A steam generator generates steam at atmospheric pressure, while boilers produce heated steam at elevated pressure. These units can provide heat to multiple pieces of kitchen equipment, such as steamers, warmers, and kettles. Whether you'll fire the unit using gas or electricity, the decision to add a steam generator to your kitchen is likely to be a beneficial one.
Choosing which generator is right for your kitchen depends on many factors. You will need to decide whether you'll be tying the unit in with existing equipment, how you'll fire the unit, and how much steam you'll need it to produce. Once these options have been weighed, choosing the right generator will be simple.
Blow Down Feature
Many units will have a blow down feature that helps keep the level of TDS (total dissolved solids) in the unit down. The removal of TDS helps reduce the amount of scale build up in the steamer. You may choose a more expensive, automatic blowdown feature. These feature a probe that detects the level of TDS and automatically refills the unit with fresh water to flush it out. While manual blowdown valves are less expensive to purchase, the ones with the automatic feature tend to be more cost efficient in the long run. A steamer with an auto function will only blowdown when needed, reducing water and fuel demands. Fewer treatment chemicals are needed because the TDS will be removed before scale has time to build up.
Modular or Free-standing
Some kitchen boilers are modular to fit in with existing kitchen equipment, while others are free-standing. The free-standing versions typically have a cabinet base and can start with a spark pilot ignition or an electronic switch. These units are usually 24 or 36 inches wide and have a stainless steel exterior.
The steam output per hour will vary depending upon the number of BTU or KW rating of the steamer. To determine the number of pounds of steam pressure per hour the steamer will generate, simply multiply the horsepower by 34.5. We offer units that range from 88-180 pounds per hour.
Heat and Gas Type
Steam generators are fired using LP (liquified petroleum), NG (natural gas), or electricity. LP units burn quickly and efficiently, but require tanks to store the fuel. NG units burn efficiently as well, but your utility provider may not be able to offer access to natural gas lines. Electric models may not be quite as efficient, but they are generally pretty flexible in terms of placement. Any of these options can power a steam coil which may be preferred if you are powering or heating multiple devices, because this type of generator is better equipped to handle fluctuating temperatures.
A Note on Water Quality
It is important to use water that is clean, potable, and fairly soft. These units require regular maintenance, even when using filtered water. The constant boiling of water will cause scaling, which can ultimately void your warranty. It also imperative that these units are not made with solid connections to floor drains. Most of them are accessible from the front for easy repairs and maintenance.