How to use sensors to monitor water pressure of boiler

  • Articles
  • Jun 24,22
Tracking and managing boiler pressure is essential to ensuring the proper performance of an industrial boiler, says Emily Newton.
How to use sensors to monitor water pressure of boiler

Boilers must maintain the right water pressure and temperature to operate efficiently and safely. Boiler remote monitoring can help businesses maximize performance while avoiding damage or failure.

The standard boiler water pressure gauge provides basic but limited information. Advanced monitors can provide more valuable data, as well as additional functionality that makes things easier to track.

However, integrating a monitoring system isn’t always easy. The choice can greatly impact the data provided and how the owner can utilise that information.

Choosing the right type of pressure monitor for a boiler
The simplest solution for boiler pressure monitoring is the standard gauge, which measures outgoing water pressure. Most are analog and will include a display calibrated with three sections that show if the pressure is too low, too high or ideal. These sections are often color-coded.

A standard pressure gauge that is functioning correctly will tell a technician if a boiler is effectively pressurized. However, it may not provide much additional information. 

It’s also common for simple boiler pressure gauges not to include precise measurements on the dial. For example, a meter with a range of zero to four may only include dial measurements indicating zero, one, two, three and four bars. There is a jump of roughly 15 psi between each indication.

A standard boiler pressure gauge may also not offer much ingress protection — meaning it can be vulnerable to dust and water contamination.

Efficiently extracting information from analog boiler pressure gauges can be challenging. In most cases, the best option will be to schedule the regular recording of gauge readings, which will help the business track pressure and build a record of the boiler’s pressure over time.

Gauge material, size and type
Simply using the gauge that comes with a boiler may not always be practical. They may lack a pressure gauge altogether in some cases. 

Upgrading an existing gauge or installing a new one will allow a business to choose from various materials, dial sizes and types. New meters should be chosen carefully, much like selecting components like condensate parts can be a major undertaking requiring special tools and knowledge. 

Stainless steel is a common gauge material that offers excellent corrosion resistance but is vulnerable to high-temperature oxidation. Alternatives to stainless steel include the nickel-based alloy Inconel, which is more suitable for high-temperature applications, and aluminum, which is lightweight and offers good corrosion resistance.

Choosing a gauge will also allow a business to select the size and whether or not it’s digital. Gauges with larger-sized dials can be more readable than smaller ones. 

Digital pressure gauges may offer more precise readings than analog dials. However, they generally require power supplies. They are also generally more expensive than a comparable analog gauge.

Smart and networked pressure monitors for boiler remote monitoring
Internet-connected boiler water pressure monitors, also called smart or industrial IoT monitors, regularly transmit pressure data to digital systems, like an equipment analytics platform or cloud-based database of boiler pressure readings. Wired and wireless smart sensors exist. These sensors can use the internet to automatically alert technicians if a system is incorrectly pressurized, store data over time and enable boiler remote monitoring. 

Pressure monitors may also be sold individually or as part of a monitoring suite that tracks other parameters important to boiler health. Temperature and moisture sensors can detect abnormalities and water leaks.

Almost any available type of pressure sensor can be useful, depending on the business’s needs. Networked pressure monitors will be most valuable for companies already investing in digital transformation. 

Boiler remote monitoring can integrate with digital systems and make information easily available to employees working remotely or otherwise not on-site to manually check pressure readings. As a result, businesses can effectively test and monitor their boilers without needing a technician on-site.

Networked pressure monitors can automatically generate records of pressure readings, so they may also help technicians identify fluctuations and inconsistencies in boiler pressure faster. However, smart monitors may not provide much value if there’s no digital infrastructure to integrate with. 

Boiler monitor suites and analytic platforms
Boiler sensor suites provide much more information than a pressure sensor alone. Some suites include analytics platforms that help the owner determine boiler health and identify maintenance needs. 

However, these systems will generally be much more of an investment than a pressure sensor alone. They may also provide information and analytics capabilities well beyond what a business needs for safe and effective boiler operations.

Using sensors to create a boiler water pressure monitoring system
Tracking and managing boiler pressure is essential to ensuring the proper performance of an industrial boiler.

Analog gauges, remote monitoring systems and sensor suites can provide the boiler water pressure tracking businesses need for effective management. However, advanced solutions may offer functionality that businesses don’t need. Company leaders must educate themselves on the best option for them before investing.

About the author:
Emily Newton is a tech and industrial journalist and the Editor-in-Chief of Revolutionized Magazine. Subscribe to the Revolutionized newsletter for more content from Emily.

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