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 45 names in this directory beginning with the letter S.
safety valve
An automatic, full-open, pop-action valve that is opened by an overpressure in a boiler and used to relieve the overpressure before damage occurs.
safety valve blowback
See safety valve blowdown.
safety valve blowdown
A drop in pressure between popping pressure and reseating pressure as a safety valve relieves boiler overpressure. Also known as safety valve blowback.
safety valve capacity
The amount of steam that can be relieved by a safety valve, measured in the number of pounds of steam per hour it is capable of discharging under a given pressure.
saturated steam
Steam that is in equilibrium with water at the same temperature and pressure.
saturation pressure
The pressure at which water and steam are at the same temperature.
saturation temperature
The temperature at which water and steam are at the same pressure.
An accumulation of compounds like calcium carbonate and magnesium carbonate on the water side of the heating surfaces of a boiler.
scotch marine boiler
A firetube boiler with an internal furnace.
secondary air
The air supplied to the furnace by draft fans to control combustion efficiency by controlling how completely the fuel is burned.
Particles of foreign matter present in water.
selective catalytic reduction (SCR)
An emissions control method in which ammonia gas is introduced over a catalyst located in a module that is installed in the boiler exhaust stack.
See primary element.
sequencing system
See burner management system.
shear stress
Stress that occurs when two forces of equal intensity act parallel to each other but in opposite directions.
The process where the water level in a boiler momentarily drops with a decrease in steam demand.
single-point positioning
A modulating control strategy that uses steam pressure as the input signal and outputs a signal to a modulating motor that turns a jackshaft to modulate the air and fuel flow.
The accumulated residue produced from im­purities in water.
soft coal
See bituminous coal.
The carbon deposits resulting from incomplete combustion.
soot blower
A device used to remove soot deposits from around tubes and permit better heat transfer in the boiler.
specific gravity
The ratio of the weight of a given vol­ume of a substance to the weight of the same volume of water at a standard temperature of 60°F.
spontaneous combustion
The process where a material can self-generate heat until its ignition point is reached.
spreader stoker
A stoker that feeds the coal into the boiler in suspension and on the grate. Also known as an overfeed stoker or sprinkler stoker.
sprinkler stoker
See spreader stoker.
squirrel cage blower
A blower with a wheel that has blades attached at the rim and rotates in a housing.
state implementation plan (SIP)
A plan that gives the states the responsibility for developing their own programs to reduce air pollution.
The vapor that forms when water is heated to its boiling point.
steam atomizing burner
A fuel oil burner that sends steam and pressurized fuel oil through a nozzle into the furnace where the vaporized fuel mixes with air and is ignited.
steam impingement
The condition where steam strikes a metal surface, causing erosion of that surface.
steam pressure gauge
A boiler fitting that displays the amount of pressure inside a boiler, steam line, or other pressure vessel.
steam quality
The ratio of dry steam to the total amount of water evaporated.
steam separator
A device located in the steam drum of a boiler used to increase the quality of steam. Also known as a drum internal.
steam trap
An accessory that removes air and non condensable gasses and condensate from steam lines and heat exchangers without a loss of steam.
steam turbine
A rotary mechanical device used to drive rotating equipment, such as a generator, by extracting thermal energy from pressurized steam.
A mechanical device used for feeding coal into the boiler.
stop valve
A valve that is opened or closed by the operator and typically used to isolate the feedwater to the boiler or the steam discharge from the boiler.
straight-tube boiler
A watertube boiler with box heads connected together by straight, inclined water tubes.
Pressure or tension applied to an object.
superheated steam
Steam that has been heated above the saturation temperature.
A bank of tubes through which steam passes after leaving the boiler where additional heat is added to the steam.
surface blowdown
The process of removing water from the boiler near the NOWL to control the quantity of impurities in the remaining water or to remove a film of impurities on the surface of the water.
The process where the water level in a boiler momentarily rises with an increase in steam demand.
A panel or an assembly of panels containing electrical switches, meters, busses, and other overcurrent protection devices (OCPDs).
Any electrical device that switches or interrupts another device or circuit.
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