Click here to Find a Contractor in your area.
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/.

Boiler water additives

Hi guys.  I have a 37 year old boiler that is in great shape for its age according to the steam experts who do the annual maintenance.

I want it to last as long as possible, does anyone have any thoughts on boiler water additives?

I wish I asked the steam guys while they were here but it just dawned on me.


Comments

  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Member Posts: 2,061
    Get some litmus paper test strips from Amazon and one of the treatment products such as Rectorseal 8-way.

    Never use the amount they say to use...it's way too much. But start with 1/4 that amount and then measure the PH of the boiler water. If you keep it around 8-9 you will reduce the corrosion that can occur.

    But if you go higher, the water can foam up causing water hammer and very wet steam

    https://heatinghelp.com/systems-help-center/the-importance-of-ph-in-steam-boiler-water/
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
    STEAM DOCTOR
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Member Posts: 13,852
    And that's about the only thing you should add. Besides the rather obvious importance of making sure you have no leaks -- or as few as possible -- out in the system, so you aren't adding much water.
    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
  • AdmiralYodaAdmiralYoda Member Posts: 109
    Thanks guys, I just ordered some litmus paper from Amazon.

    That Rectorseal 8-Way looks like good stuff! On their website their instructions are to put some in until the color of the water is Violet, steam for a couple hours then flush the boiler and add some more.

    My boiler was just flushed for annual maintenance, think that is necessary? Or is to get rid of any rust that may be hanging out in there?
    ethicalpaul
  • LardLard Member Posts: 91
    As stated above, do not follow the 8-way directions!

    Just add to your current water until the ph is 8.5-9-ish.  Their recommended amount will cause massive surging. Do not count on their indicator color alone.

    I used 1/2 gallon to 96 gallons of water, or roughly 0.5%. The amount needed may be higher or lower depending upon your starting ph.  Mine is somewhat alkaline municipal well water, so a little 8-way went pretty far.

    That said, even a light treatment will slowly work crud out of the boiler/returns and may slowly cause surging. Expect to do several flushes/recharges until the debris is under control.
    STEAM DOCTORethicalpaul
  • AdmiralYodaAdmiralYoda Member Posts: 109
    Thanks everyone! I'll give it a shot as you suggested. I'm curious to find out my pH as its town water and I've never checked. I'll update this thread when I find out.
    ethicalpaul
  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Member Posts: 2,061
    Nice! Knowing about this stuff is fun.

    I keep posting this video so sorry if you've already seen it but it's so useful. Here is what surging looks like. You can actually hear it if you listen very carefully near your piping. It makes a "whooshing" sound or even a light "pinging" sound as you can imagine thousands of water drops getting thrown up against the pipes.



    If it gets really bad, you'll see your water level drop DRAMATICALLY (not just an inch or two) as gallons of your boiler water gets thrown up into your main
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
    SlamDunk
  • AdmiralYodaAdmiralYoda Member Posts: 109
    Woah. Thankfully I have zero surging issues. My sight glass moves a half inch at most. My boiler is elderly and I want to make sure it lasts as long as possible.
    ethicalpaul
  • SlamDunkSlamDunk Member Posts: 910
    If you use 8-way, you definitely want use much less than directed or your boiler will keep you up all night!

    @ethicalpaul is right about using a quarter of the stuff called for.

    Me personally, I use it over summer to slow corrosion then drain and use fresh water for winter months.
  • AdmiralYodaAdmiralYoda Member Posts: 109
    SlamDunk said:

    Me personally, I use it over summer to slow corrosion then drain and use fresh water for winter months.

    Not a bad idea! I do blow-down my LWCO once a week to prevent any junk from building up, so there is a little make-up water needed.

    I kind of like the idea of having some chemicals in there to prevent corrosion due to the oxygen that is introduced.
    ethicalpaul
  • AdmiralYodaAdmiralYoda Member Posts: 109
    So I got my litmus strips today. The color readout on the package doesn't have the highest detail but I'd say the pH of the boiler water is around 7.5-8.0.

    I'm going to add some Rectorseal 8-way until my pH is 8.5ish. Thanks!
    ethicalpaul
  • SlamDunkSlamDunk Member Posts: 910
    It is November 21, 2020. and 72 degrees F. outside. I don't think my boiler will run this year.
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Member Posts: 13,852
    Optimist. It's already been down to 12 here, and I assure you that Cedric will run this year!
    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
  • neilcneilc Member Posts: 918
    oh great, here comes the snow
  • SlamDunkSlamDunk Member Posts: 910
    Bring it! We didnt get any paid snow days last year. Even more desperate this year because I had to take vacation days during this pandemic while 500 of my coworkers "worked from home" at the beach.
  • BobCBobC Member Posts: 5,150
    October 30, 2020 I had to shovel 5+ inches of snow and slush, that was a lot for late October in Boston. Since then it has been mild with a few exceptions, we'll see how the rest of the season is.

    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

Leave a Comment

BoldItalicStrikethroughOrdered listUnordered list
Emoji
Image
Align leftAlign centerAlign rightToggle HTML viewToggle full pageToggle lights
Drop image/file

Welcome

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!