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W-M EG vs Burnham Independance ...periodic draining?

wcs5050 Member Posts: 131
edited November 2015 in Strictly Steam
A few years ago a customer took it upon himself to let fluid out of his new Independance, weekly. In 3 years the boiler had a gaping hole on top. I only found it after filling boiler all the way up.

Different job has EG doing 2 steam kettles in commercial kitchen. They were draining it weekly until I told them to stop after previous story. Now this boiler is muddy as hell. Condensate receiver/pump on this one.

Probe LWCO on both.

What's the consensus on draining/cleaning?yearly with the wand? Drain some off monthly?

I couldn't believe that Burnham rotted out in the 3rd year. Leak was huge but hard to find because its steam was making it into draft diverter and going right up the chimney.


  • If the LWCO is a float-type, then it should be tested monthly, or even more frequently,
    A blow down from the bottom of the boiler, to get any sediment out, every few months will be enough for most residential boilers.
    For a boiler supplying process steam, a weekly blowdown might be needed to get the added calcium out, as a result of all the fresh water. The feed water should go into the wet return, not only to avoid thermal shock, but also to give a chance for the oxygen to be driven out primarily into the piping, instead of straight into the sections of the boiler.
    A meter on the feed is always a good idea. That could determine the frequency of the blow downs.--NBC
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
    Those of us that have the float type LWCO typically blow off a quart to 2 quarts of water weekly during the heating season, some do it every couple weeks but it needs to be done or the float chamber will get deposit build up and the float will eventually not float. Both my Burnham manual and the MM #67 (LWCO) recommend weekly.As far as cleaning the boiler out with a wand, I have never done that and my boiler is 33 years old. I only drain it once evey three to five years and the water stays amazingly clear. I have skimmed it several times over the 25 years that I have been in this house as I made changes/repairs to piping. The Burnham (at least mine) is extremely sensitive to any oils on the surface of the boiler water and anything as small as replacing an elbow will cause the water to bounce like crazy until it is skimmed. Replacing Main vents doesn't seem to bother it at all.
    On the other hand, some on this site believe that an annual flush and wanding is important. It seems to be more a matter of opinion than boiler longevity.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,272
    If you are dealing with process steam or power steam, you really really have to pay attention to the water chemistry, particularly if you are adding fresh water as makeup (in power steam, it is usually closed loop, but at much higher temperatures and pressures than residential). You use blowdowns to control for total dissolved solids, which you need to keep down. You will add corrosion and oxidation inhibitors to keep things from corroding. Oxygen scavengers, ditto. There are companies which specialize in this sort of boiler chemistry analysis and control, and it would be well to use their services...

    I might add that some of the chemicals used are pretty nasty.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • wcs5050
    wcs5050 Member Posts: 131
    Feed is unfiltered from a well. Duh. I think I'll put a good dirt/rust cartridge filter on it. That should slow down the mud. Chemistry def an issue. Going to try the wand out on this one.
  • SWEI
    SWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    Dirt and rust may clog boilers up, but they don't eat castings. I would look closely at chlorides followed by sulf-, phos-, and related compounds.