Boiler Safety Frequently Asked Questions

Services and Functions

1. What are the key services and functions of the Boiler Safety program?


Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) processes applications, administers examinations, commissions boiler inspectors, and issues certificates of operation. TDLR also commissions deputy boiler inspectors and authorized inspectors. Deputy boiler inspectors are employed by TDLR to perform certificate inspections and special inspections, and authorized inspectors are employed by private sector authorized inspection agencies to perform certificate inspections. TDLR issues certificates of operation ranging from one to three years for boilers throughout the state. Certificates of operation are issued to boilers found to be in safe condition for operation. TDLR also coordinates the activities of the Board of Boiler Rules.


TDLR is the primary enforcement authority for complaints against the boiler industry. The most common complaints involve failure to get an inspection and failure to pay inspection fees. TDLR investigates and resolves complaints, conducts hearings, and may impose administrative penalties and sanctions if a violation has occurred.


TDLR requires each boiler to be inspected internally (if applicable) and externally at the time of installation and at subsequent intervals. TDLR also reviews and maintains summary reports of the in-service inspections of nuclear boilers that are submitted by the owner or operator. TDLR performs reviews of boiler manufacture and repair facilities and owner/operators located in the state for accreditation by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), the National Board of Boiler and Pressure Vessel Inspectors, or TDLR. TDLR also performs boiler accident investigations.


TDLR offers a variety of methods to access information and services via the TDLR website, Facebook, Twitter, program brochures, Commission and Advisory Board meetings, external focus groups, press releases, a toll-free number, and an e-mail list server subscription.

2. When and for what purpose was the program created?

The Boiler Safety program was created in 1937 and is codified in Chapter 755 of the Texas Health and Safety Code (the Code). The program was created to protect Texans through the safe operation and frequent inspection of boilers. The impetus for this regulation was the New London School explosion in 1937, which killed approximately 300 school children and teachers.

In 1958, the boiler regulations were changed to encompass low-pressure steam heating boilers installed in public and private schools, colleges, universities, or county courthouses. In 1969, regulations were changed to include provisions for special inspections. In 1972, regulations were changed to require that all boilers (except cast iron) must be registered with the National Board of Boiler and Pressure Vessel Inspectors. In 1977, the Legislature adopted the sections of the ASME code relating to nuclear boilers, bringing them under the regulation of the Texas Boiler Law. In 1989, the Texas Boiler Law, Texas Civil Statutes, Article 5221c, was codified into the Health and Safety Code, Chapter 755.

Despite advances in technology, boilers are still being used to heat water and generate steam. Because these processes are inherently dangerous, regulation of the boiler industry will continue to be needed to ensure boilers are properly maintained and operated.

3. Where are boilers used? How many boilers are in operation in Texas?

Boilers are used in commercial facilities, such as dry cleaners, car washes, and power plants. Additionally, boilers are found in schools, hospitals, and office buildings. The regulated population includes approximately 54,600 boilers and 240 inspectors.

4. How is this program administered?

The Compliance division oversees the boiler inspection process and provides program expertise.

The Licensing division handles the certification process, including issuing certificates of operation, administering examinations, and inspector commissions.

The Enforcement division investigates and resolves any complaints. Any alleged violations that are not resolved by the Enforcement division are referred to prosecutors within the Legal Services division to be resolved through the administrative hearing process.

In addition to the Chief Boiler Inspector and three Boiler Inspection Specialists, TDLR has fourteen Deputy Boiler Inspectors throughout the state whose primary responsibility is inspecting uninsured boilers. These inspectors are currently located in San Antonio, Houston, Dallas/Fort Worth, Lubbock, East Texas, Austin, and El Paso.

TDLR also relies on the expertise and advice of the Board of Boiler Rules for the administration of this program.

5. How does the Boiler Safety program work with federal and local agencies?

The Boiler Safety program works with the Texas Education Agency to educate school superintendents about boiler safety and certification requirements. We also enlist the assistance of city fire marshals to shut down unsafe boilers and city building inspectors to report newly installed boilers.

The program has interagency agreements with the State Fire Marshal's Office and the Texas Department of Health for reporting unregistered or unsafe boilers. We also have contact with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Public Utilities Commission, the Texas Railroad Commission, the Board of Plumbing Examiners, the State Board of Insurance, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

1. How is the Boiler Safety program funded?

Fees and administrative penalties provide the total funding for this program. There are no federal grants or pass-through monies. All revenue is deposited to and expenditures paid from the general revenue fund.

TDLR's enabling statute requires the Commission to set fees in amounts reasonable and necessary to cover the costs of administering the program. Current resources provide adequate funding for the program.

General FAQs

1. How do I get my Certificate of Variance?

The Certificate of Variance is issued after TDLR receives the following:

  • Inspection report;
  • Repair requirements form from the Inspector with a recommendation;
  • Variance request form explaining how equivalent safety can be maintained (including dimensions if applicable);
  • Correction of all other violations;
  • Payment of the certificate/inspection fee and the variance processing fee; and
  • Chief Inspector's review and approval.

2. How much are the certificate, inspection, and various other fees?

Inspection by authorized inspector:

  • Certificate of operation fee: $70

Inspection by deputy inspector:

  • Inspection fees for all boilers other than heating boilers: $70
  • Inspection fees for heating boilers:
    • Boiler without a manhole: $40
    • Boiler with a manhole: $70
    • All fees must be paid in full before a certificate of operation will be issued.

Special inspections:

  • The fee for a special inspection is $1,700 and must be prepaid to TDLR. This prepayment must be received by the 15th of the month, 2.5 months prior to the month in which the special inspection will be done if the special inspection is a joint review. For all other special inspections, the prepayment must be received at least five working days before the agency can initiate the requested special inspection. Prepayment must be made by certified check or money order made payable to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation or via the online portal.
  • Variances: $50
  • Extensions: $100
  • Restamping: $50
  • Boiler installation reports: $25
  • Temporary operating permit fee: $50
  • Overdue boiler inspection fee: $260

Texas Commission fees:

  • Exam: $50
  • Re-exam: $50
  • New: $50
  • Renewal: $50
  • Reinstatement: $50
  • Duplicate: $25
  • Reissuance after re-employment: $50

Late Fees:

  • Expired for 1 to 90 days after the expiration date: $105 (1.5 times the renewal fee)
  • Expired for 91 days to 18 months after the expiration date: $140 (two times the renewal fee)
  • Expired for more than 18 months but less than three years: submit a 'Request to Executive Director for Expired License Renewal' form with the renewal fee of $140 (two times the renewal fee).

Authorized Inspection Agency Letter of Recognition fees:

  • Original application: $100
  • Renewal application: $100

3. My Texas Commission has expired. How do I get it back?

An inspector must maintain employment with either the state or an AIA with no interruptions exceeding one year and submit the appropriate fee. The inspector must be employed by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation as a boiler inspector or be employed by an authorized inspection agency. If the employment requirement is not met, a new application must be submitted and the applicant must pass the commission exam.

If the Texas Commission has been expired for more than three years, the applicant must complete the application process for a new inspector and pass the Texas Commission Exam.

Inspectors may be subject to enforcement actions, including administrative penalties and sanctions, for operating with an expired Texas Commission (expired less than 18 months) or operating without a Texas Commission (expired 18 months or more).

If the renewal application is postmarked prior to the expiration date, it is considered a timely renewal.

4. If I was on active duty in the National Guard, do I have any additional time to complete continuing education and other requirements related to the renewal of my license?

Yes. If you were a member of the state military forces or a reserve component of the armed forces of the United States, such as the National Guard, and you were ordered to active duty on or after September 1, 2004, you have additional time equal to the total number of years or parts of years that the you served on active duty. When you apply to renew your license you must provide documentation of the date your active duty began and the date it ended.

If you did not renew your license in a timely manner, you are exempt from paying a late renewal fee if you furnish TDLR with military documentation indicating you were on active duty during the time that your license expired. This documentation would show the date your active duty began and the date it ended.

5. Who can obtain a Texas Commission?

Anyone employed as a boiler inspector by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation or by an authorized inspection agency.

6. How long will it take for the Inspector to do a boiler inspection?

A boiler inspection can take from 30 minutes to 8 hours, depending upon the size of the boiler.

7. How do I find information about specific boilers?

You can access the Boiler Database on the TDLR website and choose from numerous search options. You may also obtain this information by request by email. Please provide the name of the business and street address, and TDLR Boiler number, if available.

8. How do I notify your agency of an owner change?

You can submit your change in writing or by email. Include the effective date of the change, the Texas boiler numbers affected, and the new owner’s name and contact information.

9. How can I find out the status of my boiler Certificate of Operation?

The agency staff can look this up for you. Please reference the Texas boiler number and submit your request by email.

10. How do I get my boiler inspected?

If you have boiler and machinery insurance, you will need to call your insurance company for the required inspection. If not, agency staff can pass your request to the appropriate inspector. You can also refer to the list of field offices on our home page.

11. I didn't have my Joint Review prepayment in on time to be scheduled for this month. If I send it in now can I be scheduled?


12. What do I need to know about Type B Vent Piping and Power Boilers?

  • Type B vent piping is designed to withstand up to 450º F.
  • A Power Boiler operating at 150 psi will have a stack temperature of approximately 450º to 460º F.
    • Type B vent piping is not designed to be installed on Power Boilers unless specifically addressed by the boiler manufacturer.
  • Texas Boiler Rule § 65.602, effective June 15, 2015, requires boilers to be installed in accordance with the manufacturers’ (both boiler and vent pipe) recommendations.
  • The average cost to correct this type of violation, by replacing improperly installed Type B vent piping with vent piping that complies with both the boiler manufacturer’s and the vent pipe manufacturer’s recommendations, is $15,000.00.

House Bill 3257 - 85(R) FAQs

1. How did House Bill 3257 change Texas Boiler Law?

HB 3257 made espresso machines exempt from the state boiler requirements. HB 3257 also changed the term “portable power boiler” to “portable boiler” and directed TDLR to establish rules regarding the intervals of inspection for portable boilers.

2. How does the exemption of espresso machines impact me?

Espresso machines have many designs, and some of these designs incorporate boilers into the machine. Under the old law, when this type of espresso machine was used, the boiler inside the espresso machine would be required to be registered with TDLR. The boiler would then require annual boiler inspections and a Certificate of Operation issued by TDLR. Because espresso machines are now exempt, they are no longer regulated, and these requirements no longer apply.

3. How does the modified definition of a portable boiler and the designation of required timeframes for inspection of portable boilers impact me?

First, it removed the requirements for having the portable boiler inspected externally each time it is moved.

Also, power boilers are required to be inspected internally annually, so under the old law, all portable boilers – defined as power boilers - were required to have this annual internal inspection. But, any type of boiler may be installed on a trailer or used temporarily at locations while, for instance, a permanently-installed boiler is being repaired or installed. These portable or temporary boilers can also be Potable Water Heaters, Hot Water Supply Boilers and Hot Water Heating Boilers. Boilers other than Power Boilers have different inspection cycles based upon their design, with some requiring an internal inspection every two years, and others every three years.

By changing the definition name from “Portable Power Boiler” to “Portable Boiler” and allowing TDLR to establish rules for periodic inspections, only portable power boilers will be required to be inspected annually. Other portable boilers will now have periodic inspections appropriate to their design.