How do commercial boilers work?

A reliable, effective source of heating and hot water is essential for a whole range of different organisations – and commercial boilers are designed to provide exactly this. From keeping school classrooms warm to ensuring there is hot water available on demand in leisure centre changing facilities, these large-scale boilers perform a variety of crucial functions. In this post, we look at how these appliances work, the different varieties available and the increasingly sophisticated features they can have. 

How commercial boiler systems work

There are various types of commercial boiler available, and these appliances function in different ways. However, in broad terms, they are pressurised systems that either use electricity or burn fuel in order to heat water that is then used to provide heating and a hot water supply to a building. Depending on the type of system, they may create hot water or steam, which is then circulated via pipes through the commercial facility.

Inside the boiler, the fuel burners or electric coils create heat, which is then transferred to the water via a heat exchanger. A heat exchanger is a component that allows heat energy to be exchanged between two fluids or substances without these substances mixing together. It is this process that creates the hot water or steam that travels through a building’s pipes to the areas where it is needed. This hot water or steam then enters radiators or other heating system components that disperse the warmth, allowing users to keep their premises at the desired temperature.

Commercial boilers that rely on fuel combustion feature a burner, which provides the flames that heat up the water. This burner creates a mixture of oxygen and fuel that produces a consistent, efficient flame. The appliances also typically have a combustion chamber. This is a secure zone where the high-temperature burning of volatile fuels takes place. Often, these chambers are made from heavy duty metals such as cast iron or steel. The boilers also have a heat exchanger. As mentioned previously, this is what facilitates the transfer of heat to the water. Other components of a commercial boiler tend to include system controls and an exhaust stack.

There are various differences between these appliances and the boiler you may have at home, but the main ones are size and power. In general, commercial boilers are designed to be much bigger and more powerful than domestic-scale heating solutions.

A choice of commercial boilers 

Users of commercial boilers include organisations ranging from hospitals and schools to leisure centres, offices and property management companies. The fact that these organisations can have vastly different needs is reflected in the considerable variation on offer in terms of the specific designs of large-scale heating solutions. They differ in terms of size, output, fuel source, flow rate, maximum temperature and more. While a small electric boiler might generate 15kW, large industrial oil or gas-fired models might generate 1,500kW.

The fuel sources now used to power commercial boilers include natural gas, oil and electricity. More recently, hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) has emerged as another fuel option. Used as an alternative to traditional heating oil, this is a form of renewable diesel and it is becoming increasingly popular thanks to the fact that it is sustainable, energy efficient and can offer impressive performance. Organisations that are keen to showcase their environmental credentials may be particularly interested in boilers powered by renewable fuels such as this.

Knowing which type of appliance to select, what kW output is appropriate and the other features you should look out for in a commercial boiler can be difficult. So, whether you are searching for a temporary, emergency or permanent appliance to provide your heating and hot water, it’s a good idea to get expert advice before you commit to a particular model. 

Remote monitoring technology

Commercial boiler technology is developing all the time, and this equipment continues to advance in terms of efficiency, functionality and reliability. One example of this is the fact that it’s now possible to choose appliances that feature remote monitoring systems. For example, at Ideal Heat Solutions, we provide commercial boilers for hire that come complete with a state-of-the-art BMS Two Way Monitoring system. This allows us to oversee boiler performance remotely, meaning we can identify and address any issues that may arise swiftly and effectively.

This additional level of expert oversight means that as the user, you can benefit from greater peace of mind and a smoother experience.