Heatec’s Firestorm: Efficient Hot Water for Concrete Production

Jay RobinsonIt’s July as this is written, but for concrete producers in the Northeast, it’s not too early to start thinking about upgrading your hot water system with an extremely efficient gas-fired heater.

The Firestorm direct contact water heater from Heatec, heats water on demand. That means there is no need to heat, store and maintain the temperature of thousands of gallons of water. The burner is fired to heat only the amount of water being used.

The result is fast response: you have hot water when you need it, without paying to heat water you don’t use. (You can, of course, use the Firestorm to heat water for an existing large storage tank, if desired.)

It is easy to tell how extraordinarily efficient the Firestorm is by observing the very low exhaust stack temperature, which is typically only ten to fifteen degrees warmer than the incoming water. For example, when 50-degree incoming water is being warmed to 150 degrees, you can put your hand on the stack because the exhaust is only 60-65 degrees.

How it works
firestormThe heater uses a fully-modulating, forced-draft burner that fires into the side of the heater shell. Cold water is sprayed into the top of the shell and migrates downward through a bed of stainless steel rings, called packing, which slows the flow of water and provides surface area for heat transfer. As water migrates downward through the packing, hot burner gases flow upward through the falling water. That’s why it’s called direct-contact.

Heated water flows to the bottom of the shell where it accumulates, then is pumped out of the heater. Structural components, piping and internal parts are all made from stainless steel.

Sizes used for concrete production
A typical system would include a small surge tank (around 750 gallons), the Firestorm heater, and some plumbing. Fueled by natural gas or propane, Firestorms come in a wide variety of sizes, but my concrete-producing customers have been buying heaters sized at 2.3 million, 4 million and 6 million BTUs. The largest of these can warm 120 gallons per minute to 100 degrees above incoming water temperature.

Switching to natural gas or propane can help generate a strong ROI, if you’re currently using a more expensive fuel. Contact me for help figuring out the right size for your application. You can view the Firestorm brochure for more detailed information or visit Heatec’s website at www.heatec.com.