Insights

Optimizing Condensing Boilers for High Efficiency

By November 5, 2021 No Comments

The weather is starting to cool and buildings are looking to optimize their operations, especially those processes related to keeping buildings warm and comfortable. One way in which buildings have improved in recent years is through the integration of the condensing boiler system. About 16% of the world’s carbon emissions come from non-condensing boilers and places like the UK set regulations as early as April 2005 requiring that all new gas and oil boilers must be condensing.

What is a condensing boiler? Condensing boilers are extremely energy efficient and about 15-30% more so than traditional boilers. In fact, good condensing boilers can attain energy efficiency of 90% or more! This means that only 10% of the investment in heating escapes. They use less fuel yet capture more heat via two internal heat exchangers so they can provide the necessary heat for a building while operating at lower temperatures. 

As a result of this process, condensation happens within the boilers’ venting system. While every boiler requires ongoing maintenance, condensing boilers have a potential for higher maintenance due to the condensation. Simply said, the more efficient a boiler is running, the less work it has to do to accomplish its tasks. Boilers that are able to complete their jobs without additional stress are more dependable. As much as we’d like to assume these systems will turn on and work when we need them to, they’re mechanical systems and all equipment wears down over time and with use. 

An interesting part of the discussion around condensation boilers is in the high claims of efficiency but disappointing findings. However, this is not at the fault of the machinery. Despite almost 20 years of these new boilers being more commonly found in buildings, the majority of installers have not been trained to set them up correctly. This is often due to a systematic lack of investment into training for installers which results in boilers being run unnecessarily at higher temperatures. Much efficiency is gained only when your return water temperature is approximately 60°C or lower. Fortunately, the accurate installation of a boiler to meet efficiency goals can be part of a maintenance check-up.

There are many different types of condensation boilers and it is worth taking the time to find the best maintenance schedule for your building. Many boilers require annual servicing by a trained professional and we recommend creating a boiler preventative maintenance schedule. Annual tasks could include removing the burner and cleaning the mesh, determining the right water treatment to prevent scale from building up, replacing old equipment pieces, checking electrical connections for corrosion caused by condensation, cleaning the condensation trap. Finally, it should be restarted and its combustion adjusted.

Daily maintenance is equally, if not more, important for boilers as detecting a problem early on can save a lot of money and energy waste. Daily inspections for leaking water, blockages in any air opening, unusual noises, and checking temperature and pressure readings for optimal operation are very important for boilers. Again, it’s best to start your maintenance plan by following the guidelines provided by your boiler’s manufacturer which will probably have recommendations for daily, weekly, monthly, and annual timelines.

Intelligent Adaptive Spaces, Customized to your Needs

Envio creates intelligent spaces that actively adapt to real-time conditions and allow you to track, learn, automate and optimize your entire real estate portfolio’s equipment & systems in real-time from a single pane of glass.

Envio’s operating system collects, analyzes, and visually displays occupancy data, as well as all building components and information. Our industry-leading predictive control algorithms utilize real-time and historic data to determine optimal settings for every single component building-wide. This allows Facility Managers to implement dynamic, occupancy-based operations rather than rigidly fixed schedules. Resulting in maximal operational efficiency and optimal indoor environments for occupants.

Our overriding goal at Envio is to help industries do more with less. We believe in the power of technology to improve the lives of people and to protect our environment. Buildings are responsible for 40% of the global carbon footprint and, if we can start chipping away with that through optimized equipment operations, that’s a step in the right direction.

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