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Junk in sight glass

Msil1955Msil1955 Posts: 7Member
edited December 5 in Strictly Steam
Gentlemen,

We have a new replacement boiler which repeatedly shuts down from low water and bangs at the moment of shutdown. The noise is coming from the Hartford loop. The attached photos show what I think is Squick , which needs to be removed. The contractor has returned 3 times to flush and skim, with very little improvement. Any suggestions?

Thank you all for your speedy response. Photos of the boiler are attached. The installer is coming tomorrow for a fourth 2 hour skimming session. I asked about possible chemical treatments to clean it out, no answer. The skimming seems to make a small improvement, but the junk reappears in a couple of days, along with the low level shutdowns and noise.

Comments

  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Posts: 1,104Member
    hmm wow I wonder what his skimming procedure is
    1 pipe Utica 112 in Cedar Grove, NJ, 1913 coal > oil > NG
  • acwagneracwagner Posts: 353Member
    Can you post some photos of your boiler from different angles?
    Burnham IN5PVNI Boiler, Single Pipe with 290 EDR
    18 Ounce per Square Inch Gauge
    Time Delay Relay in Series with Thermostat
    Operating Pressure 0.3-0.5 Ounce per Square Inch

  • KC_JonesKC_Jones Posts: 4,280Member
    You mention skimming, but also mention Squick. The ones I see pop up on here think Squick replaces skimming.

    Skimming takes hours of slowly taking water off the top of the boiler, has the contractor been down there for hours doing this? If not they are not skimming. Your description sounds like classic surging caused by oils on the surface of the water, but out of curiosity can you post pictures of the install? If the boiler isn't piped correctly that can exacerbate the surging issues.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10202744301871904.1073741828.1330391881&type=1&l=c34ad6ee78
  • nicholas bonham-carternicholas bonham-carter Posts: 7,968Member
    The installation manual for the boiler probably gives clear instructions on how the boiler should be cleaned.
    Peerless for instance suggests adding Arm&Hammer washing soda and simmering for a while, followed by draining, and skimming through the port installed specifically for that purpose. Skimming will take several sessions of several hours each, and adding Squick is no substitute.
    Is there such a port on the boiler now? If not theN check the instructions to see what else may have been left out.—NBC
  • EdwinDEdwinD Posts: 150Member
    edited December 4
    I had a boiler section replaced in 2017 for a Weil McLain-55 boiler. The installer said he skimmed the boiler, However, what he called skimming was actually running water thru the bottom drain port for several minutes. That is not skimming. Skimming involves hours of skimming oil off the top of boiler water...which must occur thru a skim port mounted on the side of the boiler slighty above the sight glass.
    Humble DIYer
    Weil McLain EG-55 steamer, 2 pipe Vapour system, Pressuretrol & Vaporstat controls, 6oz cut-out / 2oz cut-in;
    Operating Pressure: 0.00-0.10 ounce per square inch (0-15 ounces per square inch pressure gauge);
    McDonnell & Miller PSE802-24 LWCO; Rectorseal 8-Way water treatment; Barnes & Jones Big Mouth air vents
  • tkos115tkos115 Posts: 66Member
    edited December 4

    Looks like there is some kind of oil still in there too. The round looking stuff in one of your pics looks like oil clumping together. Like everyone else was saying looks like you need to start with a good skimming.
  • Hap_HazzardHap_Hazzard Posts: 1,656Member
    edited December 4
    Look up Squick in the Urban Dictionary. That's what it does to your boiler. :D

    I don't know what's in it—the MSDS is pretty vague—but the label says, "with silicone SK-24," whatever that is. I've tried other products with silicone, when I was young and foolish, and let's just say the results were not all that I'd hoped for. Also, I really have to question the wisdom of making a product intended for cleaning boilers that's almost the same color as rust. It just makes your boiler water immediately look like it needs to be flushed.

    Oh, but the label says "no draining" and "no blowoff." So let's make the water look like raw sewage and tell the customer they never need to drain their boiler. And what the heck is a "blowoff" anyway? I know what a blow-down is—it's what you do when your water looks like it does in those pictures, and then you fill with fresh water and washing soda and skim it for a couple of hours, then drain and refill. Maybe add a couple of SteamMaster tabs for good meaure if your water supply is less than ideal.

    But that's just my opinion.
    Just another DIYer | King of Prussia, PA

    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S | 3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
  • KC_JonesKC_Jones Posts: 4,280Member
    Skimming isn't hard, actually probably the easiest part of doing a steam boiler install, if the boiler is installed properly to allow for the skimming.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10202744301871904.1073741828.1330391881&type=1&l=c34ad6ee78
  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Posts: 1,104Member
    KC_Jones said:

    Skimming isn't hard, actually probably the easiest part of doing a steam boiler install, if the boiler is installed properly to allow for the skimming.

    I like doing it so much I should offer my services to steam professionals in my area!
    1 pipe Utica 112 in Cedar Grove, NJ, 1913 coal > oil > NG
  • Hap_HazzardHap_Hazzard Posts: 1,656Member
    I'd gladly let you come and skim mine next time. My skim port is only ¾", so it's pretty boring. Bring something to read. :D
    Just another DIYer | King of Prussia, PA

    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S | 3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
  • ChrisJChrisJ Posts: 10,243Member
    I fell asleep skimming mine once..........
    It sucked.........

    If I remember right, it took 6 attempts at around 15 gallons each to get all of the oils etc out after I installed the boiler several weeks apart and they were all done very slow.

    I'm not totally sold on the "slow skim" anymore and a wand still did the job far better.
    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
  • KC_JonesKC_Jones Posts: 4,280Member
    I used a wand and skimmed, still took a long time. The speed skim that Hatterasguy made would significantly speed things up, I might use it just for fun some time.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10202744301871904.1073741828.1330391881&type=1&l=c34ad6ee78
  • SeanBeansSeanBeans Posts: 451Member
    @KC_Jones i made one of those skimmer caps that the mad hatter showed us. It worked pretty well. You just have to make sure you notch it wide enough. My first attempt was too thing and the oils would get caught on the top lip
  • Hap_HazzardHap_Hazzard Posts: 1,656Member
    Just out of curiosity, do any of you guys use washing soda when you skim? Peerless recommends it, so I did it, and it seemed to work pretty well.
    Just another DIYer | King of Prussia, PA

    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S | 3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
  • nicholas bonham-carternicholas bonham-carter Posts: 7,968Member
    I certainly did it, and used the whole box!—NBC
  • EBEBRATT-EdEBEBRATT-Ed Posts: 6,115Member
    I use TSP and it seems to wok well
  • Hap_HazzardHap_Hazzard Posts: 1,656Member
    Washing soda is less caustic, and better for the environment, but you can use TSP for soldering.
    Just another DIYer | King of Prussia, PA

    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S | 3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
  • acwagneracwagner Posts: 353Member
    Your recently posted photos of the boiler show a good install. I would be surprised if that installer didn't know how to properly skim it given they set up a proper skim port.

    It generally takes multiple skim sessions to remove the oils and sediment from a new install. The boiler casting, in particular, takes some time to leach out all the oils and foundry junk. My own experience is it took several skims every few days for the first week, then about once a week for a month, and then every month until the end of the season.

    You probably just need to skim some more. It will clean up over time.
    Burnham IN5PVNI Boiler, Single Pipe with 290 EDR
    18 Ounce per Square Inch Gauge
    Time Delay Relay in Series with Thermostat
    Operating Pressure 0.3-0.5 Ounce per Square Inch

  • Msil1955Msil1955 Posts: 7Member
    Thanks. I had to request the skim port as our last boiler didn't have one and it hampered the boiler cleanup. With this install we had to beg them to start skimming as they would not acknowledge the problem.
  • Hap_HazzardHap_Hazzard Posts: 1,656Member
    Amazing. You have to wonder if some of these guys even read the IOM manual.
    Just another DIYer | King of Prussia, PA

    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S | 3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
  • GordoGordo Posts: 697Member
    Ah, skimming a steam boiler...like watching paint dry.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/all-steamed-up-inc
  • Hap_HazzardHap_Hazzard Posts: 1,656Member
    How come you're not getting the water hot? Aren't you supposed to cook it while you skim?
    Just another DIYer | King of Prussia, PA

    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S | 3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
  • GordoGordo Posts: 697Member
    It doesn't seem to make that much difference with Force boilers, hot or cold. One can skim for hours and seemingly get nothing in the bucket. It is only after weeks of run time does the goo show up. I think that each manufacturer has different formulations with their oils (and some vary their formulas with different models...I'm looking at You, Weil Mclain!) , but they all of them seem to consist of two broadly different parts (1) A water soluble series of compounds which appear to be largely made up of surfactants... they cause the most problems initially in causing wet steam... lots of bubbles! But these compounds are also the easiest to remove, i.e. drain and refill a few times. (2) The second group appears to be insoluble or partly soluble oils. These oils appear to form a colloidal suspension with the rust particles. The various traps and drains we add aids in capturing this goo. Columbia boilers had at one time seemingly the most tenacious goop in their oil formulation (which is what this boiler above replaced). As I understand it, many of the formulations needed to change due to EPA regulations.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/all-steamed-up-inc
  • Hap_HazzardHap_Hazzard Posts: 1,656Member
    Good to know. Thanks, Gordo!
    Just another DIYer | King of Prussia, PA

    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S | 3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
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