Are Your Boilers Running Without Automated Blowdown?

Posted by Greg Frazier on Thu, Nov 14, 2013 @ 01:17 PM

Thick Scale on Boiler Tubes

Here in the northeast United States, it's getting pretty cold and boiler season is now officially upon us!  One of the biggest mistakes that we see in boiler plant operation is improper or no blowdown control. The cost versus the savings in this regard can be staggering; and for most commercial or industrial facilities, it is really a no brainer.  One of the ways that we strive to be the best water treatment company on the east coast is by making sure that educate our customers on the complete picture of water treatment, including their mechanical options.

Boiler automation and blowdown control is important. Here's why: 

Conductivity, or the total dissolved solids inside the boiler, is controlled only by the boiler surface blowdown valve. Improper control of the valve can lead to two issues:

  1. The boiler is under-cycled. The blow down occurs too often, and does not allow the system to fully recycle the available water and chemicals to their fullest potential. This results in a waste of both water and chemical boiler treatment products, thereby increasing the usage (and yearly cost) of both.

  2. The boiler is over-cycled. The blow down does not occur enough and the boiler has a high amount of dissolved solids inside the system. This can easily result in hardness precipitating out of the water and onto the boiler tubes, forming layers of insulating scale. Scale will force the boiler to increase its heating load to compensate, and thereby increase the likelihood of the tubes overheating and ultimately failing. Other problems caused by over-cycling, such as under-deposit corrosion and sludge build-up, will make matters even worse.

LMI DC4000 series

Many facilities make blowdown a regular part of the operators daily responsibilities, however, this can sometimes lead to a boiler not being blown down at the correct times or worse, not at all. Unless a facility has an operator taking hourly conductivity readings and making blowdown adjustments, we strongly recommend installing an automated surface blowdown controller. While there are many advantages, here are a few of the most important ones:

  • Eliminate human error

  • Save on water and fuel costs by eliminating excessive blow down 

  • Reduce time operators spend making adjustments

  • Increase the reliability of the system to produce quality steam at high TDS levels

  • Saves water and energy costs of blowing down the boiler to remove contamination

  • Reduce the probability of scale in the boiler

Want to learn more?

As professional water treatment experts, we come across many complex challenges in heating, cooling, process and wastewater treatment.  Many times the solution is a combination of mechanical and chemical.  We understand that as facility owners and operators, you may not know (or want to know) about all the details regarding water treatment, however, many of our customers have saved tens of thousands of dollars in operating costs with just a small amount of education.  

If you would like to learn more about common mistakes that you can avoid in your boiler room, please download our free eBook: Ten Huge Mistakes Facilities Make in Boiler Operation and How to Avoid Them.

The catch?  (There is no catch. Enjoy!)

 Boiler Water Treatment

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