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I have a Burnham IN-9 that is approximately 2 years old. As this is the first heating season we are spending in our new home, I am anxious to maintain my boiler. I noticed that the water in the sight glass appears clear, yet when I drain water from the boiler following a heating cycle it comes out very black. I also noticed that some black granules are left on the bottom and side of the bucket when I empty it. Is this normal? I was told by previous owner that the old boiler was heated by oil and the new one is gas. Could that be the source of the black water? I have been emptying the boiler following each morning's heating cycle until I can no longer see any water in the sight glass. How long should i continue doing this and will the water eventually clear up?


    RDSTEAM Member Posts: 134
    Be careful

    With the amount of fresh water you are introducing. Every morning is pretty extreme. The system buildup could be pretty bad if servicing was not done throughout the systems lifetime. A new boiler will act as a cleaning pad and remove a lot of loose contaminants from throughout the system. The water is never going to be as clear as drinking water, so your expectations will never be matched but a good system cleaning would probably be a good idea. If you have the correct piping configurations and necessary drains, you can get a system pretty clean in about a days work. TSP works really well, if you have any of dan's books a good cleaning method should be in ere. If not, pick one up just for the sake of having a decent all around knowledge of your current system. Education for homeowners can go a long way in seeing what contractors are good and which are just plain bad.
  • Rod
    Rod Posts: 2,067
    Get the Book!

    Hi- There are some great books on steam heating available on this Website. I'd recommend you start with "We Got Steam Heat!"


    This book is easy humorous reading and is written so the homeowner new to steam heating can understand it.  In a few evenings of reading you will be light years ahead in knowing how your steam system operates. This book will save you many times its cost by telling you what you can maintain & repair yourself and what you need to have a pro do for you.

    - Rod
  • crash2009
    crash2009 Member Posts: 1,484
    The water

    will never be completely clean.  Water + Iron = Rust.  Allthough, in time, it will improve.  If the boiler is only 2 years old, you would think that the previous owner would have been able to get it clean by now.  Maybe he didn't know how, or was afraid to ask.  I see that you don't have a problem with that, and that's a good thing.  If you could take the time to upload a few pictures of the boiler and all the pipes connected to it, maybe we could point you in the right direction.
  • Dirty Water in 2 yr old boiler- one pipe steam

    Thanks for the suggestions. I am confused however about where to pour the TSP into the boiler. I have an automatic feed that fills the water into the boiler. How do I put the TSP in the boiler? Also I have only 2 drains: one is located on the right side of the boiler and one is in the return shortly before it connects to the boiler near the bottom of the Hartford Loop. When I drain from this drain(the return) the water level of the boiler drops. It stops coming out from here when the water in the boiler's sight glass is about 1/3 full. Like I said, the water looks clear in the sight glass but following a cycle the water comes out very black, not brown at all. If I drain the boiler when a cycle hasn't run the water comes out clear. So I guess the gunk is only stirred up when the water is heated. Should I continue draining after a cycle in the morning before I leave for work and hope that the water will eventually become cleaner?
  • crash2009
    crash2009 Member Posts: 1,484
    A picture

     is worth a thousand words.  Not sure if this is the recomended way, but it is one way. 

    Flushing the return----Some have had success by removing the main vent and connecting a garden hose to the main vent hole.  Then turn on the hose and drain it through the Hartford valve.
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