Welcome! Here are the website rules, as well as some tips for using this forum.
Need to contact us? Visit https://heatinghelp.com/contact-us/.
Click here to Find a Contractor in your area.

Cleaning out sludge and Rust in my Pumps

I have had a Radiant heat system now for almost 20 years. Best Heat ever in NYC.

I also have European design Radiant Walls now in the basement due to height and massive heat loss on the slab. It's not worth cost to dig up and insulate then pour cement, since half my heat would be going to the worms and ants down underground anyway.

The system has multiple Zones including Zone Valves and ECM Pumps Bumble Bee Yellow.
I replaced my Taco 011 with the little Bumblebee Pumps. I saved so much electricity it paid for itself already 2x over using a setting of Delta T of 20. Since these pumps cost a lot of money and I want them to last.

Every 2 years I clean out my system in the summer but there must be an easier way to catch all the rust and sludge. Its not much but its enough to kill my Pumps if not cleaned as soon as possible. I like oil heat and boiler is Peerless cast iron. I don't like the rust.

Is there a better way to stop and capture this rust. That is a PITA I rather clean out the boiler soot.

Any products that don't cost an arm or leg please let me know.



  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 21,858
    A couple steps I would suggest, get a hydronic cleaner in the system run it for a few days making sure all the zones have seen flow.
    Test the water that you are filling with. Send a sample to one of the companies that test for boiler water conditions, not drinking water.
    I know Rhomar Water offers water testing and boiler cleaners and treatment as do other brands.

    If the water does not meet the boiler manufacturers spec, either filter it, or haul in good quality water. I'll attach a typical boiler water spec

    I would also add a hydronic conditioner after the final fill and purge. The conditioner add oxygen scavengers, ph buffers, film providers and more to protect all the metals in the system.

    I'd add a dirt separation unit to catch any debris that may flake off old piping, cast iron sections or radiators. At some point the system should be and stay clean as long as no additional water is added and you do not have a lot of O2 ingress.
    Assure that you do not have any small leaks causing additional water to enter the system, it should be a tight sealed system, not requiring fill water.

    Test strips or test kits used yearly assure the fluid is staying in good condition.

    Plenty of dirt separators on the market, Caleffi, the company I work for developed DirtMag separators a dual purpose separator and magnetic band to take all the particles sizes out. Y strainers are fairly limited in what they can capture and they reduce flow as they work, use a separator.
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream