To know which of these boiler types is the most convenient for you, let us see what a boiler is. “A boiler is an enclosed vessel in which a fluid such as water is heated to produce steam or the vaporized form of a liquid. The steam or hot water is then circulated through a piping system to transfer heat for various applications such as heating, power generation, and other processes. Boilers and associated pieces of equipment are efficient heat exchange systems. However, they can be dangerous if not properly maintained and operated”.
There is a wide variety of boilers for a myriad of applications; from heating a room, to drive the turbines of a utility company. Although all of them produce steam and hot water, they have different designs, differ in their operation, and use various types of fuel. As a result, it is convenient to know more about the boiler types available, so that you can decide which one is the most suitable for your application.
Fire-tube steam boilers are cylindrical vessels that hold water that surrounds a set of tubes conducting hot gases produced by a furnace. Consequently, the heat in the tubes transfers to the water surrounding them, producing steam.
The installation and relocation of modern fire-tube steam boilers are possible because they are available as portable packages. Also, they are easy to maintain. Nevertheless, due to the massive amounts of water at high pressure that the boiler holds, it requires safe operating procedures. The users of fire-tube boilers are industrial and commercial facilities whose processes demand lower steam pressures from this type of boilers.
Water-tube boilers are highly efficient machines that, by their design, produce superheated dry steam at very high pressures. It feeds large amounts of vapor (several million pounds-per-hour), at very high pressures, up to 5,000 PSIG, to industrial processes. A water-tube industrial boiler has a larger size than a fire-tube.
They are the kind of boilers capable of feeding the processes of heavy industry and utility companies. However, the acquisition and installation costs are high. In the case of heavy industries, they are custom made on the installation site, which can be complicated and time-consuming. Furthermore, they are challenging to maintain. Thus, they require highly skilled personnel for operation and maintenance.
Commercial boilers have different ways to generate heat; firetube, small water tube, and electric resistance. Their ideal users are universities, libraries, office buildings, schools, laundries, hospitals, and other similar facilities,
Among the different boiler types, commercial boilers are some of the most diverse. These units can use propane, natural gas, electricity, or light oil to provide hot water or steam for process requirements or comfort heating. Based on the type of boiler selected and its application, these systems boost fuel efficiency as high as 99%.
A central heating boiler’s size is proportional to the size of the facility. The ideal size for a boiler is one that can cope adequately with the heating needs the coldest season of the year. A typical commercial heating system has four main components: The boiler produces the heat. The pipes, pumps, and valves, distribute the heat. Radiators and convectors, irradiate the heat to the specific room. Finally, there is a control system that regulates everything.
Condensing boilers typically extract over 90% of the heat from the fuel they burn, making them both cost-effective and energy-efficient.
A combination boiler is a type of condensing boiler. They are highly efficient and compact, making them ideal for smaller homes. They can act as both, a water heater and also a central heating unit.
A system boiler directly heats a house’s central heating and also produces hot water for the storage cylinder. It is a heat-only boiler.
Boiler Types by fuel consumption
Another way that boilers can be classified is by the type of fuel that they burn. The most common are:
Most industrial coal-fired boilers run on crushed or pulverized coal, which burns more efficiently than large coal clumps.
Gas and Oil
Gas-fired boilers operate using natural gas, most often a mix of methane, ethane, butane, pentane, or propane. Oil-fired boilers burn gasoline, diesel, and other fossil fuels.
Biomass boilers burn plant materials like wood chips, wood construction debris, and corn husks.
Boiler Types by Combustion System
All the boilers mentioned before typically fall into one of the following combustion method categories.
Thermic fluid heaters use fossil fuel inside a closed system. The sealed system can lead to greater efficiency, although it is not ideal for specific applications.
It is the most common method used for burning solid fuels in boilers today; fluidized bed technology involves a bubbling hot mixture of water and material particles (like sand) with fuel in suspension. This mix allows for rapid heat transfer and cleaner, more efficient operations.
If you need one of these boiler types, Teems Steam is here to provide solutions for all of your boiler rental, sales, installation, and operation needs.
Sources: Superior Boiler, Odesie