Efficiency Tips

There are many day-to-day actions that can substantially impact energy efficiency that have little or nothing to do with the desired end-use objective - for example: provide proper steam to an end-use process. When it is possible to obtain the same objective by taking different actions, an effective energy management program is knowing what is the best action to take for the sake of energy efficiency. If the action requires little or no difference in cost, then the action is known as a 'Practice'. Action that requires replacing something earlier than it may need to be replaced, or installing something mostly for the purposes of increased energy efficiency that would otherwise not be purchased, is known as a 'Measure'.

It is not always easy to distinguish Practices from Measures from one facility to another. There are many variables that impact the way equipment is purchased and accounted for. Practices are loosely defined as actions and items that are not part of a capital budget. Measures are items that generally require some sort of payback analysis.
Low-Cost Practices
- Inspect Steam Traps Monthly See Steam Leaks and Steam Trap Leaks

- Repair all Steam Leaks

- Plug all sources of uncontrolled air leaks into the burner section Air Infiltration

- Blowdown boiler only when needed to maintain acceptable water quality Blowdown Control

- For hot water boilers used in a space heating application, reduce water temperature to the lowest temperature that will met the demand Boiler Reset Control

- Keep boiler tubes clean on BOTH sides - be sure the burner is correctly adjusted to prevent soot build-up on the fire side Flue Gas Analysis and use proper water treatment to prevent scale build-up on the water side Scale Deposits and Water Treatment

- Audit steam piping systems for problems such as stuck valves, improperly installed components, under-sized and misplaced condensate drains, etc. See Steam Piping Best Practices

- Insulate the deaerator tank and all associated pipes and fittings; maintain the deaerator tank for proper pressure and temperature operation Deaerator

- Keep burners in tune to produce optimum combustion Flue Gas Analysis

- Install turbulators in the boiler tubes to increase heat transfer between the combustion gases and the water Turbulators

- On small boilers, install automatic vent dampers to reduce flue pipe heat loss during the off-cycle Vent Dampers
- Install an automatic Blowdown Control to monitor water quality and blowdown only when required to maintain acceptable water quality Blowdown Control

- Install a Blow Down Heat Recovery System Blowdown Heat Recovery

- Repair or Replace Leaking Steam Traps Monthly Steam Trap Leaks

- For hot water boilers used in a space heating application, install an automatic water temperature control that adjusts boiler water temperature according to outside temperature Boiler Reset Control

- When multiple boilers are in use, install an automated boiler sequence control to achieve the best combination of boiler run efficiency Boiler Sequence Control

- Return as much condensate at as high of temperature as possible to the boiler Condensate Return. Be sure insulate condensate return lines also Insulate Steam Pipes

- Insulate all fittings with removable/easy access insulation for easier maintenance and to keep insulation in good/contiguous condition Insulate Fittings

- Install a flash steam recovery system to recover low pressure steam from high pressure condensate systems Flash Steam Recovery

- Use Vapor Recompression to recover 'waste' steam off drying processes for use in low pressure steam heating processes Steam Vapor Recompression

- Minimize boiler short-cycling and associated energy losses by installing an automated boiler sequence controller Boiler Sequence Control

- Install an O2 meter to monitor proper deaerator operation; heat the deaerator only hot enough to drive off 02 in the feed water Deaerator

- Install an O2 Trim system to reduce excess oxygen/air in the combustion process Oxygen Control

- To reduce excess air flow through the boiler and boiler room, install a combustion air control system Combustion Air Control

- To maintain proper draft control on even short stacks, install an exhaust draft control system Exhaust Draft Control

- Install a stack economizer to pre-heat boiler make-up water or produce high temperature hot water for some other concurrent use Economizers

- Install a stack flue gas condenser to produce large volumes of low temperature hot water for a concurrent load and to reduce boiler emissions Flue Gas Condensers

- Install Steam Flow Meters and monitor steam usage for known and unexpected changes Steam Flow Meters

Source: Text compiled and edited by Bob Fegan based on multiple sources including: NRCanada 'Boilers and Heaters - Improving Energy Efficiency, 2001'; CIBO 'Energy Efficiency Handbook, 1997'; DOE Steam Best Practices web site; DOE "Improving Steam System Performance: A Sourcebook for Industry" 2004;
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