Title: Steam from Buildings boiler
Post by: Chrisymca on June 28, 2012, 08:39:03 AM
Brand new member, so I apologize if this has been asked before. We are doing an energy audit on our YMCA and the inspector wondered "why we were using electric to generate steam when we have to very powerful steam generating boilers in the basement that provide hot water and heat for our huge facility"? Does anyone know if our 3 electric steam units can be removed and is there a way to tap into and regulate steam that we are using from our oil/gas fired boilers? Ty again!
Title: Re: Steam from Buildings boiler
Post by: Bernard on June 28, 2012, 04:29:26 PM
Welcome...and great question.
Siphoning off steam from a hot water heat system to fulfill the needs of a commercial steambathing environment is certainly possible...in fact, this is how many larger facilities provided steam for their steam rooms 25-30 years ago. Today, however, it is considered an antiquated and unsafe approach.
The two main reasons to rely on a commercial steam bath generator for steam room heat are liability and safety. A commercial steam bath generator is independently tested (ASME/CSA/UL) and uniquely designed for the application...just as a steam heat boiler is tested and built for building heating.
To modify a steam heat boiler, an experienced technician and pipefitter would need to design an in dependant system to interrupt the steam heat boiler and allow steam to enter the steam room, regulate the temperature of the steambathing environment, and provide a method for detecting a steam bath high-temperature situation and shut down the heat source. This system would need to be replicated for each bathing environment. Once created and installed; though you would see some energy and maintenance savings, there would be no independent testing approval for this innovation and "all" liability would rest with the installers and the facility.
Energy consumption is most definitely atop the list for most wellness facilities. There are ways to reduce energy use for steam bath environments. Let me know if they would interest you.