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return lines, water level.

I am preparing for the long hard New York winters. I have steam boiler in vacant apartment I have not turned on just yet. In preparing for the season I did add some water to bring up to correct level about a week ago. I just checked and water lever appeared to be down slightly without boiler have been run in the last week. One section of return goes into concrete floor for approx. ten feet. I have never flushed return lines since I install this steam boiler in 1988. Should I be flushing?? Should I be concerned about water level slight drop???


  • nybigapple
    nybigapple Member Posts: 59
    edited December 2020
    How slight is the drop? Did you check for leaks? As far as I know as a casual user you shouldn't be able to lose water in a steam boiler that hasn't been turned on unless it's leaking. At least not in a week.

    If you haven't started running the boiler it's hard to determine if there's anything seriously wrong. It's good to flush returns if you can, though seeing how fast condensate returns and if you're losing any water will tell you more.

    How you've managed to avoid turning on the heat this long is impressive. We've had a fair amount of cold days already, including today.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,310
    How slight is slight? A small drop on a system which hasn't been used -- or full of water -- is not, in my opinion, a real problem. Now... if it continues to drop, then it might be -- and the most likely culprit is that wet return. But not the only one!

    If it is easy enough to flush the returns, go for it -- but otherwise I wouldn't worry about them, either, unless operating the system shows that the returns are slow.

    When you do start the boiler, though, I'd suggest that at least for the first heating cycle you plan to keep an eye on it and make sure everything is working the way it should be.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England