Lower Production Costs Part 3:
Get the Right Boiler for Your Operation

The right boiler for your operation might not be the most expensive, or the most efficient model. Let the experts help you select your best solution.

 

Lower Production Costs Part 1:
Maximize Energy Efficiency

Smart heating decisions can make a big difference to your bottom line. In this first of three articles, we explore ways to keep production costs down, starting with energy efficiency. Read More.

Lower Production Costs Part 2:
4 Tips to Maximize Irrigation Efficiency

Wise water use saves money and improves plant health. Read More.

 

The purchase of a new greenhouse boiler is significant, and most growers research their options carefully before buying. Top considerations are: Cost, operating efficiency, potential energy savings, future maintenance and making sure the boiler type is suited to the growing operation’s heating needs.

That’s where heating experience can help, says Armando Echavarria of Delta T Solutions. In his role of Inside Sales, Echavarria works with all types of growers to help them find the right heating system for their growing operation and budget.

Changing Technology for Heat

“There are a lot of boiler types used in the greenhouse industry, some of which we don’t use at Delta T because they are not the best options for efficiency,” he says. “For instance, traditional steam boilers using low pressure steam are still available but offer low efficiency and are difficult to control.”

Similarly, high mass (high volume of water) boilers such as cast iron sectional, fire tube or water tube styles have relatively low thermal (or running) efficiencies, which costs growers money when the burners have to turn on, Echavarria notes.

“We use the low mass, on-demand units that offer instantaneous water heat when it’s needed. They range in cost and efficiency and we try to match the right type of unit with the grower’s needs,” he adds.

 

Growing at high or low temperatures calls for different heating system capabilities, so it is important to work with experts to select the boiler that will provide the type of heat you need, at the best price and efficiency level possible
Growing at high or low temperatures calls for different heating system capabilities, so it is important to work with experts to select the boiler that will provide the type of heat you need, at the best price and efficiency level possible. Image: iStockPhoto.com

 

The highest cost doesn’t necessarily mean the best solution for growers, Echavarria stresses. “Sometimes, the highest efficiency unit isn’t the best fit for a customer from an operating standpoint. What counts is how growers need to run the heating system for their operations, as well as their budget and maintenance requirements.”

Cost & Efficiency Rule


Moving from lowest cost to highest, he outlines the options Delta T offers for growers:

  • Atmospheric-style combustion boilers — These units have the combustion chamber exposed to the atmosphere and typically offer 82% to 83% efficiency. While they are less expensive, reliable and easy to maintain, they are not the cleanest burning technology and are not allowed in some locations due to their emissions.
  • Pressurized combustion boilers – This type offer higher efficiency and an alternative to growers in areas that limit the use of atmospheric style units. Fans in the chamber “supercharge” the combustion to provide as much as 85% efficiency heating, and while there are more mechanical elements than with atmospheric boilers, this type is still easy to maintain.
  • Vertical design pressurized combustion boilers – These boilers feature a vertical power-style burner within the design to boost efficiency to 88%. The heat exchanger makes it the highest efficiency unit around that is not a condensing boiler, and it is similar to pressurized boilers for maintenance.
  • Condensing boilers – These space-saving units maximize efficiency for high-temperature heating applications. For floor or rubber tube heating, Echavarria says growers can expect as much as 94% thermal efficiency, while higher heat applications can reach as much as 88% with this unit. “Remember, high-efficiency condensing units are sensitive to how a grower runs a heating system, so it’s important that they be used in the right operating conditions,” he says.

 

New high-efficiency boilers are designed to match growers’ heating requirements and deliver savings in energy costs.  These Futera Fusion boilers from Delta T Solutions offer exceptional operating efficiency
New high-efficiency boilers are designed to match growers’ heating requirements and deliver savings in energy costs. These Futera Fusion boilers from Delta T Solutions offer exceptional operating efficiency.

 

Don’t Forget Maintenance!


Extend the life of your boiler by scheduling annual maintenance, he recommends. “A properly maintained boiler can easily last 20 years. One that hasn’t been well maintained may need replacement in 10 years or less, depending on circumstances.”

Echavarria suggests two key steps for maximizing efficiency — making sure the heat exchanger or burners are regularly cleaned, and checking carefully for leaks.

“Learn how to fix any leaks, because they can wreak havoc in a closed-loop hot water system. When new water is introduced to maintain the pressure, the oxygen can dilute the water treatment; cause build-up of scale, organic growth, or rust; and introduce air bubbles that can block heating pipes and tubes. This creates cold spots in your heating, which you don’t want!” he says.

For more information about selecting and maintaining the right boiler for your growing operation, contact Delta T Solutions.

Learn more about hydronic heating at www.deltatsolutions.com. Contact us for a personalized analysis of your heating needs. Call 800-552-5058 or info@deltatsolutions.com.

 

 
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800-552-5058 info@deltatsolutions.com
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