Steam boilers are one of the most essential and critical components of a hospital central utility plant. Steam is essential for hospitals because it provides the most cost effective means of delivering building heating and steam for essential sterilization processes. Steam boilers in hospitals provide a myriad of uses, such as building heating, domestic hot water, steam laundry requirements, and steam for sterilization processes. The importance of steam boilers for hospital process is further confirmed by the Joint Commissioning requirement of N+1 for boilers in hospital central utility plants.
ASHRAE life expectancy of steam boilers is 35 years. Most healthcare facilities that I have surveyed consist of boilers that were over 35 years old, but in spite of their age, they were still operating and fulfilling the hospital steam requirements. Cleaver Brooks has conducted several surveys of hospitals and estimates that approximately 70% of the boilers that are installed in hospitals are more than 30 years old.