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Skimming Burham Steam Boiler

Hi - I'm a boiler & plumbing novice and have been trying to skim my boiler. I removed a knockout on one side of my boiler but couldn't get the plug that was behind it out. I want to try to skim through the Pressuretrol port. See attached picture. How do I take the pressuretrol off to do this? What piece do I remove first?


  • gerry gill
    gerry gill Member Posts: 3,070
    On the burnham the skim should be on the other side, Why didn't the installer add the skim is my question? To answer your question, you would have to remove the pressuretrol, pigtail, and turn the 90 facing down....i think i would put the real skim port in.
    Serving Cleveland's eastern suburbs from Cleveland Heights down to Cuyahoga Falls.

  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,541
    That looks like a 1/2 inch port which is too small to effectively skim. I also have a Burnham. Is your Pressure Relief valve mounted on the side or rear of you boiler? If so, that is a 3/4 inch port and much easier to use for skimming. The Pressure Relief Valve should be mounted upright on an elbow. Take the Valve off. Remove the elbow and put a 3/4 inch Tee on there. Remount the Valve so that it is upright again and then use the end opening of the Tee to skim. Put a 4" to 6" nipple on it and skim very very slowly. I put a hose on and run it to a floor drain. You can use a bucket if you don't have a floor drain. Make sure the boiler has the power OFF before doing anything. Fill the boiler until water starts to come out of the nipple you installed and then slow the water supply down until you have just a very slow trickle. (I usually adjust the water flow before the screw the hose onto the nipple. Once adjusted, just let it trickle for several hours, 4 to 6 if possible. When done, either take the nipple off and put a plug in the end of the Tee or leave the Nipple and put a cap on it so that it is ready the next time you need to skim.
  • Mark N
    Mark N Member Posts: 1,094
    The pressuretrol tapping is 3/4".
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,541
    Huh, you're right. It probably is still easier to use the Pressure Relief valve port (don't have to take the wiring off of the Pressuretrol) but he has either option!
  • HarryL
    HarryL Member Posts: 59
    I recently used the relief valve tapping as I couldn't get the "correct" plug out. I was going to try to get the pressuretrol bushing out (the back side of my boiler is close to a partition wall making access a pain) but the jacket was so tight against it, it was a bit easier to use the relief valve tapping. Turns out my installer had the relief valve horizontal so it gave me a chance to fix that and put a new relief valve in.
    Home owner, 1927 2-story, single family
    1 pipe Burnham IN4I, Boston area
  • Eagle1017
    Eagle1017 Member Posts: 42
    Thanks all for the input. A picture of my pressure relief valve is attached. How do I get it off? Again, novice here so step by step explanation would be helpful.
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,541
    You need to make sure the power to the boiler is off so that the boiler won't start up while that port is open. Put a wrench on that brass coupling that attaches the copper pipe to the Pressure Relief valve and take that pipe off. Put a small pipe wrench on the base of the Pressure Relief Valve and turn it off. Use the pipe wrench to take that elbow off and replace it with a 3/4 inch Tee. Remount the Pressure relief Valve in the top opening of the Tee and use the end opening to skim with. When done skimming, put a 3/4 inch plug in the end opening and it is ready for you the next time you need to skim.