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100 hp boiler needs replacing


I'm buying a 95,000 sq ft mill in Massachusettes. I believe it has 2 100 hp oil boilers. The building has been abandoned for a few years, but much of it still looks good, such as the steam pipes.

I can get gas to the building. I'm trying to figure if I should pull the dinosaurs and plug a new "high efficiency" boiler(s) into the existing distribution system, convert to hot water, or even ignore the existing and move to some sort of distributed heating.

I need to keep construction costs low, and I like the idea of using existing if it makes sense economically.



  • SteamheadSteamhead Posts: 13,057Member
    Is this steam system

    used just for heating the building, or for processes used in the mill? What pressure are the boilers rated at? 
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
  • SupernautSupernaut Posts: 4Member
    Steam heat for 95,000'

    It's just for heat. The mill will be converted to work studios. I have no idea about the pressure. If it's a new boiler, can it be a new pressure as well? The farthest run is about 200 ft.
  • Charlie from wmassCharlie from wmass Posts: 4,070Member
    I am in Massachusetts

    Where are you located? And yes I do service that area.
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
  • ColinFarquharColinFarquhar Posts: 16Member
    If you decide to remove them...

    Hi There:

       Just a side note from a lurker-If you do end up not using these boilers, they and/or any associated machinery might be of use to any local museums.  I'm heavily involved with antique steam restoration on the West Coast, and could pass the info along to some East Coast friends if you end up deciding to remove them.


  • Charlie from wmassCharlie from wmass Posts: 4,070Member
    I am going to guess but I think

    the boilers are from the 1980's or so. They may be older I would not not say antiques. They may very well have a market on the used preprocessor boiler market if they are high pressure boilers. Then again with TRV's they may be fine to heat the space they are in, staged burners and boilers.
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
  • RDSTEAMRDSTEAM Posts: 134Member

    nice boilers!!! hate to see them go, but if you are using them just for heat and your looking for more efficiency, you should probably go hot water and get gas to that place. What about solar?? if its a mill, im sure there is PLENTY of room for alternative energy.
  • nicholas bonham-carternicholas bonham-carter Posts: 7,843Member
    high effiency boilers

    those boilers, with a new gas gun may be surprisingly efficient, when compared to other light commercial boilers [80-84%]. with a modulating burner, only one boiler may be able to do the job, as you will have no need for process steam.

    how many floors are there? don't plan on a conversion to hot water unless you are re-piping, and perhaps re-radiating the system.

    i hope  you will keep us informed as to the progress on this project.--nbc
  • Brad WhiteBrad White Posts: 2,392Member
    I suspect a mix of

    process and heating functions, given that array of smaller piping. The boilers are Kewaunee but I am not sure if they are fire tube or water tube. If water tube, those tend to be higher pressure designs (easier to hold high pressure water and steam in a pipe than in a larger shell you see).

    If it is a mix of process "with heating on the side", this may be a good time to assess the heating needs from top to bottom. Many mill buildings had pipe radiators, fairly inexpensive but effective.

    I would get Charlie in there if agreeable and take stock of your true needs. You may wind up with a smaller boiler. I would opt for modulating fire though, not just staged, if you can get it in the final size.

    Sounds like it could be a fun project. Where in MA is it, did you say?
    "If you do not know the answer, say, "I do not know the answer", and you will be correct!"

    -Ernie White, my Dad
  • SupernautSupernaut Posts: 4Member
    No process,

    just heat. It's actually a school complex built as the Bradford Durfee Textile School, and then it evolved into Durfee Tech. It's in Fall River MA and is constructed in the same fashion as the area mills. It's basically a tiny city of adjacent connected buildings on 1.3 acres. I'll post more pics tomorrow.

    I would love to just replace the oil with a gas gun. I spoke to ACME Boilers out of East Providence about that, but they want me to replace the boilers. I think I need to drag the rep out to the site. If I'm going to replace like for like, I might as well save my $ with a conversion. If I need to get new boiler(s), I'm going to look a all my options.

    Where can I get info on a 100 hp gas gun conversion? I've been looking online, but not finding anything bigger than residential. I met with the gas co reps last week. They have high pressure in the street.

    Like I said, I need to do this cheap, and so if I can, I want to use what already exists.
  • SteamheadSteamhead Posts: 13,057Member
    edited April 2011

    can furnish a burner in that size. I think you'd be looking at a C3 series burner (their site is down at the moment,, which can be ordered as oil, gas or dual-fuel. You definitely want to get at least a lo-hi-lo (2-stage) or preferably a full-modulating control system. These cost a little more but since they can vary their firing rates, won't be shutting off on pressure so much during the burner's run cycle. Since the burner must go thru a 90-second or so pre-purge every time it starts up, avoiding shutdowns on pressure during the cycle will save a lot of heat from being blown up the chimney.

    That boiler company has a point- you definitely want to get these units inspected before trying to upgrade them. Who knows what lurks inside?

    And I'll second Charlie to look it over. He's one of the best.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
  • RDSTEAMRDSTEAM Posts: 134Member
    power flame

    is definately the way to go. went out to kansas for a couple days last year so I can attend their training course. It was very interesting and quite fun (for kansas). If you do keep those boilers and go gas, get yourself a lo high lo or full mod. this will give you a very efficient burner for a steam app.
  • SupernautSupernaut Posts: 4Member
    more pics

    Here's some more pics of the boilers. I didnt take pics of the steam distribution system yet. It's in an adjacent room, but looked pretty good.
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