The work of stationary engineers is varied and complex. We are responsible for the operation, maintenance, renovation and repair of boiler systems, and all other mechanical systems in a facility. Stationary engineers are employed in schools, hospitals, hotels, apartment buildings, shopping malls, airports, power plants, industrial and manufacturing plants, breweries, co-generation plants, petro-chemical plants, office and commercial buildings, government facilities, and other workplaces. We are called stationary engineers because the equipment we operate is similar to equipment operated by locomotive or marine engineers except it is not in a vehicle that moves.
In operating and repairing these facilities stationary engineers perform work on: boilers and steam systems; heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems; building automation systems; diesel engines, turbines, and generators; pumps, piping and compressed gas systems; refrigeration and electrical systems, and numerous other physical plant functions.
Stationary engineers start up, regulate, repair, and shut down equipment. We ensure that equipment operates safely and economically and within established limits by monitoring attached meters, gauges, and computerized controls. We manually control equipment and make the necessary adjustments. We use hand and power tools to perform repairs and maintenance ranging from a complete overhaul to replacing defective valves, gaskets, or bearings. We also record relevant events and facts concerning operation and maintenance in an equipment log. On steam boilers, for example, we observe, control, and record steam pressure, temperature, water level, power output, and fuel consumption. Stationary engineers can often detect potential mechanical problems by observing and listening to the pitch of the machinery. We routinely check safety devices to identify and correct any trouble that develops. Stationary engineers also perform routine maintenance.
A stationary engineer may be in charge of operation, maintenance, and repair of all mechanical systems in a building, industrial power plant, or engine room. In a large facility a chief engineer may direct the work of assistant stationary engineers, turbine operators, boiler tenders, and air-conditioning and refrigeration operators and mechanics. In a small building or industrial plant, there may be only one stationary engineer at a time that will be responsible for the entire operation and maintenance of the building or facility.
Interested in becoming a stationary engineer? Check the Training section of this website for more information.