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How Do I Drain This Boiler?

Amycat
Amycat Member Posts: 4
Purchased a house with a one-pipe steam system fed by a gas boiler. There is a hot water baseboard radiator loop coming off the boiler to heat the basement (separate thermostat, have never turned the basement heat on).



A plumber -- not the one who installed the boiler, that was done under the previous owner -- said that I should drain the HW tank every three months and the boiler every month. How to do the former is obvious; I'm a bit confused about the latter.



One one side of the boiler are two spigots with a pump in the middle -- the hot water pipe. If I open up either spigot I get rusty water coming out. On the other side of the boiler is another pipe, closer to the floor, with a spigot and an additional shut off valve (pipe is partly insulated and runs between two bricks in photo). I haven't touched the spigot on this side.



Should I drain the boiler via the hot water loop? If so, does it matter which spigot? Or is there something I need to open up at the bottom of the boiler itself, behind the access panel, in order to drain it? Finally, how much water should I drain out -- should I let it run until no more water else comes out? Is there something else that needs to be done to get the gunk out of the very bottom of the boiler?



Given what I've discovered so far (very rusty water in the gauge glass, pressuretrol set to 2.5-3.5, lots of hammering in the radiators, etc.), I don't trust the previous owner to have performed basic upkeep on the boiler, so I'm trying to play catch up.

Comments

  • Dave in QCA
    Dave in QCA Member Posts: 1,764
    Oh My!!

    Where to begin?  



    Yes, you can drain at that drain valve, but... there are so many errors in the piping of this boiler...  



    I have to go to work, but I am trusting that some of the others will chime in very soon with advice.
    Dave in Quad Cities, America
    Weil-McLain 680 with Riello 2-stage burner, December 2012. Firing rate=375MBH Low, 690MBH Hi.
    System = Early Dunham 2-pipe Vacuo-Vapor (inlet and outlet both at bottom of radiators) Traps are Dunham #2 rebuilt w. Barnes-Jones Cage Units, Dunham-Bush 1E, Mepco 1E, and Armstrong TS-2. All valves haveTunstall orifices sized at 8 oz.
    Current connected load EDR= 1,259 sq ft, Original system EDR = 2,100 sq ft Vaporstat, 13 oz cutout, 4 oz cutin - Temp. control Tekmar 279.
    http://grandviewdavenport.com
  • Amycat
    Amycat Member Posts: 4
    Which valve?

    Yes, I assumed there was a piping problem as soon as I saw the copper pipes and the pressuretrol setting. It clued me in not to use the previous owner's plumber who did the installation.



    Which valve do you mean -- the one closest to the floor (won't that mean the entire baseboard loop will drain first?) or the one with the black knob between the boiler and the baseboard loop pump? If the latter, what about getting rid of gunk in the bottom of the boiler?



    Thanks.



    Thanks.
  • Dave in QCA
    Dave in QCA Member Posts: 1,764
    closest to the boiler

    Hopefully, that will tend to flush out the bottom "mud leg" of the boiler.  However, it is also on your hot water line, and it will tend to drain that too.  Not a good situation.
    Dave in Quad Cities, America
    Weil-McLain 680 with Riello 2-stage burner, December 2012. Firing rate=375MBH Low, 690MBH Hi.
    System = Early Dunham 2-pipe Vacuo-Vapor (inlet and outlet both at bottom of radiators) Traps are Dunham #2 rebuilt w. Barnes-Jones Cage Units, Dunham-Bush 1E, Mepco 1E, and Armstrong TS-2. All valves haveTunstall orifices sized at 8 oz.
    Current connected load EDR= 1,259 sq ft, Original system EDR = 2,100 sq ft Vaporstat, 13 oz cutout, 4 oz cutin - Temp. control Tekmar 279.
    http://grandviewdavenport.com
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