Commercial Electrode Boilers discussed by Total Boiler Services
An electrode boiler is a boiler that creates steam and heat by using electricity to flow through streams of water. The conductive and resistive properties of water are used to carry electrical current and its electrical resistance is used to heat the water and create steam. An electrode boiler is a reliable and efficient way of converting electrical power to heat. They are extremely efficient in converting power to heat with minimal or no heat transfer loss in comparison to conventional fossil fuel boilers. Looking after and maintaining an electrode boiler is just as important as a gas or oil boiler and it will keep it running safely and efficiently and give it a longer life span and Total Boiler Services are Electrode Boiler installation, maintenance and repair experts.
Electrode boiler technology has been around for many years, however, they are now being used and considered much more as they are a cost-effective, reliable and environmentally friendly boiler compared to fossil fuel type boilers.
Electrode boilers are often used in commercial properties and are really beneficial in industrial applications as they are an extremely efficient and environmentally friendly way of providing heat, water and producing steam.
How does an electrode boiler work?
- An electrode boiler uses 3 or more electrodes submerged in the water
- An electrode is a solid electrical conductor that carries electrical current into non-metallic solids, liquids, gases, plasmas, or vacuums
- The electricity is passed through the electrodes making contact with the water, the electrical resistance of the water generates the heat
- Heat is produced directly by the resistance of the water to its flow. The amount of heat generated is proportional to the amount of water flow
- When the heat is created, the water comes via pipework from the water tank to circulate heat
- When the water is hot enough and is boiling, it vaporises into steam, thus creating a renewable heat process
- The water and steam is used to heat your property via pipework
- An electrode boiler system can heat cold water in less than five minutes
- The heat can be used to provide heat, hot water and to produce steam for industrial needs
What are the advantages?
- You don’t need a combustible fuel connection to your property, this can be good in remote areas where there isn’t a gas supply
- If you don’t have a gas supply you could look at an oil boiler system, however, an oil boiler needs an oil tank close or on your property which takes up a huge amount of valuable space on your site
- It can reduce energy and operating costs as there is minimal energy lost during the conversion of electricity into thermal energy
- 100% of electrical energy used and is converted into heat energy, with minimal heat transfer loss
- Electricity is a safer option compared to gas or oil as there is a reduced chance of fuel leaks with no combustible products stored on site
- An electrode boiler has a smaller carbon footprint compared to a fossil fuel boiler
- Electrode boiler systems are often more compact in size, taking up less space
- They provide heat and hot water extremely quickly
- Steam is available at the flip of a switch for any industrial needs
What are the disadvantages?
- An electrode boiler is reliant on a consistent and uninterrupted source of electricity
- If there is a power shortage or power cut this will impact your operation and boiler system producing heat, hot water and steam
- Your energy and operational costs will depend on the costs of your electricity supplier, therefore, this should be reviewed regularly
- In the future, it could be harder to have a constant electricity supply and it could result in increased energy and operational costs so this is always something to consider for the long term
Electrode Boiler Maintenance
As with any boiler installation and maintenance, water supply and water quality is an important consideration for the life and efficiency of an electrode boiler.
The maintenance considerations for an electrode boiler system are:
- Maintaining correct water conductivity
- Preventing electrode scale build-up
- Controlling and minimising corrosion and fouling of the electrodes and spray nozzles
- Prevention of boiler water foaming
Water Conductivity Control – Regulation of the boilers is essential as excessive conductivity will damage the boiler shell. The electrodes will be damaged as a result of too high or increased conductivity. There is a balance between conductivity and speed of steam and heat production to protect and prolong the life of an electrode boiler.
Scale Build-Up Corrosion and Fouling – Scale build-up on electrodes serves as an insulator which results in a reduction of current flow which will, in turn, reduce a boiler’s output. A high amount of scale can form at the ends of the spray nozzles as a result of high voltages. The spray nozzles shape the stream of water that flows onto the electrodes and scale build-up will impact its operation and efficiency.
Regular treatment of the boilers water feed and components is required to remove any scale and impurities (calcium and magnesium). Every manufacturer will have different recommendations; on average the recommended hardness range in low and high voltage boilers is 0.3 ppm max and the total iron is recommended to be 2.0 ppm or less.
Scale build-up also results in component and pipework corrosion which will decrease its performance and will result in replacement parts and components being needed earlier than required
Water Foaming – Foaming causes arc-overs leading to unscheduled boiler shutdowns and this can also cause a break in the electrical supply circuits and switchgear. Foaming conditions can also result in the boiler’s water filtering into the steam.
Electrode Boiler Maintenance Summary – Electrode boilers offer many advantages over fossil fuel boilers including being highly energy efficient with minimal heat losses. Total Boiler Services are experts in the planning, installation and maintenance of electrode boilers. We will ensure it is always operating efficiently and safely, and following the manufacturer’s guidance on water quality and specific limescale treatments, to minimise any ad hoc repair and maintenance costs as well as prolong the life of your boiler.
About Total Boiler Services
Total Boiler Services aim is to provide every customer with the highest level of service, the heating system for them, as well as looking after the environment with efficient and renewable boiler systems wherever we can.
We work in many different industries including:
- Colleges & Universities
- Conference Centres
- Ministry of Defence Buildings
- Care Sectors & Nursing Homes
- Doctors Surgeries
- Community Centres
- Leisure Centres
- Leisure Complexes
- Historic Buildings
- Utility Sectors
- Factories & Industrial Units
- Hotels & Leisure Facilities
- Retail Centres
- Industrial Units
- 24-hour Emergency Callout Service
- Maintenance and Servicing
- Planning & Design
- Maintenance Service Contracts
We are specialists in the design and installation of all types of energy-efficient and cost-effective heating systems including industrial and commercial boilers, biomass systems, oil boilers, gas boilers, electrode boilers and LPG boilers. Whether you have the requirements for a new installation or repair or maintenance of an existing system we can help. Our experts will come out to your business or property and assess your needs and requirements and then plan and design a boiler system bespoke to you and your needs.
- We will plan the most cost-effective system for you
- We will advise you on the industries most up to date and state-of-the-art energy-efficient and cost-saving products
- Our planning team will design a system in accordance with your businesses or properties needs
- We will project manage your installation from start to finish
- Our installation services include; the decommissioning of any older systems, solar panels, installation, testing and compliance sign off, along with planned aftercare and system operation
Contact us today on 02922 407934 and one of our experts will answer any questions you have about an Electrode Boiler System and we can book your free, no-obligation site assessment at a time to suit you.