If a commercial building has a condensing boiler system, there have probably been instances of visible plume – a dense fog formed by hot air and moisture – escaping from the structure. These exhaust gases are typically seen rising from the flue system on an exterior wall. A seemingly harmless occurrence, visible plume can actually wreak havoc on a property, leading to several negative consequences for building owners, including:
Safety Hazards and Building Damage: In some cases, a significant amount of visible plume can cause ice buildup on exterior walls, causing damage. This buildup also poses a hazard of falling ice to those in the vicinity and can create slippery walkways beneath the flue.
Undesirable Aesthetics: Although visible plume is technically made up of water vapor, its appearance is comparable to that of smoke. This may negatively affect community perception of a building or block desirable window views, possibly decreasing property value.
Permitting Issues: The already difficult process of permitting can sometimes be delayed by concern over visible plume. Dense exhaust fumes may affect area visibility and create other property apprehensions. Minimizing the appearance of plume can help to alleviate this potential headache.
A common solution for visible plume is known as plume abatement. This process diminishes visible plume, alleviating the issues noted above and preserving the value of a property. Existing flue can be retrofitted with plume abatement, so it can be a cost-effective process as well.
The process of plume abatement is fairly straightforward. Flue gas enters a heat exchanger where cold water lowers exhaust temperature, condensing out the moisture so the surplus water can be drained. The remaining flue gas is then reheated by hot water allowing it to exit the flue outside of the building. The resulting plume contains little to no water, so it is less visible and far less likely to cause any issues.
Plume abatement is an economical and effective method for reducing visible plume resulting from condensing boiler systems. UEP is a proud ENERVEX representative offering a variety of plume abatement products for any application. Contact us today to discuss the best options for your project!