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Water Use is Down-Likely Explanations?

cubicacres
cubicacres Member Posts: 358
edited March 2017 in Strictly Steam
After packing some graphite in 2 of the radiator supply valves we saw leaking steam (we still know one spud union is dripping a little, and will replace that entire radiator supply valve in summer), packing the gate valve in the skim tapping, and adding a 2nd steamaster tablet, we noticed the water meter stayed at 127 gallons the past 14 days. Although the weather in Milwaukee was warm, the tekmar 279's hours run log suggests it's using less water per hour of run time than any part of the earlier part of the season.

On a Weil-McClain EG-75 single-pipe steam boiler, is a gallon per month about what to expect with normal operation?

We're wondering if packing the supply valves & adding steamaster tablets helped by chemically cleaning the boiler water from wet steam to dry steam? Could some of our water be leaving the boiler and going into the system as wet steam for a gallon or two of water loss every day in Dec/Jan when we were losing a few (2-4) gallons per day on the coldest days, with 2-4 gallons/week common for a few weeks back then? The gauge glass has less brown crud in it and looks cleaner, and is a medium pink color now after that 2nd steamaster tablet.

Would you reccomend adding another steamaster tablet after the water meter shows another 5-10 gallons have been added? This would have been every month in Dec/Jan, but now it's slowed down considerably in Feb :smile:

Comments

  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 22,889
    A gallon per month is fine. Be happy. And it is quite likely that those leaks you fixed were the culprit.

    Wet steam causes many ills, and dry steam fixes them -- but water use isn't one of them. The water that leaves the boiler in the case of wet steam comes back again in the condensate.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    MilanD
  • MilanD
    MilanD Member Posts: 1,160
    Steamaster tablets will stay concentrated in the boiler, unless you drain the boiler. Steam leaves the chemicals from steamaster in the boiler. Depending on the amount of makeup water they treat, after a while you will need to add more as they will be "spent", so to speak.
  • cubicacres
    cubicacres Member Posts: 358
    Sounds good. Amazing to us how a small radiator supply valve leak 30 feet away in one or two places can change the boiler operation/early low water shut-off. If we get more cold weather, we'll see how it runs with more hours on per day.

    We can wait until the pink sight glass water fades over time, and add another steamaster tablet occasionally.

    Do you reccomend just turning off the power switch to the boiler in spring until fall startup again, or do some people drain the water or do other "summerization" techniques?

    We could probably use a tune-up and wipe off the LWC probe this year. Is there a list of common tune-up things we should consider & watch for if we have someone tune it up for us?



  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
    Don't drain the boiler. That just exposes all of the interior to air/moisture and consequently rust. Some people fill the boiler up into the risers to keep the entire boiler cavity under water. I have always just raised and/or lowered my water level a couple inches at spring shutdown just to change the waterline as that area at the waterline is prone to rust through.
    Turning the power switch off is fine. I tend to:
    - check/clean vents
    - clean out any pigtails
    - clean burner tubes
    - walk the basement checking for any indication of leaks on the mains/returns
    - Summer is a good time to drain/flush wet returns
    - correct any radiator vents/valves that I noted as questionable during the heating season
    - Make sure boiler drain is clear
    - Check and/or clean out any float type LWCO
    - Clean the probes on any LWCO. Use a fine grit steel wool.
    MilanDSolid_Fuel_Man
  • MilanD
    MilanD Member Posts: 1,160
    Lwco cleaning will require draining some of the water. Just make sure when you refill it, to bring it to boil to remove excess O2. That's a good time to add steamaster tablets too to condition the water before summer heating hiatus. Fred said, and I agree, you can raise the water level a few inches from regular, to submerge the regular water line, as in new boilers that's a weak spot for rust-through.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,436
    edited March 2017
    Be warned.
    I run my boiler with about as much Steamaster as it will tolerate without raising my pressure.

    I had the same dose in it for two seasons and the color went from a very vivid purple to a very pale color so I added more. It was a bad idea, meaning just because the color fades doesn't mean the dose necessarily does. I only added 1 pill and all hell broke loose.

    I then drained the boiler, rinsed it out, refilled and added my normal 2 pills.

    I like to do this once a season though I don't know if it's necessary. I do believe it washes a lot of the minerals out that Steamaster suspends in the water. I also believe some of the chemicals in Steamaster likely need to be replenished over time, while others may not so a complete drain is in order.



    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
  • cubicacres
    cubicacres Member Posts: 358
    Thanks. We're hoping the steamaster tablets will adhere to the minerals and cause them to sink to the bottom for occasional blow-down to remove them from the boiler.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,436

    Thanks. We're hoping the steamaster tablets will adhere to the minerals and cause them to sink to the bottom for occasional blow-down to remove them from the boiler.

    Rumor on the streets is this is one of the things Steamaster does, as well as clean deposits off of the block.
    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
  • cubicacres
    cubicacres Member Posts: 358
    We noticed our water meter went up 2 gallons this past week or two with the colder weather-things were looking better for a while...We know of one radiator supply valve spud union that's leaking on the bottom in a unit, so that may be part of it (until we replace the entire value in the summer).

    When we're ready to shut down for the spring, it sounds like a blast of heat for 20 minutes to remove the oxygen from the new water added is reccomended on that final heating day, maybe add a 3rd steamaster tablet for the summer (first 2 added last 2 weeks or so) as well?

    For a good water line, do you reccomend above the skim tapping an inch or two? And rotating the water line every spring for shut-off to keep it from rusting at the same line each year?