Blowdown tanks and blowdown separators are both important components in boilers, and you might wonder just exactly what these crucial parts do. Many people incorrectly assume that they serve the same or similar purposes, but they have some key differences that are worth noting. Here we’ll discuss the differences between a blowdown separator and a blowdown tank.

Blowdown Separators

Let’s start by discussing what exactly blowdown separators do as part of the boiler assembly makeup. Simply put, blowdown separators are designed to take hot water from the blowdown process and make it adequate for proper disposal. These work by separating steam from hot water so pressure can be removed from the water and it can then be properly cooled.

Blowdown Tanks

Over time, particulate is likely to build up in a boiler unit. Like anything, this build-up can be managed and maintained with a bit of maintenance. That’s where a boiler blowdown system comes in handy, as it helps remove dissolved and suspended mineral solids, which then travel into the blowdown tank. Regularly cleaning a blowdown tank can help your boiler last longer and avoid premature failure or unplanned downtime. 

When water is blown down into the tank, it will sit there for a period of several hours until it is cool enough for disposal. You can clean the blowdown tank and dispose of the water after it has cooled.

Key Differences Between Blowdown Separators and Blowdown Tanks

The biggest difference between a blowdown separator and a blowdown tank is how they work to cool the boiler’s water. With a separator, cool water is used to immediately bring the hot boiler blowdown to a safe temperature. An aftercooler is usually needed to perform this cooling process completely. The cooling water, however, isn’t able to be recovered. It drains with the hot water from the boiler blowdown.

There are a few other differences worth noting between the two devices. First, blowdown separators are much more compact than tanks. Second, separators are much more affordable, as they tend to cost less than blowdown tanks.

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