Steam Boiler Water Treatment

It's in our name! Feedwater have been providing expert Boiler Water Treatment since 1976.
Our products and services keep steam boilers running safely and efficiently and save our customers £ millions in operating costs every year and ensure the protection of their critical assets.

Boiler Water Treatment Products & Services

As our company name Feedwater suggests, we are specialists in steam boiler water treatment. We make and supply a comprehensive range of boiler water treatment chemicals, dosing systems, water softeners and provide expert on-site service and consultancy. We save our customers millions of pounds in operating costs each year and ensure they are operating safely.

Over 45 Years' Experience

Boiler Water Treatment experts since 1976; Feedwater is one of the largest and most respected independent water treatment companies in the UK. We work with some of the world’s best-known brands as their trusted partner.

Feedsafe Drumless Chemical Delivery

Feedsafe is our drum-less chemical delivery service. Chemical is pumped across from our lorry into a bunded dosage tank using special hoses fitted with Camlock fittings to prevent chemical spillage. This avoids the need for manual handling, the risk of chemical exposure and the cost and problem of waste drum disposal.

High Performance Chemicals

The extensive Feedwater range of boiler water chemicals will be matched against your specific needs to provide cost-effective protection of your whole steam system against corrosion & scale formation whilst minimising your blowdown requirements.

Expert 21st Century Consultancy

Our highly trained water treatment consultants operate across the UK and Ireland and use our industry leading electronic reporting system which provides trend graphs, traffic light warnings, automatic calculations and cost-saving recommendations to provide exceptional service.

Pre-treatment & Dosing Equipment

As well as great chemicals we make and install pre-treatment equipment like water softeners & RO plant and chemical dosage and control systems. Our equipment service team can keep your water treatment equipment running efficiently to ensure your steam system is always protected.

Boiler Descaling Service

Scale not only reduces heat transfer and massively increases your operating cost, but it can also cause the catastrophic failure of steam boilers. Our boiler descaling service can quickly and safely restore your plant’s efficiently and save you £10,000’s in running costs.

Boiler Risk Assessments

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Boiler Water Chemicals

Easy Online Ordering

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Electronic Boiler Service Reports

Feedwater have developed an industry leading electronic service report for use by our consultants in the field to offer our clients services impossible with old school carbon paper reports.

> Warning Traffic Lights
> Waste Highlighing Efficiency Calculators
> Trend Graphs
> Always Clear & Ledgible!
> Uploaded to Customer Portal - Audit Friendly
And more..

Contact us to find out more

Common Questions

Use the buttons below to jump to related products or explanations.

Boiler Chemicals

It is important to maintain excellent treatment for any steam boiler and heating system which is why we recommend you arrange a free visit by one of our consultants. For more information on our range of boiler treatment chemicals including those which are available for order online please click the link below to visit our boiler chemicals page.

Visit Boiler Water Treatment Chemicals Page

When treating your boiler don’t forget to test chemical levels regularly to ensure you are maintaining correct treatment levels or not overdosing and wasting money.

Feedwater’s boiler chemical test kits provide simple methods for you to keep on top of your control limits with titration and comparator sets available to order online.

  • ISO 9001 Accredited Manufacturing
  • Quality Control Laboratory
  • FeedSafe Lorry to Tank Transfer (UK Only)
  • Many Products Available Online
  • Own Label & Distributor Export Services
  • Test Kits & Reagents Available

Boiler Water Softener Supplier

To protect your critical assets (i.e boiler) where possible you need to be treating your incoming make-up water with a base exchange water softener to prevent scale by softening the water. Feedwater’s rage of softening systems treat from 0m3 per hour up to the major industrial water softener set up at 50,000m3 per hour. These include simplex, duplex and triplet setups to suit numerous applications and prevent downtime where guaranteed availability is required.

As part of our boiler treatment services, our workshop manufactures bespoke industrial water softeners setups with manifolds designed specifically to your application, our engineering teams can then install and commision units onsite professionally.

  • Water softeners provide a cost-effective way to overcome problems caused by hard water.
  • All our commercial water softeners combine design simplicity and rugged construction to ensure many years of reliable service.

Visit our page on Softeners here.

Softener Maintenance

When your water softener breaks down you need it fixing quickly if the damage caused by hard water is to be avoided. That’s why we have a dedicated team of water softener repair and maintenance technicians operating throughout the UK.

We’ve been building and servicing all types of industrial and commercial water softeners for over 30 years so we can help you.

pdf downloadDownload our Guide to Water Softener Service Options.

Visit our softener repair page here.

Boiler Descaling Service

Limescale and other mineral deposits form when steam boilers and heating and cooling systems are operated with hard water, resulting in a loss of energy and heat transfer efficiency. In the case of a steam boiler, a scale build up can result in dangerous overheating and a risk of failure and even explosion.

Our descaling and boiler acid cleaning service uses a range of inhibited cleaning acids such as hydrochloric and sulphamic acid which are carefully matched to the system metallurgy and the nature of the scale.

Visit our chemical cleaning page here.

Boiler Descaling Chemicals

For competent operators who have experience or the confidence to perform their own boiler descale Feedwater offer a chemical bundle to perform this task.

This bundle can be ordered here.

Why is steam boiler water treatment essential?

Did you know that when water is converted to steam it expands in volume over 1,000 times and that it travels a down a steam pipe at over 100 kilometres/hr? Steam is a great way of moving energy and heat around a site from a central boiler house to where it is needed, but without the right boiler feed water treatment, a steam-raising plant will suffer from scale formation and corrosion. At best, this increases energy costs and can lead to poor quality steam, reduced efficiency, shorter plant life and an operation which is unreliable. At worst, it can lead to catastrophic failure and loss of life. A poorly-treated boiler is a potential bomb and exposure to steam will cause severe burns and scalding and may prove fatal. In order to keep your plant operating safely, efficiently and economically, Feedwater has developed a comprehensive range of products and consultant services to protect not just the boiler but the whole steam system including the feed-tank, feed-lines, steam and condensate system.

Boiler water treatment chemicals to protect the complete steam system:

  • Oxygen scavengers to prevent corrosion
  • Alkalinity builders and pH control
  • Phosphate treatments
  • Polymer sludge conditioners
  • Amine condensate line treatments
  • Resin cleaners and RO chemicals

Visit our Boiler Treatment Chemicals Page to find out more and order online today.

Boiler Feed Water Treatment Basics

The purpose of boiler water treatment is to protect the boiler and steam system against corrosion and scale formation and help maintain steam purity and quality, our FAQs and basic guidance below should help you understand better how your boiler should be run. Remember to book your free on-site consultation today with one of our experts, today.

Preventing Boiler Scale Formation

chart-showing-how-scale-thickness-raises-operating-costsBoiler scale is caused by the formation of insoluble salts of calcium and magnesium at high temperature. These form a rock-like coating on the boiler tubes which severely reduces the heat transfer. This is highly undesirable, not only because it greatly reduces the efficiency of the boiler, but also causes the boiler tubes to overheat, so that in an extreme situation they can rupture with very hazardous consequences.

Feedwater offer lab analysis services for Deposit analysis.

Scale formation is prevented by firstly removing as much hardness from the make-up water as possible (normally with a boiler water softener), and then secondly by dosing boiler water chemicals such as alkalinity builders, phosphate treatments and polymer sludge conditioners. These boiler treatment chemicals ensure that any hardness slippage is converted into a mobile sludge which can be removed by steam boiler blowdown and so doesn’t form boiler scale. If a boiler water softener fails, scale formation can occur rapidly, so it is important that the water treatment tests include a daily test of the water softener.

In the case of heavy boiler scaling, Feedwater can offer services for acid cleaning.

Controlling Boiler System Corrosion

Corrosion in low pressure boilers can be caused by dissolved oxygen, acidity and excessive alkalinity. Water treatment therefore should remove the dissolved oxygen and maintain the boiler water with the appropriate pH and alkalinity levels. The oxygen content of water reduces with rising temperature as shown in this graph. It follows therefore that simply raising the feed water temperature, and giving the oxygen sufficient opportunity to escape, will significantly reduce the risk of oxygen corrosion. A well-designed feedtank or hotwell is therefore the first line of defence in protecting the boiler. Note particularly that the cold make-up and the returned condensate should be distributed by a sparge arrangement to ensure thorough mixing and avoid temperature stratification. This will encourage the maximum de-aeration effect. The feedtank temperature should be maintained at a minimum of 80°C. This should be achieved by returning as much hot condensate as possible and by steam injection. A feed temperature of 85-90°C is ideal, but you should avoid pushing the temperature too high, since it will encourage cavitation damage in the feed pump.

Excessive temperatures, steaming and banging in the hotwell may be an indication that steam traps are passing and allowing live steam back. This should be investigated promptly, since it can waste a great deal of heat energy.

In order to remove the remaining oxygen from the feed water, a chemical oxygen scavenger, such as sulphite, sulfite, tannin or DEHA, is added in direct proportion to the amount of remaining oxygen. feed-tank-design-key-features In order to provide maximum protection to the boiler and feed system, the oxygen scavenger should be dosed to the hot end of the hot well i.e. away from the cold water inlet or failing that into the feed-line just as it leaves the hotwell. This ensures thorough mixing and adequate time for the oxygen scavenger to react before it reaches the boiler. This is particularly important if a flue gas economiser is fitted. For this reason dosing arrangements where the oxygen scavenger is dosed into the feed-line just before the boiler or directly into the boiler shell should be avoided. Regular boiler water testing is essential to ensure that a good chemical oxygen scavenger reserve is maintained at all times.

Controlling Condensate System Corrosion

Dry steam is not corrosive, but once it condenses again to form water, it can adsorb the corrosive gases, oxygen and carbon dioxide, which if not adequately treated can lead to rapid failure of condensate return lines. The first place to fail in the condensate line tends to be threads and elbows and the natural corrosion rate will tend to increase where the raw water alkalinity and carbon dioxide is high. Oxygen corrosion, which leads to pin-holing of the condensate line, can usually be controlled by adding an effective chemical oxygen scavenger to the boiler feed water. Carbon dioxide corrosion, which leads to uniform metal loss below the water line caused by acid attack, can be controlled either by pre-treatment techniques such as de-alkalisation and reverse osmosis, or by the addition of special steam volatile chemicals such as neutralising and filming amines. Depending on their nature, these chemicals can either be dosed into the boiler feed water or injected directly into the steam header.

Steam Boiler Blowdown

The purpose of steam boiler blowdown is to remove sludge, suspended solids and dissolved solids (TDS). Sludge is formed by either precipitated hardness salts or corrosion products carried back from the condensate system. A sudden increase in the sludge level may indicate that there is a problem with the water softener or condensate contamination. The TDS (total dissolved solids) is a measure of all the minerals dissolved in the water and in the case of the boiler feed water is a mixture of natural TDS present in the incoming water and additional TDS from the treatment chemicals. As steam is raised, pure water is evaporated, leaving the TDS behind in the boiler water which becomes increasingly concentrated. Initially this is beneficial since it allows the treatment chemicals to become more concentrated and offer better protection to the boiler but eventually, if unchecked, the water would become so concentrated that its surface tension increases and steam bubbles can no longer escape freely, resulting in foaming and carryover. Foaming will impair the removal of heat from the boiler tubes and thus put them at risk of overheating and failure.

Carryover is where boiler water, with all its TDS, is carried into the steam system along with the steam. It should be avoided since it can result in product contamination and damage to steam-side equipment. In order to prevent foaming and carryover, the build-up of the boiler TDS needs to be controlled by removing concentrated boiler water via blowdown and replacing it with fresh feed water with a lower TDS. The guidance in BS2486 indicates that for most shell boilers that the TDS should be limited to a maximum 3500mg/l. However, in certain circumstances it may be necessary to maintain a lower TDS if carryover is to be avoided (particularly where the boiler has a small steam space or the raw water is particularly high in alkalinity). Blowdown is essential to remove sludge and maintain steam purity but it is important to ensure that unnecessary blowdown is avoided since it wastes energy. Depending on the boiler pressure every 3-4% blowdown equates to 1% of the fuel cost. In order to control the TDS effectively, the boiler should be fitted with an efficient auto-blowdown system which continuously monitors the boiler TDS and adjusts the blowdown accordingly. Because the TDS probe is in an extreme environment, it is likely that the TDS reading will drift considerably over time, so the control system will need regular testing and recalibration. The boiler water tests should include a measurement of TDS which can be used to adjust any automatic blowdown system. Wherever possible, the auto-blowdown system should incorporate a correctly sized flash vessel and heat recovery system which can potentially recover up to 80% of the energy in the blowdown and save on make-up water by returning flash steam to the hotwell. As well as the automatic TDS control blowdown, it is necessary to periodically operate the bottom blowdown valve, both to ensure it is operational and also to help remove any accumulated sludge. Where there is no significant sludge build-up, a single short blowdown of no more than 5 seconds per day is sufficient. If this needs to be increased in order to help purge a build-up of sludge resulting from a contamination problem, this is best achieved by several short blowdowns at periods of low fire rather than one long one.

An inefficiently run boiler can be a source of wasted fuel and water see how Feedwater can ensure your Energy and water savings.


Our consultants work across the UK visiting hundreds of industrial sites a week. We believe that any treatment plan is only as good as the service which comes with it which is why our expertly trained consultation team perform weekly, monthly or quarterly visits for some of the biggest names in the UK as well as the small business operator who make up the backbone of the UK economy. Both small and large businesses have a need to protect their critical assets from damage and ensure their plant operates safely and efficiently. To enquire about consultancy for your boiler treatment regime then fill out the contact form below and we will be in touch to arrange a free visit.

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