Hello to all good and brave people of the Wall!
Has any of you used Rydlyme for descaling steam heat boilers? How did it go? Did you like it?
Why I ask:
As some of you may recall, I oversee an LGB steamer that last winter had a section failure, in its 7th winter. Long story short: we had quite a water use for 6 years of new boiler (and also for the old LGB that lasted 20+ years) due to inoperable traps (unbeknownst to me at a time). This lead to a lot of make up water. Coincidently our city water is also 200+ in TDS, chlorides, the works - good for people, bad for boilers. When it became obvious to me that steam coming out of the condensate return tank's vent is not normal operation, I serviced all the traps with MEPCO replacements (Hman ft cover assembly, and Warren Webster 784 cages, one of each piped in parallel at the end of 3 mains, as well as 3 Hman 17c to catch any carryover condensate at the beginning of the main, after the zone valves - quite clever in fact - there are other post on this here on the Wall so I won't elaborate further). After I was done, there was no more steam from the condensate tank vent. Yay me!
The winter flowing fixing of traps (winter #7 of the new boiler, end of January), the end section of the boiler failed and sprung a leak above the water line (I installed a water meter and kept a log, which alerted me to a lot of makeup water, which lead to me flooding the boiler and finding a leak). This section was replaced and the system is now tight and the boiler worked fine the rest of the winter. Plan is to use distilled water plus steamaster tablets for ph balance and o2 scavanging to keep the water as free of solids as possible yet having the benefit of chemicals found in steamaster and maybe sodium sulfite for additional o2 control if needed. Not sure if I'll go with Rhomar fluid just to be on the safe side...
Anyhow, while one section was getting swapped, I took a good video of the inside of the remaining boiler sections and discovered one other large blister scale buildup mound below waterline. The failed section had a pinhole leak opposite the alike mound, but a much larger one - 8-10" diameter, 4" tall! (Again, pics are in an earlier post.) Luckily, the replaced section was the end section, so swap did not take more than a day. The remaining section with the smaller blister is the opposite end section, this one below the waterline. Should it fail it will not be necessary to dismantle the entire boiler. I suppose that's a good thing. The other good thing, my video shows that the rest of the sections look pretty good with some light sporadic scaling that looks like a 3 pm beard shadow: stubby small growths, but no blisters. The only bad thing, the mound being below the waterline. Should it start to leak we won't be able to heat at all...
At any rate, I would like to remove this blister and the rest of the scaling the best I can. WM does not recommend descaling. I have read some accounts of Rydlyme descaler being a miracle. Also, talking to their engineer, he is 100% sure it will not damage the o seals, which is what I am mainly worried about. The other worry is that descaler could be removing some buildup that may have pitted into the castings and could thus exacerbate premature failing of another section(s). I am aware this is a possibility, but my inspection of the inside does not indicate scaling like that, so I am cautiously optimistic this won't be an issue. On the other hand, if I don't deal with the "mound", it will fail for sure at some point - excessive heating, graphitic corrosion, etc. Thus, a catch 22 if you will: damned if you don't and maybe also damned if you do.
So, my thought is to run Rydlyme descaler per manufacturer recommendations, but for only 75% of the daturation, therefore trying not to remove all scale, but only 60-75% of it (the manufacturer suggested concentration/time and I'll do 3/4 time and 3/4 of concentration to keep on the safe side). Then, rinse well and use either distilled water and steamaster or Rhomar. This should help keep things in check going forward. I do have testing kit for tds, chloride and o2 as well as ph strips and meter, so this will help with dialing in the acceptable water quality for distilled h2o.
Does anyone have any thoughts on what you'd do, and has anyone used Rydlyme? I am fully aware that if anything is to go wrong I'll have to eat the cost of new boiler sections. I think that it will happen for sure at some point if I do nothing, but I'd rather find out before the heating season starts and have the time to deal with it at a slow pace.
On the other hand, can a tds-free water act as a descaler and reduce the current scaling over time? This I don't know. Anyone here knows?