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sucking dirt...

Timco Member Posts: 3,040
I am looking at a steamer next week and the complaint is that it is sucking dirt into the boiler and causing it to shut down. Will a thermal camera find the rotted return under the slab? No details yet about the job...just an appointment on the desk....

Just a guy running some pipes.


  • Steamhead (in transit)
    Steamhead (in transit) Member Posts: 6,688
    It might

    if you know what to look for.

    Dan once wrote about two novel techniques for locating leaks in radiant floors. In one, a lady mopped her floor and then turned up the heat. The floor dried in a perfect grid, except for a big bulge where the leak was.

    In the other, the contractors took their cat, "Lucky", to the customer's house and let him search for the warmest spot on the floor. When he lay down, they knew where to dig.

    With a thermal imager, you'd be looking for a more-or-less straight line of heat where the pipe is. The leak would show up as a bulge or something similar. But no matter where the leak is found to be, we'd still replace the entire return.

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  • Timco
    Timco Member Posts: 3,040

    As it was explained, the return has been repaired once years ago, and now has a second bad spot. I of course will explain the advantage of a total replacement, but it runs through a few different apartments. I will be watching to see if the system is even capable of pressurizing...not that there should be any pressure in the return...but I may have a few dozen traps to replace while I am there....

    Just a guy running some pipes.
  • Isolate the return?

    I'd cut it loose at both ends, cap it and then try to pressurize it to see if it holds. Concur on replacing the whole thing if it is leaking. Chances are if you fix one spot it'll only find another spot to leak. Do it right, just once. Reminds me of many years ago, digging for days in the sand in a 4' crawl space under a mansion in Palm Beach, FL to expose the returns for replacement. Yea, we had fun. ;)
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