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Where and how to add Steam Clean to my boiler

BreezBreez Member Posts: 7
Hi, I am having a problem where my boiler is not recycling the water back to my boiler fast enough. It causes the automatic water feeder to kick on and add unnecessary water to the boiler and not to mention about a quart of water coming from the valve in one of my radiators. I did replace the Gorton #D valve on that radiator. The glass tube will be totally filled up and I have to drain it to bring it back to the middle. I really need to add Steam Clean to the system to try to help and not sure how to add it. Is the place to add to, the black pipe cap or take apart the safety release valve and add in there? The boiler is a Crown. Thanks

Comments

  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Member Posts: 12,724
    Before we even think about adding a cleaner or other chemical to the boiler -- which almost always makes things worse, rather than better -- let's check a couple of other things.

    First, when the boiler is firing, is the water level in the sight glass reasonably stable? Perhaps bouncing up and down a half inch to an inch, but not more than that? If not, the first thing to do is to skim the boiler -- which does not mean adding a chemical of any kind, but instead is opening a tap at roughly the water line and, while the boiler is simmering (you may have to control it to keep it simmering but not steaming) letting just the surface water drain out. Slowly.

    Second, what you are describing may be slow wet returns. Boiler cleaner isn't going to help that, either. Instead, they need to be flushed out. Depending on how they are piped, this can be easy -- or remarkably hard.

    Third, what pressure is the boiler set to run at? It should be no more than 1.5 psi. The fact that water gets up to that vent suggests that it's running higher. Maybe a lot higher?

    Until we get those things squared away, do yourself a favour and put that bottle of cleaner far far away.
    Br. Jamie, osb

    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.

    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-Mclain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
    delta T
  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Member Posts: 6,797
    Is this a pretty new boiler that might not have been skimmed?
    The black cap pipe looks to be a skim port.
    Plenty of info here to search for for skimming.

    How about picture from farther back showing all piping.
    Breez
  • KC_JonesKC_Jones Member Posts: 4,401
    I can't see all the piping, but what I can see is incorrect. Seems like the equalizer is coming off the side of the riser, this could be causing excess carryover into the system which will result in what the OP is seeing.

    If the piping is newish and as said above, the skimming wasn't done, then the surging will be amplifying the piping 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
    Breez
  • BreezBreez Member Posts: 7
    Thanks, KC here are additional shots
  • STEAM DOCTORSTEAM DOCTOR Member Posts: 1,145
    Need to fix the boiler piping. "Water tosser piping". No two ways about it.
    ethicalpaulBreez
  • FredFred Member Posts: 8,418
    He probably doesn't have a header at all and just connects to the main. At least it looks like there is good height but any water that drops out of the steam will fall right back into the boiler and not that equalizer. When was this boiler installed? If recent, I'd try to get the installer back to do it like the installation manual shows.
    I'm betting the boiler needs a good skim. Don't add chemicals, it doesn't fix anything.
    Breez
  • KC_JonesKC_Jones Member Posts: 4,401
    Definitely not piped correctly and there is a high likelihood it's sending water out into the system the way it's piped.
    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
    ethicalpaulBreez
  • BreezBreez Member Posts: 7
    I appreciate all your input Thanks! The boiler was installed in 2014 and was running fine up until a few weeks ago. It started with violent hammering, gurgling, and swishes noises. I completely drained it a few times until the water ran clean. But the problem persists. It really gets bad if I turn it off and it has to raise the temperature 5 degrees or so. The automatic water feeder will kick in a couple of times during a cycle. That's when water starts leaking from the radiator valve. And on stopping, the glass tube is completely filled with water and then some. So I have to drain it back to the halfway point. Don't get my wife started on the new curtain and new rug that got rust soiled (darn thing cost more than the boiler). I attached a picture of the settings and it looks to me to be at .5. What does it entail to have the pipes flushed out? I assume skimming I can do myself?? The house has only one floor and is 900 sq feet.
  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Member Posts: 6,797
    Does the pressure gauge show anything when operating?
    Some will seldom move.

    That design of pigtail loop under your pressure control is subject to plugging up. If it is partially plugged then the pressure cannot operate the switch as it should.

    Shut off the power, take a picture of the wire connection and then unhook them. Unscrew the control with a wrench on the bottom of the control. You do not want to remove any screws on the bottom.

    I have a section of hose that fits over the pigtail threads and then blow into the hose. If not plugged the air should flow freely into the boiler. If resistance is felt then the pigtail should come off and be cleaned.....sometimes tough to do.
    Large cable ties may pass thru the loop for cleaning.

    Once clear reassembly every thing.
    STEAM DOCTORBreez
  • STEAM DOCTORSTEAM DOCTOR Member Posts: 1,145
    You can also just put your mouth on the pigtail and blow through. Not particularly tasty but will do the job. You do need good reflexes because you will get some blowback from the boiler.
    Breez
  • STEAM DOCTORSTEAM DOCTOR Member Posts: 1,145
    Btw, you didn't hear this idea from me and I have no idea how someone managed to come up with such an idea.
    BreezethicalpaulSuperTechdelta T
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Member Posts: 12,724
    To get back to your question on flushing the wet returns.

    First, it's only wet returns -- pipes below the water line of the boiler -- that you need to worry about. That said, how easy they are to flush depends on how nice your installer was. Ideally, there will be a T with a plug at the beginning and end of each more or less level section of pipe. Ideally. If there is, all that is needed is to open both plugs and stick a hose in one end and wait until it runs clear. May take a while. If there are no Ts, but unions, you can undo them sometimes and do the same thing.
    Br. Jamie, osb

    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.

    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-Mclain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
  • BreezBreez Member Posts: 7
    Thanks Guys! I am not looking forward to having the pipes flushed. The suspected return pipe sits nicely behind finished walls in my basement either somewhere behind a bathroom or laundry room. Most of the basement is drop ceiling but of course, the area I suspect is all beautifully sheet rocked and finished. Hopefully, I can mitigate some of the damage with my laptop and cabled video camera. Beer please!
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Member Posts: 12,724
    Keep in mind that it is only pipes which are at or below the water line of the boiler that you need to worry about. Pipes above the ceiling are very very unlikely to be a problem.
    Br. Jamie, osb

    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.

    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-Mclain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
    delta T
  • BreezBreez Member Posts: 7
    I have two return pipes below the waterline that comes in from two directions. The suspected one that feeds from the bleeding/spouting radiator. And the drop-down feed point could be anywhere from two walls. I have an idea to run a wired cabled camera from my laptop tied loosely around the pipe and feed it through with those Harbor Freight electric wall wire feeders to find the pipe down drop. This would help with less damage to the wall guessing where it is. Be nice to have maybe a 1ft by 1ft hole to service now and later on. Fun Fun!
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Member Posts: 12,724
    Ah yes. The joys of a finished off basement with hidden pipes... :'(
    Br. Jamie, osb

    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.

    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-Mclain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
    Breez
  • dopey27177dopey27177 Member Posts: 286
    Near boiler piping wrong, See attachment.

    Skimming location, It appears there is a 2" plug to the left of the safety valve remove and skim.
    Also while you are at it clean out the bottom of the boiler circulating legs. Remove pipe from bottom of the boiler where the drain valve are. When finished replace pipe and install full size T and bush down with a brass reducing bushing and reinsert the drain valve, so the bottom of the boiler can be cleaned again with a large wire brush. On the opposite side of the boiler install a brass reducing bushing to allow access to install a wire brush to clean the bottom of the boiler at a future date.

    Disconnect the wet return from the boiler and all associated piping so you can flush out the wet returns with a water hose, can be a very dirty job.

    Jake

  • dopey27177dopey27177 Member Posts: 286
    Forgot to tell you install a vapor stat and set it to 1 psig off with a 4" differential. See attachment.

    Jake
  • dopey27177dopey27177 Member Posts: 286
    If you use boiler water cleaner start with 1/2 the recommended dose. If the boiler surges drain off water till the surging stops.

    The amount of chemical cleaner is based on gallons of water held in the boiler, Many newer boilers have much less water in them than the older model boilers, so be careful about overdosing your boiler.

    Jake
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