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Wetback and Dryback Boilers | The Fraternal Twins of the Boiler World

Posted by Ritchie Ware on Jun 10, 2016 1:47:01 PM

Wetback vs dryback boiler

A question that we hear often is, “What is the difference between a wetback boiler and a dryback boiler?”

Wetback and dryback boilers are sort of like fraternal twins, you can definitely tell that they are twins, however there are a few distinct characteristics that help you tell them apart.

Their names: Just like twins wouldn’t share their first name, neither would these two firetube boilers.

  • Dryback boilers, like their name infers, have a dry refractory rear wall.
  • Wetback boilers have a water cooled rear wall.

Their applications:

  • Traditional Dryback boilers with low offset furnaces and multi-piece doors are well suited for slower reacting loads such as building heat.
  • Victory’s centerfired furnace dryback design allows them to not only be well suited for high cycling applications, but for applications with extreme process demands as well.
  • Wetback boilers are also well suited to extreme process demands.

Their furnace sections:

  • Dryback boilers have an open furnace section and the hot gas actually comes in contact with the rear wall of the boiler in the form of refractory.
  • The centerfired furnace dryback design along with our single piece door allows for a more robust furnace section. The other advantage to the centerfired design is that the furnace itself typically accomplishes 60% of the work of the boiler, relying less on the tubes for heat transfer. This furnace design also allows for enhanced water circulation and lower thermal stress.          
  • Wetback boilers have an encased furnace section and the water on the rear wall will ensure even cooling.

Their rear walls:

  • Traditional Dryback boilers have a multi-piece refractory rear wall. One advantage of the dryback rear wall is how easy it is to access. It is as simple as opening up a door.
  • The centerfired dryback alows easy access to all of the tubes.
  • Wetback boilers have a water cooled rear wall. Accessing the furnace from the rear wall is more challenging on a wetback boiler as it has a tighter manhole cover used to access the internal furnace section.

Their maintenance:

  • Traditional Dryback boilers are easier to maintain however the multi-piece door design requires regular repair . The fact that the rear wall can be easily accessed by opening a door, means that the furnace and tubes are also easy to access if they need repairs.
  • The centerfired dryback design with single piece door design incorporates easy access to the tubes while providing long door life.
  • The maintenance on a wetback boiler is slightly more involved when tube or furnace work is required. It requires a technician to climb through a small manhole to access the internal turnaround section of the furnace to access tubes and the furnace section.

Their economics:

  • In general, the centerfire dryback boilers are more economical than their counterparts, and in many applications, they will use less fuel.
  • Wetback boilers contain more material due to the encased furnace. Those materials have a moderate effect on the cost of the boiler but are also a very durable design.

For more information on our cutting edge steam solutions call us today at 502-968-2211.

Check out our YouTube channel for more information on Dryback vs Wetback boilers.

Topics: The Grime

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