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Deaeration methods for boilers

The steam boiler has been in use for well over 100 years, propelling locomotives and ships, operating heavy machinery and providing heat for factories, offices, warehouses, commercial buildings and homes. One serious problem in steam boilers is corrosion.

A byproduct of creating steam is dissolved oxygen. For metallic components such as iron and steel, the oxidation process will cause rusting. As anyone who has owned a car is aware, oxidation is something to avoid when dealing with metal.

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An additional problem with a steam boiler is the presence of carbon dioxide. When is comes in contact with water, it will form carbonic acid, a corrosive substance for metal. As with dissolved oxygen, carbon dioxide must be removed to reduce corrosion within the boiler.

Manufacturers have come up with sophisticated methods to remove both gases from the interior of boilers. Deaerators are built to reduce the gases to a safe level. Two main methods are used. In the first method, incoming water is heated to create a saturation level. It is then run through a series of trays to create maximum contact surface of the heated water. Steam is then used to capture both dissolved oxygen and carbon dioxide from the incoming water and is dispersed through a vent. The treated water then falls through the trays and is used in the boiler. The second method uses a large number of spray nozzles that spray steam onto the incoming water. The steam captures the gases and is vented to the outside.

As with any machinery, components of deaerators eventually wear out and must be replaced. For this purpose, manufacturers and dealers carry a large array of deaerator parts. Pressure relief valves, control gauges, temperature gauges, pressure relief valves and many other accessories are available for most deaerator systems.

For those in need of parts, they should inquire as to whether the accessories meet the standards of the Heat Exchange Institute (HEI) to insure quality. Because boilers are a vital part of a building, whether industrial or commercial, finding a dealer with a large inventory and fast delivery is the most prudent course of action.