Case Study: Keeping Boiler Condensate Lines Clean for a Manufacturer in Southwest OH

How does a condensate return work?

When steam transfers its’ heat in a manufacturing process, the loss of heat makes the steam revert to liquid.  This liquid in a steam boiler system is called condensate.  This water is mostly pure water since it was once evaporated into steam.  When water is evaporated, the minerals in the water are left behind and the steam is free of dissolved solids found in typical city or well water.  So, once this steam is cooled into condensate, that water is theoretically free of most dissolved solids.

This condensate can be returned to the steam boiler system to be reused through a condensate return line.  This reduces the amount of water needed to run the boiler, which lowers water treatment costs, fuel costs and of course, the water bill.  A well operated and maintained condensate return line can provide significant cost savings for a steam boiler system.

In a manufacturer in southwest OH, however, they were getting high dissolved solids (minerals) readings on their condensate water.  High conductivity and dissolved solids are unexpected and can cause corrosion and other issues in the return line.

What causes dissolved solids to get into the condensate?

Dissolved solids getting into condensate is a problem, especially given the unique treatments of the return line process.  Condensate should not have dissolved solids, however, due to some mechanical issues like carry over, or other equipment failures, some solids can get into the condensate.  In this manufacturing facility, the system was inspected and found to have proper chemical feed and mechanical systems were running properly.

Condensate tests were then run throughout the entire plant to isolate the area that was causing the high conductivity.  There was one section of the manufacturing plant that was yielding high dissolved solids/conductivity test results.  It was then discovered an old heat exchanger had failed and was leaking some high conductivity water from the closed loop, into the condensate return.  This was the issue causing high dissolved solids.

How to solve the high conductivity problem?

Chardon’s technician recommended that the heat exchanger be replaced, as it was old and leaking and causing these issues.  So, the heat exchanger was valved off to be removed and then replaced.  Once this was done and the new heat exchanger was installed, the total dissolved solids and conductivity number returned to its’ normal low numbers by the end of that day.

From there, operation of the high-pressure steam boiler was able to keep up production for the manufacturer in southwest OH.   Keeping condensate return lines well maintained is crucial in operational efficiency.  Chardon’s return line treatment chemicals for steam boilers can be the answer to lower energy and water bills, as well as keeping your steam boiler operational for your manufacturing process.

Chardon’s experience in steam boiler treatment for manufacturers can help prevent costly shutdowns, keep your water and energy bills down, and create a reliable steam for your processes. To learn more about how Chardon can help protect your boiler and condensate return, contact us today!




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"The employees are all very knowledgeable and easy to contact. The service representatives actually show up in a service vehicle and are very thorough. Many water treatment companies do not offer this type of service. We receive regular reports with details regarding the condition of our equipment and recommendations for corrective actions."

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About Chardon Labs

Chardon Laboratories is an employee-owned, ISO Certified Service Company specializing in Guaranteed Water Side Solutions for all your industrial and commercial water treatment needs. Since 1965, Chardon has led the Water Management Industry providing customized treatment programs for cooling towers, boilers and loop systems with guaranteed results.

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