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End of winter water exchange

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inmytaxi
inmytaxi Member Posts: 6
I suddenly am in charge of an old building with an old gas powered boiler and about 30 radiators. I shut down the boiler and have been told to drain the water and fill it with fresh water by several neighbors and the elderly owner's widow. I was getting ready to do this and am wondering about the water in the radiators ... draining the water from the boiler doesn't affect the water in the radiators?

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  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,479
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    If this is a steam system that is not good practice because fresh water has oxygen and that oxygen will cause corrosion. That oxygen would have to be driven off by running the system up to steam.

    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
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,903
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    Take some pictures of the boiler and a few radiators, post them here and let's have a look.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • inmytaxi
    inmytaxi Member Posts: 6
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    I can't get to the radiators this evening. Here's one view of boiler.
  • inmytaxi
    inmytaxi Member Posts: 6
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    Another view where you access the pilot
  • inmytaxi
    inmytaxi Member Posts: 6
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    I think this is where the water goes to the radiators
  • inmytaxi
    inmytaxi Member Posts: 6
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    Here is the label ... Antebellum Boiler LLP?
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,903
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    That's a STEAM system, not a hot-water system. So you have steam coming out of the boiler and going to the radiators, not water.

    That boiler dates back to the 1920s or so. It's one of the earliest gas boilers made, and may be original to the system.

    I can't see anything related to the system itself- do the radiators have two pipes connected to each one, or just one pipe?
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • inmytaxi
    inmytaxi Member Posts: 6
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    The people upstairs are sleeping and the radiators are covered I will check it out tomorrow.

    Forgive my ignorance, but since it is steam you are saying there is no bleeding of the radiators that is ever done? Please understand I have no experience with heating or hot water other than shutting off or turning on boilers a few times ... lighting a pilot light was the highest level of expertise I reached in this area.

    Would it make sense that the water was drained and left out of the boiler all summer, or would it have been drained and refilled immediately? I am hearing two versions of how the previous owner dealt with this.

    Thanks for your help with this.
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,903
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    That's correct- you don't bleed steam radiators. Air is released every time the steam comes up. How the air is released depends on what type of steam system you have- we'll wait for more info to advise further.

    We don't recommend draining water from steam systems unless it's dirty or you have to work on the system- fresh water brings in fresh corrosives, which causes rusting as seen in the pic of the return pipes on the right of the boiler. Somewhere on that boiler there should be a glass tube that shows the water level- typically it should never get over half full.

    Where are you located?
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting