HVAC/Boilers

Efficiency for All Seasons

Energy efficiency ideas to help you weather any business climate.

In a four-season state like Michigan, it’s vital to become energy efficient to deal with seasonal variations in temperatures. For many businesses, heating and cooling account for 50 percent of their energy costs. With our expert insight, DTE Energy can help your business thrive no matter what’s in the forecast.

Tune Up Boilers
When too much air is used to burn fuel, a boiler will emit excessive heat into room, forcing your cooling system to work harder. A boiler tune-up will ensure your boiler has the right fuel-to-air ratio.

Implement a Boiler Maintenance Program
Worn out burners and condensate return systems can decrease your system's efficiency significantly. A simple maintenance program ensures all boiler components are operating at peak performance.

Improve Boiler Insulation
New insulation materials, such as ceramic fibers, insulate better and have a lower heat capacity (enabling for more rapid heating). When combined with modern heater circuit controls, improved insulation can result in savings from 6 to 26 percent.

Improve Steam Distribution System Insulation
Upgrading or adding insulating material can save energy in steam systems. Key factors in choosing the right insulation include low thermal conductivity, dimensional stability under temperature change, resistance to water absorption and resistance to combustion.


Tune Up HVAC Equipment
Just as a tune-up for a car can improve gas mileage, a yearly tune-up of your heating and cooling system can improve efficiency and comfort.

Change Filters on HVAC Systems
Check filters monthly, especially during summer. If the filter looks dirty after a month, change it. At a minimum, change the filter every three months. A dirty filter will slow down air flow and make the system work harder to keep you cool, wasting energy.

Clean, Seal and Insulate Ducts
Ducts that move air from a forced air furnace, central air conditioner or heat pump are often big energy wasters. Regularly clean your ductwork to ensure adequate airflow. Sealing and insulating ducts can improve the efficiency of your heating and cooling system by 20 percent or more.


Control Boiler Processes With Flue Gas Monitors
Flue gas monitors maintain optimum flame temperature and monitor carbon monoxide (CO), oxygen and smoke level in boiler systems. A small 1 percent air infiltration will result in 20 percent higher oxygen readings. A higher CO or smoke content in the exhaust gas is a sign that there is insufficient air to complete fuel burning. Using a combination of CO and oxygen readings, it is possible to optimize the fuel/air mixture for high flame temperature (and thus the best energy efficiency) and lower air pollutant emissions.

Repair Boiler and Flue Leaks
Excessive flue gas is often the result from leaks in the boiler or the flue, reducing heat transferred to the steam and increasing pumping requirements. Usually, such leaks are easily repaired, lowering boiler energy needs by 2 to 5 percent.

Return Condensate to Boiler
Reusing hot condensate in boilers saves energy, reduces the need for treated boiler feed water and reclaims water at up to 212 degrees Fahrenheit of sensible heat.

Improve Boiler System Operations
Operating the boiler system at the proper steam pressure can save energy by reducing stack temperature and leaks in steam traps. Costs and savings vary significantly, based on the boiler system and site operation conditions.

Repair Steam Distribution System Leaks
Without regular inspection and maintenance, steam distribution piping networks often have leaks that go undetected. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that repairing leaks in an industrial steam distribution system will lead to energy savings of 5 to 10 percent.


Maintain Steam Traps
On average, 15 to 20 percent of steam traps are malfunctioning in distribution systems without a regular maintenance program. Adding automated steam trap monitors, in conjunction with a maintenance program, can save large amounts of energy at a very low cost.

Use Modern Thermostatic Element Steam Traps
These units reduce energy use by opening when the temperature is very close to that of saturated steam to purge non-condensable gases. Additionally, thermostatic element steam traps open on startup to speed system warm-ups and are highly reliable across a range of pressures.


Install a Programmable Thermostat
Programmable thermostats are ideal for areas that are regularly unoccupied during set periods. Rooms that have minimal traffic, such as stock rooms and warehouses, should be kept cooler in the winter and warmer in the summer.

Check Thermostats for Accurate Readings
Use an external thermometer to ensure the accuracy of your thermostat. Thermostats should be installed on an interior wall away from vents or other sources of draft for the most reliable readings.


Link Your Energy Management System to Other Systems to Save
To maximize operational efficiency, link your HVAC energy management system to your other programs used by your business. For instance, hotels can link their energy management system to their reservation system to automatically lower HVAC needs in unoccupied rooms.


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