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 33 names in this directory beginning with the letter P.
package boiler
A boiler that comes completely assembled, with its own pressure vessel, burner, draft fans, and fuel train.
A wall-mounted distribution cabinet containing a group of OCPDs and short-circuit protection devices for lighting, appliance, or power distribution branch circuits.
parallel positioning
A modulating control strategy that uses steam pressure as the input signal and outputs one signal to a fuel valve to modulate the fuel flow and another signal to a variable-speed blower motor or to an air damper to modulate the airflow.
particulate matter (PM)
Fine ash particles emitted from a boiler that remain individually dispersed in the products of combustion.
perfect combustion
Combustion that occurs when all the fuel is burned using only the theoretical amount of air.
personal protective equipment (PPE)
Any device worn by a boiler operator to prevent injury.
A measurement representing whether a substance is acidic, neutral, or alkaline.
pH meter
A water analyzer used to monitor the acidity or alkalinity of the boiler water.
plant master
A master controller that calculates and distributes steam production requirements across several boilers to maintain the steam pressure at the setpoint.
Particulate matter with a diameter less than 2.5 microns.
pneumatic level control
See displacer.
See bubbler.
pop test
A safety valve test performed to determine if a safety valve opens at the correct pressure.
popping pressure
The predetermined pressure at which a safety valve opens and remains open until the pressure drops.
positioning control system
See modulating control system.
positive-displacement flow meter
A flow meter that admits fluid into a chamber of known volume and then discharges it.
Post purge
A purge that occurs after burner shutdown.
pour point
The lowest temperature at which a liquid will flow from one container to another.
power boiler
See high pressure steam boiler.
A purge that occurs before a burner is al­lowed to fire.
pressure atomizing burner
A fuel oil burner that uses pressure to force the fuel through a nozzle or sprayer into the furnace where the vaporized fuel mixes with air and is ignited. Also known as a pressure jet burner.
pressure jet burner
See pressure atomizing burner.
pressurized furnace
A furnace that operates at slightly above atmospheric pressure.
primary air
The air supplied to a burner to atomize fuel oil or convey pulverized coal and control the rate of combustion, thus determining the amount of fuel that can be burned.
primary element
A device that measures a process variable and produces a usable output in the form of mechanical movement, electrical output, or instrument air-pressure output. Also known as a sensor.
Large slugs of water and impurities carried out of the boiler into the steam lines.
See burner management system.
programming device
A human-machine interface (HMI) device used to control the actions of a PLC, DDC system, or computer.
proving the main flame
Sighting the main flame through a flame scanner to verify that the main flame is lit.
proving the pilot
Sighting the pilot through a flame scanner to verify that the pilot is lit.
proximate analysis
An analysis used to determine the amount of moisture, volatile gas, fixed carbon, and ash in a coal specimen.
pulverized coal
Coal that is ground into a fine powder and is then blown into the combustion chamber where it is burned in suspension.
purge cycle
A predetermined period of time during which air is blown through the furnace to remove any combustible vapors.
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