Introduction to boilers
Boiler operation and maintenance is a good place to start when looking for ways to reduce energy use and save money.
- Boilers are pressure vessels designed to heat water or produce steam, which can then be used to provide space heating and/or service water heating to a building.
- In most commercial building heating applications, the heating source in the boiler is a natural gas fired burner.
- Oil fired burners and electric resistance heaters can be used as well.
- Steam is preferred over hot water in some applications, including absorption cooling, kitchens, laundries, sterilizers, and steam driven equipment.
- Boilers have several strengths that have made them a common feature of buildings.
- They have a long life, can achieve efficiencies up to 95% or greater, provide an effective method of heating a building, and in the case of steam systems, require little or no pumping energy.
- However, fuel costs can be considerable, regular maintenance is required, and if maintenance is delayed, repair can be costly.
- Guidance for the construction, operation, and maintenance of boilers is provided primarily by the ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers), which produces the following resources:
1. Rules for construction of heating boilers, Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code, Section IV-2007
2. Recommended rules for the care and operation of heating boilers, Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code, Section VII-2007
- Boilers are often one of the largest energy users in a building. For every year a boiler system goes unattended, boiler costs can increase approximately 10%