Water boiler selection is often simplified by comparing equipment costs. After all, you can only consider buying an equipment you can afford. However, after narrowing down your choices into a few products belonging to the same price range, how do you ultimately choose?
If you are someone who likes to think long-term, you would definitely include operational and maintenance costs in your consideration. To that end, a straightforward evaluation process can help you make the final decision.
Your water boiler selection criteria should include important attributes:
There are many ways to interpret water boiler efficiency. It could be on the basis of the boiler's combustion efficiency, fuel-to-steam efficiency, thermal efficiency, and so on. Per technical definition, efficiency is a measure of effectiveness.
For an energy consumer's point of view, this is best interpreted in the amount of energy that is needed to make a machine function in the way that it is intended to. In simpler terms, efficiency is closely related your electric bill at the end of each period.
Just like all machines, no water boiler is 100% efficient as there will always be various factors that will influence its in-service operation. Examples of these "influencers" are the boiler's construction type and age, the location where it is installed, the size of the room it is heating, and so on.
Appropriate Load Response
Another factor to consider is the boiler's load response. Load response determines how fast the boiler can cycle from cold-start, that is, when the water in the tank is still at ambient temperature, to normal operation. Ideally, your boiler at home should be able to follow fast load changes without significantly changing steam pressure.
A good water boiler must be capable of reaching minimum to maximum firing rate without much deviation in its fuel-to-air ratio, which is typically achieved only if the boiler is equipped with high-turnover burners. To illustrate, suppose you have a 100 HP boiler with a 10:1 turndown ratio. This means that you can choose to run your boiler at 100 HP or at 10 HP, and in both instances, still operate at high efficiency.
The importance of maintenance cannot be overly emphasized when it comes to boiler operation. Proper water boiler maintenance should include water conditioning, surface and bottom blowdown, and the thorough cleanup of the water feed, fuel-burning and control components.
When selecting a boiler, you have to ask yourself if these regular maintenance activities can be easily done considering how the boiler is constructed. Is it easy to disassemble the boiler to clean its hidden components?
How complex would it be to replace a component in case one of them suddenly breaks down? In case you can’t do the maintenance yourself, are there professionals near you that can take care of regular maintenance services that your boiler needs?
In the end, when selecting a water boiler, it is best if you would go beyond just looking at the equipment cost. A good selection strategy should always include other important factors like efficiency, load response, rate of turndown and maintenance considerations, among other things.