What is a Boilerhouse?

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  • Written By: C. Daw
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 19 October 2019
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The boilerhouse plays a vital role in the overall dynamics of a ship because it contains various numbers of controls for the boilers, each with different functions and purposes. The fundamental function of the boiler is to convert water into steam, and there are a number of different boiler controls within the boilerhouse of the ship. Each specific unit completes a different, but important task and they are contained inside of this one room so that safety is maximized and the ease of access is increased.

The fireroom is a major part of the boiler system of a ship. It contains different boilers, and the operating station for the ignition of the boilers. On the other hand, the boiler room only contains the boilers, but not the operating and heat generating stations. The main machinery boiler section includes the two functions mentioned in the compartments discussed above, and also contains central propulsion engines. The operating station is used for the purpose of operating the boilers by providing necessary steam or heat, which is usually located within the boilerhouse.


There are various factors which determine the reliability and efficiency of the boilers. Steaming hours is an important concept, which is the term used to describe the fire lightening of the boiler, until the fires are intentionally held. Boiler capacity is a very useful aspect as well. It actually determines the overall efficiency and power capacity of the boilerhouse. It can be defined as the amount of heat, or steam, generated per hour, considering the temperature and pressure requirements of the specific operations. The boiler power capacity is often mentioned in the contract of the purchase of a ship.

Boiler overload capacity is a factor related to the full power capacity of the boiler. It is the overloading ability of it. The capacity depends upon the firing rate, or ignition rate. The steam pressure drum holds the pressure which is being employed for the necessary operations in the boiler steam drum, and the super heater outlet pressure is used for the super heater outlets. The final pressure that applies to these two separate ones is the constant pressure which is operating pressure in technical terms.

Boilers are classified into several types, considering their operating needs and requirements, and are controlled from within the boilerhouse. By considering their operations, the boilers are classified into two major types: propulsion boilers and auxiliary boilers. Propulsion boilers are used to provide steam, propel the ships forward, and for other purposes. On the other hand, auxiliary boilers are found in the fuel driven ships, which boilers use for purposes like heating, cooking, and various other tasks.


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