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Help Me With Proper Maintenance Please

Big-Al_2 Member Posts: 263
OK, so I'm in my first heating season with a brand new Burnham IN-5.  I'd like it to last.  I'd like my whole system to last.  In the past I've tested the float-type LWCO weekly and drained out another quart or so out of the bottom of the boiler at the same time . . . and then refilled to mid sight glass.  The system doesn't lose much water by itself.  The water line might drop 1/4" in a week.  Feed water is generally good.  It's Lake Michigan water with 5 grains of hardness and pH of around 8.

The boiler water is pretty rusty most of the time. When I drain it, it looks like weak coffee or strong tea.  A couple of years ago I installed a used radiator in my kitchen that had previously been on a badly maintained hot water system. I loosend up and removed a half a coffee can full of rusty granular material from it before I installed it, but I suspect I only got out a portion of what was stuck inside.  The boiler water got a lot more rusty after that. I suspect that that radiator is still shedding rust every time the boiler fires up and steam cleans it a little more, but maybe the rust is coming from elsewhere. When I disconnected the 12 year old piping from beneath the waterline of my old boiler, the bottom of the pipes were getting pretty thin. I hope the whole system isn't corroding too quickly. 

I've done searches here on blowdown and water treatment, and have come up with some conflicting ideas about what to do.  Sooo . . . here goes again.

1) Is my blowdown schedule too frequent, just right, or not enough?

2) Even with my minimal water use, would the system benefit from some kind of chemical treatment?  What kind?  I can buy a can of Squick for $20 shipped or a gallon of Rhomar 903 for about $100 delivered to a local supply house.  What else might be out there? 

Your thoughts?


  • crash2009
    crash2009 Member Posts: 1,484
    A new boiler

      is going to send steam to places it hasn't been for a while.  Eventually this will steam-clean your whole system.  Unfortunately this process will wash down years of crap to your wet returns, and some of that crap, (the finer particles) will end up in the boiler.  The bigger chunks will likely remain on the other side of the Hartford. 

    Mine took forever to get clean, I flushed all the low valves weekly (just a pint or two) for the first season.  I didn't use any chemicals.  I did lots of skimming that first year, even found some teflon tape floating around in there.  Eventually, toward the end of the season, the sight glass cleared up, and has remained OK since.

    Some others have had success with a strategicly placed magnet, to grab the particulate before it can get up and over the Hartford.  Havn't tried that, but I did put a magnet beside the sight glass for awhile, just to see what I could catch.  It's surprising what is suspended in our boiler water.  Try it, and you'll see what I mean.
  • SWEI
    SWEI Member Posts: 7,356

    Rhomar 9150 is for cleaning steam systems.  Lots of favorable reports here if you search a bit.

    903 is a treatment that's designed to stay in the system.
  • AlexR
    AlexR Member Posts: 61
    wet steam?

    I have an IN5 too.  Dirty water makes for wetter steam and more radiator gurgling and sometimes radiator vents that don't close as well.  But if there's no problem other than looking dirty, I wouldn't worry. 

    I try to resist the urge to drain anything more than once per month- usually I wait until the water level's dropped an inch, then I drain from both sides (wet return and the spigot on the far side) until it runs "clear", refill, and then make steam for a while. 
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