Are You Making these Mistakes with Your Steam Boiler?

Does the heating system for your commercial facility utilize a steam boiler? If so, check out our tips below and ensure you aren’t making critical installation and maintenance mistakes that could jeopardize the performance and longevity of your system.

Improper Sizing

Steam systems are sized according to their connected load; calculated building load plus losses for piping and corrected for the operating pressure and feedwater temperature. Proper sizing ensures that a boiler system performs correctly; a system that is too small will not heat the building properly and sizing that is too large will result in short cycling that unevenly heats a building.

Increased Velocity of Near Boiler Piping

Many new models of steam boilers utilize near-boiler. This near boiler piping attaches directly to a boiler and typically runs at a velocity of 4,000 feet per minute.  Proper near-boiler piping ensures that dry steam is delivered to the system, reduces water hammer and increases overall system efficiency.

Incorrect Pipe Pitch

Steam piping should be pitched at a rate of a quarter to half inch for every 10 feet away from the boiler. Any angle less than this may allow condensate to pool inside of piping. This pool may suddenly cool off steam that can create water hammer, leading to dangerous pressure in the piping.

Missing Pipe Insulation

Uninsulated steam pipe loses 80 times more heat than an insulated pipe. In addition, missing steam pipe insulation could cause steam to condense prematurely, lowering system efficiency. Insulation also reduces the formation of carbonic acids generated by condensate in the boiler system piping.

Not Treating the Water

Routine water treatment is necessary to prolong the life and efficiency of your steam boiler.  Make-up water contains solids that may stick to boiler surfaces, causing scale buildup and reducing the heat transfer ability.  High oxygen levels in make-up water cna pit inside of the boiler and piping. Proper water treatment will remove solids and reduce oxygen.

Bad Boiler Vents

It is critical to evaluate the size and condition of the flue pipe before connecting to a new steam boiler.  A new boiler may require a different category of venting according to NFPA 54. Excess draft can overfire the boiler, leading to carryover.

Outdated Steam Traps

Did you know that the lifespan of a steam trap is only 6-10 years? If your facility’s steam traps are older than that, it may be time to repair or replace them. In fact, every time a boiler system is replaced, so should all of the steam traps in a building.

Interested in having your boiler system examined by one of our engineers? Contact a UEP specialist today for a boiler room assessment!

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