When it comes to commercial buildings, many owners need solids handling submersible pumps because of the materials that find their way into the system. But some buildings may have completely different pumps needs due to the way they heat the building or supply hot water. Buildings that receive steam through a regional steam plant or that use boilers require high temperature pumps to handle these hot liquids.
Steam Distribution Systems
Many older cities have central steam distribution networks that pipe steam to commercial buildings. The piping comes in through the basement or utility room and branches out to heat exchangers to run hot water or the heating system. Hot water that condenses off of the steam system collects in an expansion or flash tank. From there it drains to a pit where the pump sends it out to the sewer.
The steam is an efficient energy source, but the condensate it produces can cause challenges for many pumps. The collected water is typically at a temperature of 160-180°F. And, depending on the steam’s source, the water may contain alkalinity. Under heat and pressure in the boiler, the alkalinity ions break down to hydroxyl and carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide combined with water forms carbonic acid which is corrosive.
Besides a steam distribution system, another heat source for many commercial buildings is a boiler. Boiler blowdowns involve pumping water from a boiler to adjust chemical levels for minimizing scale and corrosion in the system. Blowdowns also clean the boiler by “blowing” out suspended solids circulating in the system. The water gets dumped to a pit where it’s pumped out as wastewater. The hot water typically includes chemicals used to prevent corrosion of the boiler components.
Vertical sump pumps used to be the only method for handling these high temperature sump applications. But these pumps are ineffective in these environments. The vertical sump pumps have long shafts with multiple bearings which require regular lubrication. If they are not lubricated, the bearings will fail prematurely and you’ll need to replace the pumps. Shaft deflection can also damage the bearings. The deflection is due to the motor being at the top of the pit and the impeller at the bottom. The rotating impeller causes the shaft to wobble.
A Better Solution: High Temperature Submersible Pumps
A better solution for these applications is a high temperature submersible pump, like BJM Pumps’ Fahrenheit Series pumps. Our pumps solve the issues with:
- The ability to handle temperatures up to 200°F
- Seals and O-rings that withstand the hotter temperatures to protect the motor
- Bearings located within an oil-filled motor housing to keep them lubricated
- A much shorter shaft extension (6”-8” vs. 6’-8’) beyond the bearing to eliminate deflection
- 316 Stainless Steel pumps available to stand up to corrosive liquids
Partnering with our highly-trained distributors, we’ve helped customers solve their issues. We helped one of the largest convention centers in the country with its steam distribution issues. They had to replace their pumps every year due to the high temperature condensate that contained high levels of carbonic acid. BJM Fahrenheit pumps, with its Seal Minder alert feature, solved their problems.
We also worked with the Covanta Dade Renewable Energy Plant when the hot water from their boiler blowdown burned out the motors of their pumps. With the added complexity of abrasive sand and grit in the water, we needed to install our KBHF Series pumps. These high temperature, high head dewatering pumps handle the hot water from the boilers, and feature hardened, high chrome metal components to resist wear from the abrasive materials. Since installation, the pumps have run smoothly 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
If you’re still using a vertical sump pump for your steam distribution or boiler blowdown applications, there’s a better solution that will save you maintenance and repair costs. Contact us or call 860-399-5937 and let us help you find the pump you need, guaranteed.