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Our skim port pipe plug is too tight...

We turned on our boiler last night and noticed the skim port pipe plug on the end was too tight to remove using our 2 pipe wrenches as usual. We wanted to lower the water in the boiler to do a cold skim by dropping the water level down from summer storage that was a few inches above the skim port, and in a few weeks we'd like to skim it and might add another steamaster tablet into the port. Do you recommend using a liquid wrench spray to loosen the threads on the plug so our wrenches can get it off, or another method for ease of removal ocassionally?

Comments

  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Member Posts: 1,572
    edited October 2019
    Definitely try something like PB Blaster, sure, there's nothing to lose. An impact wrench can work great too. Curious, did you have teflon tape on the plug or is it metal to metal?

    Oh and for additional ease, I installed a ball valve on my skim pipe
    1 pipe Utica 112 in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Member Posts: 6,793
    PB Blaster or Kroil spray, let soak, firm tapping with hammer on the plug and fitting. Spray again, hammer again.
    Then a 2-3" long nipple and cap is a much better choice for future removal.
    ethicalpaul
  • SeanBeansSeanBeans Member Posts: 482
    Bigger wrenches!
    ethicalpaul
  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Member Posts: 6,793
    If the square end of the plug is snapped off then that is bad.
    This I do know about. :s
  • cubicacrescubicacres Member Posts: 297
    edited October 2019
    Thanks. We put Teflon tape on due to drips last season per the photo. Installers used a gate valve. Seems like it either drips a bit or is too tight 😊
  • ChrisJChrisJ Member Posts: 10,860

    Thanks. We put Teflon tape on due to drips last season per the photo. Installers used a gate valve. Seems like it either drips a bit or is too tight 😊

    What size wrench are you using to try and remove it?
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • cubicacrescubicacres Member Posts: 297
    2 good sized pipe wrenches, with one cheater/extender working on cap square, but we didn't want to break anything with too much force. I think 2.5 inch max & 3.5 inch max for the jaws of the pipe wrenches, about 1 inch square pipe cap on the end, so fits fine around it in the jaws.
  • BobCBobC Member Posts: 5,101
    When you do get that plug out replace it with a brass plug, they don't cost all that much.

    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
  • ChrisJChrisJ Member Posts: 10,860

    2 good sized pipe wrenches, with one cheater/extender working on cap square, but we didn't want to break anything with too much force. I think 2.5 inch max & 3.5 inch max for the jaws of the pipe wrenches, about 1 inch square pipe cap on the end, so fits fine around it in the jaws.

    If I was having trouble, I'd use two 24" pipe wrenches and honestly I can't see how those wouldn't make that plug turn especially in a brass fitting.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
    SeanBeans
  • MotorapidoMotorapido Member Posts: 171
    I find it helps if you heat around the exposed threads before applying kroil or pbblaster. The downside is that this creates a steam cloud of the penetrating oil, which smells very strong, but many believe that this encourages the penetrant to go deeper into the threads. Be ready for stink.
  • cubicacrescubicacres Member Posts: 297
    Thanks for the advice. Maybe a brass plug without the teflon tape will work better once we get it off. I saw this youtube video comparing penetrating oils while ding my research yeserday, and noticed heating it works best, followed by cheaper oils per his test, but they were similar overall:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xUEob2oAKVs
  • cubicacrescubicacres Member Posts: 297
    Just curious Bob/Chris/anyone, why is a brass plug easier to remove compared to our current steel one? I'd imagine we could bend/misshape it more if we pull on it with enough force compared to the steel one. And swapping the gate valve for a ball valve-do ball valves tend to resist drips/leaks better in a skim tapping setup like ours?
  • ChrisJChrisJ Member Posts: 10,860
    > @cubicacres said:
    > Just curious Bob/Chris/anyone, why is a brass plug easier to remove compared to our current steel one? I'd imagine we could bend/misshape it more if we pull on it with enough force compared to the steel one. And swapping the gate valve for a ball valve-do ball valves tend to resist drips/leaks better in a skim tapping setup like ours?

    I don't see the point in the valve honestly.

    I had a ball valve and over time it was ruined so I removed it and replaced it with a brass coupler and brass plug.

    The reason for all brass is it doesn't rust.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • cubicacrescubicacres Member Posts: 297
    Since the gate valve still allows some water to drip out when the boiler is running, maybe the valve isn't needed and just go with a brass plug? Any difference between a cored brass or non-cored brass plug for this use?
  • BobCBobC Member Posts: 5,101
    I've had a ball valve on my skim port for 7 years and it does not leak. My brass 1-1/4" plug is solid not cored, I ordered it online from supplyhouse.com and don't remember being offered a choice.

    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
  • nicholas bonham-carternicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,124
    You are better off with a nipple and cap, Which is more easily removable, instead of a plug.—NBC
    JUGHNE
  • cubicacrescubicacres Member Posts: 297
    They just had one type of brass cored 1.5 inch cap locally, so we bought that for now. For future reference, does a cap loosen & tighten with pipe wrenches similar to a plug, but on the outside of the end of the nipple, not the inside like a plug usually does?
  • FredFred Member Posts: 8,418

    They just had one type of brass cored 1.5 inch cap locally, so we bought that for now. For future reference, does a cap loosen & tighten with pipe wrenches similar to a plug, but on the outside of the end of the nipple, not the inside like a plug usually does?

    Yep, one wrench on the cap and the other wrench on the nipple to keep it from turning.
  • ChrisJChrisJ Member Posts: 10,860
    edited October 2019
    I don't know what kind of pressure you're running, but my brass plug and brass coupler are little more than hand tight. As in screw the plug in by hand as tight as I can and then give it a little more with a wrench. Certainly not near enough tight to need a second wrench on the coupler to keep it from turning.

    It doesn't leak so I don't mess with it. But I've also found brass seems much easier to get to seal than steel.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
    ethicalpaul
  • cubicacrescubicacres Member Posts: 297
    We're usually between 1-3 psi. With the drips after the gate valve we noticed, we used teflon tape & tightned it pretty well, so we'll try the brass plug we have and see if we can get by with less tightening.
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