FAQ & Glossary

Boiler FAQs

What is a high pressure steam boiler

Per ASME Code, a high pressure boiler is a boiler with operating pressure greater or equal to 15psig. The boilers are also known as ASME Section I boilers.

Can I operate my high pressure boiler at lower pressures?

In general, yes you can. But, you do need to consider how the lower pressure will affect steam velocity out of the boiler (and associated piping), as this can create issues with carryover, noise, potential erosion of pipes/fittings, how this will affect your boiler’s feed water system, and if/how the lower pressure might affect the rest of your system. We can help evaluate and mitigate potential issues.

I have to keep pushing a reset button to restart my boiler, is that normal?

No, continually needing to push a manual reset is not normal and indicates an issue with the boiler’s operation. Generally, boilers have two types of controls; automatic reset, and manual reset type. Some examples include Operating and High Limit Pressure Control, and Low Water and Auxiliary Low Water Cut-off. Under normal conditions, your boiler will rely on its automatic reset controls to safely shutdown and restart without operator intervention (for example, when the boiler hits its set point for pressure, it will restart after a predetermined drop in pressure). The manual reset is the safety net above the automatic controls and indicates that something is wrong and needs attention. This could be as simple as control setpoints being set too closely together, or more serious (a failed control, for example), but in any case, a qualified technician should review the boiler and diagnose/repair the issue.

Does my boiler require an annual inspection?

If it is a high pressure boiler, the answer is likely yes. This can vary with locations, but in North Carolina, for example, High Pressure Boilers require an annual external and internal inspection, and Low Pressure Boilers require external inspections every two years.

Is an annual inspection optimal for boiler maintenance?

We believe annual inspections are the minimum for safe and efficient operations. Depending on your facility’s specific conditions, more frequent inspections/tune-ups can result in costs savings, improved uptime and safety. Examples include biannual, or quarterly - we’ve even had customers start on a monthly program to get their boiler into better condition, then move to quarterly as their operation was improved.

What is the best way to increase my steam boiler’s efficiency?

Without a detailed review of the boiler, its operation, your facility’s steam usage, and many other factors, it is impossible to accurately say which option is the best. But, here are some examples of options to consider:

  • Inspection and Tune-up: If your boiler has not been recently serviced, or you’ve noticed a drop in efficiency, a good first option is to make sure what you have is working optimally.
  • Controls Upgrades: These can range from adding features to existing systems that allow expandability, such as Variable Frequency Drives to the blower motor, or Oxygen Trim, to complete control retrofits.
  • Burner upgrades: If your existing burner is no longer in production and repair parts are a concern, a complete burner replacement may make the most sense.
  • Installing an Economizer (aka Feed water heater): An economizer increases efficiency by capturing otherwise wasted exhaust heat and transferring it into your boiler’s feed water (or other source for use in your facility).
  • Continuous Blowdown Heat Recovery Systems (CBHX): Similar to the economizer, CBHX systems capture otherwise wasted heat from a boiler's continuous surface blowdown by transferring that energy into the boiler’s makeup water.
  • Condensate Recovery Strategies: Condensate is more than just water, it has been heated and chemically treated, wasted condensate is wasted money. Consider the steam system as a whole, is all of the condensate that can be recovered making its way back to the boiler? If not, can it? If not, can we recover heat from wasted condensate before it goes to drain?

There are many ways to implement the above options, including strategies combining multiple options into one project, but there must first be a detailed review of your boiler plant’s operation. This detailed review should consider current fuel usage, fuel costs, boiler operating hours, boiler firing rates, electrical costs, future plant operations, and much more.

Small boiler part

Boiler Room FAQ’s

Open boiler control panel
What is boiler feedwater?

Boiler feedwater is water that is being supplied to your boiler (at the proper pressure) to make up for water leaving the boiler as steam. This is water that has been treated (chemically and/or by a deaerator) and is usually heated (feedwater heater, or deaerator), prior to being introduced into the boiler.

What is a lead-lag panel?

A lead lag panel is responsible for the efficient sequencing of boilers to meet plant demands. They do this by monitoring steam header pressure, and bring boilers on and offline to keep this pressure as setpoint. These controls can also include functions to rotate boilers for equal runtime, and some function as a boiler plant control with the ability to monitor each boiler, the feedwater system, and other boiler plant functions.

What is a deaerator?

Is a feedwater tank that operates under pressure and at that pressure’s saturation temperature. It’s job is to drive off dissolved gasses (oxygen and other gasses) from the feedwater, in order to protect the boiler and steam system from corrosion.

What is an economizer?

A feed water heater that heats feedwater by passing it through a finned-tube heat exchanger placed in the path of the gasses of combustion - i.e. a heat exchanger in the boiler’s stack, that capturing otherwise wasted exhaust heat and transferring it into your boiler’s feed water (or other source for use in your facility), improving plant efficiency..

About Us FAQs

What are your hours of operation?

We have service technicians on call, with a backup technician, 24-hours a day, 7-days a week, 365 days a year.

What boilers do you service?

We service all brands of boilers (steam, hot water, and condensing), steam generators, thermal fluid heaters, deaerators, and all other types of boiler room equipment.

What types of services do you offer?

If it’s in the boiler room, we likely work on it - we provide services ranging from Inspections and Preventive Maintenance, to boiler upgrades (controls, burners, economizers, etc), to new installations. Give us a call and see how we can help you.

Do you provide residential service

No, we do not at this time.

Do provide free payback analysis, for efficiency upgrades?

Yes, we do! We are happy to help assemble accurate payback analysis to help you make the best decision for your facility.

View inside lit combustion chamber

Boiler- & Burner-Related Glossary Terms

Trying to learn your way around your boiler? These terms are a great place to start.

# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
There are currently 41 names in this directory beginning with the letter C.
Small water particles and impurities carried out of the boiler into the steam lines.
caustic embrittlement
A type of corrosion in which boiler metal becomes brittle because alkaline materials accumulate in cracks and crevices.
centrifugal blower
A blower that has a rotating impeller in a housing that throws the air to its outer edge, increasing the air's velocity and pressure.
centrifugal feed water pump
A pump that uses the centrifugal force of a rotating element to pressurize water so it can be added to a boiler.
chain grate stoker
A stoker that feeds the coal into the boiler on a traveling grate. Also known as a traveling grate coal stoker.
chemical precipitation
A process in which a chemical is added to raw makeup water to react with dissolved minerals, creating heavier particles that settle out of the solution.
closed feedwater heater
A feedwater heater used to capture heat from continuous blowdown water from a boiler or flash steam from a process.
A process in which the chemicals added to raw water cause suspended solids to adhere to each other, making them larger and heavier and causing them to settle out of the solution.
A solid black fossil fuel formed when organic material is hardened in the earth over millions of years.
coal grade
The size, heating value, and ash content of the coal.
coal rank
The hardness of the coal.
cofiring furnace
A furnace that mixes burnable material, such as biomass, with a fossil fuel for combustion.
The process of generating electricity and then using the waste heat from the generating process for heating buildings, providing process heat, or for further electrical generation.
combustible material
Any material that burns when it is exposed to oxygen and heat.
The rapid reaction of oxygen with a fuel that results in the release of heat.
combustion chamber
See furnace.
combustion control system
An automatic boiler control system that regulates fuel supply, air supply, air-fuel ratio, and draft in a boiler in order to deliver the required amount of steam to a load.
combustion efficiency
The ability of the burners to burn fuel efficiently.
complete combustion
Combustion that occurs when all the fuel is burned using a minimum amount of excess air.
compressive stress
Stress that occurs when two forces of equal intensity act from opposite directions and push toward the center of an object.
condensate polisher
An ion-exchange conditioner that removes impurities from condensate.
condensate return tank
An accessory that collects condensate returned from heating units.
condensing steam turbine
A steam turbine that allows condensate to be reclaimed for use in the system.
The ability of a material to allow the flow of electricity.
conductivity meter
An instrument that measures the electrical conductivity of a water sample to determine total dissolved solids present.
confined space
A space large enough and so configured that an employee can physically enter and perform as­ signed work, has limited or restricted means for entry and exit, and is not designed for continuous employee occupancy.
continuous blowdown
The process of continuously draining a small, controlled amount of water from a boiler to control the quantity of impurities in the remaining water.
continuous emissions monitoring system (CEMS)
An emissions system used for continuous measurement of pollutants emitted into the atmosphere in exhaust gasses from combustion or industrial processes.
control device
See final element.
control element
A device that takes an input signal, compares the signal to a setpoint, performs a computation, and sends an output signal to a final element. Also known as a controller.
control loop
A system that consists of a primary element and transmitter, a control element, and a final element.
control system
A system of measuring instruments and controllers that work together to control a process.
control valve
A final element that is used to modulate fluid flow in response to signals from a control element.
See control element.
convection air heater
An air heater that uses convection to transfer heat from the gasses of combustion to the combustion air.
convection superheater
A superheater that receives heat from convection currents in the gasses of combustion.
Coriolis flow meter
A meter that measures the mass flow rate of a fluid.
The deterioration of the boiler metal caused by a chemical reaction with oxygen and carbon dioxide in the water.
critical pressure
The pressure at which the density of water and steam are the same.
cross-limited control
A control strategy in which increases in airflow lead increases in fuel flow, and decreases in air flow lag decreases in fuel flow.
cyclone separator
A cylindrical device that separates water droplets from steam using centrifugal force.
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