Why Hot Oil Is Better Than Steam for Industrial Heating
In most manufacturing facilities where products and materials are being produced and transformed, some type of process heating is required. In many of these facilities, this heat is produced and distributed through the use of a boiler system.
But what many plant managers and facility operators don’t understand is that though boilers are among the most common heating equipment when it comes to industrial heating, hot oil is actually a better option when it comes to industrial heating in almost every case.
Hot Oil Heating Systems vs. Steam Boilers
So what makes thermal fluid heating systems the ideal choice when it comes to industrial heating? There are a number of benefits hot oil heat offers over steam heat. Here are a few key reasons why hot oil heat is often a better choice than steam:
1. Thermal Fluid Systems Don’t Need to Be Pressurized
Steam heating systems require some level of pressure in order to function. With hot oil heating systems, all of your equipment is non-pressurized. This decreases the risk of dangerous explosions in your facility and eliminates the necessity of monitoring and regulating system pressure levels continuously.
2. Hot Oil Does Not Cause Corrosion
Though steam based heating systems are popular with some facility managers because water is an affordable heating medium, they are also susceptible to corrosion. Water seems innocent, but in reality it wears away everything in its path. As a result, steam heating systems need to be carefully monitored for corrosion and repaired if rust or other damage is detected. In contrast, hot oil is a lubricant and can run smoothly through a heating system without causing corrosion.
3. Hot Oil Systems Do Not Require Chemical Regulation
Because water is a corrosive liquid, when it’s used in steam heating systems it needs to be treated with various chemicals. These chemicals must be carefully monitored and regulated constantly in order to ensure that the system can operate effectively. With hot oil systems, you don’t have to worry about chemical regulation. The thermal heating fluid runs through the system in a loop and requires no chemical regulation.
4. Hot Oil Heating Systems Can Operate at Higher Temperatures
When it comes to efficient heating, operating temperature is very important. Since hot oil has a higher boiling point than water, hot oil heating systems can operate at higher temperatures. Additionally, thermal fluid systems can operate at these higher temperatures without the additional pressure build up you would see with a steam boiler system. All heating equipment will perform better at the higher temperatures.
5. Thermal Heating Fluid Will Not Freeze
While water can freeze, causing boiler system issues and hazards, thermal heating fluid will not freeze. This eliminates the safety hazards and system operation issues that can be caused by cold temperatures, another benefit of hot oil heating systems.
6. Hot Oil Heating Systems Do Not Require a Licensed Boiler Operator
In order to operate a boiler system in your facility, many areas require that you have a licensed boiler operator on staff. If you are implementing a new system, this means you need to hire a new staff member or train an existing staff member in order to comply with regulations. With a hot oil heating system, you do not need to add a new staff member to your facility in most cases, saving you money and resources.
7. Hot Oil Heating is Safer Than Steam
Perhaps the most compelling reason you may want to consider a thermal fluid heating system over a steam heating system for your facility is safety. Hot oil heating is safer than heating processes involving steam for a number of reasons. Since the system does not require pressurization, the risk of a dangerous explosion is eliminated. Additionally, you won’t run into the dangers caused by steam trap issues, or by freezing steam since hot oil’s freezing point is significantly lower than water’s.
8. Hot Oil Heating Systems Require Less Capital Than Steam Systems
Hot oil heating systems typically require less capital than boiler systems as they are significantly simpler. Boiler system components include boilers, blow down tanks, chemical feed tanks, deaerators, condensate tanks, feed pumps for the boiler, feed pumps for the make-up water, pumps for the chemical feed, steam traps – the list goes on and on. Hot oil heating systems require only one pump, a heater and an expansion tank.
9. Hot Oil Systems Are More Efficient
Steam traps and blow down results in a lot of loss when it comes to steam heating systems. Thermal fluid heating systems operate much more efficiently. With lower operating costs and better process control, an efficient hot oil heating system will save your plant money and valuable resources.
Find The Hot Oil Heating System That’s Right for Your Facility
If you’re looking to replace an existing industrial heating system or implement an entirely new one, consider a thermal fluid heating system. From efficiency and maintenance to safety, these hot oil systems offer a variety of benefits over standard steam boiler systems.
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