When operating a factory or a power plant, keeping operation costs low is vital in ensuring a high profit margin each year. If you own a factory or a power plant, you need to oversee each and every transaction that goes through the place. In particular, you need to make sure each and every component in the system is functioning properly. If you need to replace a failed or inefficient boiler, you should consider purchasing ones that are used, as they will be significantly cheaper. Used boilers are not necessarily clunky and inefficient. Here are 3 tips on how to maximize the energy efficiency of used boilers.

Clean the Boilers

Once you receive the used boilers from the sellers, the first thing you should do is to clean them to remove any residue or unwanted deposits that may have been left behind from previous uses. This deposit is commonly referred to as scale, and can usually be found on the fireside of the tubes or on the waterside of the boiler tubes. The scale will act as an insulator to prevent efficient heat transfer within the boiler.

To clean the boilers, remove scale manually or with the use of an acid cleaner. Make sure you carefully remove as much scale as possible from the waterside of the boiler tubes, as a 1mm thick scale can increase fuel consumption by as much as 5%!

Maximize Hot Condensate Return

A lot of energy input into used boilers will be lost as heat. Losing heat will increase water consumption. Heat can be lost in various ways. It can be lost as hot condensate or in the form of flash steam. Either way, you're losing money.

To improve hot condensate return that would otherwise be lost as flash steam, make sure the condensate return inlet is submerged in the boiler tank. Fitting a spray condenser to the used boiler can also be helpful. If not, you might be able to tinker with the boiler system to alter it into a closed-loop system. A closed-loop system will harvest heat condensate and return it to the overall system to be re-boiled. As a result, the energy will not be lost to the external environment.

Inspect the Boiler for Leaks

Many factory owners and power plant owners never inspect used boilers that are delivered to their factory. In fact, the first thing they do is hook up the used boilers to the system. Used boilers have been used previously by others, and there is a risk that they are not as robust and durable as they used to be. Heat can easily escape from small leaks. Over time, this can accrue to huge losses for your operation. For example, a 3-mm hole in a system working at 100 psi will cost an extra $1,300 each year. Just imagine how much more you'd be paying if there is more than one hole or leak in the boiler.

To detect leaks, use an ultrasonic leak detector. There are several different types available, but one that will detect sound instead of refrigerant will be best for inspecting used boilers. This type of ultrasonic leak detector will look for any hissing sounds that may be produced by gas leaking from various parts of the boiler.


Don't waste money on new boilers when you can purchased used boilers that function at the same level for only a fraction of the cost. Keeping in mind that these boilers have been used before, it's important to spend extra time inspecting them to make sure that they are efficient. With proper maintenance, you can still get many years of use out of used boilers. Check out a company like Nationwide Boiler for more information on boilers.