneration system is essential to ensure that it is operating effectively. 

Inspect the whole CHP system, preferably daily, to check there are no oil leaks, water leaks, or unusual noises. Regular routine servicing is necessary and should be carried out by trained CHP engineers. Inspection and servicing typically includes: 

  • Inspection and replacement of spark plugs.
  • Changing/sampling engine oil, including safe waste oil disposal.
  • Replacing oil/air filters.
  • Engine calibrations, adjusting valve settings.
  • Battery condition checks.
  • Checking emissions testing set-up.

2. Boost reliability with condition and performance monitoring

Fit the CHP system with instrumentation and metering to allow for live monitoring and recording of critical system parameters. These include: 

  • Temperatures
  • Pressures and flow rates
  • Fuel consumption
  • Electricity output
  • Heat supplied to site and hours of operation. 

Extend the service life of the system by carrying out condition and performance monitoring. This will provide early warning of required maintenance activities can be detected. Performance monitoring is also required to demonstrate that the CHP has met the requirements for Good Quality under the CHPQA scheme

3. Use live remote monitoring to prevent major problems 

Anticipate any potential problems by using a remote monitoring web-based platform. The CHP unit has an onboard communications system that feeds back live operating parameters to the supplier’s control centre and the end user's own device. 

Use the data to make a diagnosis on any potential issues, make minor adjustments to the CHP operation, and schedule maintenance and repair visits. Adopting a proactive approach will allow you to optimise system performance and maximise output. Live monitoring can inform maintenance, lengthen the lifetime of components and reduce operational downtime. 

4. Plan a maintenance regime

Maintenance starts at the project design stage, when consideration must be given to good access for servicing and repair of equipment. CHP operating at part loads will run with reduced efficiency and maintenance costs will increase. That’s why maintenance is imperative to overall cost-efficiency over the system’s lifetime. 

When planning your CHP, make an allowance for maintenance downtime at scheduled times – ideally when energy demand is lower than normal. A major engine overhaul is best carried out during a period when heat demand is low, such as in summer months. Alternatively, it could coincide with other specialist equipment maintenance downtime, such as boiler inspections.

5. Define the right maintenance package

Achieve set performance guarantees and warranties by servicing CHP units in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. 

Reputable CHP suppliers offer comprehensive maintenance and service plans that cover:

  • Routine servicing.
  • Remote performance monitoring and fault diagnosis.
  • Equipment repairs.
  • Guarantees on CHP availability of operation. 

There are also operating and maintenance packages that cover the complete operating system, ensuring that CHP operation is maximised.

Key takeaways:

  • Periodic inspection and servicing is critical and should be carried out by trained engineers.
  • Reputable CHP suppliers will have the required knowledge of the CHP design and specialist experience of maintenance practice to offer the best after sales service.
  • CHP operation should be checked by condition and performance using remote monitoring. 
  • Performance reports are required for CHPQA compliance.
  • Major maintenance downtime is best scheduled for periods of low site demand.
  • Check and make sure you have the right maintenance package for your system to maximise CHP benefits.

Improve operational efficiency by prioritising maintenance. See how we can help.