Boiler Blog | Nationwide Boiler Inc.

Nationwide Boiler news and upcoming events, industry related news, technical information and more. You hear it first on Nationwide's Boiler Blog!

Combustion Air Fan & Efficiency

In order for your boiler to operate at peak efficiency, it is important that the correct balance of fuel and combustion air is achieved. Air and fuel ratios are controlled through linkages, fans, dampers and the increase or decrease of gas pressure. Gas pressure is controlled through a pressure regulator and a fan controls the volume of combustion air.
If there are any problems with the fan, more energy may be introduced into the system, causing decreased efficiency. To help ensure that your equipment is running at its peak performance, please review the common fan problems below.

Fan Capacity/Pressure is Below Rating:

  1. Dampers or variable inlet vanes are not adjusted properly

  2. Fan inlet or outlet conditions are impaired

  3. Multiple air leaks within the system

  4. Damage sustained to the blower wheel

  5. Direction of rotation is incorrect


Fan Vibration:

  1. Worn bearings

  2. Unstable foundation

  3. Foreign material in the fan causing an imbalance

  4. Misalignment of bearings, couplings, wheel or v-belt drive

  5. Damaged wheel or motor

  6. Bent shaft

  7. Worn coupling

  8. Loose dampers or variable inlet vanes

  9. Speed too high or incorrect fan rotation

  10. Vibration to fan transmitted from another source

  11. Uneven blade wear

  12. Loose or broken bolts or set screws


Overheated Bearings:

  1. Improper lubrication

  2. Poor alignment

  3. Damaged wheel or driver

  4. Bent shaft

  5. Abnormal end thrust

  6. Dirt in bearings

  7. Improper belt tension


Overload on Driver:

  1. Speed too high

  2. Direction of rotation is incorrect

  3. Bent shaft

  4. Poor alignment

  5. Improper lubrication

  6. Wheel wedging or binding on fan housing

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29th Annual Charity Golf Tournament

Later this week Nationwide Boiler and other industry leaders will be attending our 29th Annual Charity Golf Tournament at Pebble Beach. This event is supporting the work of Via Services, a Silicon Valley based charity, dedicated to enrich the lives of children and adults with disabilities.

Thank you to all of our corporate sponsors and donors. We appreciate your generosity and support! More details to follow after the event. See you there!

Advanced Boiler Control Services, Applied Heat Recovery LLC, C&C Boiler, California Boiler Works, California League of Food Processors, C-B Nebraska Boiler, C-B Natcom, Central Boiler & Industrial Service, Coen Company, Inc., Cole Industrial, Inc., CRI Environmental Catalyst & Systems, CTi Controltech, In-N-Out Burger, E-tech, Inc., Faber Burner Company, Haldor Topsoe, Hayward Pipe & Supply, John Zink Company, McNulty Mechanical, Inc., Petrochem Insulation, Powerhouse Boiler, Process Heating (Anne Armel), R.F. MacDonald Co., S.T. Johnson Burners, Trailer Transit, Inc., Triple R Heavy Haul, Inc., Valin Corporation, VitalTherm, Wabash Power Equipment Co.
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"Low Hanging Fruit" Efficiency Choices

Every week we receive a lot of information on energy efficiency solutions and updates about what the government is doing about climate change. Earlier this week we attended the 18th annual luncheon of the Manufacturers Council of the Central Valley, a group based in Modesto, CA which represents the interests of local manufacturers.

The Keynote speaker, Dorene D'Adamo, a member of the California Air Resource Board, discussed climate change, California's emission reduction goals, and strategies aimed to help meet the state's emission reductions by 2020. One thing mentioned that struck a common chord among others in our industry was the idea of "low hanging fruit" - remedies that are currently being developed and utilized that make a notable difference in reaching energy efficiency and emission goals.

This concept was also recently expressed to us by Sid Abma of Sidel Systems. Sid mentioned that the easiest and most highly promoted action we, as a society, do to help curb greenhouse gas emissions are on the side of electricity reduction and conservation. This includes changing light bulbs, insulating our attics, double panning our windows, and using electric motors.

Sid states that everything we read and hear is about being power smart (electricity). Renewable energy such as solar, wind and tide are also on the fore front, but it always seems to circle back to electricity. Sid argues that emission reduction strategies from natural gas usage are often ignored. Natural gas is widely used in industry (food and beverage, textiles, electricity generation, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, rubber, plastics, etc.) and reductions in its usage need much more attention than it is currently receiving.

We agree with Sid. The mainstream media's focus is often times more focused on "low hanging fruit", however, we have also seen great strides from the government and public utility companies in terms of promoting energy efficiency and offering rebates and incentives for industry users. For example, the U.S. Department of Energy's Industrial Technologies Program (ITP) leads the nation in conducting research and development for energy efficient technologies and supports the commercialization of emerging technologies. In addition, the EPA provides guidance and recognition to companies that develop long-term climate change strategies through their "Climate Leaders" program. Locally, many of our users have worked with PG&E and third party vendors to obtain rebate checks from equipment upgrades, which have resulted in substantial energy savings.

Sid's energy savings solution towards natural gas is condensing flue gas heat recovery. The Sidel SRU Series Condensing Flue Gas Heat Recovery Unit can be installed with any natural gas fired power boiler or heating unit. It is designed to reduce operating costs by recovering much of the wasted heat normally lost in the atmosphere into usable heat. Potential applications for the recovered heat include preheating process water or preheating return water for heating systems or boiler make-up feedwater. More specially, schools, universities and hotels could use the recovered energy for swimming pool water or it can be used into the space heating systems of buildings. Sidel System's website includes additional information about this cost savings solution, and if you have not already researched this topic, it is worth a look.

We all know that increased natural gas energy efficiency will reduce greenhouse gas emissions. There are many ways that this can be achieved and advancements in technology are always evolving.  Today, we must open our eyes a little wider and pay attention to all the cost-saving opportunities available at our fingertips that are not always widely recognized. The low hanging fruit is not only the easiest to pick, but it is often times the most ripest.

We would like to know what you are doing to reduce your natural gas usage. Also, are there any emission/energy reduction strategies you feel are not getting the attention they deserve?

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Deaerator Basics

The removal of dissolved oxygen from boiler feedwater is absolutely necessary to protect your boiler equipment from severe corrosion. To ensure trouble-free boiler operation, a good deaerator is essential.

Deaerators in industrial steam systems are mechanical devices used to remove air and other dissolved gases from boiler feedwater in order to protect the system from corrosion. Dissolved oxygen in boiler feedwater will attach to the walls of metal piping and other metallic equipment and will form oxides (rust). It also combines with any dissolved carbon dioxide to form carbonic acid that causes further corrosion. A dissolved oxygen level of 5 parts per billion (PPB) or lower is needed to prevent corrosion in most high pressure boilers, accomplished by reducing the concentration of dissolved oxygen and carbon dioxide to a level where corrosion is minimized.

The two major types of deaerators are the tray type and the spray type. In both cases, the major portion of gas removal is accomplished by spraying cold makeup water into a steam environment.

Tray-type deaerating heaters release dissolved gases in the incoming water by reducing it to a fine spray as it cascades over several rows of trays. The steam that makes intimate contact with the water droplets then scrubs the dissolved gases by its counter-current flow. The steam heats the water to within 3-5º F of the steam saturation temperature and it should remove all but the very last traces of oxygen. The deaerated water then falls to the storage space below, where a steam blanket protects it from recontamination.

Nozzles and trays should be inspected regularly to insure that they are free of deposits and are in their proper position.


Spray-type deaerating heaters work on the same general philosophy as the tray-type, but differ in their operation. Spring-loaded nozzles located in the top of the unit spray the water into a steam atmosphere that heats it. The steam heats the water, and at the elevated temperature the solubility of oxygen is extremely low and most of the dissolved gases are removed from the system by venting. The spray will reduce the dissolved oxygen content to 20-50 ppb, while the scrubber or trays further reduce the oxygen content to approximately 7 ppb or less.

During normal operation, the vent valve must be open to maintain a continuous plume of vented vapors and steam at least 18 inches long. If this valve is throttled too much, air and non-condensable gases will accumulate in the deaerator. This is known as air blanketing and can be remedied by increasing the vent rate.

For optimum oxygen removal, the water in the storage section must be heated to within 5º F of the temperature of the steam at saturation conditions. From inlet to outlet, the water is deaerated in less than 10 seconds. Call us today is you have additional questions about deaerators and how important they are to your entire system.
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