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Cast Iron Fittings

Can I/should I use cast iron fittings on condensate return?
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Comments

  • ChrisJChrisJ Posts: 3,377Member ✭✭✭
    Just a homeowner, NOT A PRO.

    but I think you can use almost anything as long as it is metal for this.



    Personally I used copper below the water line.
    Weil-McLain EG-40 connected to 392sqft of radiation via two 2" risers into a 3" drop header and 2" equalizer. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment Typical operating pressure 0.5 - 1.0 inch wc.

    Steam system pictures updated 1/25/15.
    https://picasaweb.google.com/thetube0a3/Boiler?authkey=Gv1sRgCImUxIqv9436MQ#

    Don't push the envelope, eliminate it.
    · ·
  • RodRod Posts: 2,067
    Return Piping

    The pros seem to be split on this. Some use black pipe and cast iron fittings on the wet return and some use copper. Iron has the advantage in that its walls are thicker so can tolerate some corrosion. Copper piping has the advantage that it stays cleaner internally as crud doesn't stick to it like it can with black pipe. (We're only discussing piping below the boiler's waterline as pipes bearing steam should be black pipe with threaded cast iron fittings)  I would make sure that any Wet Return pipe you install is not placed straight on the basement floor but raised a bit. I used 3/4 inch wood blocks with a piece of plastic I cut out of a plastic milk bottle between the wood and the pipe. The reason you want to raise the pipe is a lot of the basement floors in old houses are composed of fly ash for the coal boiler days. This, when it gets damp, is very acidic and can eat through a pipe (especially copper) very quickly. I replaced my return piping with copper and have been very happy with it.

    - Rod
    · ·
  • JStarJStar Posts: 2,399Member ✭✭✭
    Return

    Honestly, I only use black pipe and cast iron on the return for the looks. It keeps my entire near-boiler looking clean and neat. I hate the way a copper return looks attached to a beautiful black-pipe header. The copper also always seems to get stained and dirty looking over the years. Plus, I've never had one of my own black fittings leak. I've had plenty of copper joints leak.
    - Joe Starosielec
    732-494-4357
    j.star@thatcherhvac.com
    http://thatcherhvac.com
    http://facebook.com/thatcherhvac

    Guaranteed performance. Guaranteed energy savings.
    Serving all of NJ, NYC, Southern NY State, and eastern PA.
    Consultation anywhere.
    · ·
  • ChrisJChrisJ Posts: 3,377Member ✭✭✭
    Uhoh

    Jstar " I've never had one of my own black fittings leak. I've had plenty of copper joints leak."



    Not sure how to take this? I can only assume you're talking about threaded joints and not soldered?
    Weil-McLain EG-40 connected to 392sqft of radiation via two 2" risers into a 3" drop header and 2" equalizer. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment Typical operating pressure 0.5 - 1.0 inch wc.

    Steam system pictures updated 1/25/15.
    https://picasaweb.google.com/thetube0a3/Boiler?authkey=Gv1sRgCImUxIqv9436MQ#

    Don't push the envelope, eliminate it.
    · ·
  • PMJPMJ Posts: 213Member ✭✭
    Return

    Use black pipe and cast fittings. Mine is 85 years old and still yet to have its first issue.
    · ·
  • ChrisJChrisJ Posts: 3,377Member ✭✭✭
    edited September 2013
    wet return

    My iron wet return was the first thing to go as it was clogged with gunk.

    Condensate is very acidic and it doesn't get along with steel and iron as well as it does with copper.



    All my dry returns are iron and have no problems.
    Post edited by ChrisJ on
    Weil-McLain EG-40 connected to 392sqft of radiation via two 2" risers into a 3" drop header and 2" equalizer. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment Typical operating pressure 0.5 - 1.0 inch wc.

    Steam system pictures updated 1/25/15.
    https://picasaweb.google.com/thetube0a3/Boiler?authkey=Gv1sRgCImUxIqv9436MQ#

    Don't push the envelope, eliminate it.
    · ·
  • PMJPMJ Posts: 213Member ✭✭
    Acidic?

    Have you measured the PH? Since the tap water starts you off at 7 where is the acid coming from? I would worry about my boiler if my water was acidic. Commercial boilers are maintained with high PH chemicals to be sure they are not acidic.
    · ·
  • ChrisJChrisJ Posts: 3,377Member ✭✭✭
    edited September 2013
    PH

    I maintain my boiler water around a PH of 9.

    Last time I checked my wet return it was around a 5 or 6 if I recall. I don't have the article handy right now but return water is always acidic. I believe it has to do with carbon dioxide dissolving in the water as it cools returning to the boiler but don't quote me on that.



    This is why it is important to insulate returns.



    This is also why boiler water may start out as 7, but over time will drop. I also check the TDS of my boiler water and wet return. For example if my boiler water has a TDS of 500 and my wet return shows a TDS of 1, to me, that suggests I am producing very dry steam. If the TDS in the wet return is higher it means I have carry over. This is my understanding of it and may not be totally correct but it seems to work.
    Post edited by ChrisJ on
    Weil-McLain EG-40 connected to 392sqft of radiation via two 2" risers into a 3" drop header and 2" equalizer. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment Typical operating pressure 0.5 - 1.0 inch wc.

    Steam system pictures updated 1/25/15.
    https://picasaweb.google.com/thetube0a3/Boiler?authkey=Gv1sRgCImUxIqv9436MQ#

    Don't push the envelope, eliminate it.
    · ·
  • JStarJStar Posts: 2,399Member ✭✭✭
    Leaks

    Correct.



    And now that I've said it...it's going to happen.
    - Joe Starosielec
    732-494-4357
    j.star@thatcherhvac.com
    http://thatcherhvac.com
    http://facebook.com/thatcherhvac

    Guaranteed performance. Guaranteed energy savings.
    Serving all of NJ, NYC, Southern NY State, and eastern PA.
    Consultation anywhere.
    · ·
  • ChrisJChrisJ Posts: 3,377Member ✭✭✭
    edited September 2013
    leaks

    Ever since I started using megalock dope and blue monster tape together on my threaded joints I have not had a leak. Before that I hated threaded connections.



    On iron pipe I only use the dope except if I'm going into an old iron fitting like on a steam main, then I'll use both.
    Post edited by ChrisJ on
    Weil-McLain EG-40 connected to 392sqft of radiation via two 2" risers into a 3" drop header and 2" equalizer. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment Typical operating pressure 0.5 - 1.0 inch wc.

    Steam system pictures updated 1/25/15.
    https://picasaweb.google.com/thetube0a3/Boiler?authkey=Gv1sRgCImUxIqv9436MQ#

    Don't push the envelope, eliminate it.
    · ·
  • BobCBobC Posts: 2,672Member ✭✭✭
    Maybe

    it would be worth adding say 1/8 of a steam master tablet to the wet return to de-acidify it?



    BTW have you seen anyplace online selling the steam master tablets?



    Bob
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
    · ·
  • ChrisJChrisJ Posts: 3,377Member ✭✭✭
    steamaster tablets

    Hi Bob,



    Not yet no. I'm considering switching to Rhomar's product at one point as their products seem easier to get.



    http://www.amazon.com/RHOMAR-WATER-MGT-INC-Treatment/dp/B005E0MKF4



    They also seem to have awesome support if you have any questions.
    Weil-McLain EG-40 connected to 392sqft of radiation via two 2" risers into a 3" drop header and 2" equalizer. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment Typical operating pressure 0.5 - 1.0 inch wc.

    Steam system pictures updated 1/25/15.
    https://picasaweb.google.com/thetube0a3/Boiler?authkey=Gv1sRgCImUxIqv9436MQ#

    Don't push the envelope, eliminate it.
    · ·
  • PMJPMJ Posts: 213Member ✭✭
    PH

    I've never checked my PH and I have never added anything. I am quite sure that the Bryant manual says under normal operation no additives are necessary. Water in sight glass is clear and returns as old as they are never clogged up. I think problems increase rapidly if there is much makeup water required as the new water brings in oxygen and minerals.
    · ·
  • ChrisJChrisJ Posts: 3,377Member ✭✭✭
    edited September 2013
    water treatment to wet return

    After thinking about it for a bit Bob I've come to the conclusion adding treatment to the wet return won't help.



    You have a slow but constant flow towards the boiler. The treatment will end up in the boiler and the wet return will end up plain distilled water again.





    PMJ, you have never checked your PH? I highly recommend you do so. I'm also sure Bryant says to use necessary treatment for your water which includes monitoring PH levels and there are reasons for this. On a vacuum system contamination may be much slower than a single pipe but it likely still takes place.
    Post edited by ChrisJ on
    Weil-McLain EG-40 connected to 392sqft of radiation via two 2" risers into a 3" drop header and 2" equalizer. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment Typical operating pressure 0.5 - 1.0 inch wc.

    Steam system pictures updated 1/25/15.
    https://picasaweb.google.com/thetube0a3/Boiler?authkey=Gv1sRgCImUxIqv9436MQ#

    Don't push the envelope, eliminate it.
    · ·
  • PMJPMJ Posts: 213Member ✭✭
    check ph

    I will check it and report back.

    The boiler is over 50 years old and the piping over 80. I have not drained the boiler or used any additives in the 21 years I have been the one running it. Never had a reason to. I just opened a boiler drain valve the other day to look - 1 second of rust then clear as always. Bottom line, ultra low pressure in a system tight enough to hold vacuum means ultra low water losses and negligible makeup water.



    BTW, I do treat the water in my 200HP boiler at the plant. There are losses with process steam and significant makeup water. It is the makeup water that drives the need to treat and blowdown.
    · ·
  • ChrisJChrisJ Posts: 3,377Member ✭✭✭
    Not fair

    See that just isn't fair.

    The boilers like yours don't rott like the modern ones. My neighbor has an old American radiator boiler and before I started working on the system he was dumping gallons a week into it due to leaks. It just keeps going, no problems.



    If I did that to my boiler it would be rotted in a year or two.
    Weil-McLain EG-40 connected to 392sqft of radiation via two 2" risers into a 3" drop header and 2" equalizer. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment Typical operating pressure 0.5 - 1.0 inch wc.

    Steam system pictures updated 1/25/15.
    https://picasaweb.google.com/thetube0a3/Boiler?authkey=Gv1sRgCImUxIqv9436MQ#

    Don't push the envelope, eliminate it.
    · ·
  • PMJPMJ Posts: 213Member ✭✭
    Yea I'd Hate to lose it

    And I am afraid it is as you say. Refrigerators too. And concrete. Why is it that we collectively accept this steady decline? In exchange for lower up front cost? The long term annual cost only ends up higher for everyone this way.
    · ·
  • PMJPMJ Posts: 213Member ✭✭
    Checked the PH

    Tonight I drained some water from the bottom of the boiler and checked the PH. It was 8.9.

    That is many times boiled tap water in a cast iron system with no additives.



    The Bryant manual said newly installed boilers sometimes need considerable cleaning, skimming and blow down and stressed the importance of making sure all cleaning chemicals were totally removed. From there it said fill with clear tap water. The recommended PH was 7-8. It also said a boiler should "never" be drained between seasons and if it ever was because the water had become dirty somehow that it needed to be fired immediately to remove all the oxygen.
    · ·
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