Redundancy is a term often used in mechanical and boiler room design. Redundancy is simply a reliability measure that is factored in when designing systems to ensure that should something fail, be in regeneration mode, being maintained or the like, there is a backup. Boilers rely on sufficient and reliable feedwater supply. Thus it is rare to find where commercial and industrial boiler applications do not have complete redundancy in their feed systems.
A duplex feed system will have two pumps installed, whereas a triplex has three, and so on. The number of pumps is determined by the capacity requirements for the system. Some systems may need two pumps simultaneously to most effectively deliver the required boiler water. The minimum requirement times two gives the system the needed redundancy.
It’s important to not overlook the necessity for switching over the lead and the lag of these pumps. This can help facilities to identify if a pump has a problem meeting load requirements or other common issues related to boiler feed pumps. If a pump sits idle and the lead pump fails a standby pump could be useless and unable to provide sufficient boiler feed.
Periodic switching over from each pump ensures that the demand is met and redundancy is in place in the event of a failure. A weekly rotation of boiler feed pumps is a good practice to ensure that these pumps are providing sufficient boiler feed and maintaining system redundancy.
When switching boiler feed pumps over the first step is to ensure that the operating pump is meeting demand. A daily boiler room log is a common practice to monitor these pressures and keep an eye out for any negative trends in feed requirements. Keep in mind that load conditions will create a variable on what the pressure range may read for the pump at any given time. Again, this is where the log can be helpful in determining what is the “norm”.
Pump redundancy is a boiler room design consideration that most critical systems have in place. Having the pump at the ready is important to minimize downtime and increase reliability. If the boiler feed pumps are not being regularly switched over, it’s comparable to having a spare tire in your trunk with no air in it. In other words, should the time come that the backup is needed, there’s no such thing.
If your facility needs any boiler feed system maintenance, parts, diagnosis, or replacement contact Power Mechancical Inc. today. We have been assisting facilities with ensuring reliable boiler room operations for nearly four decades. With a complete line of new and refurbished boiler feed pumps, along with a pump repair facility, we’re here to ensure your plant has complete redundancy in all your mechanical systems.