New Boilers Emerge More Efficient, Accessible, and Intelligent
Modularity and low emissions are also gaining steam
ORLANDO, Fla. — When it comes to figuring out what the market demands in a boiler, it usually comes down to the highest efficiencies possible along with advances in control technology, said Janine Pedro, marketing specialist, RBI Water Heaters. Indeed, efficiency and advanced control technologies were on display for most of the boilers introduced at the AHR Expo.
RBI’s Flexcore Symmetrical firetube boilers were designed, developed, and engineered for performance and longevity, said Pedro. “The Flexcore utilizes a perfectly temperature-balanced heat exchanger that provides exceptional efficiency and durability.”
Available in 1,500- and 3,000-MBtuh models, FlexCore is rated at 96.8 percent thermal efficiency by Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) with 5:1 combustion turndown on individual units. Other features of the Flexcore include variable volume flow, full modulation, patented turbo pilot ignition, HeatNet 3.0 integrated control platform, touchscreen programming and diagnostics, and easy installation and maintenance.
Contractors are becoming more familiar with condensing high-efficiency boilers, particularly those that are of a space-saving design like wall-hung units, said Brian Fenske, specialty channel sales manager at Navien Inc. “Coupled with today’s available energy-efficient control systems, circulators, and zoning systems, condensing boilers are quickly becoming installing contractors’ go-to boilers.”
Navien recently introduced the NCB-E Series combi-boiler, which is one unit that is capable of providing heat to the whole house while also providing the domestic hot water output of a high-capacity, stand-alone, tankless water heater. Built off Navien’s NCB platform, the NCB-E comes with an improved system/boiler pump, an integral air vent, a PRV top connection, a quieter fan, and a new front cover bevel design.
Bosch Thermotechnology announced a range of new sizes for its sealed-combustion, high-efficiency, stainless steel boiler line with condensing technology. The Buderus SSB Series now consists of eight models in four separate chassis sizes with inputs ranging 85-1,024 MBtuh. These are now applicable for use in small studio units all the way up to commercial buildings.
“The SSB Series simplifies installation with its small footprint and by having the controls onboard,” said Kyle Murray, director of marketing, Bosch. “This also helps keep costs down.”
The SSB Series is designed as a modular platform for commonality and familiarity for the installer, which results in quick and easy installation. The residential model is rated at 96 percent AFUE and features a turn down ratio of 5:1, which helps deliver precise load matching and exceptional efficiency.
Rakesh Zala, vice president of product engineering for packaged boiler systems at Cleaver-Brooks, said increasing boiler efficiency and reducing emissions will continue to drive product developers with the goal of achieving sub-5 ppm NOx. “I also anticipate growth in the hydronic boiler market, particularly large condensing units. We have seen several new construction projects during the past year where large condensing units between 4,000 MBtu and 10,000 MBtu were specified.”
Cleaver-Brooks introduced the Dryback Elite Special 1,000-hp boiler, which is engineered to fit inside a 40-foot container. The unit has been fully tested and proven to achieve 81 percent efficiency when operating at 125 psig. The Dryback Elite Special was designed using rifled tubes and an integral front head 30-ppm burner and operates on natural gas and No. 2 oil.
The new MagnaTherm from Laars is a 95 percent thermally efficient, modulating-condensing boiler or volume water heater available in sizes ranging 1.6 MMBtuh to 4 MMBtuh. “Commercially, we are seeing a trend toward a broader systems approach among system designers and specifiers, with variable-speed pumping tied into boiler modulation as a key component,” said Chuck O’Donnell, director of marketing, Laars Heating Systems. “Seeing this many months ago, we developed our VARI-PRIME™ technology, which ties boiler efficiency into total system efficiency.”
The VARI-PRIME pump control seamlessly matches boiler firing rate to pump flow, reducing boiler pumping costs. A large, easy-to-navigate color touchscreen display offers quick set up access to set up and access to diagnostics. MagnaTherm offers a 5:1 turndown, small footprint, slim vertical design with removable top section, a stainless steel heat exchanger, and multiple voltage options to easily match building service.
Customers are looking for energy-efficient boilers that are available in larger capacities and smaller sizes, said Mark Banick, market research analyst for Fulton Co. To that end, Fulton introduced the Endura+ firetube condensing boiler, which features a compact footprint and a heat exchanger that captures up to 99 percent of the energy in combustion gases. The boiler also features up to 15:1 turndown and has a fully modulated single-burner design.
Fulton also introduced the SRT Series spiral-rib tubeless boiler, which represents the new standard in vertical steam boiler technology, said Banick. “This boiler features up to 6:1 turndown, a fully modulated burner, an ultra-compact vertical design, and 84.5 percent efficiency while maintaining 99.5 percent steam quality.”
CONTROLS AND MORE
In addition to high-efficiency equipment, Lochinvar LLC showcased its advancements in control technology with boilers featuring smart controls that simplify serviceability and streamline operations for all parties involved. “Lochinvar’s CON·X·US® remote connectivity platform, which is available on the FTXL™ fire-tube boiler, CREST® commercial boiler, and the KNIGHT® boiler family, allows most smart devices to be linked with compatible boiler controls from around the corner or halfway around the world,” said Dan Rettig, product manager for Lochinvar.
Lochinvar also unveiled its floor-standing KNIGHT fire-tube boiler (KHN), which features a stainless steel fire-tube heat exchanger and offers up to 95 percent AFUE efficiency. With 10:1 turndown, the firing rate modulates based on demand to eliminate on-off cycling and optimize efficiency. The new KNIGHT boiler’s footprint, as well as the placement of connections and vents, is strategically designed to easily allow for drop-in replacement of cast iron boilers for energy retrofits.
The hands-on control display at the Weil-McLain booth allowed attendees to test out the easy-to-use setup wizard for the company’s new high-efficiency Evergreen boiler. “Our interactive display also demonstrated how the Evergreen responds to heat demands through SmartSequencing™ and ZoneStacking™,” said Laura Blanpied, marketing generalist at Weil-McLain.
The new 95 percent AFUE Evergreen boiler features flexible functionality for multiple applications and a durable design that is easy to install, use, and maintain. The unit is adaptable for most heating needs, including light commercial, large residential, and single- or multi-boiler installation applications. The boiler’s straightforward and user-friendly design makes installation easy for the contractor, installer, or service provider, said Blanpied. “The unit features a guided setup wizard, an easy-to-understand graphical user interface, simple controls, and 10 heating system presets for quick setup.”
“We are seeing more integrated and sophisticated boiler controls, such as primary variable pump control; DHW [domestic hot water] pump control for combination plants; sophisticated sequencing control for maximum boiler efficiency; and uptime reliability ancillary device control, such as louvers, dampeners, etc.,” said Nery Hernandez, product solutions manager, Aerco Intl.
Aerco introduced its Multi-Fuel Condensing (MFC) hydronic boiler, which is designed to bring outstanding reliability and cost-efficiency to projects and facilities requiring backup fuel. Capable of being fired with natural gas, propane, or No. 2 fuel oil, the MFC is designed for condensing applications in closed-loop hydronics systems designed into health care buildings, military bases, emergency shelters, industrial operations, and similar facilities. Six MFC models, with capacities ranging 3 MMBtuh to 10 MMBtuh, are available.
ECR Intl. introduced its artificial intelligence (AI) control technology along with its new high-efficiency, wall-hung modulating-condensing hot water boiler. “The AI technology is a self-commissioning control that does not need to be manually configured for correct combustion and optional efficiency, because it adjusts itself,” said Don DeCarr, hydronics/warm air product manager, ECR Intl. The control also continuously monitors combustion and adjusts the blower speed and gas valve to optimize operation and fuel savings.
The new addition to the condensing boiler family is in response to increasing demand for high-efficiency products, said DeCarr. “Higher efficiency equipment now comprises 50 percent of the market, and end users are also looking for smarter controls and lower cost construction. Our new boiler delivers on all these counts and more.”
Modularity is the wave of the future when it comes to building heating, said Doug MacMaster, vice president of U.S. operations at Miura America Co. “Many owners are now installing several smaller modular steam boilers combined with hot water heat exchangers that only function when needed. These are replacing large, inefficient boilers that must remain heated at all times in order to handle demand. As an added benefit, modular boiler systems weigh less than conventional boilers and can be installed on rooftops.”
Miura America Co. introduced its LX-300 modular, on-demand steam boiler, which will be available for purchase in April. The new model features a number of upgrades, including the addition of a variable frequency drive (VFD), improved turn-down ratios, quieter operation, and safer electrical configuration. “One of the most significant improvements is the new 4:1 turndown ratio of the gas burner, which enables a much broader range of control between high and low fire. This, combined with the VFD in the air intake system, causes electrical consumption to drop significantly,” said MacMaster.
A demand for more efficient products that meet higher water demands year-round is what consumers are looking for, said Jason Fleming Sr., marketing and customer care manager with Noritz America Corp. “People are looking to do more with less, and that is just what the new CB Series of combination (combi) boilers does.”
The CB Series uses high-efficiency condensing technology to deliver hot water to both plumbing and hydronic heating applications, including radiators, baseboards, low- and high-mass radiant heating, and air handlers. At 95 percent AFUE, they are extremely energy efficient, said Fleming. “These boilers also offer an industry-unique flow control valve that ensures a consistent temperature for domestic hot water demand. And, their compact size and light 90-pound weight allow one person to complete the installation, reducing the cost of labor.”
Publication date: 2/22/2016