Tips to maximize boiler efficiency

Eight keys to maximizing the efficiency of steam boiler systems.


Tips for maximizing boiler efficiency:

1. Proper water chemistry.

2. Minimizing water loss in the system due to leaks.

3. Proper control of boiler blow-down. Blow-down should be based on conductivity of water in the boiler to maintain a reasonable range of total dissolved solids.

4. Adequate insulation of all steam and condensate piping and traps.

5. Operating the steam system at the lowest possible pressure. Consider vacuum condensate return systems to allow reduced steam operating pressures.

6. Proper and timely maintenance of all steam condensate traps.

7. Use low-pressure steam (less than 15 psig) at all heating terminals to use the maximum heat of vaporization with the highest degree of controllability.

8. Use boiler stack energy recovery units to preheat condensate and makeup water.

Michael E. Myers is senior mechanical engineering manager at WD Partners in Dublin, Ohio, where he is responsible for managing and directing the mechanical engineering division. He has more than 33 years of experience in HVAC, plumbing, and fire protection engineering. He is a former ASHRAE distinguished lecturer, former ASHRAE chapter president and a previously published co-author on HVAC design.

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