3 Things You Can Do To Increase Boiler System Efficiency

Wednesday, September 20th, 2017
the benefits of industrial boiler maintenance with allen's tri-state mechanical

The United States of America has bountiful hydrocarbon resources such as oil, natural gas, and coal. However, fuel deficits and the sharp rise in prices created the rapid development of energy efficient appliances and technologies that now define modern equipment. One of the easiest ways for a business to reduce their monthly utility bills is to use these energy efficient appliances, including boilers.

Even basic cleaning, such as vacuuming, can add up to five percent to a company’s electricity bill. Conversely, energy saving and management procedures like using motion-activated lights can reduce energy costs by 20 to 30 percent. You cannot ascertain if you are becoming more energy efficient unless you can measure energy output and generation. A great way to do this is to start with your boiler. Here are three tips to help you make your boiler more efficient and save money.

Understand combustion efficiency

The first place to determine the energy efficiency of your operation is to inspect your boiler. The majority of heat is lost in the stack, as gases leave the furnace. The goal is to create conditions that generate the smallest possible amount of flue gas (excess gas that is expelled) at the lowest possible temperature. This results in increased efficiency. Lower temperature gas is ideal, because the higher the temperature, the more energy will be captured as heat by the flue gas. On average, a 22 degree Celsius drop in temperature can result in a one percent increase in efficiency.

Another typical issue arises when you are feeding your boiler insufficient air. When a boiler operates with less than sufficient air supplies, the combustion process is incomplete. This issue generates soot, smoke, and carbon monoxide, and impacts the heat transfer process. The optimum combustion process provides just enough air for the excess fuel to burn off.

The right amount of air depends on the type of fuel you use in your boiler. For instance, coal usually needs 20 to 30 percent air, while natural gas requires about 10 percent. Oil needs air concentrations between 10 and 15 percent. A boiler maintenance company can measure the amount of air needed by using a temperature probe in the flue stack.

Finally, a minor issue can occur when oxygen levels rise in the stack over time. Steady increases in oxygen usually indicate that you need to service your boiler system, because this usually results in some fouling in the heat transfer process.

Monitor heat transfer

Heat transfer surfaces need to be cleaned to conduct heat efficiently. Heat transfer is primarily reduced through two methods: water and condensate. Impure water can leave build-up on the inside of the boiler in the form of hard minerals that reduces the heat transfer surface area. Condensation means that the steam is converted to water, reducing overall operating temperatures and causing converted steam to no longer generate heat. Both of these issues can be solved through regular boiler maintenance including cleanings and the replacement of insulation.

Track energy consumption

Steam meters are the primary tools you will need to track energy consumption and measure the efficiency of your boiler. To get an accurate meter reading, your operators need to know the mass of the steam that is traveling through the system. To know the mass of the steam, you can use pressure meters and a flow computer to generate readings.

If this sounds too complicated, you can also use swirl meters. A swirl meter uses static veins on the entrance of the meter to force the fluid into a rotation in the meter. The meter then measures the rotation and generates reports within one percent accuracy.

Professional boiler maintenance from Allen’s Tri-State

If you are looking to improve the energy efficiency of your boiler system, the first step is to get an inspection by a reputable company. Allen’s Tri-State Mechanical Inc. in Amarillo, Texas is the oldest mechanical service company in the Texas Panhandle. We offer a variety of services including industrial, commercial, and residential. If you would like to learn more about how we can help you, give us a call at (806) 376-8345 or Contact Us by email. We are available 24 hours a day to meet your needs.