Many homes and factories use oil fired boilers for heating water. This water is then circulated through a system of pipes and radiators in order to warm up the enclosed areas in the buildings.
The business end of a boiler can be said to be the burner. This is where the oil is mixed with air and burnt to provide heat that is accepted by a heat exchanger and transferred to the water in the exchanger.
The Heat Exchanger
In an oil fired hot water boiler the heat exchanger is a tightly coiled copper pipe which is exposed to the heat of the flame created by burning the oil and air mixture. The copper pipe presents a relatively large surface area to the heat and the water flowing through it is heated by a form of conduction.
Although there will be a convection current set up as the water heats it will not generate the speed that is required to keep the water circulating through the heat exchanger. To create the flow of water a pump is used. It is possible that if the pump failed the water in the heat exchanger would turn to steam and either burst the pipes or the pipes could start to melt.
As well as being one of the most important aspects of modern living, an oil fired boiler is also relatively simple.