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Steam treatment or just water

Bob W._3
Bob W._3 Member Posts: 561
I would be careful about what you put in your Weil, since it has the elastomeric seals. There is a recent post here about leaking W-M's, maybe due to seals going bad.

FWIW, the water in my old W-M isn't the best. I get a lot of mud every time I blow down the LWCO. Its a 95+ year old system. As long as the water doesn't surge or dance in the glass I don't worry about it.

As for steam in general, you might end up like me, telling everyone you meet about your system, not noticing when their eyes start to glaze over, etc. :)

Comments

  • Steve Garson_2
    Steve Garson_2 Member Posts: 708
    Steam treatment or just water

    I'm putting a lot of time into repeatedly skimming my new boiler to eliminate what appears to be wet steam. A recent poster on this site suggested using a boiler cleaner. The Weil McLain manual suggests water.

    The new boiler was cleaned with TSP and skimmed by the contractor this summer. I have skimmed and drained several times, once with TSP for 2 hours. Now I am skimming two or three gallons every Saturday and Sunday.

    My boiler has drain valves at the end of the wet return and the bottom of the boiler. Should I be draining these as well?

    Should I just keep doing what I am doing for another few weekends, or should I do something differently? It doesn't seem like I should need to keep doing this for so long. Its a WM SGO-4. Works fine except for hissing on a few radiators. I just want the system to be quiet like it was with the old boiler. All vents are Gortons and the mains have Gortons as well.

    Steve
    Steve from Denver, CO
  • don_52
    don_52 Member Posts: 199
    At wits end?

    Steve, you poor guy, here let's review, okay?

    Steve asks;

    My boiler has drain valves at the end of the wet return and the bottom of the boiler. Should I be draining these as well?

    Keith replied;

    Have you dumped the entire system and started from scratch several times?

    Preventing sediment from entering the boiler thru the wet returns is key. It's a lot easier to get it out of the pipe than out of the the boiler.

    Alot depends on the individual system and how well it's been maintained along the way. If you are performing triage on a system that nobody has touched in 30 years it's going to take a while.

    Steve responded;

    Yeah, nobody did anything on the system for probably 50 years. New boiler installed this summer.

    Before installation, I cleaned the wet return with high pressure water and flushed it out completely.

    db wrote previously;

    As the season progresses the system will literally "steam clean itself.

    Just keep an eye on it and do what your doing for awhile and you'll get to the point where it only need be done once a week or so.

    Okay Steve, what we have is a system that was neglected to
    a system that's being maintained, so why the big suprise?

    Such was my own experience, did the same things you did, even moved rads / valves and flushed.

    Geuss what? right, still got crud, same situation, neglected
    to maintained, took a little better than half the season to get to the point of "normal".

    This year, after cleaning the "entire system" , I have only
    given it a condesate dump, quick skim, and a "real" bottom
    blow down and a "real" surface blowoff, I can do this because that's the way it was installed, per my request.

    Your boiler is clean, the schmoozt you a seeing is returning from the system due to 50 years of neglect.

    I know this is a royal pain, there's no way to hurry this
    process, it'll "get clean when it does", have patience, faith and a couple of adult beverages and you'll be fine.

    Hang in there and happy steaming, db

  • Steve Garson_2
    Steve Garson_2 Member Posts: 708


    DB:

    Thanks for the insight. I'm OK doing it as long as I know that it's the right thing to do. Has become sort of a hobby. I've even installed an time interval meter attached to the burner relay to keep a log of burner run time versus degree days/wind/sun. I tell my kids that this is my real world science experiment. Everyone in my neighborhood has the exact same steam systems with 70 year old boilers. After this season, I'll have accurate data to tell them exactly how much I saved on oil consumption.

    So it sounds like boiler treatment is not the way to go. Just keep skimming, right?
    Steve from Denver, CO
  • John Van Hoesen
    John Van Hoesen Member Posts: 91
    I feel your pain...

    Hi Steve -

    I too have joined the latest crazy of boiler skimming for fun! :) I too spend my weekends cleaning sediment and rust out of my boiler... I too 5 gallon buckets up the stairs and I too want to shoot the previous homeowner. :)

    Just wanted you to know there are others out there fighting the good fight too.

    cheers
    J~
  • gerry gill
    gerry gill Member Posts: 3,077
    gwgillplumbingandheating.com
    Serving Cleveland's eastern suburbs from Cleveland Heights down to Cuyahoga Falls.

  • Steve Garson_2
    Steve Garson_2 Member Posts: 708


    Top of watch glass always get water droplets coming down. My radiators hiss when the boiler comes up to steam, even with good insulation and Gorton vents.
    Steve from Denver, CO
  • gerry gill
    gerry gill Member Posts: 3,077
    gwgillplumbingandheating.com
    Serving Cleveland's eastern suburbs from Cleveland Heights down to Cuyahoga Falls.

  • Sal Brunetto
    Sal Brunetto Member Posts: 14
    Weil-McLain

    Wet steam can be caused by many factors.

    We recommend not putting any chemicals in your boiler system.

    As for skimming, make sure you are not producing steam. Modulate the firing of the boiler such that the water is kept around 180F or so. While boiler is warm but not HOT, drain through the drain valve. Remove skim piping, close drain and fill. Steam for 15 minutes check operation of traps and vents.

    Sal Brunetto
    Weil-McLain
    631-672-4223
  • Steve Garson_2
    Steve Garson_2 Member Posts: 708


    Sal:

    When you say drain, do you mean I should drain the boiler from the bottom drain each time after skimming, or do you mean drain through the skim tapping. I'm doing the skimming at 180* using the hi-limit control for the water loop.
    Steve from Denver, CO
  • Sal Brunetto
    Sal Brunetto Member Posts: 14
    re:

    drain thru the drain valve after your skimming session
  • Steve Garson_2
    Steve Garson_2 Member Posts: 708


    Thanks for clarifying that.
    Steve from Denver, CO
  • Sal Brunetto
    Sal Brunetto Member Posts: 14


    You might want to test some of the water you're skimming off by boiling it on the stove. That way, you can check for foaming or oil residue.

    Just don't let your significant other catch you using the good pan for boiling boiler water. lol
  • Steve Garson_2
    Steve Garson_2 Member Posts: 708


    So I skimmed my boiler for 90 minutes today. Ran the water very slowly continuously while draining from the skim tap. All the while, the boiler was at 180*. Then I drained the boiler from the valve at the drain tap. Also drained the wet return (clear).

    Took some water from the skimming and boiled on the stove. Could not really see any oily residue. The water was a very slight tan color. When boiling. it really didn't foam, but how much foam are we talking about to know the boiler needs more cleaning? These are subtleties that this homeowner needs some help with. To nice a day to be skimming my boiler.
    Steve from Denver, CO
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