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Is skimming through the upper sightglass fitting a waste of my time?

Waterbury Steam
Waterbury Steam Member Posts: 53
edited October 2014 in Strictly Steam
It sure feels like it is. This is the third day in a row that I've tried it. Each time, I started with a hot (but not boiling) boiler, removed the sight glass, and started skimming through the upper fitting with just a trickle of water. Every once in a great while I'll see a little glob of oil come out, but it's not often. Let it run for most of the day until water was clear...and the next morning, the sight glass is dirty above the waterline and the waterline keeps bouncing.

I have a plumber scheduled to come out and install a skim port for me. I'm hoping the larger diameter helps. Since the equalizer is directly in front of the skim port, the chances of me getting in there with a wand are slim.

Some background--the boiler is at least 20 years old. I have no idea whether it was properly skimmed when it was new--I'm skimming because the system has all new traps and some new return pipes this year. Sightglass develops a film above the waterline soon after cleaning.

Comments

  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,180
    That hole is too small.
    Retired and loving it.
  • Waterbury Steam
    Waterbury Steam Member Posts: 53
    OK--I'll just wait for a proper skim port to be set up. Thanks!
  • vaporvac
    vaporvac Member Posts: 1,520
    Could you get a wand in your wet return? KC..Jones did that recently as per Gerry Gill. The wand is the bomb. Colleen
    Two-pipe Trane vaporvacuum system; 1466 edr
    Twinned, staged Slantfin TR50s piped into 4" header with Riello G400 burners; 240K lead, 200K lag Btus. Controlled by Taco Relay and Honeywell RTH6580WF
  • Waterbury Steam
    Waterbury Steam Member Posts: 53
    You mean through the unused port on the other side? I suppose that's possible.
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,354
    I used a tee on the return so I could wand and clean through there when new and down the road if required. Here is a picture. My boiler has the same tapping on both sides, but I used this one since it got me out away from the boiler already. I THINK this is a somewhat common practice amongst the pros on here. If I didn't have the tee I could go through the unused tapping on the other side. Depends what you have available to you.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,540
    Get that skim port installed. Power washing the inside of a boiler is all well and good but skimming it is about the best way to rid the boiler of oils. Besides, you will need to do that anytime you make a change to any of the piping or make repairs. That port is an investment in the future.
    KC_Jones
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,354
    I forgot to add I ran at least 50-75 gallons of water through with that wand, but I still hot skimmed for about 6 hours once the boiler was running and yes I got oil out of it. I agree with Fred the skim port is a simple addition and worth it.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • vaporvac
    vaporvac Member Posts: 1,520
    Oh yeah. You definitely still have to skim, it's just that the wand helps speed things along with the oil and grunge a new system seems to flush out. New piping, even when pre-cleaned has ALOT of oil. I use my wand through the skim port as it was most accessible and I figured oil rises. I didn't mean to suggest NOT putting in the skim port, but rather something you might be able to do in addition and in the interim.
    Two-pipe Trane vaporvacuum system; 1466 edr
    Twinned, staged Slantfin TR50s piped into 4" header with Riello G400 burners; 240K lead, 200K lag Btus. Controlled by Taco Relay and Honeywell RTH6580WF
  • Waterbury Steam
    Waterbury Steam Member Posts: 53
    The skim port is getting set up on Monday.
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,354
    I suggest one of 2 things. Either a comfy chair a nice beverage and some form of entertainment. Or like I did workshop cleaning and organizing. Someone told me they fell asleep at one point skimming theirs...I won't name names though. lol
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
    RobG
  • Waterbury Steam
    Waterbury Steam Member Posts: 53
    I've rigged up a funnel and a car radiator hose so I can start it and let it go for a whole day without much intervention. I'll probably start it in the morning before work and check it when I get home. When I want to check it, I'll take a sample in a white bucket so I can see what the water looks like.
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,354
    Good call. My instructions recommended hot skimming so I babysat mine. Although I will say once it's hot and you feed it really really slowly, it stays hot for a long time. I think I fired maybe 3 times over the course of 6 hours. My 4 year old son was watching it part of the time. Let me know if you don't see "smoke" anymore. "OK daddy". He is a good helper!
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • Greybeard
    Greybeard Member Posts: 17
    Am I the only one who thinks it is absolutely crazy to have to spend hours and hours skimming after a new install or even something as simple as replacing traps? Are there no water soluble cutting oils that manufacturers and installers could use. If not, it would sure be nice if someone could develop it.
  • Waterbury Steam
    Waterbury Steam Member Posts: 53
    I don't find it that crazy. I like simple solutions. Oil is known to float on water--why not use that to our advantage? It's unlikely to have unintended consequences.
  • Waterbury Steam
    Waterbury Steam Member Posts: 53
    edited October 2014
    Good news--I got the skim port installed on Monday. I skimmed for about 5 hours afterwards and I think it made a difference. Before that skimming, I would watch the water level drop from about half an inch below the top of the sightglass to about half an inch above the LWCO cutout point during a normal cycle while the 0-32oz pressure gauge jumped all over the place. Now I can leave the waterline at just over halfway up the sightglass without worrying about the water level dropping to the cutout point, and the pressure gauge doesn't register any pressure until I see about 1-2 oz at almost the end of the cycle.

    I'm still seeing dirt get deposited on the sightglass after a few days, so I just started skimming again. If I shine the flashlight into the skim port, I can actually see what looks like a little stream of oil riding its way out on top of the water.
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,540
    Way to go! don't be discouraged if you have to skim it a few more times over the next couple months. Sometimes those oils have to work their way back to the boiler. Once you get it all cleaned out, you will just need to skim it when/if you have piping repairs that might put new oil in the system.