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Using Cascade dishwashing liquid to clean boiler before draining

gerry gillgerry gill Member Posts: 2,663
tsp with great results..i've known people to use cascade also with great results.

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  • Chris MChris M Member Posts: 67
    Cascade Dishwashing Liquid and Cast Iron

    I heard that in addition to skimming a residential steam boiler, a few ounces of Cascade dishwashing liquid could be added to the water so that after a couple of cycles, the soapy water would help clean out the pipes, rads, and boiler before draining and refilling. Has anyone on the list done this or heard of this? Are there any corrosion issues associated with the chemicals in Cascade dishwashing liquid making contact with the cast iron innards of the boiler? This is a residential, Burnham Megasteam oil fired steam boiler.
  • I wouldn`t do-it,

    whoever told you that must have worked for P&G.
    Soap in a heating system will linger forever, you`ll never get it out, adding another cause for "priming & foaming".
    I`d say skim-it the regular way.

    If Lawrence Welk were still alive, he would likely differ though! ;-)

  • Ted RobinsonTed Robinson Member Posts: 126
    Cold skimming rules!

    My third try at skimming our new boiler installation was done by the slow, cold method, and it appeared to be successful at quieting down the surging issues.
  • Charlie from wmassCharlie from wmass Member Posts: 3,911

    cascade should not foam as it is for a dish washer. Now Dawn would be an issue.
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

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  • Gerry

    I prefer TSP too, just try not to get caught dumping-it though. :-)
    Cascade is a new-one on me, if it steamed and made it out into the system, would it not be a nightmare to eventually rid it?

  • Dan C.Dan C. Member Posts: 228

    I don't know about cascade, but I have a customer that put simple green in their boiler and it was an absolute nightmare to stop the smell from coming out of the vents. I think I eventually got it out but they also sold the house, so I will never know. I have always skimmed with no chemicals and had GREAT results until recently for some reason, now I have to go back several times for.

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  • nicholas bonham-carternicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 6,535
    cleanliness next to godliness

    peerless boiler co. specify arm & hammer washing soda for the first cleanning followed by a long skimming. the cold water entering the boiler slowly will push the hot soda + oil out through the skimming port. when the water runs cold all the old water has been drained off the top.

    obviously the washing soda is not going to get into the steam mains, and rads; unless someone has a heavy hand on the burner switch.--nbc
  • jimscoutjimscout Member Posts: 11
    Boiler cleaning

    I found on "new install, adding some liquid Tide(Not much)with the TSP for boil out is amazing, no oil left in that puppy.
  • gerry gillgerry gill Member Posts: 2,663
    you should

    be able to (thru the creative use of valves) be able to steam the boiler and waste the returning condensate to a drain if any made it to the system..i've not had any problems with soap going up in the system tho..we put a strap on aquastat on the riser and once the boiler is steaming it shuts off the fire..this way we get a hot skim without our attendance..and we do this all day so maybe we do it long enough to get lucky and get everything out..

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  • kpckpc Member Posts: 18
    how much...

    is not much?
  • The Boiler Dr.The Boiler Dr. Member Posts: 163

    I have used liquid TSP from HD. It is "supposed to be" a greener consumer product. Had to complete the process at least three times on a 45HP steamer but so far all is good.
  • cmanneringcmannering Member Posts: 11

    Thanks for the replies, all, but for those swearing by the skimming process... I've skimmed it about 4 times now- hot skimming, cold skimming, draining afterwards and refilling. Each time, the boiler ran silently (no water hammer whatsoever) for about 1.5 weeks, and the water level stays at or near the half mark on the sight glass. After that 1.5 week timeframe, the hammer slowly begins to appear and gets worse, and the water level in the sight glass goes closer to the bottom as the boiler reaches it's peak. This is why I'm assuming that "new dirt" is making it's way from all rads, risers, and main back to the boiler as time goes on, and figured that a good soapy cleaning would get all the dirt in the system better disolved, and down to the boiler where I can skim it ONE LAST TIME. Is my thinking flawed? Also does anyone know if any corrosive effects will be hastened by using Cascade or any other dishwashing liquids, which I understand are by nature not engineered to foam when used?
  • nicholas bonham-carternicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 6,535
    boiler cleaning

    why not contact the mfg of your boiler, and ask them for recommendations. as i said above, peerless specifies using arm & hammer.--nbc
  • MikeMike Member Posts: 16

    Yah. The "liquid" is simply diluted, powdered, full strength TSP. Stick with the granulated/powdered stuff. Still widely available, Savorin (sp?) being a prime vendor.
  • MikeMike Member Posts: 16

  • MikeMike Member Posts: 16

    A few manufacturers appear to be using water-based cutting oils. The detergent required to put normal cutting oil into suspension is still best IMO.

    Either way, water based or petrol/paraffin based - TSP is 100% effective.
  • Skimming and cleaning

    2 different processes . Skimming is primarily for removing oil floating on top the water in the boiler . Usually done after a replacement steamer or when new piping or rads are added . Once the oil is out , skimming really isn't necessary till oil is introduced again .

    The trick to cleaning the piping is to isolate the boiler from the system . To do it you need a purge on the return - an isolation valve and drain . Preferrably a purge station for each return if there's more than one . We drain the boiler , add a mild cleaner , refill and let 'er steam up . With the return valves closed and the return drain open with a washing machine hose on it , we do the waiting game . For a while nothing will come out . Then some cold condensate . Then some hot , chocolatey mucky goop . It'll usually take a good hour or 2 before the condensate runs clean . You'll even push steam through the wet returns .

    All the muck that gets cleaned out of the return pipes would wind up in the boiler if it wasn't flushed . And this method is alot easier than trying to clean all that ooze exclusively from the skim port .
  • World PlumberWorld Plumber Member Posts: 389
    Arm & Hammer Washing Soda

    Peerless' suggestion of using the Arm & Hammer washing Soda made me curious. So on my last install I did my standard skiming until everything was all clear. I then added the washing soda as per Peerless' instructions. I was not prepared for what I saw next. Out came a good gallon or more of a liquid chocolate or brown tar consistancy stuff. I mean there was a lot and it looked putrid. I finished by draining refilling and a final skim that was clear from the get go. The water line has remained steady since October.
    Peerless sold me on the washing soda. Much quicker and more effective.
  • jimscoutjimscout Member Posts: 11
    How Much?

    I learned from an old Engineer that one pound of TSP(dry) for every 50 gallons of water.The problem there is its harder and harder to find dry TSP; try a paint Wholesaler first.(or an old engineer with a garage.) I always add about one loads worth of Liquid Tide for every 75 gallons of water.
    These are for larger boilers with a lot of storage, so use your own discretion. We isolate the main,fill the boiler completely and with a managable manual valve up high; discharginging to a safe spot, and a slow,slow fill;let the skimming begin. If you can flood the new main without sending it out of the boiler room, that will also help with that nasty "near oil".
    I have also had good luck,adding all the mix, flood it and then running up to just shy of steaming and then let it sit and cook for a day before draining.(can stain the sight glass a bit)
  • mikemike Member Posts: 675
    savogran's powdered tsp, as of

    a couple years ago, haven't bought any for a while, was readily available from depot/lowes, or just about any good paint/hardware store etc
  • Steam Boiler Cleaner

    Rhomar Water Management has a cleaner specifically formulated for cleaning cast iron steam boilers. The product is called Hydro-Solv 9150 and contains cleaning additives for cutting oils and tapping fluids along with scale and sludge dispersants, oxygen scavenger and steam line cleaner. I have attempted to attach a product flyer. If it doesn't work, you can find information at Rhomar also has a steam boiler treatment additive called Boiler Pro 903.

    Constantly blowing down a steam boiler without treatment can accelerate corrosion due to low pH and oxygen (iron likes a high pH). The Boiler Pro 903 can help to prevent this. P.S. You can determine when to do a blowdown by measuring the dissolved solids with a conductivity meter. Blow down when the conductivity reaches 3500 - 4000 on the meter. Excess blowdown with hard water makeup can cause scale formation on the heat exchange surfaces which lowers efficiency and raises fuel bills. Too little blowdown can cause foaming and surging and buildup in the steam lines and radiators which can also cause banging and popping noise when heating. Large amounts of bottom sludge can also cause loud noise as the water super heats to steam and then bursts through the sludge.

  • Ted RobinsonTed Robinson Member Posts: 126
    Washing Soda also raises ph

    It takes very little washing soda to raise the ph of a small boiler, to 9.0, or so. And I believe that is a good thing for cast iron.
  • tim smithtim smith Member Posts: 2,226
    We skimmed and flushed our last steamer probably 6 times and

    still were have low water trip outs. Finally disconnected return line, dumped condensate for about 3 days to drain and then reconnected. Voilla, she works. Thank goodness.
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