What Is a Reverse Osmosis System for Steam Boilers?
When talking about boilers, water purification and other steam-related functions, the term “reverse osmosis” gets thrown around a lot. But what does this term mean, exactly? What is a reverse osmosis system, and why does it matter for industrial steam boiler maintenance?
Reverse Osmosis Explained
Reverse osmosis is a process primarily used to extract mineral content and other impurities from water. The exact process by which it works is a chemistry lesson that we don’t need to explore at the moment, but reverse osmosis is frequently used to convert seawater or brackish water into fresh water, as well as to make water drinkable (or even just taste better) by removing minerals from the water. (The bottled water we buy at the store often uses reverse osmosis as part of the purification process.)
Why We Use Reverse Osmosis Systems with Boilers
Reverse osmosis purification is necessary for the best performance of most boiler systems, even for those that are used purely for heating purposes. When coupled with a boiler system, reverse osmosis does two things:
- It purifies the water for cooking and drinking. If you use water for food service or brewing purposes, for example, reverse osmosis ensures the hot water is both drinkable and won’t negatively affect the taste of your product.
- It protects the boilers from mineral buildup. When water boils, the water turns to steam and disperses into the air as gas. The salt and other minerals, however, do not evaporate as the water does. Over time, these minerals can build up as scales inside the boiler system, creating “hot spots,” obstructions and inefficient performance at best, and system failures at worst. Reverse osmosis removes the mineral content before the water ever goes into the feedwater tank, helping to keep the boiler itself running smoothly.
Isn’t Our Tap Water Pure Enough?
Not necessarily. Tap water from your local water source is usually fine for drinking and other home use purposes, but even tap water contains sodium, minerals and other impurities which can either affect the taste of your product, create buildup in your boiler system, or both. (Most water treatment plants actually infuse fluoride into the tap water, for example.) For optimum taste for food/beverage production, as well as optimum performance of the boiler itself, it’s important that your boiler system includes a reverse osmosis system to purify the incoming water — even if your water supply is of exceptional quality.
Most Miura boiler products come standard with a high-quality reverse osmosis system to ensure long-lasting, optimal performance of our products.