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Water in feed pipe?

Hi.  I have a question regarding my steam heat system.  As I understand it, there is a feed pipe which carries steam from the boiler to the radiators, and then a return pipe that carries the condensed water from the radiators back to the boiler. 

Lately, I keep hearing a water swooshing sound coming from the feed pipe that heads off to feed the house.  It happens every few seconds when the boiler is running.  It sounds like something is trying to push water through that pipe. 

The radiators do emit heat, but I'm concerned there may be water where there shouldn't.  Is something wrong?


  • gerry gill
    gerry gill Member Posts: 3,078
    sound like you may

    have seriously dirty water that is being thrown up into the pipes with the steam..or way to high a boiler water level..thats at quick 'glance'..does your boiler water bounce around the sight glass?
    Serving Cleveland's eastern suburbs from Cleveland Heights down to Cuyahoga Falls.

  • rudnicke
    rudnicke Member Posts: 2

    When the boiler runs, I do see the water level in the sight glass bouncing up and down.

    Our water in the area has a lot of lime in it.  Each week I have to empty the trap, and the water is just beige with lime.
  • Hap_Hazzard
    Hap_Hazzard Member Posts: 2,846

    The kind of contaminants that cause surging like you're seeing can only be removed by skimming. Draining the stuff that settles to the bottom is important, but it doesn't remove the oily film that floats on the surface even if you completely drain and refill the boiler.

    If you feel up to the challenge, there is some information here on skimming, but you might want to find a good local pro who can do it for you. It's a time consuming process, but if you find a good technician it will give him time to look over you system and see if there are any other issues that need attention.

    By the way, are your steam pipes insulated? If they aren't, water will condense in those pipes, and if they aren't pitched adequately, it can't drain fast enough, and the steam has to push it out of its way. Insulating pipes might not be as exciting as skimming your boiler, but it's something you can definitely do yourself.
    Just another DIYer | King of Prussia, PA
    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S | 3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
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