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4 Ways to Improve Lighting for Fired Heater & Boiler Maintenance Projects

fired-heater2Do you have an upcoming maintenance project for boilers or fired heaters? Do you need to find simple, rugged lighting solutions that are highly portable, and provide excellent project lighting in these usually dark areas? With the size of the modern fired heaters on industrial sites, getting light to all the areas can be a challenge. We’ll walk through four approaches to selecting the best lighting for the job.

Large Area Lighting


The most basic lighting technique is the use of a single large area light. These units often provide a high lumen output, and newer models using LED technology are lighter, have lower power consumption, and have high lumen output. Easy setup and only one power connection needed are benefits of the design. A downside is that with one light, shifting work may mean frequent moving of the light. Other disadvantages are that single large area light may also only provide work for one crew at a time, and the light could be blocked by the floor decking on multi-level scaffolding installations.

Task Lighting

Another lighting technique is to increase the number of lighting units deployed using task lights. Each task light covers a smaller area than the large area lights, but with additional units, the light can be closer to the work being performed. The installation is quicker when mounting provisions are built in, and a wet location rated unit maximizes safety. The disadvantage is that adding lights mean more power connections, and thus more extension cords running through the job site.

String Lights

String lights are a great option to provide light more evenly over a greater area. String lights are usually 50' or 100’ in length, with 5 or 10 lights respectively, and a built-in connection point at each light. Plus if you have scaffolding, string lights are easily attached to the railings throughout the structure. By using several string lights daisy-chained together, lighting can be provided on all levels of the scaffolding. This allows for several work crews on site at once and eliminates the need to move lights around as work progresses.

There are different types of string lights, so be sure to choose what is right for your project. To start, there are commercial grade string lights that are used for lighter duty or even one-use projects. Next, industrial duty string lights are available that use thicker cabling and materials for longer life. But since the bulbs hang down in either design, the bulbs can more easily be damaged when bumped the workers or tools. And, these low-cost units are generally not wet location rated lighting systems, introducing an electrical hazard potentially.


To increase safety and lifespan of string lights, try a low profile “LED linear tube string light.” These offer the best combination of long life, compact installation, rugged construction, and lower power consumption. With sealed tube form factor lamps protected by heavy duty shields, they are sturdy enough to be reused on several projects and offer wet location ratings. The horizontal tube lamp format has additional benefits of improved light dispersion and maximum space savings. 

EmergencyEgress_1239Emergency Egress Lighting

Finally, at the entrance to the furnace or firebox, consider an emergency egress light with battery backup, just in case. This gives workers a chance to exit safely should the lighting be disconnected from the power source temporarily. 

Safety is our Standard

Whether you have a boiler at a power generation plant or a fired heater at a refinery or petrochemical plant, Ericson can provide a lighting solution for your maintenance project. Ericson products are designed with safety in mind, starting with our first safety hand lamp introduced back in 1918. Contact a lighting expert today at 1-800-ERICSON, or visit www.ericson.com.
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Written by: Mark McFadden

Mark McFadden is a Market Manager at Ericson, focusing on the oil & gas, and power generation markets. He has over twenty years of experience in the electrical, manufacturing, and power generation industries, in product application, product development, and business development roles. He holds degrees in Electrical Engineering from University of Akron, and MBA from Ohio University.

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