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Two Gas fired Steam Boilers..installed by J Star..6 years ago..What is actually done in a "Service"?

Athana Member Posts: 104
edited August 2019 in Strictly Steam
What is actually done in a service and what should it cost about? Both are Smith Gas Fired Steam Boilers.
I usually bleed all the valves every week till most of the black water comes out but at end of season..should I empty all water out of boiler till clean and refill ? Our water here is hard water.
Our water seems to get really dirty in the boiler after 4-5 days or so when it is cranking..I'm wondering if the lines and Radiators (One pipe Steam Cast Iron Radiators) are extra dirty.The previous home owners Oil Boiler kind of exploded Soot and it got all over the house as they had never serviced it..maybe its in lines?
In our previous house the Oil Company came and serviced our Boiler every year and maintained it as we bought the oil from them..but one day we came home and similar happened to our boiler soot was even on our car outside in the driveway as it must have gone up and out the chimney..and they "serviced' it regularly all the years we were there.
These Boilers were installed by J Star who I dont think vists here anymore..but he did a great thing for us getting us into this system and off oil. God bless that guy we loved him.


  • nicholas bonham-carter
    nicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,576
    edited August 2019
    Water never wears out, but can become contaminated if there are certain chemicals in the make up water-(chlorides), or if certain snake oil boiler treatments have been added. As a result no need to drain and refill, unless those have been added. Steamaster tablets are not in this category, and have been shown to be beneficial in keeping the water clear, although faintly purple.
    I don't know what valves you specifically refer to, but opening the boiler, LWCO, and separate wet return drain valve for a moment until clear, will flush out any sediment.
    We don’t discuss prices here, but you can tell if the steam tech is working in a systematic fashion.
    The yearly service should include:
    1. Cleaning the sight glass tube, and measuring the Ph of the water, and perhaps showing the homeowner how to do it.
    2. Checking the operation of the Low water cutoff.
    3. Cleaning the pigtail under the pressuretrol,
    4. Verifying the settings of the pressuretrol/vaporstat with a low pressure gauge, (0-3 psi).
    5. If you have one, reading the makeup water meter, and comparing with the previous years reading to check for excessive water usage.
    6. Cleaning the burner, and making any adjustments using the proper combustion tester, and clocking the gas meter.
    7. Inspecting the flue, and it’s connection to the chimney.
    8. Checking the main air vents for operation, and capacity.
    This is probably best done in cold weather.—NBC
  • SeanBeans
    SeanBeans Member Posts: 520
    edited August 2019
    And you won’t get the services mapped out by @nicholas bonham-carter from any company advertising “$X tune ups”

    Or at least it is not likely
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,838
    @JStar sold his company and IIRC is now working for a large commercial contractor. But if you get in touch with @Dave0176 or @EzzyT , who work in the same area, you'll be well taken care of.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,526
    @Athana ,
    And the water turning black has nothing to do with soot. Those two things are completely seperated