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 32 names in this directory beginning with the letter F.
Water supplied to a boiler.
feedwater heater
A device used to heat feed water before it enters the boiler.
feedwater line
The pipeline that carries the feedwater from the feedwater pump to the boiler.
feedwater pump
A pump that takes water from the feedwater heater and delivers it to the boiler at the proper pressure.
feedwater regulator
A device that maintains the water level in a boiler by controlling the amount of feedwater pumped to the boiler.
field-erected boiler
A boiler that is assembled on the final site because of size and complexity.
The process in which makeup water passes through a filter to remove sediment, particulates, and suspended solids.
final element
A device that controls the flow of liquid, gas, or electrical current. Also known as a control device.
fire point
The lowest temperature to which fuel must be heated to burn continuously when exposed to an open flame.
See furnace.
firetube steam boiler
A boiler in which hot gasses of combustion pass through tubes that are surrounded by water.
A component directly attached to a boiler that is required for the operation of the boiler.
flame failure
A situation where the pilot or main flame fails to light properly or goes out unintentionally during normal operation.
flame scanner
A safety device that uses a flame sensor to sense whether a flame is present.
flame sensor
The sensing device in the flame scanner that senses the pilot and main flame in the burner.
flash point
The lowest temperature at which the vapor of the fuel oil ignites when exposed to an open flame.
flash steam
The steam created when water at a high temperature experiences a sudden drop in pressure.
flash tank
A tank used with a continuous blowdown system to recover the flash steam from the water being removed during blowdown.
flex-tube boiler
A watertube boiler in which replaceable serpentine tubes are connected to the upper and lower drums and surround the firebox.
A level-measuring instrument with a hollow ball attached to it that floats on top of a liquid in a tank.
float feedwater regulator
A feedwater regulator that contains a steel or copper float ball connected to a switch by a linkage.
float thermostatic steam trap
A steam trap that contains a thermostatic bellows or other thermostatic element and also contains a steel ball float connected to a discharge valve by a linkage.
The general term for the path used by the gasses of combustion as they flow from the point of combustion to the point where they are released to the atmosphere.
flue gas recirculation (FGR)
An emissions control method for boilers in which moderate amounts of flue gas are captured from the exhaust and recirculated back through the burner along with the secondary air.
fly ash
Small particles of noncombustible material found in the gasses of combustion that are a product of the combustion of coal or other solid fuels.
The rapid fluctuation of the water level that occurs when steam bubbles are trapped below a film of impurities on the surface of the boiler water.
forced draft
Mechanical draft produced by a fan supplying air to the furnace.
fuel oil
A liquid fossil fuel that consists primarily of hydrocarbons (compounds of hydrogen and carbon) that is produced by distilling crude oil in a refinery.
fuel oil burner
A device that delivers fuel oil to a furnace in a fine spray where it mixes with air to provide efficient combustion.
fuel system
A boiler system that provides fuel for combustion to produce the heat needed to evaporate water into steam.
The location where the combustion process takes place. Also known as a firebox or combustion chamber.
fusible plug
A device with a core that melts and causes an audible alarm when exposed to a temperature above its maximum temperature.
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