The boilers we see in a lot of small breweries are low pressure boilers, say 15 PSI, which will get the job done but, in our opinion, with limitations. Here’s why:
- Low pressure boilers lead to fluctuating steam pressure at the kettle leading to a boiler setting of roughly 7-11 PSI. Once the pressure reaches the set point and shuts off when the low point is reached, it must go through the re-light sequence all the while the pressure is falling to an unsuitable pressure causing varying steam pressure thus slower heating and inconstant cooks.
- Low pressure also causes condensate return issues that can only be solved by installing condensate pumping stations, which equals increased cost and more maintenance issues. On the other hand, a high pressure system of 60-75 PSI provides even pressure and temperature, and the condensate return pressure pushes the condensate back to your boiler feed water system without the need for condensate pump stations.
- What’s needed to operate high pressure rather than low pressure is a pressure reducing valve at each appliance along with a gauge to set your pressure appropriately for each appliance. The result is having constant, even steam pressure and temperatures for each step of your brewing process, not to mention the ability to use the steam pressure for sanitization as well as adequate pressure to operate a keg washer. Low pressure will simply not allow you to do this.
With Parker Boiler’s process boiler, you get fast 0-75 PSI cold start-up in 7 minutes flat along with 80% efficiency of operation. In addition, Parker Boilers are simple to repair with replaceable water tubes, steam drums, etc. with no special tools, just pipe unions, to make the change out. When it comes to repairing other boilers when there is a leak in the steam jacket or fire tubes, it requires an R-Stamp welder to repair (which is costly) or a trip to the scrap yard along with a new boiler, the cost of freight, and down time.
When you consider a new boiler for your brewery operation, take a hard look at high pressure, its advantages and versatility, and make sure you explore the facts about Parker Boiler and the product they make for your industry with a “Never a Compromise for Quality or Safety” approach. And as a little side note that may save you an inspection headache, on 15 PSI trimmed boilers the pressure relief valve will have a clearly marked tag stating “Do not operate over 25% below this valves rating”, which on a 15 PSI trimmed boiler is 11.25 PSI.
If you have questions about high versus low pressure steam boilers, feel free to give Gulf Steam a call at 855-497-4913.