boiler room plumbing

6 Key Things to Know About Boiler Room Plumbing

Part of being a successful plumber is understanding all the different jobs available for you to take. For example, a residential plumber will want to familiarize themselves with the legacy plumbing in older houses as well as the modernized, efficient options your clients are showing more interest in. Take this to the commercial level, and things grow even more. Now you have more types of plumbing systems to look at, and boiler room plumbing is one of the most critical areas you’ll need to look at in this regard. Here are some of the key elements you need to keep in mind.

What is Boiler Room Plumbing?

Boiler Room Piping Layout Is One Part Of A Bigger System. Boiler room plumbing is one part of the overall boiler system, which, in turn, is part of a greater hydronic system for a structure. Let’s talk about the four main parts of a boiler first:

Photo by Alhim


This area begins combustion in the boiler, with the thermostat sending commands to produce heat. The burner’s nozzle sprays the fuel to ignite it.

Combustion Chamber:

This is where the fuel is burned and can reach over 100 degrees. The heat generated from here goes on to the heat exchanger.

Heat Exchanger:

This heats water without creating any direct contact with fluid, similar to boiling water in a pot over the stove. The water then gets pumped through the pipes to heaters or baseboard radiators.

Boiler Plumbing Systems:

This area, which you are most likely to service, distributes the heat. However, you may need to understand aspects of all four parts in order to do your job.

You Have A Variety Of Options

Not all boiler systems are the same, and chances are the materials and layout of your boiler plumbing system vary. First, you have the two main steel boiler systems:

Fire-Tube Boilers:

Here, the combustion gases pass through straight tubes with water surrounding it. The water is converted to steam. These are generally the ideal option when it comes to commercial and industrial applications.


Water-Tube Boilers:

With these, water passes through tubes and valves while combustion surrounds the tubes. These are better suited for industrial use rather than heating. While they can handle higher pressures and temperatures, they are expensive and harder to clean.

After this, you have cast iron boilers. There are three different sectional types here, including:

— One-piece cast iron: These only have a single casting pressure vessel.

— Horizontal: These stack sections on top of each other, connected with push nipples.

— Vertical-sectional: These sections stand vertically, similar to sliced bread.

There are some other types of boilers that you may encounter as well. For example, a condensing boiler is generally used to supply heat or steam in a facility, where water is added into the boiler. Hydronic boiler systems utilize a loop piping system to heat water and are generally used for facility heating.

Low Water Pressure Matters

One thing you want to impart to your clients, as well as do on your own, is to make sure that the structure’s water pressure is working properly to help fill your heating pipes with water. If you fail to do this, your faucets and fixtures may not be able to provide hot water while the boiler is on. A water pressure assessment should precede any boiler work.

Photo by Alexxxey

Keep Up With Maintenance

Even if a boiler is technically functional, if it’s not working at maximum efficiency, you could be paying a lot more in terms of heating bills. As a result, whenever plumbers are working on boiler rooms or installing a new one, it’s a good idea to recommend a service plan. This means the boiler is providing its full benefits at all times. 

Boilers Can Supplant Water Heaters In Some Cases

A lot of the talk that we’ve been having so far is about boiler room plumbing in a heating context. In addition, in some cases, a boiler can be used to fill the place of several water heaters in a residential context. This is generally due to space constraints or issues with venting. Hotels and similar hospitality structures are common examples. You need to be mindful if this happens to be the case for a client, as it will impact how you service the plumbing.

Boilers and Water Heaters Are Not Interchangeable

With that said, a boiler is not always a water heater for a room or area. For example, boilers are sometimes used for commercial pool heating. Again, this applies to apartment complexes or hotels most of the time. The reason for this is that boilers have far more power, meaning they are more capable of heating for large pools. In addition, there’s the concern about pool chemicals causing problems for your conventional water heater. In these settings, a boiler is the better choice.

Project Management Software Is Invaluable

If there’s one thing you should get out of this when it comes to boiler room piping at this point, it’s that it’s not interchangeable with other forms of plumbing, especially in commercial settings. You’re going to need to follow new practices, as well as using new tools and materials in order to perform jobs. As a result, if you want to expand your services to boiler room plumbing, you’re likely going to be taking on a lot of costs, not to mention the increased labor cost to hire workers with the expertise you need.

Final Thoughts on Boiling Room Plumbing

The key here is making sure any bids you put together for future boiler room plumbing jobs will be accurate enough to provide a profit for your business, and the best way to manage this is through project management software like eSUB. From equipment management to man hours, we have all the tools present to help you figure out exactly how much it costs you to put together boiler room plumbing, creating a proper pricing scheme for your customers.

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