Cast iron boilers are suitable for steam generation or hot water heating where low pressures are used. They may be applied in commercial and industrial buildings within the capacity range available. The capacities of cast iron and steel boilers overlap.
Where this occurs, any comparison should include the following:
- Steel boilers in the larger sizes are more efficient.
- With proper maintenance and use, a cast iron boiler outlasts any steel boiler made. However, where the character of maintenance is apt to result in neglect, the serviceability of the steel boiler is of marked advantage.
- A skilled steam fitter is required to assemble the heating sections of cast iron boilers (when field-erected). The steel boiler has only to be placed into position. However, since the sections of a cast iron boiler are so designed as to be readily carried thru doors or windows, ease of installation generally favors the cast iron boiler.
- The relative cost of steel boilers in the smaller sizes is greater than that of cast iron boilers of the same capacity.
- When more boiler capacity is required in the extension of a system, additional sections may be added to a cast iron boiler, whereas a separate or replacement steel boiler of a larger size must be considered.
Fire-tube steel boilers are used principally in small heating and industrial plants. Its popularity is growing in the industrial, commercial and institutional fields. Shell diameters are limited to about 96 inches. Cost of installation including setting is considerably less than that of a corresponding water-tube boiler.
With a waterfilled cylindrical shell housing an internally fired furnace, a relatively long gas-travel path yields high efficiency in a compact unit. Water-tube steel boilers pick up in capacity near the upper end of the fire-tube range to extend the availability of the packaged concept.
Pressure and size limitations of fire-tube boilers do not exist in water-tube units; these boilers require no prepared setting other than a floor of sufficient strength and no skilled labor for assembly prior to operation. Fire-tube and water-tube steel boilers may be used for hot water heating.
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