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Preventing Freeze Damage This Winter

It's that time of year again for our annual freeze protection reminders. As you know, winter can bring extremely cold weather conditions, especially in Canada, the Northeast, Midwest, and Upper Midwest. To reiterate what we have been saying for years, here are a few things to consider to protect your rental boiler and auxiliary equipment (deaerators, water softeners, etc.) from damage due to freezing temperatures this winter.

1. If you are renting a trailer or skid-mounted firetube or watertube boiler and installing the unit outdoors, these systems are completely exposed to the environment. User's should consider enclosing the front and/or the rear end of the boiler, or build a temporary enclosure around the entire system. An external heating source should also be used. 

2. Install the proper heat tracing (steam or electric) and insultation on all main lines and piping components, regardless of whether the boiler (or auxiliary equipment) is in operation or sitting as stand-by. This should include the following lines: 
      - Sensing lines for all transmitters
      - Primary and auxiliary low-water cut-offs
      - Water column and connected piping
      - Bottom blowdown and surface blow-off piping, depending on the length of the piping runs. These valves should also be left open. 

3. During non-operational periods, drain all sensing lines and fill these lines with alcohol or a 50/50 water/glycol solution if possible and/or practical, making sure to re-connect each line. 

4. When an extended downtime is expected, completely drain the boiler, deaerator, pumps, water softener, and all associated piping (NBI installs the drain valves on all of our equipment for this purpose), as well as all stagnant water lines. 

5. If you are renting a trailer enclosed system or have enclosed system or have enclosed the rental boiler with a structure, please make sure there is an electric power supply to the system at all times, even if the unit is out of service and fully drained. The electric heaters in the trailer or structure require power, and if the rental boiler is needed it is considerably easier to bring a heated system to service. 

6. When filling a system in cold weather, remember that water may freeze when it comes in contact with cold piping. 

7. In extremely cold areas, you should consider adding electric heaters to the trailer-enclosed systems and inside temporary enclosures. Again, it is considerably easier to bring a system in to service in a heated area. 

8. Be sure to remove snow and ice from the roof of the trailer or enclosure. The accumulation of snow or ice can lead to blocked vent lines. 

9. If the boiler or auxiliary equipment is out of service, it is important to visually inspect the equipment on a routine basis to make sure all valving, piping, and sensing lines are sound and haven't frozen and split. 

If you are renting equipment, you're most likely paying a fair amount of money for the equipment and you will want the equipment to be operational if and when needed. Take these steps and be assured that the system will be available if needed. 

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Decarbonization: What Does it Mean for the Rental Boiler Industry?

Decarbonization relates to the reduction or ultimately the extinction of greenhouse gas emissions released into the atmosphere. According to the EPA, Carbon Monoxide (CO2) makes up the vast majority of greenhouse gases released during the combustion of fossil fuels. In addition to CO2, smaller amounts of methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) are also emitted during the combustion process. With majority of rental boilers being natural gas or oil fired, what does this mean for the future of rental boilers?

With over fifty years in the industry, Nationwide Boiler has excelled through similar hurdles. In 1995, we became the first and only rental boiler company to convert our entire fleet of watertube boilers to low NOx levels of 30 ppm. In 2001, we started actively utilizing our CataStak™ SCR system on package watertube rental boilers for ultra low NOx compliance, and in 2011 we developed the product further announcing the ammonia-free / urea-based CataStak™ SCR. These and other initiatives were accomplished with sustainability and environmental improvements in mind.

While our CataStak™ and EconoStak fuel efficiency products help the environment by reducing tons of greenhouse gas emissions, we realize the need to consider an alternate non-fossil fuel with the potential to replace the “transitional” fuel of natural gas. Luckily there are some alternate energy solutions available today, including bio-fuels, hydrogen-fired, solar, hydro, and electric.

One thing we know for certain is that the current production of steam cannot be displaced easily or quickly with these alternative energy solutions. Steam as we know it is used not only for heating, but for producing many everyday products like food, beverages, paper, plastics, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, gasoline, textiles, and electricity, to name a few.

With this growing move away from the use of fossil fuels and in California specifically, Nationwide Boiler has added an electric boiler to our rental fleet – and it is our intention to add more in the future. This provides an option for customers with excess electricity available, and a solution for customers wanting a zero emissions alternative. Our first electric boiler system has been built to provide 50 hp steam at operating pressures up to 150 psig. The system includes a factory integrated, pre-piped and wired duplex feedwater system, blowdown separator, and single-point electrical POC calling for a 480 VAC, 3 phase, 60 HZ power supply. It is a smaller package than our standard fuel-fired mobile steam plants, and it requires a much smaller available footprint for installation.

In addition to adding electric boilers to our rental fleet, Nationwide Boiler is now a California representative for Precision resistant type electric steam boilers as well as Vapor Power electrode steam boilers. We can provide new, zero-emission boiler packages to facilities interested in pursuing a non-fossil fuel fired, steam boiler alternative.

As a company, Nationwide Boiler vows to continue to identify and assess alternative and sustainable options to help improve the environment while providing the reliable steam necessary for the many industries we serve today. For more information about what we’re doing to help the environment, visit our website our give us a call at 800-227-1966.

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NBI Annual Holiday Food Drives

It’s that time of the year again! Nationwide Boiler’s Annual Holiday Food Drives have officially begun. That’s right, we are holding two separate food drives again this year: a traditional food drive to support the Inter-Faith Treasure House in Washougal, WA and a virtual drive to support the Alameda County Community Food Bank (ACCFB) in California. Last year not only did we meet our goals but we exceeded them, and we look forward to two successful drives again this year.

The Inter-Faith Treasure House helps has provided food and assistance to Camas and Washougal residents in need for over 50 years. Our Controls Division, Pacific Combustion Engineering, will be hosting a drive from now until November 20th with a goal of collecting at least 10 full bags of food.

With the belief that food is a basic human right, the ACCFB distributes millions of healthy meals each year to those in need in the California’s Bay Area. Nationwide Boiler’s virtual food drive allows us to “shop” virtually for the organization’s most needed items. Our goal this year is to raise a total of $500 and, if we can meet this goal, Nationwide Boiler will match the donation, dollar-for-dollar!

We understand the importance of giving back to our communities, especially in a time like this. If you would like to help us meet our goal, you can “shop” or donate an amount of your choice, here: https://www.vfd-accfb.org/grouphome.aspx?ID=7521

We are happy to be able to continue this tradition and help provide healthy meals to those less fortunate this holiday season.

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Innovative Leaders: Virtual FAT Testing

Nationwide Boiler is known as being an innovative leader in the rental boiler industry. Over fifty years ago we pioneered the mounting of a 24,000 lb/hr package watertube boiler to a highway-legal trailer, and followed with many other firsts including the world’s largest trailer-mounted saturated and superheated steam boilers (125,000 lb/hr and 110,000 lb/hr, respectively).

In this age of digital technology and pandemic isolation requirements, Nationwide Boiler’s control division, Pacific Combustion Engineering, realized the need for virtual factory acceptance testing (FAT). An FAT is an essential element of the testing and acceptance of new critical control systems. The main goal of this test is to prove and certify performance built for a specific application and ensure all design requirements are attained.

Pacific Combustion’s new test gear consists of a 19” HMI that replaces toggle switches, indicating lights, potentiometers, and analog gauges. A PLC drives relays and consists of contacts that can be configured for the voltage that is required for input simulation. Outputs are displayed via selectable 120vac and 24vdc terminals. Analog 4-20ma inputs are selectable as either loop or self-powered.

During the virtual FAT, a web portal is accessible by the client through an audio/video link to the testing, and the client can actually operate the test rig HMI screen from their location. Links are also furnished to the burner management / combustion control system PLC and HMI.

This is a truly unique innovation at a time where travel can be difficult, providing an alternative to the traditional FAT and allowing business to continue even in heightened times like a global pandemic.

For more details on our virtual FATs, be sure to check out our upcoming feature in Process Heating Magazine. We will post the direct link as soon as it's available. And be sure to give Pacific Combustion Engineering a call to assist with your next control system upgrade. 360-335-1443

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