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Skimming Burnham Boilier with no Skim Port

Bought a new (to me) house in June. Has a Burnham Independence boiler for a one pipe system that was replaced in 2016 and I have been unable to get it to settle down. I have read a lot of discussions to try and get the bouncing issue taken care of but wanted to ask about something in particular.

In short, it will fire, water level will bounce and trip the low water cutoff, heat is unlikely to make it to the extremities of the system. I had the company who installed the boiler come to inspect it and they said the previous owners never maintained the system and that the water was just dirty causing it to bounce. He heated up the boiler until it bounced and tripped the LWCO, opened the drain valve and drained out dirty water (didn't drain it dry, just a few gallons), refilled from the feed very slowly to mix the fresh water with the remaining hot water in the boiler, repeat until the bouncing settled and it ran as it should. Boiler will run alright for a few days or a week and then it starts this process all over again and bounces/trips. Their advice was to repeat this process until the crap gets flushed out of the system and it should be OK (as well as putting some anti-foaming agent in that they had), but other things I have read say introducing new water to the system repeatedly, even though boiled immediately, is unlikely good for the boiler itself.

When I drain the water into a clean bucket during this process it leaves a residue on the edges near where the surface of the water was sitting that streaks if you run your finger across it, brown in color, leading me to believe there's some sort of oil in there that needs to be skimmed. However, this boiler has no skim port that I can see.

Can I skim it out of the top sight glass port somehow? Do I remove the LWCO probe and skim it out that port? My gut feeling is that this boiler was installed new and never skimmed properly. I certainly don't want to damage this system by repeating the instructions I've been given indefinitely as surely it's never getting the contaminants that sit on the surface out of the system.

Any and all help would be appreciated since it's getting colder! I am mechanically inclined and after watching him clean/service the boiler am confident if there's a way to do this I will have no problem getting it done myself. The system itself seems pretty simple, but I find it odd there's no dedicated skim port, given how important that is if contaminants get into the system water.

Thanks in advance,

-Brad

Comments

  • Neild5Neild5 Posts: 85Member
    Cann you change the 90 that the safety relief valve is mounted to for a tee and skim there? Since you are trying to remove oils that are floating draining from the bottom will never remove them
  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Posts: 5,715Member
    Looking at an IN8 book/picture (older maybe 2002) I have, there is a 1" skim port on the right hand side. It is lined up with the riser hole, down maybe 10". A lower level than the pop off valve.

    Maybe there under a jacket knock out. A good 8 point (if a square head plug) impact socket and driver might get it out after only 2 years.

    You can download the install manual for your boiler.
    They refer to that port as "surface blow-off" .
  • FredFred Posts: 7,874Member
    I have a Burnham also. They are so, so sensitive to even the least amount of oil on the surface of the water. I don't have a skim port either but I replaced the elbow on the Pressure Relief valve with a tee. Mounted the PRV back on the top of the Tee and put a plug in the end. I use that for my skim port. It is only 3/4" but, if you skim it very slowly, it works fine. When I need to skim, I fill the boiler up until it just starts to dribble out of that opening, I adjust the water supply to maintain a very slow flow, les then the diameter of a pencil and then I run connect a garden hose up to that 3/4" port (with a short nipple) run the hose over to a floor drain and let it run several hours, sometimes over night if the weather cooperates. Works great. It helps if you get the boiler water hot (but not boiling before you start). The water will still be tepid in the morning.
  • Danny ScullyDanny Scully Posts: 1,184Member
    It’s hard enough getting the skim plug out of a new burnham let alone one that has been in use for 2 years...you may have to cut it out.
  • amp3damp3d Posts: 11Member
    > @Fred said:
    > I have a Burnham also. They are so, so sensitive to even the least amount of oil on the surface of the water. I don't have a skim port either but I replaced the elbow on the Pressure Relief valve with a tee. Mounted the PRV back on the top of the Tee and put a plug in the end. I use that for my skim port. It is only 3/4" but, if you skim it very slowly, it works fine. When I need to skim, I fill the boiler up until it just starts to dribble out of that opening, I adjust the water supply to maintain a very slow flow, les then the diameter of a pencil and then I run connect a garden hose up to that 3/4" port (with a short nipple) run the hose over to a floor drain and let it run several hours, sometimes over night if the weather cooperates. Works great. It helps if you get the boiler water hot (but not boiling before you start). The water will still be tepid in the morning.

    This sounds like a great solution to my needs. I need and want to skim my 2 year old Weil McLain but don’t have the space to get in there and open a new skim port.
    Do you Have a picture so I can visualize? Should this work for my boiler as well?
  • coelcanthcoelcanth Posts: 62Member
    i also have one of these burnhams, installed last year.
    i'm pretty sure the instructions that came with it specifically mention using the relief valve tapping for skimming and adding chemicals.

    is it acceptable practice to leave a tee (and maybe even an adapter for garden hose) permanently installed with the safety valve there ?
    that would certainly make it more likely that periodic maintenance will happen...
  • DougoDougo Posts: 4Member
    Man do I miss Glenn Stanton. He would have been all over this question... may he rest in peace.
    So yea, it's covered in the manual around page 42 or so... check it out at www.usboiler.net
    thanks!
  • FredFred Posts: 7,874Member
    @amp3d , I don't have pictures but it is a simple fix. Take the PRV off, take the elbow off and install a 3/4" Tee on the nipple that the elbow was on. Remount the PRV on the top of the elbow so that it is vertical and put a plug in the end. If you use the garden hose, install another 3/4" nipple in the end where the plug would go and then you can either put a cap on that nipple or remove it after your skim and put the plug back in. I just hand tighten the nipple into the end of the Tee when I am skimming and then remove it afterwards.
    @coelcanth I wouldn't leave a hose adapter on that pipe. I would always plug or cap it so that no one accidently opens it when it is steaming. Yes, a Tee is fine to leave in, it is no different than an elbow with another opening. I also would not add any chemicals, other than one or two Steamaster tablets. The other chemicals seem to always create problems with foaming or unstable water line and simply aren't necessary. The Steamaster tablets will remove excess oxygen and do a good job of balancing the PH of the water, unless you know there are other issues with the water quality,that's all you need.
  • adambnycadambnyc Posts: 258Member
    edited October 2018
    Crazy idea I supposed. Pop the jacket, remove the skim port plug and stub it out. This in my IN6. Easy enough unless the plug is jammed, then get the sawzall. I believe it’s. 1 1/4” port if memory serves
  • adambnycadambnyc Posts: 258Member
    And if you want to be as crazy as myself and some of the other guys on here, make yourself the Gerry gill wand.

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