Hot Water Boilers: Understanding the differences of a hot water boiler

| Edward McKellar

Steam is often a hot topic around here, after all, it is SteamNation! Yet boilers are at the crux of what most of our topics surround. Not all boilers however are steam boilers. While many facilities depend on steam generation, some boilers produce hot water for various purposes in industrial and commercial applications. At a glance, a firetube boiler may be hard to see many distinguishing differences between hot water trimmed or steam boiler. The components, design and many of the accessories and controls are quite different, however.

What are Hot Water Boilers?

Hot water boilers are simply another engineered design of a boiler that is used to heat water. ASME BPV Code Section IV dictates the minimum requirements for the safe design, construction installation, and inspection of these hot-water boilers.
Per the ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code Section IV a hot water boiler must have:

  • A pressure or altitude gauge
  • A thermometer
  • Two temperature controls minimum – Operating and High Limit.
  • An automatic low-water fuel cutoff for automatically fired boilers over 400,000 btu/hr.
  • Provisions for thermal expansion.

hot water boiler circulator pump

When are hot water boilers needed? 

Hot water is needed globally for many reasons. Heating hot water or hydronic systems use water to bring to a higher temp and circulate through buildings installed HVAC systems for warmth in colder months. Another common application for hot water is for domestic hot water purposes, also known as potable water. This is categorized by water that will come into contact with people whether for cooking, showers, laundry, or the like.

What are some of the differences between a hot water system vs. steam?

There are many differences between steam and hot water boilers. Here are a few of them. Steam as we know is a powerful energy source and while at saturation temperature moves through systems with pressure. Hot water systems rely on circulator pumps to traverse the heated water effectively through the systems. This hot water circulation is often monitored by a flow switch that can ensure the system is circulating as required. While a steam system operates from pressure controls, a hot water boiler utilizes aquastats for sensing temperatures and opens and closes circuits accordingly.

If your facility is out of hot water, and it’s got you in hot water, then get in touch with Power Mechancial Inc. today. Whether you’re looking to replace an outdated system, need a rental hot water boiler, or looking for boiler parts while your boiler is being repaired we can facilitate all of your needs.

© Power Mechanical

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