Almost all Hi-Rise Condominium buildings older than 20 years feature low cost, low efficiency atmospheric boilers. Energy efficiency wise, these are boiler ‘dinosaurs’ with seasonal efficiency of approximately 65%. Modern condensing boilers on the other hand, properly installed, can provide efficiencies approaching 90% or more.
Yet, many Condo owners have discovered that if the high efficiency boilers are poorly reinstalled and operated, the results can be very disappointing. Boiler failures, unexplained operational issues and inability to realize savings are among the many problems encountered. One of the most important factors is hydronic system water quality. Boiler with cast aluminum heat exchangers are especially vulnerable to impurities and pH levels beyond the recommended range.
Too often we see systems that have been complicated by combining building heating with domestic hot water heating in an effort to reduce installation costs. While this is possible under certain conditions, it is difficult to operate the systems at optimum temperatures and flow rates.
Successful implementation requires careful design, installation that closely follows the design documents, fine tuning the sequence of operations and last but not least, proper commissioning.