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Steam Boiler Water Chemistry. Products to test and remedy?

I'm a fairly new homeowner, and had a new steam boiler replaced that was put in 2007. I found some paperwork in the house, and it seemed the previous boiler went via the same way: "rotten section". I took a look at my water pH with some pool test strips and it shows ~6.2.
I have read this very informative article and noted this:
"When testing makeup water, the following are a good rule of thumb:

Chlorides should be less than 30 mg/L (ppm)
Hardness (as CaCo3) should be less than 100 mg/L (ppm)
pH should be between 8.0 and 10.0
Make-up water that doesn’t fit these standards must not be used in a steam boiler, and requires treatment prior to use."
My questions are what specific products do you use to test for Chlorides, pH and hardness? The pool test strips I have only work in the range for pool purposes so the hardness range is not covered. The pH resolution is not great and only goes up to 8.4. Also, I am not sure if the "free chlorine" and "total chlorine" that is mentioned on the strips are the same as the "chlorides" mentioned in the article.

Also, when I do end up adjusting pH, will more chemicals need to be added to maintain that pH because of make-up water being added, or do the chemicals remain in solution in the liquid water and not travel with the steam?

Thanks

Comments

  • barnicbarnic Posts: 8Member
  • MilanDMilanD Posts: 1,107Member
    edited October 2017
    CORRECTED: For chlorides, it's good idea to check your municipal water report. They usually don't list it - but they may, or give it to you if you call them. To test it your self, you need to get a kit. Google 'chloride testing kit' It's a chemical kit.

    Less than 20 mg in sulfites is also not good.

    For raising the pH, get Steamaster tablets (if you can find them), or 8-way liquid, both by Rectorseal. DO NOT add too many tablets, usually 2-3 will do (and not 6 per 100 edr as it suggests). Adding this will increase pH. to 8+. You can also try lye or soda ash. Lye is better for some reason, something to do with byproduct chemical that's corrosive if soda ash is used, vs. lye - lye being better. There is a thread here that talks about that, I'll see if I can dig it up. It was from Jan/Feb this year... You can use litmus paper for this, it's good enough if you read 9+ by color. Amazon sells these and they are cheap. You can get electronic tester for pH (and for TDS) too. Electronic ones need to be recalibrated often, so keep it that in mind.

    Do check that you don't have any leaks as excess fresh water will kill your boiler. This is #1 priority.

    What I ended up doing is 1/2 water is distilled, 1/2 muni - our water is 170+ ppm hard (! very hard), and chlorides are ~65-70 mg from the city. So, half/half, then steamaster to adjust pH as distilled water is has very low pH. Then, keep track of water use, install a meter if you don't have the modern auto-filler. Keep an eye on it and if it keeps adding water, you must find a leak if that is the case. No more than a few gallons, if that, per year is normal. More than that - there is a leak.
  • BobCBobC Posts: 4,982Member
    I agree with @MilanD and would like to add another method of tracking water use. Keep a log beside the boiler and note the date and how many inches (in gauge glass) of water you add each time and if it was do to lost water or drained water. Then drain an inch of water from the boiler and measure the amount of water drained to calibrate your measurement.

    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
  • MilanDMilanD Posts: 1,107Member
    @BobC

    I was happy with this one - it and a usage log alerted me I had a problem when that LGB section failed last winter...

    Awakingdemi 15mm 1/2 inch Cold Water Meter Read of Cubic Meters

    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01CZEMMBI/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_23t6zbAMYYGYY
  • BobCBobC Posts: 4,982Member
    That's a good price for a water meter.

    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
  • barnicbarnic Posts: 8Member
    @BobC and @MilanD Thanks for the info. I called up my water company and they did not have the chloride information readily available. They referred the matter to another department, so hopefully they have the information.

    @MilanD Dan Vastyan's post said "Chlorides should be less than 30 mg/L (ppm)". Can let me know why you think less than 30 is not safe? Thanks -Barry
  • MilanDMilanD Posts: 1,107Member
    edited October 2017
    @barnic

    See this:
    http://www.rhomarwater.com/assets/pdf/pds/W-SteamPro.pdf

    and this:

    http://www.rhomarwater.com/assets/pdf/pds/W-903.pdf

    It's less than 20 ppm on sulfites that's bad - sorry - my misstatement. Keep sulfites above 20. Keep chlorides below 30.

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