Do You Need a Boiler Feed Water Treatment System for Your Plant?


If you use an industrial boiler to create energy with steam, chances are you need some sort of boiler feed water treatment system. But why? We know that natural water sources carry impurities that can cause harmful deposits, carryover, and corrosion in your boiler system. We also know that the higher the pressure your boiler runs at, the more pure your water source needs to be.

This article breaks down the various reasons you need a boiler feed water system for your plant:

Your water source likely carries harmful impurities

Whether you’re using raw or municipal water sources for your boiler, chances are some sort of treatment needs to be implemented to remove suspended and dissolved minerals, hardness, and gasses. When it comes to heating water for creating steam and energy, even trace amounts of certain substances, such as oxygen and carbon dioxide, can wreak havoc on your machinery and pipes in a short amount of time.

Most water sources contain at least one or a few of the following impurities that, at certain levels, can be harmful to your boiler:

      • Alkalinity
      • Calcium
      • Carbon Dioxide
      • Chloride
      • Magnesium
      • Oxygen
      • pH
      • Silica
      • Sodium
      • Sulfate

These occur naturally and can vary depending on the location of your source water. Even municipalities might not remove some of these substances enough for use in a boiler because for human consumption, they are fine. But when heated and used to created steam, they can cause scaling, fouling, and corrosion of your machinery.

The best way to be sure you’re boiler is running correctly is to be aware of the boiler manufacturer’s water quality recommendations and consult a boiler feed water treatment expert. It is an extremely complex calculation that needs to be accurate in order to achieve good results.

Your boiler runs at a higher pressure

The higher the pressure a boiler runs, the more pure the water source needs to be. Again, the precise boiler feed water chemistry needs to be calculated by a boiler feed water specialist and cross-referenced with the recommendations given by the boiler manufacturer, but for a general sense of the figures you should be falling between, below are the American Society of Engineers (ASME) guidelines for various contaminants at different pressures.

[Download our free boiler feed water treatment e-book.]

Here, you can see that as the pressure of the boilers increase, the tolerance for impurities decrease:

ASME Boiler Guidelines

Save on excess energy costs and system replacements

When your boiler isn’t running efficiently, it can use excess energy to make up for energy loss. For example, let’s say your boiler feed water has high hardness or silica, and your boiler is experiencing greater than normal deposits and scale on internal piping. These deposits can inhibit the transfer of heat and reduce the boiler’s efficiency.

In extreme cases, such deposits can lead to corrosion, scaling, fouling, and the shutdown or replacement of equipment. These types of issues can shut down the process and prove costly to repair and replace any worn equipment.

modern boiler system

Avoiding these issues

When it comes to treating your boiler feed water, it’s best to jump off on the right foot to avoid any of these problematic issues from the start. A good place to begin is by consulting someone to perform a treatability study, where a chemist can thoroughly analyze what impurities might be present in your feed water stream. From there, consider your manufacturer’s boiler feed water quality recommendations and work with your boiler feed water expert to help build a system with all the technologies necessary to ensure your boiler is running as safely and efficiently as possible.

Although figuring out what your boiler feed water treatment system needs might be can seem complex, SAMCO has over 40 years’ experience custom-designing and manufacturing these types of systems, so please feel free to reach out to us with your questions.

For more pricing information or to get in touch, contact us here to set up a consultation with an engineer or request a quote. We can walk you through the steps for developing the proper solution and realistic cost for your boiler feed water treatment system needs.

Other SAMCO articles that relate to boiler feed water include:

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