Welcome! Here are the website rules, as well as some tips for using this forum.
Need to contact us? Visit https://heatinghelp.com/contact-us/.
Click here to Find a Contractor in your area.

Boiler cracked

Options
I have just been told that I need a new boiler on my eleven year old propane furnace because it is cracked. The reason given is that I am on well water. I have a water softener but apparently it is not doing the trick. Has anyone heard of or had this problem with using well water in a boiler. Is there a boiler available that is somehow coated or treated to withstand well water?

Comments

  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 22,480
    Options
    What type of system do you have? Is it hot water baseboard, cast iron radiators, radiant?

    In a typical closed loop hydronic (boiler) system it should not be taking on fresh, hard water. The boiler should be filled, purged and that water stays in the system.

    If the boiler is filled with hard water deposits, it could indicate a leak in the system which has caused fresh water being introduced.

    IF the boiler is cracked, this is commonly caused by thermal shock, maybe cold return hitting a hot boiler. And if that is the case the piping and component selection should prevent thermal shock.

    Some pictures of the boiler and near piping would help get you a better opinion.
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,655
    Options
    Depending on the situation, softened water can actually cause more corrosion in a boiler than hard water. Being on well water is not a factor, not a reason.

    But usually, cracks occur, as @hot rod says, from thermal shock.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • lchmb
    lchmb Member Posts: 2,997
    Options
    I've had my boiler on well water for 26 years...never had an issue. Listen to Hot Rod...sounds like you have other issues...where are you located?
    trivetman
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,840
    Options
    Is your boiler hot water or steam?
  • marthajburns
    marthajburns Member Posts: 3
    Options
    I am located in upstate NY. The boiler is hot water. I should also mention that our main source of heat is wood and we only use the furnace for backup like in the spring and fall to take the chill off or if we leave the house for extended periods of time for vacation. Thanks all of you for the comments. Please keep them coming.
  • marthajburns
    marthajburns Member Posts: 3
    Options
    Was just thinking. If it is thermal shock, how do I prevent it from happening?
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,655
    Options

    Was just thinking. If it is thermal shock, how do I prevent it from happening?

    Number one cause: never, ever add cold water to a hot boiler in any significant quantity.

    Number two -- never fire a boiler without water in it!
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,655
    Options
    With regard to your #3 there, @Hatterasguy -- quite true; I was referring to adding a lot of cold water. The small amount added by a pressure maintaining valve -- or an autofeeder for steam -- isn't going to crack anything.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,109
    Options
    If this is a hot water boiler it would have been completely full of water (unlike steam). And under some pressure. A cracked water boiler would have left a puddle on the floor. Did you have that?
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
    Options
    The way he says they use this system (they usually use wood). makes me wonder if they have a habit of powering the boiler down, completely and it froze and cracked. Ice puddles less >:)
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,109
    Options
    I would think that the domestic water would have frozen also.
    The boiler has more water (heat) stored than say a 1/2 pipe going to an unused wall hydrant.
    Also most of the heating system water would have drained down to the basement floor. IMO
  • cinder
    cinder Member Posts: 8
    Options
    Last week our oil co. service installed two pigtails and an expansion tank on our 4 year old Dunkirk steam boiler. The boiler was hot when they did the work because I had forgotten they were coming and didn't turn it off. They said 'no problem," and proceeded to do a half hour's work. The boiler, by the way, has been working fine. That night the house got really cold. I went to the basement to find water pouring from the boiler. The block had cracked. My regular plumber came and said he thought they had flushed water into the system too fast while the boiler was hot. That makes sense to me, but of course the oil company totally denies this. Our regular plumber couldn't believe what he saw. We think they were careless & must be responsible for this, but their supervisor came and found other little things he said were wrong--not one of which, however, explains the crack /leak. Does anyone have any thoughts on this? My regular plumber is a great guy but a man of few words--and I get the feeling, because he wasn't there when they did the work, although he indicated they "didn't know what they were doing" he doesn't want to say too much and probably wouldn't appear to give expert commentary in court. Is there any other reason the block would suddenly have cracked?
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
    edited January 2019
    Options
    @cinder , start a new thread. Putting you question on this thread is confusing as this thread is two years old.
    Herrick
  • cinder
    cinder Member Posts: 8
    Options
    I apologize--I'm new to this. I probably should have started a "new discussion"(above), although it does relate somewhat.
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
    Options
    cinder said:

    I apologize--I'm new to this. I probably should have started a "new discussion"(above), although it does relate somewhat.

    No problem. You'll get a lot more feedback on a new post and you want to be as "armed" as possible when dealing with the service company.