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Beginning of heating season best practices?

Hello, it's starting to get cold and I'm thinking the system will need to come on in the next few weeks.

I've learned a lot from this site. I've turned the pressure way down, and the system works perfectly.

But I'm still learning. This year I'd like to know how to start up the system properly. I'm wondering if I should drain the boiler, flush it out or ?? I know I need to boil any new water right away and not fill a hot boiler. Any other system start up tasks I should do?

Should I use a water treatment like Boilerpro 903 water treatment or Rectorseal Steamaster Tablets? I understand that I need to keep the PH at approx 9. How do you test the PH?

These confuse me a bit because I have no idea how to actually get them inside the boiler. I mean, there's no hole!


  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,471
    I've used the steamaster tablets for a few years, on a small residential steam boiler, I figure keeping the water free of rust is one of the best things you can do for a boiler.

    You only need one or two tablets. I check the PH using pHydrion paper strips that have a range of 6 to 11.

    I would flush the boiler out good before adding the tablets and then bring it up to steam and check the PH.

    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • Dsisson
    Dsisson Member Posts: 73
    awesome. thank you. I was just reading this thread which was also really helpful.

  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
    It is always a good idea to also take the pigtail (looped pipe) that your Pressuretrol/vaporstat/gauges are mounted on and clean those out. They have a tendency to get clogged with gunk and block the pressure to your pressuretol/vaporstat and prevent it from sensing pressures per your settings. The Pressuretrol/Vaporstat is a safety control to shut the burners down should pressures build beyond set point and to cut the burners back on when the pressure drops to the lower set point.

    Of course it's always a good idea to check for and repair any pipe leaks, make sure your Main vents are working 9not stuck closed) and vacuum/clean the burner tubes every so often.
  • Billy_13
    Billy_13 Member Posts: 15
    Dsisson said:

    These confuse me a bit because I have no idea how to actually get them inside the boiler. I mean, there's no hole!

    I have the exact same question. Can anyone answer this for us?
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
    To get the Steamaster tablets into the boiler, With the boiler cold, you can disolve it in a little water and pour it into the skim port on the boiler (if you have one) or you can take the pressure relief valve off of the boiler and put it in that way. You may want to crush the tablet a bit to help it disolve in the boiler, or when you take your Pigtail off to clean it out (the looped pipe that your Pressuretrol is mounted on) you can pour it into that opening before you put the pigtail back on.