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Skimming and other clean-out on a contiuing basis

I've skimmed several times by the prescribed methods and have done so until the water is quite clean each time. But after a day or two I can repeat the procedure and the water is like tea again. I no longer have the hammering problem but I am wondering if I should keep skimming once in a while in addition to the weekly LWC blow-down?

I don't have the valves installed that will allow me to do a pressure type of cleaning at the end of the season but I might open the return port and use a hose and maybe some wand attachment to clean-out what I can. But is that something that should be done each year?


  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,398
    The dirty water (tea) and the skimming generally are 2 different issues. Skimming is to remove oils and usually you can't even see them. Once you get the oils out and the water line stabalizes you should be good on skimming until you do more work on the system. New piing brings more oils so you usually need to skim again. The dirty water is probably crud that was brought into your boiler from the old pipes. Not sure if your installer cleaned those wet returns out at all before hooking up the new boiler, but that is usually a good idea. That or replacement with new pipes. If your installer changes that piping when they come back I would skim again at that point.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • arbalest
    arbalest Member Posts: 80
    KC_Jones said:

    ...Not sure if your installer cleaned those wet returns out at all before hooking up the new boiler...

    Ha! If it was a good idea then I am sure he did not. When the loop is fixed it will get cleaned-out (even if by me) and it will have a valve on it for draining later. Thanks.

  • vaporvac
    vaporvac Member Posts: 1,520
    I found it takes quite a few skims, with increasing amounts of time between them, to get out all the oils. If you have an atmospheric boiler, cleaning out the sludge will help with efficiency.
    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
  • Abracadabra
    Abracadabra Member Posts: 1,948
    Drop 1 or 2 steammaster tablets into the boiler.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 14,127
    My water was always rusty brown, and would get worse over time.

    2 steamaster tablets and my water is always a clean purple color.
    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: 8,541
    Tea colored water is typical. The boiler and piping are iron and that will rust. You can slow the rusting down by limiting the amount of fresh water you put in the boiler and by boiling off excess oxygen but there will always be some level of rusting until the day comes when something rusts through. As has been said, add a Steamaster tablet or two. It will turn the water purple and you won't see the "Tea". :)
  • arbalest
    arbalest Member Posts: 80
    Can I throw the tablets in through the Hartford loop when it gets redone on Monday? Can I get the tablets locally like at Clark/Devon Hardware?

    This is out of place here but when the h-loop gets redone should it have gate valves or are ball valves better for this? I am thinking that I will have the proper valves on site in case my installer is resistant to the idea (now I am getting paranoid). It will be a 2" valve to close off the h-loop from the returns during flushing but should the drain be a full 2" valve or a regular hose-bib type of valve in a reducing bushing of some sort?
  • nicholas bonham-carter
    nicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,573
    edited November 2015
    I think you want a tee on the wet return, with a full port ball valve which can be opened periodically to let out the sludge. If you have a close floor drain, pipe over to it. Otherwise, you will be restricted to a bucket.
    Make sure the water feed is piped into the return, which will protect the boiler from any thermal shock, when topping it up. This arrangement also keeps the oxygenated fresh water more or less in the returns, until the boiler fires again, driving out the dissolved oxygen.--NBC
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,541
    You can put the tablets in anywhere you have an opening. You will want to add tablets whenever the water is no longer a lavender color so having an opening is not just a one time affair. You can add them through the Skim port also. As far as closing off the hartford loop with valves, that is probably overkill. Certainly you can add the, probably ball valves but if any crud were to travel through the Hartford loop and into the boiler, that is what the mud leg and the lower drain valve on the boiler is there for. Just flush the returns, and let any dirt settle and maybe a hour or so later, drain the mud leg until the water runs clear, if there is any dirt there at all. Besides every added and unnecessary valve is just another point for failure at some point.