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Boiler location


Michaelangelo

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Purchasing a new boiler and the contractor is suggesting that we locate it on the floor as close to the mash cooker and still as possible. Less install cost and minimal loss through the piping. Since we have to move things around anyway to accommodate new equipment I am trying to maximize the space.

What is the minimum safe distance to place a 15 psi natural gas boiler next to the still?

Any other considerations?

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Our contractor is advising that I only need a separate room for a high pressure boiler according to code. Our boiler is low pressure and he doesn't seem concerned with the code based on that. I am not so sure, but I have seen other distilleries where the boiler is not in a separate room and somewhere near the still or in the same room.

Does the Discus manual cover this?

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I've seen electric boilers out in the open, but never gas or oil. Your contractor shouldn't have a say. He just builds what the drawings say. Check that your mechanical engineer has stamped drawings approved by the AHJ in your city.

Discus says separate:

7-2.3 Process and General Heating Equipment 7-2.3.1 Steam and hot water boilers or furnaces present both an ignition and fuel source and consequently should be kept separated from other plant areas, and especially areas with potential dust or vapor hazards. Installations should comply with NFPA 31, Installation of Oil Burning Equipment; NFPA 85, Boiler and Combustion Systems Hazards Code; and NFPA 54, Natural Fuel Gas Code.

7-2.3.2 Process and general heating equipment should not be used within a hazardous area unless specifically designed and approved for that classification.

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You should call your local boiler inspector and see what requirements are for your state as they vary. I have trained on a still in Washington state that had the low pressure 399,000 BTU gas boiler next to the still without separation. Here in Oregon state I can install the exact same still and boiler set up in the same room without separation. In Maryland it is the same thing.

Note the still pot location in the attached photo.

boilerA.jpg

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Lots of people do lots of things, and lots of authorities will interpret code in lots of different ways.  Some are lax, some are strict, but certainly don't expect to be provided a more lax interpretation based on an anecdotal out-of-jurisdiction examples.

I will note, 399,000 BTU is a very special number in many building codes, and if you ever wondered by a boiler manufacturer wouldn't just add a 1,000 more BTU so that you came to a nice even 400,000 BTU.  Many codes draw a strict distinction between oil or gas fired equipment over 400,000 BTU (IBC 508.2.5 comes to mind as an easy example of this).

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I've always been under the same impression, That the boiler must be in a fire proof room of it's own. But I agree different states have different codes. In Wisconsin, I have a 200 HP hi pressure boiler installed in the distillery with zero protection around it, And the closest still is about 20 feet away. 

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