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Boiler Basics 101: Importance of Proper Water Treatment
If feedwater is not treated properly before entering the boiler, a chemical imbalance can initiate the formation of scale. Scale is the accumulation of mineral deposits, primarily calcium and magnesium, on the internal surfaces of the boiler. These minerals have the potential to precipitate from the water and bond to surfaces, creating a layer that may result in harm to boiler tubes, reduced boiler efficiency, and potential for ruptures. Proper water treatment methods, such as the use of water softeners and deaerators, reverse osmosis, and chemical additives to condition the water, must be employed to prevent scale formation.
- A water softener will remove the calcium and magnesium content in the boiler’s water supply. This effectively “softens” the water before it enters a boiler and removes the minerals that are often the cause of scale in a boiler.
- A deaerator should be utilized to mechanically remove oxygen from the water before it enters the boiler. This will prevent boiler tube failure.
- Reverse osmosis can also be used to aid your boiler. Reverse osmosis is a process that can be used in boiler water treatment to purify and condition the water by using pressure to filter out any hardness and impurities.
- Chemical treatment is also necessary to ensure proper water conditioning alongside the mechanical treatments listed above. Typically, the chemicals used for treatment purposes are an oxygen scavenger, scale inhibitor, and an amine to treat the steam system piping.
It is important to note that from a rental perspective, it is the customer’s responsibility to maintain the water treatment conditions of their rental boiler to avoid equipment damage and additional repair charges that can result from improper water treatment procedures. It is recommended that the services of a reputable boiler chemical consultant are retained in order to supervise the water treatment conditions on a regular basis. Weekly tasks should include maintaining daily boiler logs, conducting chemical treatment tests, providing a report from the chemical treatment consultant, and sharing maintenance records with your rental boiler supplier.
All boilers are subject to damage if proper water treatment procedures are not followed. This is an important consideration both during operation and when the boiler is idle. Maintaining a water treatment plan will not just extend your boiler’s lifespan and the durability of its components, but it will also facilitate long-term cost savings. It is an investment that pays off in the form of lower energy costs, fewer repairs, reduction of costly down time, and compliance with regulations; all contributing to long-term cost savings.
Make sure to explore our earlier Boiler Basics 101 articles and keep an eye out for the upcoming edition!