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3yr Old Steam Boiler No Skim Station

grifftuh Member Posts: 2
Hello, I had a new steam boiler installed 3 years ago and just discovered during a recent plumbers visit, that we do not have a skim station. This new plumber is suggesting we install one and skim the system. My hesitation is upfront cost. Is the skim station a necessity at this point? The system runs pretty good, uneven, but good. It could be better I'm sure. I would like to know if I'm being penny wise and pound foolish? Thank you!


  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,518
    edited December 2018
    Post a picture of the boiler and let's see if the skim port is there, maybe just capped off. To answer your question, yes, every steam boiler should have a skim port. Whenever a pipe repair is made, that introduces oil into the system which will wreak havoc with steaming and operational efficiency. It may not get used often but when it is needed, it is needed. How did the installer skim it on installation or did he? By the way, adding the skim port should not be a huge cost. The most difficult part of the job is getting the plug out of the boiler block. After that it is a nipple, a full port valve and a cap.
  • grifftuh
    grifftuh Member Posts: 2
    Thanks Fred. Two pictures are attached. I wonder if I should go back to the original plumber who did the install, which was also an oil to gas conversion, and ask about the skim port and how/if they did skim it? Do you think any damage was done over time by not skimming, or will installing and doing the skim now be just as good? Sounds like this is something I should have done. Thank you!

    JUGHNE Member Posts: 8,925
    You are fortunate to have a plumber who is concerned about skimming your boiler.

    If you find the install manual for your model, in the basement or online, there is a diagram showing the ports in the casting. One of these may be labeled skim or blow off port.
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,518
    It looks like your skim port is being used for your Pressuretrol. If you can have your plumber take that elbow off and install a Tee, at the port, he can remount the Pressuretrol and put a nipple and cap on the end of the Tee for skimming.
    Not having skimmed hasn't hurt the boiler but can make it run inefficiently and erratic.
  • FriendlyFred
    FriendlyFred Member Posts: 27

    On your Burnham, the skim port will be sealed with a pipe plug on the other side of the outer jacket where circled. It'll be a square headed plug, with a 1 1/4" (or so) tapping.

    Undo the front-half top of the boiler jacket and you can see it. There's barely enough room to reach in, pop out the knockout blank, and stick a big pipe wrench on the square plug head.

    Then, thread a 6" nipple with cap in it's place, and you're set for skimming, and you don't have to much around with the pipe-plug anymore.