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Thread: Boiler choice???

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    Jameson, SK, Canada
    Posts
    156

    Boiler choice???

    Despite all my incessant reading and asking questions, I know little about boiler choices. As we shop for the best gear and best value for our new company, I need some help!!

    Names I’ve heard are Columbia, Rite, Allied, etc.

    Any experience based opinions to offer us??

    Thank you!!

    -J.
    Last edited by Jer; 12-17-2017 at 06:35 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Boston
    Posts
    79
    Having worked with a Columbia, Rite, Weil McClain, and Fulton boiler, my vote is for Rite. Regardless of who you choose though, I strongly suggest you go through a local dealer as Canada has some boiler requirements that may differ from those in the States. For instance, California and Texas require LowNox burners.

    I like Rite's atmospheric boilers for their simplicity. They are nothing more than an oversized gas grill. You have a pilot light, a gas manifold with gas pressure, and you have flame, producing steam.

    Columbia boilers use a gas burner to produce the steam. These burners typically have a greater fuel efficiency but have a lag time during startup. Every time the boiler's pressure dips below your lower set point, the burner starts its ignition sequence. This involves a purge cycle that can take upwards of 90 seconds before a flame is produced. While the burner will get your steam pressure up to your desired range in a quick manner, the lag time may kill your boils. You will need to adequately size your steam headers to provide you enough steam volume to act as a buffer while the boiler is catching up.

    Burners in general can be tricky and require a specialized technician to properly commission the burner for the most efficient burn. Burners have moving components that are subject to failure. The one item on every boiler that seems to fail most frequently is the honeywell controller.

    I'm just using Columbia as an example here. By no means are they a bad boiler. In fact, if it wasn't for Rite's simplicity and bullet-proof design, Columbia would be my choice. Again, regardless of who you decide to work with, make sure you source locally to ensure you are code compliant and someone can service the boiler if needed.

    Cheers,

    James

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    Jameson, SK, Canada
    Posts
    156
    Thank you for that!!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Enterprise, Oregon
    Posts
    1,705
    We're using a Columbia WL 90 to heat our 20 bbl. kettle and occasionally to add some heat to our mash tun. It does the job pretty well, but it is putting out everything it has (1.25MBTU propane burner) to do the task. We have a long outside run of insulated steam line to the brewhouse, which definitely adds to the problem.

    Maintenance-wise, I'm very pleased with the unit. It's the second one we've had--the first was bought used from a brewery right on the coast, and after twenty years of use it started to leak. We installed the new one several years ago, and it's been relatively maintenance-free. Aside from adding treatment to the water, I rarely have to even think about it.

    These boilers are essentially disposable. If the water/steam box begins to leak (ours leaked into the fire box), you get a new one. Plan around this--we originally built our boiler room around the boiler, and had to remove an outside wall to replace it.
    Last edited by TGTimm; 12-19-2017 at 07:41 AM.
    Timm Turrentine

    Brewerywright,
    Terminal Gravity Brewing,
    Enterprise. Oregon.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Moab, Utah
    Posts
    465

    Choices

    Check out previous Boiler Threads. I avoid Cleaver Brookes, although an old maker they have shown more problems in the field than any others I have dealt with.
    If you are in Texas, Williams & Davis are very good.
    We just brought a new 10 HP Columbia on line for the Distillery. The larger HP models I like better from this maker. The firing control and the combustion air setup could be better done.
    I prefer the Scotch Marine Style with Modulating fire boiler for efficiency and rugged lasting power. If they are sized and run correctly they are almost indestructable.
    Modulating fire can tune to a load that is less than high fire and stop all the incessant on-off cycles that you would see on an atmospheric on-off type unit.
    All of those cycles are hard on the controls. Its better to keep it firing when possible.

    Star
    Warren Turner
    Industrial Engineering Technician
    HVACR-Electrical Systems Specialist
    Moab Brewery
    " No Cell Phone Zone."

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    Jameson, SK, Canada
    Posts
    156
    All points taken....

    Is there any harm in being slightly oversized, 15-20%?? I know that can be bad in refridgeration, but what about in steam??

    Thx

    -J.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Enterprise, Oregon
    Posts
    1,705
    Oversized would be OK, and nice for the future, but I'd only do it with a modulating burner. An atmospheric burner would probably cycle too frequently.
    Timm Turrentine

    Brewerywright,
    Terminal Gravity Brewing,
    Enterprise. Oregon.

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