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Cleaning pigtail, is this method dumb?

rcrit Member Posts: 74
So it occurred to me that I never checked the pigtail at the beginning of the season and I lighted on what may be a stupid idea.

I don't have any pictures handy but here is a description of what I have. The pigtail comes out of the boiler to a tee. On top of the tee is the pressuretrol and to the left along another tee are a 30 and a 3 lb gauge.

My idea is to disconnect the last gauge and blow into it to ensure the pigtail is clean, then pour a bit of water into it and reconnect the gauge.

I guess the downside is that whatever muck might be in the pigtail will sit on the bottom of my boiler.

How knuckle-headed is this?
I'm just a homeowner that has a steam system, take my advice with a few grains of salt.


  • Steamer1928
    Steamer1928 Member Posts: 34
    Creative, but does sound a bit risky. You're putting your mouth on something that ultimately is connected to a unit which carries/consumes electricity and fuel, not to mention boiling water and steam at any given time. My pressuretrol and pigtail are a pain to remove, but I think I'd rather take the extra 10-15 mins than risk a mouth full of who knows. I also don't think you'd be able to tell if it's clogged or clear with the method you suggest, and I'm not sure a human can blow hard enough to clear out a pigtail of boiler crud. My two cents, which aren't worth much more than that...
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 4,822
    I don't hate it, at least as a quick way to see if it's clear.

    You could pour some water into it and then see if you can blow that water out into the boiler. You can make an extension to screw on to blow into so you're not having to wrap your lips around the pigtail :lol:
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 21,555
    It's even easier to check the pigtail -- take off one of the gauges (they're usually easiest), put a funnel on it, and pour water in. It should drain right out. If not, you've got a problem.

    And then you really need to take the thing apart and find out what the problem is...
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • rcrit
    rcrit Member Posts: 74
    This worked pretty well. The water drained right out, so fortunately for me it wasn't plugged.
    I'm just a homeowner that has a steam system, take my advice with a few grains of salt.
  • jhrost
    jhrost Member Posts: 57
    Don't know if its a dumb idea, but when I cleaned mine - after I took off the pressuretrol - I used a little plastic bladder that you fill with water (this was originally made to help dislodge compacted earwax - I happened to have one around, its a pretty cheap item) I kept filling it with hot water and squeezing it till the water started going out to the boiler. It worked for me without having to take off the whole thing , and I was going to skim the boiler anyway so I wasn't worried about a little extra crud. I cleaned it with a wire as far as I could and then used that thing.
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 4,822
    That crud will probably sink so drain some out the bottom periodically to flush it out in addition to skimming
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,541
    My only concern with blowing air through the pigtail would be that it may blow some crud back into the tiny orifice in the Pressuretrol and clog it.
  • gerry gill
    gerry gill Member Posts: 3,072
    we usually use one of two ways. 1- A good sized device that resembles a medical syringe and shoot water thru the pigtail. Or a Bunn coffee maker's cleaning spring tool.
    Serving Cleveland's eastern suburbs from Cleveland Heights down to Cuyahoga Falls.