Reimers Electric Steam - FAQ's


Frequently Asked Questions


Are stainless steel boilers available?

Reimers manufactures stainless steel electric steam boilers for those applications requiring pure steam and using de-ionized water having a minimum specific resistivity of 1 megohm/cm. These units provide a stainless steel surface to all wet areas and are designed and constructed within the scope of A.S.M.E. Code. This limits the design pressure to 100 psig and maximum pressure vessel size to 5 cubic feet. We offer various models from .15 to 12 B.H.P.

Can distilled water be used with these boilers?

If distilled water must be used, it will be necessary to add a "pinch" of salt once each week to the water. This will permit electricity to pass through the water for the probe controls. We suggest that "soft" treated water be used in lieu of distilled water and that the boilers be given a daily blowdown. This will prove less expensive and will work well even in hard water areas.

Can we have boilers manufactured under our private label?

Yes, three options are available. 1. MFG- BY REIMERS, Underwriters' Laboratories (U.L.) allows us to "label" the boiler with your name if we include: "Mfg. by Reimers Electra Steam Inc., Clear Brook, VA. on the bottom of the label. There is no charge for this service. Our standard computer generated label can be used or you can provide your own.

2. MULTIPLE LISTING; Our name can be eliminated completely from the exterior of the boiler if a U.L. multiple listing is obtained by your company. U.L. has an initial charge for this service and an annual fee. Reimers adds no extra charges.

3. SPECIFIC DESIGN: Due to our CAD capabilities and resources of manufacturing equipment, it is feasible to design & produce equipment to your specific requirements. The UL and ASME labeling can be addressed .

Is steam cleaning still practical as compared to pressure washers?

Steam cleaning produces considerably less water and chemical runoff than pressure washers. It also allows the operator to "dry" the part with saturated steam after cleaning. This speeds up the process and improves productivity. For heavy steam cleaning in a production environment, we recommend our model RBH30Z-20651 with syphon steam gun. This combination provides the versatility of using steam and/or detergent in mixture. If it is feasible, we suggest a stationary unit with appropriate steam lines to various locations with steam cleaning outlets. This eliminates moving a heavy unit (500 lbs. or more), trailing water hose and heavy electrical cable. This unit is a dry-type steam cleaner, which ejects raw steam at 80 to 90 psig. The only wetness you will get is the detergent which is syphoned into the end of the steam gun and mixes with the steam in the gun. The amount of detergent is controlled by the operator with an adjustable syphon valve on the steam gun.

Please explain blowdown tank installation & operation.

The blowdown tank is designed to prevent high pressure steam and water from entering into drains and possibly scalding someone. Therefore, it is provided with a chamber that will allow the blowdown water to cool before discharging and allow the steam flashed from the blowdown water to vent to the atmosphere.

Our blow down tank accomplishes this by:
• Cooling: The bottom half of the tank is full of cool room temperature water at all times. When the boiler blowdown valve is opened, the hot water from the boiler displaces (moves) this cool water out the overflow to drains. The hot water will then cool to room temperature after sitting for several hours
• Pressure: A large vent to atmosphere is provided on the top of the blowdown tank to allow the steam flashed from the blowdown water to vent to atmosphere. It is important that this vent be piped so that the steam will not discharge on any person.

• Mounting: Mount on the skid provided so that the blowdown tank is portable.
• Drain: Pipe this to floor drains (or to a bucket).
• Fill: Put water into the tank up to the drain fitting (approximately 4 gallons/ 15 liters).
• Vent: Thread a pipe up from the fitting to a safe discharge area.
• Blowdown inlet: Connect the flexible stainless steel braided hose from the boiler blowdown to this.

What maintenance is required for electric boilers?

Our boilers require very little maintenance if blowndown daily. We do suggest that the boiler be examined after the first 90 days for small leaks (around gauge glass, valves, etc.), internally for calcium buildup (to evaluate if more or less blowdowns are required), clean probes, and generally look for problems. It is a good habit to have a technician replace the gauge glass every year, check for leaks, internally examine boiler, clean probes, etc.

What should the feed water quality be?

Calcium is the biggest nemesis. Water of less than 1 grains hardness is preferred. For carbon steel boilers, do not use de-ionized water. Specific resistivity should be less than 25,000 ohms/cm. For stainless steel boilers, you must use de-ionized water of at least 1 megohm/cm specific resistivity.

What suggested spare parts are required on site?

We do not suggest that all or any replacement parts will be required for the first one to two years service. With proper maintenance, replacement parts are seldom required within this period. In some cases, specific items (i.e. elements) may need more frequent replacement. This is a factor of water treatment, maintenance, etc. The type and quantity of spare parts kept on site will vary with the application. Some high priority (surgical rooms & primary process boilers) will necessitate a replacement stock of heating elements, gaskets, fuses, and selected controls. However, Reimers does maintain a consistent stock level of parts ready for immediate shipment. Contact our factory Monday through Friday prior to 2:00 PM EST we will rush your part out the same day.


What is a closed return system?

A closed return steam system provides for the direct return of condensation from the piping and process back to the boiler pressure vessel. It is a thermodynamic cycle that utilizes the gravity return of the condensation (water).The advantages of such a system are:
• No steam trap nor condensate tank
• More energy efficient
• Cleaner water
• Simpler operation
• Less space required.
A closed return system consists of a steam boiler, vacuum breaker (to avoid overnight flooding), steam piping to the steam application, condensate piping (no trap) from the application, and check valve. Same applications are: single utility press; single steam jacketed kettle; short piping run far irons, humidity, etc.

What is a vacuum problem in a small steam system?

This normally shows up with the flooding of the boiler overnight. It is not uncommon for this to happen. Vacuum (negative pressure) is caused when the boiler is shut down with steam pressure in it. As the steam cools overnight and condenses (changes to water), the space left by the steam becomes a vacuum. (One pound of steam takes up about 350 times as much space as one pound of water.) This vacuum in the boiler "sucks" water from the condensate tank and causes the boiler to flood. Unless the boiler is hooked to equipment (such as a utility press), this is more of an inconvenience than a problem. It can be resolved by closing the ball valve between the tank and boiler each night (open same each morning), or by placing a vacuum relief valve in the steam piping.


Are electric boilers available from Reimers for use in Canada?

Yes. All of our boilers are built to the ASME boiler code, including CSD-1. Each is inspected by a commissioned national board inspector. A CSA listing and a Canadian registration number is provided for Canadian boilers. These approvals ensure ease of installation and ready acceptance by jurisdictional and insurance inspectors.

Is ASME code design & National board inspection important?

Yes! It ensures that the boiler is built to the proper specifications to be safe to operate. In most states, it is required by law.

What Underwriters Laboratories listings are available?

Our boilers fall under two listings, U.L #834- BDJ5 Boilers, Electric (FILE #E39545) Electric Steam & Hot Water Boilers.


Is an electric boiler economical to operate compared to gas?

The cost of gas is generally much less expensive than electricity. However maintenance and installation costs for a gas boiler will offset the energy costs. This is because electric boilers can normally be located in the immediate vicinity where steam is required, saving considerable line loss. Also electric boilers do not use a flue/exhaust.

What are the steam piping considerations?

It is imperative that your steam piping be safely and properly installed. Poor piping will result in wet steam and poor efficiency. Some tips:
• Pitch steam and condensate pipes away from boiler a minimum of 2"/10 ft.
• Insulate piping with minimum of 2" high temp. insulation
• Size for loss of I BHP per 50 ft. pipe length.
• Maximum closed system = 25 ft. length.

What will it cost to operate an electric boiler?

Electric consumption:
(KW rating) x (#hours of operation) x (KW/HR charge) = cost per month.Normally, the customer will utilize 60% or less of this amount.
Electric demand:
In the U.S.A., the electric utility company may also charge a "demand charge" each month equivalent to the peak amount of electricity used during a given span of minutes at anytime during the month.  This is a government rule to make power providers have feed lines and reserve power that is capable of serving customer demands:(KW rating) x (demand charge) = demand cost per month
Water feed costs:
Blowdowns are important.  Water used in these boilers should still be managed to minimize negative effects introduced by the water. We do suggest "softened" water if the normal water is very hard. This allows the blowdown to work better and reduces hard calcium buildup within the pressure vessel. Distilled water should not be used because of its expense. To calculate water usage:(B.H.P.) x (4.2 gallons per hour) x ( hours of operation) = water used(B.H.P.) X (l5.9 liters per hour) X ( hours of operation) = water usedThis formula calculates the maximum amount of water that the boiler can use. Normally, no more than 60X of this volume is used.


What are Reimers core capabilities?

Section 1, Parts PMB and PEB Electric Steam Boiler Design and Mfg.
Stock/near stock capability for electric steam boilers through 75 BHP.
Stainless steel boiler design and manufacture.
Hot water boiler design and manufacture.


U.L. for sections 834 boilers .  
Basic electrical assembly & manufacture.
CRN, ULc for Canadian units.

Steam generation & flow.
Welding & pressure vessel design.
UL and Canadian performance testing capability.
Heat transfer design.
Electric design.

Will boilers be constructed of carbon steel rust?

Almost all steam boilers are constructed of carbon steel, which rusts if exposed to oxygen and moisture The following steps will minimize this problem. (Please observe "shock & burn warnings."):

Blowdown piping:
The boiler's blowdown valve must be safely piped in accordance with state and local codes. Ensure that safe discharge is provided for 100 PSIG and 338 degrees F.

Blowdown procedure:
Turn the boiler off and allow the pressure to drop to 5 psig. Open the blowdown valve for ten seconds, then close. Refill the boiler to the normal operating level.

Blowdown frequency:
The blowdown procedure given above should be followed at the end of each working day.

Water fill:
Never leave the boiler empty. Water and oxygen forms rust. An "empty" boiler always has a little water left in the bottom and will rust quickly due to the exposure to oxygen.

Water level:
Handfilled boilers must never be filled over the high water mark. Rust floats on the surface of the water and is discharged with the steam if the boiler is overfilled.

Water  quality:
Never assume any source of water, sea water, or DI water is suited for all boilers.  Check with Reimers and/or a local boiler water expert to maximize your boiler life and minimize service needs.


Are compact electric steam boilers available?

The prime advantage of electric boilers is compact design. Reimers provides a variety of models from table top 120v/.15 B.H.P. units to 480v/50 B.H.P. Our model RH-30Z is a good example. It is designed for installation directly under a utility press or autoclave. This unit is compact enough to fit in a 18" x 18" x 30" space, yet has a large 284 cubic inch pressure vessel to ensure dry steam discharge and long element life.

How do I calculate the power requirement for an electric boiler?

The basic formula used for electric boilers are as given below:
10 KW = 1 BHP (boiler horsepower)
1 KW = 3412 BTU/HR1 KW = 3.48 LB/HR steam (from & at 212 deg. F.)
Amp draw (1 PH) = watts / volts
Amp draw (3 PH) = watts / (volts X 1.732)
(N.E.C. requires service for 125% of amp draw.)
1 cubic foot = 7.461 gallons water
1 gallon water = 8.331 lb.
Maximum water usage = .07 GPM of water per 1 BHP

How much water do these boilers hold? Is this important?

The volume/capacity of an electric boiler provides an indicator of quality. Within reason, the larger the pressure vessel (boiler), the better the quality of steam discharge and the longer element life. This is because of the energy stored in the additional water and steam which allows the boiler to maintain a more constant pressure under load. Also, calcium and sediment will be less of a problem.


RV60 – RV210 Electric Steam Boiler Series 

Reimers Model RV60-RV210 Steam Boiler vertical boiler design; very low floor space requirements.

VIEW SpecifICation PDF

Heat Exchanger

Works as a tankless water heater. Produces potable hot water and uses no valuable floor space. Resides inside the boiler. ASME construction.

VIEW specification PDF
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