In the various industries, steam boilers are used to provide heat and/or energy to the various processing operations. In a drum-type boiler, the water, through natural circulation in the boiler tubes, returns as a hot-water and steam mixture to the steam drum, while the solids accumulate in the mud drum. The greatest heat loss in boilers results from the exit of hot flue gases. This heat can be partially recovered by economizers and air preheaters. The cleanliness of the water side of the tubes is protected by automatic blowdown controls, while soot and fly-ash accumulation on the fire side is removed by automatically sequenced, retractable soot blowers. Boiler efficiency is also affected by buildup on the heat transfer surfaces. The optimization of the water side of a steam generator includes the optimized operation of the feedwater pump, the condensate return system, and the boiler blowdown.