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The time of year I hate most. Getting ready to shut it down. :(

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ChrisJ
ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,683
edited April 2015 in Strictly Steam
So, it's that time of year again.
With the end being near I felt it was a good time to wash the boiler out as I don't want to have to heat the house when it's 80F out to boil the water.

Using Steamaster or other water treatments works well, but over time gets tired and needs to be replaced. Also, it's designed to keep scale and other junk from sticking to the block as well as cause it to sink to the bottom. This means you should clean all of that out from time to time.

At the end of the year I drain the boiler and use my wand to clean all of it out, especially the rear section where my return is as that gets a fair amount of rusty nasty stuff in it from the system. After I'm sure it's completely clean I refill it and skim 4 gallons out of it or so fairly fast. Then drain it back down a little and chuck 2 Steamaster tablets in it and fire the burner up. I let it run for a good 25-30 minutes to make sure all of that fresh water is nice and boiled as well as heat my house up a little as it was getting chilly and the entire system was ice cold. I also took the pressuretrol apart and cleaned the pigtail. The main reason for this as I had swiveled it back and forth a few times messing with gauges and what not and I wanted to redo it to make sure it had no leaks.

A lot of rust you see in the bottom of the bucket was from previous cleanings as I get kinda lazy with this at times. The last time I left the bucket in the basement half full of water and it all evaporated.

















Finally, a fast skim video
https://youtu.be/nPKTSn-depc

And a not so helpful short video showing the dark brown nasty stuff I wash out of the rear section and return once a year. After this little bit I closed the front drain and opened the fill valve wide open a few times in bursts and that really rinsed that area out. My return and the rear section of the boiler seem to get pretty nasty from all of the junk that comes down out of the system.

https://youtu.be/kTpThruLvn4
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
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  • vaporvac
    vaporvac Member Posts: 1,520
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    This is very helpful and fun to watch, but it make me a bit sad.
    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
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,683
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    vaporvac said:

    This is very helpful and fun to watch, but it make me a bit sad.

    It's still running, but not much. I've got the system set to 1 cycle per hour now and I think our low tonight is expected to be 29F and we were in the 60s today.

    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
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,683
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    After giving the Steamaster tablets some time to dissolve and completely mix with the boiler water we're back where we should be.


    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
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,683
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    So, what's the plan for the summer? Fill it completely to the header? There is some support for that from some dead men.

    No,
    I leave it about where it is now, slightly overfilled which is how I run it all year.

    The problem is to fill it to the header you want a good oxygen scavenger to pull the disolved oxygen out of the water because you can't boil it. Rhomar's Boilerpro 903 can do this but I don't think Steamaster is good enough. I recall something in Steamaster kind of works as a scavenger, but barely.

    This is also why Rhomar tells you to fill it to the header, because you're using their product. I'd never even consider doing it with raw water.
    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
  • Abracadabra
    Abracadabra Member Posts: 1,948
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    Boilers I service, I fill to midway up the risers just before the header and run the boiler till it starts boiling and shut it down. I believe leaving the boiler to it's normal waterline over the summer leaves a large surface area for oxygen exchange with the water. Water to the risers leaves only that much smaller surface area.. therefore less oxygen exchange.
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
    edited April 2015
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    I usually change my water line every year when I shut the boiler down so that the water isn't sitting at the same line idle every spring/summer. I don't know if that helps anything but since corrosion is most prevalent at the line where water and air come together, I figure changing that by an inch or two every year might prevent any corrosion at the same line. Probably just means that when it rots through it will do so in a two or three inch band rather than at a point along a fixed line. :)
    EDIT: I usually wait till fall, just before I fire the boiler up to drain it and clean the pigtails, LWCO, etc.
  • SWEI
    SWEI Member Posts: 7,356
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    You could just go crazy and flush/fill the whole thing with nitrogen for the summer :wink:
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,683
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    Or, you could just use proper water treatment and likely outlast every other boiler around you without doing anything special.

    :p
    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
  • MarkS
    MarkS Member Posts: 75
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    How's this for crazy? Rip out your water heater and install a tankless coil. That way you can run the boiler all year. Just think of the extra floor space you'd gain in the basement. :p
    1890 near-vapor one pipe steam system | Operating pressure: 0.25 oz | 607 sf EDR
    Midco LNB-250 Modulating Gas Burner | EcoSteam ES-50 modulating controls | 70 to 300 MBH |
    3009 sf | 3 floors | 14 radiators | Utica SFE boiler | 4 mains, 135 ft | Gorton & B&J Big Mouth vents
  • Mark N
    Mark N Member Posts: 1,115
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    Chris it is actually a great time of year. The time you don't need heat or air conditioning. Also don't forget there was a thread not to long ago about a person using Rhomar 903 and his boiler is leaking after like 8 years.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,683
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    Mark N said:

    Chris it is actually a great time of year. The time you don't need heat or air conditioning. Also don't forget there was a thread not to long ago about a person using Rhomar 903 and his boiler is leaking after like 8 years.

    We don't know what the cause of the block leaking was but I can assure you Rhomar didn't cause the leak. Water treatment won't fix a defective block.
    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
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,683
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    MarkS said:

    How's this for crazy? Rip out your water heater and install a tankless coil. That way you can run the boiler all year. Just think of the extra floor space you'd gain in the basement. :p


    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
  • Dave in QCA
    Dave in QCA Member Posts: 1,785
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    I guess that I'm doing my cleaning backwards, but then I'm not a service company and schedule is not a problem.

    ChrisJ, I like your approach of cleaning and refilling with water and Steammaster tablets in the spring, but I have been doing mine in the fall. Late in spring, I make sure I have flushed the low water cutoffs and the mud leg and that the boiler has run normal cycles after that. Then, I just let it sit for the summer. At the end of September, I drain the boiler and clean it out with my wand. Also flush the wet return lines. Last year, the return lines were a bit gunky as expected, but the boiler was pretty darned clean. I got a little bit of stuff that was similar in appearance to chocolate milk, but not much. Most clear water. When refilling, I doing a long thorough flush on the both LWCO and also open and flush my Weil-McLain control manifold (used in place of a pigtail). Then I refill with water, add the steammaster tablets and fire it up. I usually let it run a few minutes after steam has gotten to the end of mains, and then do it again later in the day to thoroughly stir up the steammaster.

    I have been VERY happy with Steammaster results. When flushing the LWCO devices, they were usually clean so I eventually ended up using a 6 week interval. The water is a little cloudy, but still pretty clean. I manually refill to the water line after blowing down. This season, the auto fill has only added 2 gallons of water. Pretty happy with the whole setup and those great Steammaster tablets!
    Dave in Quad Cities, America
    Weil-McLain 680 with Riello 2-stage burner, December 2012. Firing rate=375MBH Low, 690MBH Hi.
    System = Early Dunham 2-pipe Vacuo-Vapor (inlet and outlet both at bottom of radiators) Traps are Dunham #2 rebuilt w. Barnes-Jones Cage Units, Dunham-Bush 1E, Mepco 1E, and Armstrong TS-2. All valves haveTunstall orifices sized at 8 oz.
    Current connected load EDR= 1,259 sq ft, Original system EDR = 2,100 sq ft Vaporstat, 13 oz cutout, 4 oz cutin - Temp. control Tekmar 279.
    http://grandviewdavenport.com
    ChrisJ
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,683
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    I guess that I'm doing my cleaning backwards, but then I'm not a service company and schedule is not a problem.

    ChrisJ, I like your approach of cleaning and refilling with water and Steammaster tablets in the spring, but I have been doing mine in the fall. Late in spring, I make sure I have flushed the low water cutoffs and the mud leg and that the boiler has run normal cycles after that. Then, I just let it sit for the summer. At the end of September, I drain the boiler and clean it out with my wand. Also flush the wet return lines. Last year, the return lines were a bit gunky as expected, but the boiler was pretty darned clean. I got a little bit of stuff that was similar in appearance to chocolate milk, but not much. Most clear water. When refilling, I doing a long thorough flush on the both LWCO and also open and flush my Weil-McLain control manifold (used in place of a pigtail). Then I refill with water, add the steammaster tablets and fire it up. I usually let it run a few minutes after steam has gotten to the end of mains, and then do it again later in the day to thoroughly stir up the steammaster.

    I have been VERY happy with Steammaster results. When flushing the LWCO devices, they were usually clean so I eventually ended up using a 6 week interval. The water is a little cloudy, but still pretty clean. I manually refill to the water line after blowing down. This season, the auto fill has only added 2 gallons of water. Pretty happy with the whole setup and those great Steammaster tablets!

    I think I've done it in the fall too, but I prefer the spring because the system gets to sit there with a nice strong fresh dose of Steamaster.

    I've been planning on cutting my two dry returns and installing ball valves as well as hose bibs below them so I can power flush the wet returns and everything but I haven't gotten around to doing 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
  • Bio
    Bio Member Posts: 278
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  • PMJ
    PMJ Member Posts: 1,265
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    I'm truly not sure why my boiler is so happy with its situation but I never add any chemicals or drain it. I've thought about it but the sight glass has never been anything but crystal clear and though I open the drain valves just to look at the start of each season it is too clear there also to justify introducing new water full of oxygen and minerals. The water supply valve was closed all winter - never opened it once after I filled maybe an inch on startup. I check the level every day in the heating season. I do leave the standing pilot go all summer which keeps everything inside the cabinet dry and barely warm. Also, the piping system (supply and returns) remains completely closed to the atmosphere all summer with the single location vent solenoid valve closed.

    It really doesn't seem possible for a 60 year old boiler connected to a 90 year old piping system to be showing so little stuff in the water. Maybe if the entire system is closed off enough from the atmosphere to hold vacuum when running then not much corrosion is happening. Really not sure. But I guess it is safe to assume that nothing is way off the page with the operation. I've been watching it for 22 of the 60 years. Never drained it and really can't explain how the water can be this clear with no rust to speak of even at a drain valve. I know it can't go forever. But since it seems so happy with this program I'm not changing it.

    1926 1000EDR Mouat 2 pipe vapor system,1957 Bryant Boiler 463,000 BTU input, Natural vacuum operation with single solenoid vent, Custom PLC control
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,683
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    Not sure if I agree with everything in that article.

    For example, all of my radiators by design hold quite a bit of water, especially the ones that are bushed down. No matter what, the system is full of damp nasty air. :'(



    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
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,683
    edited April 2015
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    PMJ said:

    I'm truly not sure why my boiler is so happy with its situation but I never add any chemicals or drain it. I've thought about it but the sight glass has never been anything but crystal clear and though I open the drain valves just to look at the start of each season it is too clear there also to justify introducing new water full of oxygen and minerals. The water supply valve was closed all winter - never opened it once after I filled maybe an inch on startup. I check the level every day in the heating season. I do leave the standing pilot go all summer which keeps everything inside the cabinet dry and barely warm. Also, the piping system (supply and returns) remains completely closed to the atmosphere all summer with the single location vent solenoid valve closed.

    It really doesn't seem possible for a 60 year old boiler connected to a 90 year old piping system to be showing so little stuff in the water. Maybe if the entire system is closed off enough from the atmosphere to hold vacuum when running then not much corrosion is happening. Really not sure. But I guess it is safe to assume that nothing is way off the page with the operation. I've been watching it for 22 of the 60 years. Never drained it and really can't explain how the water can be this clear with no rust to speak of even at a drain valve. I know it can't go forever. But since it seems so happy with this program I'm not changing it.

    What's the PH of your water? I would assume fairly high?
    I also suspect there's something a lot different about a 60+ year old boiler than a new one. I don't know enough about iron and steel to figure it out but my neighbors 1920s boiler was using gallons per week for years and it's still fine while the previous owner of my house went through two Burnham V83 blocks in 8 years using the same water.

    I highly suspect cast iron isn't simply cast iron.


    Also keep in mind water treatment also helps keep minerals and what not from building up in the system so they aren't just for corrosion.
    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
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
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    Interesting article. I was of the impression that draining a boiler left a bit of water setting in the bottom of it and that you would have to use a chemical to absorb that or you are otherwise creating a much larger surface area for corrosion to occur.
  • PMJ
    PMJ Member Posts: 1,265
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    Chris,

    Haven't checked PH in a while. From the tap is always 7 (city water). I am remembering something just over 9 in the boiler.

    As far as additives - I run a 200HP boiler at work that uses a fair amount of water in the process it heats. We treat that with continuous chemical feed to stop minerals from building up on the tubes(and it works). But at home I'm not adding any to speak of so no new minerals being introduced.

    It would be a shame if they are really making inferior cast iron than in the past - just like they donow with concrete. Why again are we accepting this decline in everything?



    1926 1000EDR Mouat 2 pipe vapor system,1957 Bryant Boiler 463,000 BTU input, Natural vacuum operation with single solenoid vent, Custom PLC control
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,683
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    PMJ said:

    Chris,

    Haven't checked PH in a while. From the tap is always 7 (city water). I am remembering something just over 9 in the boiler.

    As far as additives - I run a 200HP boiler at work that uses a fair amount of water in the process it heats. We treat that with continuous chemical feed to stop minerals from building up on the tubes(and it works). But at home I'm not adding any to speak of so no new minerals being introduced.

    It would be a shame if they are really making inferior cast iron than in the past - just like they donow with concrete. Why again are we accepting this decline in everything?



    I haven't heard about inferior concrete, though I have heard a lot of people in my family complain about modern pressure treated lumber being "garbage". What's wrong with concrete?

    I think there is no doubt something is really wrong with modern home heating boilers. Look at all the ones like my neighbors Ideal Redflash that lasted 70-100 years even when being fed a ton of water. It's not just thickness, it can't be. Either the iron is inferior, or the design.

    I might believe that our city water was the only thing responsible for two V83 blocks rotting out here in only 8 years, but the fact my neighbors 1920s boiler is still going on the same water makes something seem really really wrong. And I know without a doubt he was feeding that thing gallons a week before I replaced all of his vents and tightened the valve stem nuts. I'd bet 10 gallons or more a week for almost 10 years.



    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
  • Mark N
    Mark N Member Posts: 1,115
    edited April 2015
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    There was an article recently in the Star Ledger about high levels of salt in the water this year because of all the road salt dumped this past winter. The intent of the article was to say it was safe to drink. Might be best to wait for some heavy spring rains to dilute the water supply. Has anyone ever had their chlorides tested?
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,683
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    Mark N said:

    There was an article recently in the Star Ledger about high levels of salt in the water this year because of all the road salt dumped this past winter. The intent of the article was to say it was safe to drink. Might be best to wait for some heavy spring rains to dilute the water supply. Has anyone ever had their chlorides tested?

    Yeah, I saw a few reports on that, although I have not noticed a change in our water. Also, our water company is not reporting elevated levels in our county.

    However, that could be a good reason to do it in the fall rather than in the spring.
    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
  • PMJ
    PMJ Member Posts: 1,265
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    Chris said:


    I haven't heard about inferior concrete, though I have heard a lot of people in my family complain about modern pressure treated lumber being "garbage". What's wrong with concrete?


    Hate to divert the thread here but good concrete is very labor intensive. The water content needs to be so low that the stuff is so stiff (slump test) that it needs to be beaten into place and the air released by various vibrating devices. Today they water it down so they can just pour it and skip the labor. I call it 5 year concrete. Take a look as you drive around - spalling bridge work everywhere. You can easily find 100+ year old concrete around without a crack or spall that was done the right way. They claim they have additives now that allows them to water it down. I've yet to see any proof of that in the field.

    1926 1000EDR Mouat 2 pipe vapor system,1957 Bryant Boiler 463,000 BTU input, Natural vacuum operation with single solenoid vent, Custom PLC control
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,683
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    PMJ said:




    Chris said:

    I haven't heard about inferior concrete, though I have heard a lot of people in my family complain about modern pressure treated lumber being "garbage". What's wrong with concrete?


    Hate to divert the thread here but good concrete is very labor intensive. The water content needs to be so low that the stuff is so stiff (slump test) that it needs to be beaten into place and the air released by various vibrating devices. Today they water it down so they can just pour it and skip the labor. I call it 5 year concrete. Take a look as you drive around - spalling bridge work everywhere. You can easily find 100+ year old concrete around without a crack or spall that was done the right way. They claim they have additives now that allows them to water it down. I've yet to see any proof of that in the field.



    Not sure what to say.
    I come from a long family of carpenters that primarily worked with concrete and concrete forms on commercial jobs and I've never heard of any of this. My great grandfather started doing bridge work in 1914 which of course was primarily concrete as well.

    When we poured a small patio we did have to work the stuff a little to make sure we got the air out, but it was nothing special.

    What I do know is the mortar used in my 150 year old stone foundation is complete garbage compared to modern stuff. I believe it's referred to as "lime mortar".

    I'm one of the few in the family that never really got into construction. I tried it for a year and a half but it just didn't work out.

    Perhaps the stuff being used in commercial work hasn't changed so no one said anything, I don't know.
    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
  • PMJ
    PMJ Member Posts: 1,265
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    ChrisJ said:

    PMJ said:




    Chris said:

    I haven't heard about inferior concrete, though I have heard a lot of people in my family complain about modern pressure treated lumber being "garbage". What's wrong with concrete?
    Hate to divert the thread here but good concrete is very labor intensive. The water content needs to be so low that the stuff is so stiff (slump test) that it needs to be beaten into place and the air released by various vibrating devices. Today they water it down so they can just pour it and skip the labor. I call it 5 year concrete. Take a look as you drive around - spalling bridge work everywhere. You can easily find 100+ year old concrete around without a crack or spall that was done the right way. They claim they have additives now that allows them to water it down. I've yet to see any proof of that in the field.



    Not sure what to say.
    I come from a long family of carpenters that primarily worked with concrete and concrete forms on commercial jobs and I've never heard of any of this. My great grandfather started doing bridge work in 1914 which of course was primarily concrete as well.

    When we poured a small patio we did have to work the stuff a little to make sure we got the air out, but it was nothing special.

    What I do know is the mortar used in my 150 year old stone foundation is complete garbage compared to modern stuff. I believe it's referred to as "lime mortar".

    I'm one of the few in the family that never really got into construction. I tried it for a year and a half but it just didn't work out.

    Perhaps the stuff being used in commercial work hasn't changed so no one said anything, I don't know.


    I'm not sure what to say either. Where I work a 5 story brick building built in 1900 is all original and the mortar is in dramatically better shape than the brick 1947 construction right next to it. All the tuckpointing we have had to do has been on the 1947 one. When I drive around I see spalling concrete everywhere on bridges and walls - stuff that isn't even 10 years old. But I'll stop here - this isn't what this thread is about.

    1926 1000EDR Mouat 2 pipe vapor system,1957 Bryant Boiler 463,000 BTU input, Natural vacuum operation with single solenoid vent, Custom PLC control
  • SWEI
    SWEI Member Posts: 7,356
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    I don't think the issue is alloys -- there are some truly innovative materials available now, many of which are suited to casting. The simple fact is that newer, more efficient boilers depend in part on lighter castings, which succumb faster to substandard installation and/or maintenance practices.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,683
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    SWEI said:

    I don't think the issue is alloys -- there are some truly innovative materials available now, many of which are suited to casting. The simple fact is that newer, more efficient boilers depend in part on lighter castings, which succumb faster to substandard installation and/or maintenance practices.

    My neighbors 1920s Ideal Redflash doesn't have a header or an equalizer. There's two 4" risers that just go straight up into each of the two mains. It also was ignored so much the LWCO was clogged with mud and not doing anything.

    My V83 had a proper header and it's LWCO was clean and operating.
    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
  • PMJ
    PMJ Member Posts: 1,265
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    It would be interesting to hear a manufacturer's explanation of why they don't last as long - if they would even admit that. They can't blame it on worse homeowner maintenance as we all have seen too many totally neglected beasts run for decades anyway.
    It would be interesting to know just how much thinner the walls of the cast iron are these days. Anybody contractors out there who have removed a lot of them have a comment about that?

    1926 1000EDR Mouat 2 pipe vapor system,1957 Bryant Boiler 463,000 BTU input, Natural vacuum operation with single solenoid vent, Custom PLC control
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
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    I still think "Engineered obsolesence/Designed life comes into play with these boilers and many other industries as well.
    AlCorelliNY
  • PMJ
    PMJ Member Posts: 1,265
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    Fred said:

    I still think "Engineered obsolesence/Designed life comes into play with these boilers and many other industries as well.

    You are probably right Fred though I truly wish you weren't. So as time moves along we are all increasingly surrounded by junk. Get that replacement cost low enough and everyone seems to lose track of how often they have to replace. Technology "improves" and the net annual cost of the equipment goes up? Hmmm. This is working out on the seller side of the equipment equation. A new boiler today wouldn't get close to the low annual cost my 1950's boiler has had.
    1926 1000EDR Mouat 2 pipe vapor system,1957 Bryant Boiler 463,000 BTU input, Natural vacuum operation with single solenoid vent, Custom PLC control
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,683
    edited April 2015
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    PMJ said:

    Fred said:

    I still think "Engineered obsolesence/Designed life comes into play with these boilers and many other industries as well.

    You are probably right Fred though I truly wish you weren't. So as time moves along we are all increasingly surrounded by junk. Get that replacement cost low enough and everyone seems to lose track of how often they have to replace. Technology "improves" and the net annual cost of the equipment goes up? Hmmm. This is working out on the seller side of the equipment equation. A new boiler today wouldn't get close to the low annual cost my 1950's boiler has had.
    I'll let you know my annual cost on the EG-40 when it finally rotts out, if ever. Like I always say, a little water treatment goes a long way.


    This discussion has been brought up many times regarding modern forced air furnaces and tankless water heaters. The house I grew up in had a 1958 forced air furnace that never need a thing until the gas valve failed around 2004 and then that was replaced and it kept on going. The AFUE rating was 80%. How much does anyone save, money, or resource wise on a 90-95% furnace that only lasts 15 years vs an 80% that lasts 50?
    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
    AlCorelliNY
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,683
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    After thinking about it, my dad did have to clean the pilot once.
    So, ok, it needed that and 1 gas valve in 46 years and I'm sure it kept going for a few more after that.
    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
  • Gordo
    Gordo Member Posts: 857
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    The boiler mfgs speak darkly of "chlorides" in the water eating out the cast iron sooner that expected.

    Not sure if we are getting the truth as to why they seem to be failing sooner.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/all-steamed-up-inc
    AlCorelliNY
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,683
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    Gordo said:

    The boiler mfgs speak darkly of "chlorides" in the water eating out the cast iron sooner that expected.

    Not sure if we are getting the truth as to why they seem to be failing sooner.

    And yet, the 1920s Ideal Redflash doesn't seem to mind them.
    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
    AlCorelliNY
  • PMJ
    PMJ Member Posts: 1,265
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    ChrisJ said:


    This discussion has been brought up many times regarding modern forced air furnaces and tankless water heaters. The house I grew up in had a 1958 forced air furnace that never need a thing until the gas valve failed around 2004 and then that was replaced and it kept on going. The AFUE rating was 80%. How much does anyone save, money, or resource wise on a 90-95% furnace that only lasts 15 years vs an 80% that lasts 50?


    Exactly Chris. I don't think the math would bear out that 10% efficiency improvement (did they even include electric for the fan?) comes close to covering the reduced life of today's units. My parents house had a 1940's Bryant forced air furnace in it. Bryant also made my 1950's boiler. The forced air unit was large with a big slow speed fan in it and you couldn't hear the air moving at all. It went 50 years and I wasn't convinced anything was wrong with it when dad got talked into replacing it. He complained from that day on about the "hurricane" winds in the place (there is that slow speed concept again). The replacement unit was 1/3 the size and the tiny fan rpm probably 4 times. Mom is still there and the contractor has been after me for the last 5 years to approve replacement of it because it was "old" at 16 years.
    1926 1000EDR Mouat 2 pipe vapor system,1957 Bryant Boiler 463,000 BTU input, Natural vacuum operation with single solenoid vent, Custom PLC control
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,683
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    PMJ said:







    ChrisJ said:


    This discussion has been brought up many times regarding modern forced air furnaces and tankless water heaters. The house I grew up in had a 1958 forced air furnace that never need a thing until the gas valve failed around 2004 and then that was replaced and it kept on going. The AFUE rating was 80%. How much does anyone save, money, or resource wise on a 90-95% furnace that only lasts 15 years vs an 80% that lasts 50?


    Exactly Chris. I don't think the math would bear out that 10% efficiency improvement (did they even include electric for the fan?) comes close to covering the reduced life of today's units. My parents house had a 1940's Bryant forced air furnace in it. Bryant also made my 1950's boiler. The forced air unit was large with a big slow speed fan in it and you couldn't hear the air moving at all. It went 50 years and I wasn't convinced anything was wrong with it when dad got talked into replacing it. He complained from that day on about the "hurricane" winds in the place (there is that slow speed concept again). The replacement unit was 1/3 the size and the tiny fan rpm probably 4 times. Mom is still there and the contractor has been after me for the last 5 years to approve replacement of it because it was "old" at 16 years.
    You cannot include energy for the fan in the AFUE rating because it's nearly 100% efficient. AFUE isn't a cost rating, it's an efficiency rating.

    The blower on my parents furnace was also very quiet. It had started making a lot of noise so after a while my dad slid it out and vacuumed it. Apparently, from sitting still every summer it somehow got a line of dust on one spot of the squirrel cage and that started always sitting on the bottom. Over time it became more and more out of balance. After a simple vacuuming it very quiet again.
    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
  • PMJ
    PMJ Member Posts: 1,265
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    ChrisJ said:



    You cannot include energy for the fan in the AFUE rating because it's nearly 100% efficient. AFUE isn't a cost rating, it's an efficiency rating.

    You're right - I understand that is what AFUE is . I just find it annoying because with a boiler it basically is the net efficiency of the heating system. With forced air it is not.


    1926 1000EDR Mouat 2 pipe vapor system,1957 Bryant Boiler 463,000 BTU input, Natural vacuum operation with single solenoid vent, Custom PLC control
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
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    There's an old quote that says "History is the best predictor of future outcomes". When cast iron boilers use to last 50 to 80 years, clearly something has changed to cause them to last 8 to 15 years. I know they are smaller but that, by itself is not reason for them to rot through. What do the boiler manufacturers know that they aren't telling? Why do they just give a 10 warranty on the cast iron block? They give the same warranty on a cast iron boiler that most manufacturers offer on a relatively cheap rolled steel water heater. No one will ever convince me the life of a boiler isn't by design. If they fail every 10 to 15 years, there will be a repeat market (for a product that otherwise saw its heyday).
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,683
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    PMJ said:

    ChrisJ said:



    You cannot include energy for the fan in the AFUE rating because it's nearly 100% efficient. AFUE isn't a cost rating, it's an efficiency rating.

    You're right - I understand that is what AFUE is . I just find it annoying because with a boiler it basically is the net efficiency of the heating system. With forced air it is not.


    I agree,
    But how do you do that? How can you equally compare the total cost to run various heating systems?
    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