South Carolina Boiler Codes: Inspections, Rules, and Safety

South Carolina Boiler Codes Inspections, Rules, and Safety

Nearly all commercial boilers in South Carolina are subject to boiler rules and regulations, as listed in South Carolina Labor, Licensing & Regulation’s (LLR) Boiler Safety Act. The Boiler Safety Act became law on May 18, 2005, and governs the installation of new boilers, boiler inspection, operating permits, and more.

Boiler Licenses

In order for someone to install, repair, and service a boiler in South Carolina, they must hold a general contractor’s boiler license (General Contractor BL). This license also allows them to service the piping, controls, and other auxiliary equipment surrounding the machine. To receive the license, the candidate must pass a technical exam administered by the National Board of Boiler and Pressure Vessel Inspectors and meet the license requirements listed in the South Carolina Boiler Safety Act.

New Boiler Installation Requirements

In South Carolina, new boilers must be constructed according to the ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers) Boiler Code or a nationally recognized construction code. These new boilers need to also be marked with this code and registered with the National Board of Boiler and Pressure Vessel Inspectors. A special inspector can be called in to arrange this initial registration. The jurisdiction (South Carolina State) may ask to see copies of these registration documents.

Some boilers may need to fit these general requirements. These boilers require a special permit, and only the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation can issue this permit through their Boiler Safety Program. In order to receive it, the permit advocate has to provide ample evidence that the boiler meets safety standards or the boiler needs to pass inspection.

If your boiler is faultily installed or does not meet safety standards, the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation could shut it down until any documented deficiencies are corrected. An experienced service partner keeps your boiler healthy and compliant so that you can continue operations.

South Carolina New Boiler Installation Requirements

Boiler Inspectors

To become an inspector, the candidate must pass an exam that complies with the requirements of the National Board of Boiler and Pressure Vessel Inspectors. This inspector, also called a special inspector, works independently and is called in by the boiler owner. The inspector arranges the initial boiler registration and future inspections. A trusted boiler inspector will keep a regular maintenance schedule and be available for emergency services.

South Carolina’s Boiler Safety Program licenses the inspectors in the state. Ronald W. Spiker has been the state’s Chief Boiler Inspector South Carolinas Chief Boiler since 2009. He was recently appointed to the National Board of Boiler and Pressure Vessel Inspectors and is the first member from South Carolina.

Boiler Inspections

Since January 1, 2006, every boiler in South Carolina must be inspected, unless exempt. High pressure, high-temperature water boilers (desing temperature over 250°F and pressure over 160 psig) and (steam) power boilers (design pressure over 15 psig) must be inspected annually. If possible, an internal inspection – with the boiler cooled, drained, and opened – and an external inspection – once the boiler is closed, refilled, and restarted – will be performed for these boilers. If it is not possible to do these inspections, then the review will be as thorough as possible.

 Low-pressure steam and vapor heating boilers (design pressure under 15 psig) are inspected every other year, and if possible, they are inspected internally once every four years.

Information Required for Each South Carolina Boiler Inspection

Hot water (or other heated substance) boilers over 200,000 BTU per hour, a 120°F water temperature, or a 120-gallon capacity are due for an external inspection every other year. An internal survey is also possible.

Evidence of inspection is important. For paperwork, an insurance certificate is admissible, as is an inspection report from a certified special inspector.

Boilers Exempt from Inspection

Most boilers must be inspected, but some are exempt, as listed in the South Carolina Boiler Safety Act. This exemption applies to boilers on farms, agriculture, as well as heating for homes or in apartment houses with fewer than six family units. Pressure vessels are also excused. In addition, hot water supply boilers containing ASME-National Board-approved safety relief valves that are fired with oil, gas, or electricity are exempt—but only when they do not surpass a 200,000 BTU hourly heat input, a 210°F water temperature or a 120-gallon water capacity.

EPA Regulation

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP). A rule in 2011 that limits toxic air emissions from boilers to 10 tons per year of a single toxic, and 25 tons per year of any combination of toxics. This final rule affects current and new industrial, commercial, and institutional boilers.

South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control

South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SC DHEC) is the government agency responsible for public health and the environment in the U.S. state of South Carolina. It was created in 1973 from the merger of the South Carolina State Board of Health and the South Carolina Pollution Control.

SC DHEC publishes many different standards as relates to health and environmental controls.  One of particular note for boilers is Regulation 61-62.5 Air Pollution Control Standards, Standard No. 5.2 Control of Oxides of Nitrogen (NOx).  This standard applies “to any stationary source that emits or has the potential to emit oxides of nitrogen (NOX) generated from fuel combustion. A stationary source becomes an affected source under this regulation upon meeting one or more of the criteria specified…”

DHEC designates the (NOx) emission limits for the boilers, based on the Source Type.  The source type is categorized based on the size of the source (based on energy input) and the type of fuel being burned.  For example for Propane and/or Natural Gas-Fired Boilers, with an input ≥10 million British thermal units per hour ( MMBtu/hr) and < 100 MMBtu/hr, the Emission Limit is Low-NOX Burners or equivalent technology, shall achieve 0.036 pounds per million metric British thermal units (lb/MMBtu) (30 ppm).

SC DHEC also list requirements for Tune-Up of existing sources as “The owner or operator shall perform tune-ups every twenty-four (24) months in accordance with manufacturer’s specifications or with good engineering practices. The first tune-up shall be conducted no more than twenty-four (24) months from start-up of operation for affected new sources and no more than twenty-four (24) months from replacement of a burner assembly for affected existing sources. Each subsequent tune-up shall be conducted no more than twenty-four (24) months after the previous tune-up.”

You can learn more about NOx here 

Servicing your Boiler

It is recommended to service your boiler at least once a year, whether or not it is required from an inspection standpoint. This helps the boiler function optimally for longer, so you get the most value out of your machine. In addition, regular service can prevent expensive breakdowns, saving you money in the long term.

Your boiler (and other boiler room equipment) should be maintained through following written maintenance procedures and checks.  These checks will break down in to daily, weekly, monthly, semi-annual and annual task.  These task will include procedures for checking boiler water level, blowing the boiler down, checking temperatures and pressures and more, culminating in inspections that meet the requirements of your state. For an example of a detailed boiler maintenance schedule, take a look at our boiler maintenance checklists.


Proper boiler installation and regular maintenance is essential for boiler function and safety. Our experts can meet your boiler maintenance needs, contact W.C. Rouse today.

Jeff Lawley

After graduating from Florida State University with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering, Jeff Lawley headed up the engineering department at Schaefer Interstate Railing. A few years later, he took an Engineering Sales position here at W.C. Rouse & Son, and over the next 8 years, he worked his way up to the position of President of the company.