A boiler should be a finely-tuned machine. When it’s running at peak efficiency, it is doing more work for less fuel. Every hour your boiler is running efficiently is like money back in your pocket.
Determining if your boiler is operating efficiently isn’t hard, either. Checking your boiler’s efficiency can also help you determine if something is wrong with your boiler system, so you can stop small problems before they become big ones.
KNOW YOUR BOILER
In order to determine whether your boiler is operating at peak efficiency, you must first have a good understanding of the manufacturer’s recommended specifications. These parameters are the best guardrails to follow because they come from the people who literally know the boiler inside and out. Using those parameters as a guide, you can see how your boiler’s actual readings stack up. If your readings fall within the specified limits, chances are your boiler is at peak efficiency.
Here's how all the different specifications work together to make your boiler run efficiently:
FUEL MANIFOLD PRESSURE:
One way of checking fuel input is if this pressure is higher than designed, the boiler heat exchanger surfaces could be undersized for the input. This will result in high stack temperatures, lower efficiency, and thermal stresses that could damage the unit. If it’s too low, the boiler could be running with excessive amounts of air at low fire, or be damaging the burner diffuser. Either way, fuel or repair costs are a risk.
Too much water in the boiler will cause carryover – basically water leaving the boiler along with steam. This water doesn’t help carry the load, instead, it interferes with heat exchange in the system. Too little water can cause metal stress and damage to your boiler’s components as the boiler overheats. Make sure your water level is where it’s supposed to be, and your sight glass is accurate.
Low stack temperatures are usually a good indicator of efficiency, because the cooler they are, the more heat is being put to work making steam instead of escaping up your stack. High stack temperatures mean you could have soot or scale in the exchanger.
Having the combustion tuning and efficiency checked on your burner means that you are starting off on the right foot, and sending as much energy as possible into the steam, and not up the stack. If all of these parameters are where they’re supposed to be, and your boiler seems to be operating normally, chances are you’re at – or close to – peak efficiency.
If you need any assistance with determining your boiler’s rate, let the experts at WARE help you out. You can also learn more about your boiler and how it operates through WARE’s Boiler University. No matter what you need, we’re here to help.