High-temperature hot-water systems have the hot water pumped from the generator throughout the distribution system. The circulator pumps are large enough to deliver the water at sufficient pressure to overcome any drop in the distribution system and the heat-consuming equipment. The major advantages of the HTHW heating system are makeup requirements, minimum maintenance, high thermal efficiency, and safe, easy operation and control.
The HTHW system is a closed system, so the only water waste is the normal leakage at the pump and valve packing glands. Consequently, little water is consumed during system operation. This means only a small amount of makeup water is used, practically eliminating boiler blowdowns. The closed re-circulating system operates at high thermal efficiency. All of the heat not used by heat-consuming devices in the system or lost through pipe radiation is returned to the boiler plant. Because few boiler blowdowns are required, the heat loss from blowdowns is kept to a minimum.
The high-temperature range for most military and federal heating plants is 350F to 450F which corresponds to saturated pressures of 135 psi to 425 psi. However, some types of plants operate at higher pressures and therefore have higher water temperatures. The installation of HTHW plants that operate at temperatures above 400F must be approved by the Naval Facilities Engineering Command. Costs usually determine the maximum water temperature used, because the types of HTHW systems using the higher pressures require more expensive piping, valves, fittings, and heat exchangers.
The degree of complexity of HTHW systems varies according to the size, type, and heat load requirement of the installation. Since methods used to maintain pressure and to assure uniform flow rates depend upon the amount of heat load, they affect the complexity of the heating system.
There are two methods of circulating the HTHW through the system - the one-pump system and the two-pump system. The one-pump system uses only one pump to circulate the hot water throughout the system, which includes the generator. The two-pump system uses one pump to circulate the water through the distribution system, and a second pump to circulate the water through the generator for positive circulation. Figure 4-74 shows some typical pumps that are used for circulation in the HTHW system. Note that the pumps are of the centrifugal type. Each pump shown is used to circulate the water to different areas in the distribution systems.
There are two common ways of heating the water in the HTHW system - one way is to use hot-water boilers or generators and the other way is to use the cascade or direct contact heater. The water in the HTHW generator is heated as low-temperature hot water is heated. In the cascade heater, however, the water is forced through spray nozzles and comes into direct contact with the steam. The steam condenses into the circulating water. A typical spray nozzle head is shown in figure 4-75. The spray nozzles are installed in a combination cascade heater expansion drum. A typical cascade heater expansion drum installation is shown in figure 4-76. In the paragraphs that follow, some ways of pressurizing the HTHW system are discussed.
Since water volume varies with changes in temperature, the extra water must be taken care of when the water is heated. It is desirable to operate with the water above the boiling temperature of 212F; therefore, the pressure in the system must be maintained equal to, or greater than, the corresponding saturation (steam or vaporization) temperature. An expansion tank is required because the water, which is not compressible to a smaller volume, expands when it is heated. Also, the pressurization prevents the formation of saturated steam or vaporization when the water temperature is raised. There are two basic designs used for pressurizing HTHW systems - first, the saturated steam cushion, and second, the mechanical gas cushion. Although both des igns have a variety of modifications, their characteristics are still typical of the basic pressurized system design.
Pressurizing the heating system with steam in the expansion tank is a natural method. Firing the HTHW generator to maintain the system pressure corresponding to the required saturation (steam or vaporization) temperature pressurizes the system. Excess heat is generated to offset the radiant heat loss from the expansion tank. All of the HTHW in the steam-pressurized system flows through the expansion tank and thereby maintains the saturation (steam or vaporization) temperature there.Continue Reading