Steam boiler technology is used for a wide range of applications. Many steam boiler systems require saturated steam, which means the water and the steam in the vessel must be at the same temperature. When this steam is 15 PSIG or below the boiler is considered low pressure as defined by ASME Section IV.
Low Pressure Steam Boiler Characteristics
- Limited to 15 psig design
- Commonly used for heating applications
- Other applications include humidification, small batch process loads, and CIP systems.
- Temperature will not rise above 250 degrees F
- Low pressure steam boilers do not need to be monitored regularly
- Usually only have to be checked when they begin to break down
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Low Pressure Steam Boilers and Heating Load
Since low pressure steam boilers are typically used to maintain building heat, heating load is an important factor.
- Low Pressure Steam Boilers → Heat for Facilities
- High Pressure Steam Boilers → Energy for Processes
A low pressure steam heating load does not involve a lot of instantaneous change to the load, but large seasonal variations are taken into consideration.
The boiler should be sized to accommodate the worst foreseeable weather conditions while keeping in mind that the extreme conditions are rarely reached.
Extreme inefficiency can result from excessive cycling if the boiler is oversized relative to load. All too often, boilers operate at loads that are a fraction of their rated capacity for the majority of the time they are in use. In order to prevent excessive cycling and fuel loss, the sizing and selection of the boiler should take seasonal variations into consideration.
For small process loads, low pressure boiler sizing is even more important for avoiding cycling inefficiencies and premature failure from excessive starts and stops.
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Low Pressure Steam Boiler Applications
Low pressure steam boilers are often used in buildings and designed to supply heat to individual rooms through terminal units. Buildings heated by low pressure steam boilers may include:
- Office Buildings
- Manufacturing Facilities
These boilers can be used to heat the domestic water load and the steam is used to supply heat throughout the building.
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