Boiler Compliance

The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)’s annual Efficiency Testing and Tune-Ups are often mistakenly mixed up with annual inspections, which are a separate process. Boilers over 350,000BTU must be tuned up by a professional engineer.

Tune-Ups and testing must be performed every year. Each device must have a Certificate of Operation. The results must be submitted to the department every three years. Records of the dates, procedures, and manufacturer recommended tune-up specifications must be kept for five years. If the DEP requests any of this data, it must be provided to them within five business days.

A certified technician must perform the tune-ups and combustion efficiency tests using acalibrated combustion analyzer. The minimum combustion efficiency requirement for oil-fired boilers is 83%. For gas-fired boilers, it is 80%. If this combustion efficiency is not reached, the device must comply in the next renewal cycle in three years. If the boiler is dual, fired, the minimums need to be met for each type.

Tune-ups help the environment by reserving resources and also save money. The following chart displays how much is saved annually with different boiler sizes from a 3% efficiency increase:

Boiler Size Yearly Savings
3 MMBtu/hr $7,745
4 MMBtu/hr $10,327
5 MMBtu/hr $12,909
7 MMBtu/hr $18,072
8 MMBtu/hr $20,654
10 MMBtu/hr $25,818
15 MMBtu/hr $38,726
20 MMBtu/hr  $51,635


Each manufacturer and individual performs differently and should be adjusted accordingly.

Inspect Equipment
• Inspect and clean the burner and its components, fireside and water-side surfaces, fan
housing, blades, inlet screens
• Inspect and repair all valves and refractories
• Clean the chimney and breaching

Inspect Flame Pattern
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions, and adjust as necessary to optimize.

Inspect Air-to-Fuel Ratio Control System
Make sure that the system is calibrated correctly and is functioning properly. Adjust draft control and air flow as needed in order to reduce excessive stack temperatures.

Optimize the oxygen levels by ensuring that they are within 4-5% of the manufacturer’s specs. Also, before and after the tune-up, measure the o2 levels in combustion efficiency, draft adequacy, smoke reading, and exhaust.


Inspections happen annually, from January 1 to December 31. Only an authorized insurance company can complete the inspection. As of August 14, 2017, paper form submissions are no longer being accepted and must be submitted online. Forms such as the BO9 and BO13 are no longer able to be submitted starting in the 2017 inspection year. Rather than a master plumber needing to stamp it with their seal, they have an account on DOB Now. The Inspection Report must be completed online within 45 days of the inspection.

High-Pressure Boilers:
Need internal and external inspections, which need to be completed in the same year, but should be six months apart.

Low-Pressure Boilers:
Need to be tested in residential buildings with 6 or more families, Single Room Occupancy dwellings, mixed-use buildings, commercial buildings, and any building with over 350,000 BTUs in the domestic hot water heater. If a boiler is found to have defects during the inspection, they must be corrected. After being corrected, a second inspection report must be filed.

First Test
Also referred to as “F/T,” first testing occurs after a boiler is first installed in a building. This test must be done as long as half the boiler’s components are newly installed. It automatically must occur when the fuel burner has been replaced. Unlike the annual inspection, it is performed directly by the NYC Department of Buildings.

Any defects found must be corrected and then re-inspected. A boiler in use that has not passed the F/T test can be issued an ECB violation, as it would be considered an unregistered device.

You can request a first test inspection on DOB Now: Inspections. An Annual Inspection isn’t required until the cycle following an F/T. However, it can still be performed in order to be certain of compliance.

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