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Leaking Boilers

I have perused the wall and other topics and read about steam boilers leaking.

Unfortunately steam boilers decide leak during the heating season.

I learned from an old timer 50 years ago ( I am 78 now and an old timer ) That inserting oatmeal into a leaking boiler can get you through the part or all of the heating season in a boiler operating up to 5 PSIG. I did this twice.

The first time in my own home with a Richardson pancake boiler and the second time in a 20 family apartment house with a Burnham cast iron boiler.

What happens with the oatmeal because it does not become colloidal in the boiler water it deposits in the crack or small hole and dries there like cement sealing then crack or hole.

This will buy you time to replace the boiler. Frequent draining of the low water cutoff and combination water feeder is necessary (need to assure the oatmeal does not cause the float to hang up or clog the syphon tube or any small port in the law water cutoff or combination feeder.)

This method works similar to stop leak in a car radiator.

Jacob Myron

I wrote a book on steam heating ( Steam the perfect fluid for Heating and some of the Problems }

It is available at Dan's library, Barnes and Noble, Amazon and Dorrance Publications of Pitts burg Pa.


  • nicholas bonham-carter
    nicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,564
    Flax seed is another old time additive for a leaky boiler.
    It may buy you time, but for who knows how long!—NBC
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 18,947
    We used to use the oatmeal trick (didn't have flax seed in my parts) for leaking automobile radiators. It did stop the leaks (at least on old cars with low pressure cooling systems...) but it was also pretty well guaranteed to gum up the radiator core too, never mind the heater core (if you had one!) so it was just temporary.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England