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Rinsing the boiler

ChrisJChrisJ Member Posts: 8,655
So, I'm going to be honest at this point I have no clue what I'm doing.

Wre finally got power back after Sandy last night and the system did a 12 degree recovery.  After this it fired back up one more time as things started to cool again and I got some water hammer in a pipe.  Ever since this I keep getting hammer every time the system starts up.  While this is going on, if you sit in our downstairs bathroom listenig to the radiator it huffs and puffs a lot and you hear boiling / girgling in the pipe below the floor.



I have no idea why,  I realize the two take offs in this area have no insulation in a crawl space and really should, but it went all winter last year with zero problems.  Sandy was pretty bad here, but I don't think the house moved. :)

Right now I am draining the boiler and I'm going to rinse it out the best I can as the water was pretty stinky and dirty.  Honestly it still smells like the old boiler did so maybe the long run time just washed more crap down, I don't know.  I didn't notice any oil or residue in the gauge glass this morning so I doubt it needs skimmimg, but maybe I'll do that as well.
Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment

Steam system pictures
https://goo.gl/photos/ZgpNUTyckkmiEdAf9
Central air project pictures
https://goo.gl/photos/4JjnLStEq42sWsQo8
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Comments

  • EnreynoldsEnreynolds Member Posts: 119
    Chris

    It sounds like you may have hit it on the head with the dirty boiler water.  That would get you some wet steam.  Consider this.  Typically your uninsulated pipes in the crawlspace would keep that area warm.  With the 12 degree recovery you experienced, which scoured your old pipes and radiators clean (and dirtied the water), your house warmed up, but I am sure the crawlspace has not come up to its normal temp, making those pipes abnormally cool.  Compound this with wet steam, and you have a puddle waiting to happen.  I think that after you clean out the boiler, you will see your hammer go away.  It might also pay to bite the bullet and insulate those take offs.  Keep us apprised of your progress.  And by the way, glad to hear you weathered the storm and are back up and running (limping?) along.
  • crash2009crash2009 Member Posts: 1,484
    I was wondering

     when you were going to "surface".  You guys got hit hard.



    If you are asking how to flush the boiler or system, you should be able to do that easy with the Kings and Hartford valves you installed last year.



    I don't remember where you plumbed the boiler fill.  Its either on the boiler side of the Hartford or on the wet return side.  If it's on the boiler side, just close the Hartford valve, open the boiler fill valve and run a drain hose over to the new sump pump.



    To flush the system, leave the Hartford valve closed, remove a main vent. attach a garden hose from a water supply to the main vent hole.  Run the water through and drain to the sump pump.  Hopefully you installed a drain valve close to the Hartford valve.



    Here is a link to how I do mine,  you might have to adjust the directions if your boiler fill is plumbed into the boiler side of the hartford.  Mine comes in on the system side.  http://www.heatinghelp.com/forum-thread/142897/Maintenance 

    Glad you and your family got through the Sandy thing..
  • ChrisJChrisJ Member Posts: 8,655
    Yep

    Sandy hurt, though we got power back before many others who still do not have power even in this area.



    I guess sometimes it pays to live on a main road.



    I just rinsed the boiler into the new sump pump which certainly was easier than carrying buckets up. I rinsed and rinsed until all I got was clean water including the wet return.



    Fired the boiler up ASAP to boil the fresh water and WTF, my gauge glass turned rusty brown again even before it started boiling. Now part of my thinks this is probably just the nature of a steam boiler, BUT at the same time I've seen many people talk about keeping your boiler water clean.



    Do I need to clean this thing again or is the rusty water here to stay and not hurting anything? This is something I've been trying to learn for a while now.



    On another note, I have enough 1" insulation to do all of my pipes, its a matter of squeezing my fat lazy self into that area to do them. :)



    This time I have ZERO hammering, so at least I've got that going for me.....
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment

    Steam system pictures
    https://goo.gl/photos/ZgpNUTyckkmiEdAf9
    Central air project pictures
    https://goo.gl/photos/4JjnLStEq42sWsQo8
  • gerry gillgerry gill Member Posts: 2,710
    gwgillplumbingandheating.com

    Serving Cleveland's eastern suburbs from Cleveland Heights down to Cuyahoga Falls.

  • ChrisJChrisJ Member Posts: 8,655
    Great video

    I bet this video will help many. You had explained this before but seeing it actually done helps a lot.



    Should the water in my gauge glass always be clear, or should I expect rusty water when its steaming? When sitting idle the water is crystal clear but turns red \ brown when its steaming.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment

    Steam system pictures
    https://goo.gl/photos/ZgpNUTyckkmiEdAf9
    Central air project pictures
    https://goo.gl/photos/4JjnLStEq42sWsQo8
  • crash2009crash2009 Member Posts: 1,484
    Thanks Gerry

    Never would have imagined that a brand new boiler could be that dirty.  Finally we get to see your "Magic Wand" in action. 

    What do you do when you don't have a floor drain?
  • SWEISWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    edited November 2012
    washing with wand

    Very nice.  I thought you gave some details on the wand construction a few months back but I don't seem able to locate them.  Looks like it may be steel pipe (with some kind of straight thread fittings)?
  • gerry gillgerry gill Member Posts: 2,710
    it would be nice if the water

    was crystal clear when steaming, but usually there is what looks like rust particles moving in the water when steaming, then settle down when not..thats pretty much normal..chemicals can help alot. I use rhomar 903 i think it is, in my boiler. I generally use just one or two tablets of Rectorseal steamaster in customers boilers.
    gwgillplumbingandheating.com

    Serving Cleveland's eastern suburbs from Cleveland Heights down to Cuyahoga Falls.

  • ChrisJChrisJ Member Posts: 8,655
    Pics

    Ok So here we go.



    When sitting off the gauge glass, shes spotless.



    When running the gauge glass, shes rusty!



    Normal or not?



    I just took these pictures within the past half hour or so.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment

    Steam system pictures
    https://goo.gl/photos/ZgpNUTyckkmiEdAf9
    Central air project pictures
    https://goo.gl/photos/4JjnLStEq42sWsQo8
  • ChrisJChrisJ Member Posts: 8,655
    Chemicals

    HI Gerry,



    Why a different treatment in your boiler vs the customers? Also can either of these be purchased in small quantities by someone such as my self?
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment

    Steam system pictures
    https://goo.gl/photos/ZgpNUTyckkmiEdAf9
    Central air project pictures
    https://goo.gl/photos/4JjnLStEq42sWsQo8
  • gerry gillgerry gill Member Posts: 2,710
    Hi SWEI- its just

    copper pipe with a hose fitting on one side and in the video i was using the tip that is a 1/2'' copper elbow..but have recently started using a designed i copied from my apprentice who made a sold capped pipe and drilled 1/16th inch holes radially around the tip.
    gwgillplumbingandheating.com

    Serving Cleveland's eastern suburbs from Cleveland Heights down to Cuyahoga Falls.

  • gerry gillgerry gill Member Posts: 2,710
    If there is no floor drain

    it really sucks..usually i just skim then.
    gwgillplumbingandheating.com

    Serving Cleveland's eastern suburbs from Cleveland Heights down to Cuyahoga Falls.

  • gerry gillgerry gill Member Posts: 2,710
    normal for a boiler thats not washed out.

    or doesn't have additives.
    gwgillplumbingandheating.com

    Serving Cleveland's eastern suburbs from Cleveland Heights down to Cuyahoga Falls.

  • SWEISWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    copper pipe

    Saw the copper at the end -- must have been oxidation on the rest of it.  Flare fittings?
  • gerry gillgerry gill Member Posts: 2,710
    edited November 2012
    ChrisJ- i was using rhomar

    in my boiler before i started using the rectorseal. So i havent switched.. i have some rhomar customers also for the same reason..not sure if it was a good idea to mix agents, you know.

    Rhomar will sell you a case of 4 gallons over the phone.
    gwgillplumbingandheating.com

    Serving Cleveland's eastern suburbs from Cleveland Heights down to Cuyahoga Falls.

  • gerry gillgerry gill Member Posts: 2,710
    solder fittings.

    there are unions in the middle so i can make its length change for different peoples boilers.
    gwgillplumbingandheating.com

    Serving Cleveland's eastern suburbs from Cleveland Heights down to Cuyahoga Falls.

  • SWEISWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    Unions

    Perfect - thanks!
  • ChrisJChrisJ Member Posts: 8,655
    edited November 2012
    Rectorseal Steamaster Tablets

    Looks like I'll be buying a bottle of Rectorseal 68732 36 Steamaster Tablets.

    Will these really cut down on rust a lot?



    I would've started using something last year but it seemed like most here were against additives.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment

    Steam system pictures
    https://goo.gl/photos/ZgpNUTyckkmiEdAf9
    Central air project pictures
    https://goo.gl/photos/4JjnLStEq42sWsQo8
  • SWEISWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    chemicals

    Based mostly on what I've read here, and with previous Rhomar experience, I'm going to try 9150 on a system that has about a century's worth of crud in it.
  • crash2009crash2009 Member Posts: 1,484
    That picture on the left

     looks just like my sight glass.  If you look real close when the boiler first starts, and watch that thin film, in the upper 1/2, I always thought that was oil.  After 4 or 5 hours of skimming the film will go away for a couple months, then gradually it will return.
  • ChrisJChrisJ Member Posts: 8,655
    clear

    Your glass stays clear like that when steaming crash?
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment

    Steam system pictures
    https://goo.gl/photos/ZgpNUTyckkmiEdAf9
    Central air project pictures
    https://goo.gl/photos/4JjnLStEq42sWsQo8
  • JStarJStar Member Posts: 2,668
    Water

    Have you power flushed the returns? With a new boiler, old pipes get banged around and loosen up a lot of crud.
    - Joe Starosielec
    [email protected]
  • gerry gillgerry gill Member Posts: 2,710
    just dont follow the directions on the bottle

    or the boiler will go bonkers..heres what we do..we skim, then rinse out, then put four tablets in and refill and steam for ten minutes..the water will get nasty, and the pressure switch terminals may need to get jumped, just to keep the boiler running, then we drain, rinse out, skim, drain, throw in one tablet if the boiler is little, or two if its bigger, then refill and steam. the water has a violet color when done. JSTAR is correct also in that if your returns are nasty, then the nasty keeps coming back.
    gwgillplumbingandheating.com

    Serving Cleveland's eastern suburbs from Cleveland Heights down to Cuyahoga Falls.

  • ChrisJChrisJ Member Posts: 8,655
    returns

    First week in this house I found out what a clogged wet return was. Shortly after I ended up with brand new copper wet returns.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment

    Steam system pictures
    https://goo.gl/photos/ZgpNUTyckkmiEdAf9
    Central air project pictures
    https://goo.gl/photos/4JjnLStEq42sWsQo8
  • ChrisJChrisJ Member Posts: 8,655
    Wow

    Not exactly as easy as they want you to think with the "toss some tablets in and go to bed" instructions.



    My boiler is an EG-45 (150K btu input) so I would think that falls into the small category?
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment

    Steam system pictures
    https://goo.gl/photos/ZgpNUTyckkmiEdAf9
    Central air project pictures
    https://goo.gl/photos/4JjnLStEq42sWsQo8
  • crash2009crash2009 Member Posts: 1,484
    edited November 2012
    When

     the boiler is clean,,,YES,,,actually it looks better.  Doesn't stay clean for long though, usually I skim and backflush again right around Xmas.



    Skim for hours, not pails.  Flush the returns, flush the boiler. Install a drain valve in that 2" plug.  (there's a trick to it) Move the beer fridge and the big screen down there for a few days.
  • ChrisJChrisJ Member Posts: 8,655
    fresh water

    Crash,



    My concern is we know fresh water is bad, no matter when you add it or how it is bad. Its just not near as bad when you flush the boiler instead of adding makeup water where the water you lost, left minerals and crap behind.



    What bothers me is whats more harmful, the rust in the water or adding a ton of fresh water to rinse it out?
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment

    Steam system pictures
    https://goo.gl/photos/ZgpNUTyckkmiEdAf9
    Central air project pictures
    https://goo.gl/photos/4JjnLStEq42sWsQo8
  • crash2009crash2009 Member Posts: 1,484
    I can understand

     your hesitation to run any fresh water through your system, but I think there is a big difference between good water and bad water.  Your old system had a lot of bad water going into it, as you say, fresh water was added every time it ran.  Fresh water likely sat there all summer burning a hole in the block.  I'm not suggesting that you clean it 24 times a day.  Just get it clean once, see how long it lasts, and compare your performance. 
  • ChrisJChrisJ Member Posts: 8,655
    stupid, blasted Hoffman 1As....

    Well I finally figured out what changed in the system.  After the 12 degree receovery I had found one radiator had stopped heating due to water in the orifice of the 1A vent on it.  What I didn't realize was another, much larger one (55EDR)  in another room also had this problem.  It seems like I will have problems with a drop of water getting stuck in the orifice of these vents until I switch to Gorton's.



    It also seems  the one takeoff in my crawl space to my downstairs bathroom is borderline if I shut off one radiator I get water hammer due to the slight increase in flow to it
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment

    Steam system pictures
    https://goo.gl/photos/ZgpNUTyckkmiEdAf9
    Central air project pictures
    https://goo.gl/photos/4JjnLStEq42sWsQo8
  • crash2009crash2009 Member Posts: 1,484
    You've mentioned

     this Hoffman water droplet a few times now.  Don't your Hoffmans have a drip tongue?
  • ChrisJChrisJ Member Posts: 8,655
    Drip tongue

    Yessir they do.



    The water droplet forms in the tiny hole under the cap where it vents. If you remove any of the 10 vents I have installed and tip it, you will get water out. This makes sense, if you look at the design its impossible for all of the water to drain out as the bottom sits lower than the threaded section.



    I just now got the radiator to heat upstairs by removing the cap from the vent and using a can of air with a straw. I put the straw near the hole and blew and this cleared the vent for operation. The radiator heated almost immediately.



    I have 12 of these vents I bought new with 10 in use and I have swapped the two spares into the system over time and all 12 behave the same. The vent I cleared today is set wide open and I have others which are set to vent at various other speeds. Whether I vent slow, or fast it still seems to happen from time to time and its annoying.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment

    Steam system pictures
    https://goo.gl/photos/ZgpNUTyckkmiEdAf9
    Central air project pictures
    https://goo.gl/photos/4JjnLStEq42sWsQo8
  • BobCBobC Member Posts: 4,561
    1A's

    I've had the Hoffman 1A's on my system for a few years now and the only complaint I have is that the sometimes hiss a bit more than I'd like but they work well for me. My 12 ft 2" main has a Gorton #1 on it and my Vaporstats cut out is 12 oz.



    I just got the Smith G8 / EZ Gas installed and really haven't run the system much except for skimming but everything upstairs is working the same as it did when I was using the Burnham v75 oil fired boiler. You said that you find this on all the vents, do you think you might have wet steam?



    Try some Gortons or Maid O Mists and see they fair better. It seems you can buy the small orifice MOM's and just drill them out for whatever vent rate you need.



    Bob
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • ChrisJChrisJ Member Posts: 8,655
    wet steam

    I don't know, is there any easy way to tell?



    My gauge glass bounces some but I would say less than an inch, once the system is steaming good I would say within a half inch.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment

    Steam system pictures
    https://goo.gl/photos/ZgpNUTyckkmiEdAf9
    Central air project pictures
    https://goo.gl/photos/4JjnLStEq42sWsQo8
  • BobCBobC Member Posts: 4,561
    Put some on the stove and boil it

    I remember when you installed that boiler the piping around it looked good so that leaves the water inside the boiler. You might try drawing a quart off the boiler and boiling it to see how it acts, if it shows any foaming you could have more skimming to do - or perhaps build yourself a magic wand to clean the inside of the boiler. Is the near boiler piping insulated?



    I skimmed my new boiler for the 3rd time last weekend and I "think" I'm almost ok but only time will tell.



    Bob
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • crash2009crash2009 Member Posts: 1,484
    edited November 2012
    There are a couple different styles

     of Gorton radiator vents.  The one on the left is the traditional angled vent.  The vent on the right is called a straight vent.  Comparing the 2 side by side, my opinion would be that the straight vent would drain quicker and more completely.  Obviously you would have to use an elbow and maybe an extention.  Might be worth a try on the worst radiator. 



    Did you get the G-1 I sent you?
  • ChrisJChrisJ Member Posts: 8,655
    Vent

    No vent yet crash, though remember we are still trying to get back to normal here in NJ.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment

    Steam system pictures
    https://goo.gl/photos/ZgpNUTyckkmiEdAf9
    Central air project pictures
    https://goo.gl/photos/4JjnLStEq42sWsQo8
  • ChrisJChrisJ Member Posts: 8,655
    insulation

    Yep the header is completely insulated including the fittings. I still need to finish insulating the mains, though I would say 80+% is insulated.



    I may try boiling some water on the stove, others have recommended this but I keep putting it off.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment

    Steam system pictures
    https://goo.gl/photos/ZgpNUTyckkmiEdAf9
    Central air project pictures
    https://goo.gl/photos/4JjnLStEq42sWsQo8
  • crash2009crash2009 Member Posts: 1,484
    I heard

     the USPS was going door to door in rowboats.  That must slow them down a bit.
  • ChrisJChrisJ Member Posts: 8,655
    Wow

    First off, the USPS is NOT that determined.

    If there are too many wet leaves on a road they don't deliver.



    :)
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment

    Steam system pictures
    https://goo.gl/photos/ZgpNUTyckkmiEdAf9
    Central air project pictures
    https://goo.gl/photos/4JjnLStEq42sWsQo8
  • ChrisJChrisJ Member Posts: 8,655
    Wand

    I made my own wand today out of parts I found at Lowes.

    I used a 1/2" to 1/4" reducer into a 1/4" elbow and put a 1/4" cap on the end.  Then I drilled a 5/32 hole in the cap.



    It gave me a little more pressure than I expected, but I guess thats a good thing.  I'm going to wait until my bottle of steamaster tablets comes to use it.  No sense in draining the boiler twice in one week.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment

    Steam system pictures
    https://goo.gl/photos/ZgpNUTyckkmiEdAf9
    Central air project pictures
    https://goo.gl/photos/4JjnLStEq42sWsQo8
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