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SteamMaster Tablets and LWCO

Hello Steam Team,
I have a new and exciting development.
SteamMaster tablets seem to have changed the behavior of water :-)

I have a one-pipe residential steam system.
Last year, based on information here, I was able
to calibrate my Pressuretrol, and I could see
with an Ohmmeter that it was working.

This year, it was working fine, and I added
a 5 psi gauge, and I could now see the
pressuretrol cutting out at 1.5 psi.
A picture of the new gauge and the planned
alternate pressuretrol is attached.

The system has been comfortable this year.

Today, I removed the pressure relief valve
and added steammaster tablets.
The water turned purple as expected,
I flushed the system, refilled, and now,
I am seeing the water boil out on every cycle.
It is cycling on LWCO, not on the pressuretrol.

At first when I watched it happen,
I thought it was the pressuretrol acting
normally, but then it came on very fast, and
I saw that it was actually the LWCO
(I checked the Tstat, Ptrol and LWCO with an ohmmeter).

I could see the sight glass go empty,
and then refill almost completely when the burner shut off.

Does Sodium Nitrite water boil faster,
more completely?

No changes were made elsewhere in the system.
I would check if maybe a vent began to leak,
but I can't - steam isn't getting upstairs.
It shuts off right away.

I might get a full cycle if I add water, but I
suspect the original water is still in the system
and is coming back down soon enough,
which would overfill the system.


I appreciate any suggestions how to troubleshoot this one.

Thanks
Seth



Comments

  • The SteamMaster addition, may have resulted in too high a concentration, resulting in an unstable boil. I suggest you drain out half the water from the boiler, and refill.
    The directions on the bottle are wrong, and only 1/3 to 1/2 that dose should be given.
    I only use water myself.--NBC
  • j a_2
    j a_2 Member Posts: 1,801
    Yup drain and skim and if it works leave it alone
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,380
    You only need one or two tablets for your boiler. Empty it completely and try adding jut one to see how that works.

    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
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 20,467
    If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Why did you add the steamaster? I've never used it... never seen any need to.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 13,890
    I'm still amazed at how many people say not to use water treatment just because they never needed to. Some people absolutely need to unless they want a new boiler every 3-10 years. Others may get away with nothing but chances are their boiler would last longer if they did.

    Drain the boiler completely, refill and skim 5 gallons out or so for good measure then drop 1 tablet in. I run two tablets, but it seems many cannot use that much.

    How many tablets did you add before?


    Proper amounts of water treatment do NOT cause problems. Similar to salt in food, you'll die without it but too much will also cause problems.
    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
    ttekushan_3
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 13,890
    Also, is it just me, or does that boiler appear to be piped wrong?
    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
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,354
    ChrisJ said:

    Also, is it just me, or does that boiler appear to be piped wrong?

    I see a copper riser that appears undersized.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • Seth Rothenberg
    Seth Rothenberg Member Posts: 26
    >>>>>does that boiler appear to be piped wrong?

    >>I see a copper riser that appears undersized

    KC_Jones, ChrisJ, I did read about Copper here and
    in Dan's book...and I wondered about the single riser...

    I downloaded a copy of the installation manual,
    and it actually shows a single riser as an option,
    but perhaps that example used a bigger riser.

    The copper....it looks like this will be another year
    that it doesn't get removed. Maybe next.

    If / when it gets done, we'll see if we can open
    another plug for a second riser. That might
    take all summer :-)

    Thanks again.
    SR
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,540
    edited November 2015
    @Seth Rothenberg , another tip, take the pigtail off (the looped pipe that the Pressuretrol is mounted on and wash it out and make sure the opening into your MM 67 LWCO is open as well. I had that same set up on my boiler and mounting the pigtail on the LWCO is a bad idea but if you leave it there, you have to clean out that pigtail a couple times per heating season. You have your new gauge mounted on top of the boiler. If it were me, I'd put a Tee on that top pigtail and move my pressuretrol up there, next to the gauge. It will stay clena and work a lot better. Then just put a 1/4" brass plug in the top of the LWCO. I have moved mine as well.
    Per your intuition, the water is in the boiler, just being pushed out into the wet returns, skim the boiler to get all the oils off the surface of the water (may take several skims) and use only one steamaster tablet. Personally, I have a bottle of them but have not used them either. I use plain water but some feel it really helps.
  • j a_2
    j a_2 Member Posts: 1,801
    ChrisJ said:

    I'm still amazed at how many people say not to use water treatment just because they never needed to. Some people absolutely need to unless they want a new boiler every 3-10 years. Others may get away with nothing but chances are their boiler would last longer if they did.

    Drain the boiler completely, refill and skim 5 gallons out or so for good measure then drop 1 tablet in. I run two tablets, but it seems many cannot use that much.

    How many tablets did you add before?


    Proper amounts of water treatment do NOT cause problems. Similar to salt in food, you'll die without it but too much will also cause problems.

    Yup I guess it's a local thing..
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 13,890
    edited November 2015
    j a said:

    ChrisJ said:

    I'm still amazed at how many people say not to use water treatment just because they never needed to. Some people absolutely need to unless they want a new boiler every 3-10 years. Others may get away with nothing but chances are their boiler would last longer if they did.

    Drain the boiler completely, refill and skim 5 gallons out or so for good measure then drop 1 tablet in. I run two tablets, but it seems many cannot use that much.

    How many tablets did you add before?


    Proper amounts of water treatment do NOT cause problems. Similar to salt in food, you'll die without it but too much will also cause problems.

    Yup I guess it's a local thing..
    The previous owner here rotted out a Burnham V8 twice in 8 years. First block went 3, second one went 5.

    My block even after 4 years now and steamaster looks like new inside.

    Funny thing though, my neighbors American Standard Red Flash that was using gallons and gallons of water due to leaking vents all over is still going strong with the same water.

    Shame it's obviously something about the modern boilers eh? Maybe it's partly due to the pin design but I'd bet the iron is different as well. That Red Flash is from what, the 1920s?
    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
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,380
    My v7 went for 16 years and the Delco before it went over 50 but the water quality here is very good. The old boilers had much thicker castings and they were not cast in China.

    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
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 13,890
    BobC said:

    My v7 went for 16 years and the Delco before it went over 50 but the water quality here is very good. The old boilers had much thicker castings and they were not cast in China.

    Bob

    As far as I know both WM and Burnham cast their stuff here, no?

    I specifically remember asking WM before I bought mine unless things have changed since 2011.
    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
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,380
    I don't know about WM but I thought Burnham had imported their castings back in the late 80's and early 90's but I could be wong.

    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
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,540
    edited November 2015
    I think Burnham still cast theirs somewhere here in Northern Ohio. My Burnham (series 4B) is 33 years old (1983) and still (knock on wood) going strong.
    EDIT: I also think the larger boilers are probably a thicker wall , in some cases. Of course if they are just adding more sections to the newer boilers to make them larger, that may not be true??
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 13,890
    Fred said:

    I think Burnham still cast theirs somewhere here in Northern Ohio. My Burnham (series 4B) is 33 years old (1983) and still (knock on wood) going strong.
    EDIT: I also think the larger boilers are probably a thicker wall , in some cases. Of course if they are just adding more sections to the newer boilers to make them larger, that may not be true??

    Not sure about thicker and I say this because if you look at how a lot of modern boilers fail it's actual rott, not just rust. As if it'd kill any thickness cast iron of that type.

    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: 8,540
    ChrisJ said:

    Fred said:

    I think Burnham still cast theirs somewhere here in Northern Ohio. My Burnham (series 4B) is 33 years old (1983) and still (knock on wood) going strong.
    EDIT: I also think the larger boilers are probably a thicker wall , in some cases. Of course if they are just adding more sections to the newer boilers to make them larger, that may not be true??

    Not sure about thicker and I say this because if you look at how a lot of modern boilers fail it's actual rott, not just rust. As if it'd kill any thickness cast iron of that type.

    Yea, I tend to agree. I suspect the rot has a lot to do with them melting down and using a lot of reclaimed scrap metal.
  • ttekushan_3
    ttekushan_3 Member Posts: 944
    If I'm not mistaken, that's a Dunkirk boiler? If so, they are the most vigorous of boilers. Very narrow boiling space, a high water line that's close to the side outlets, and pretty thin metal. Protecting it is a good idea, but the Dunkirk is very easy to overdose. Everyone uses half the dosage, and I concur with what everyone here has experienced. But perhaps 1/3 on the Dunkirk may be necessary to stabilize the water line.

    Regionally, in my neck of the woods a water treatment helps prevent the bottom of the boiler waterways from turning into a block of calcium. I'll never forget the first time, long ago, that I used 8-Way water treatment on a Dunkirk. It's remarkable how quickly the entire contents of the boiler can evacuate themselves into the mains. Definitely one of those "Note to self..." moments.
    terry
    Seth Rothenberg
  • Seth Rothenberg
    Seth Rothenberg Member Posts: 26
    Thanks everyone for your recommendations. I put a Tee sideways under the relief valve and allowed it to drip for 4 hours. The sight glass is clear and the boiler is humming along. It took a few days to follow up because I found the sight glass valve packing was leaking. I got a whole sight glass kit, since it was about 20 years old. NOW I can go back to refilling the hydronic radiant heat in the new part of the house (but that's not Strictly Steam :-)