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rhomar treatment tips?

of course I have some tips for Rhomar, if their boiler treatment kit had a part number my distributors might be more likely to know what it is and even carry it . . . when i called webb, they stock the aerosol treatment but not the cleaner and not the kit. so the first thing he asked me for was the part number. I had already called rhomar to ask for the part number before i called them because there is none on their website although other offerings have part numbers (e.g. treatment is pro-tek 922 and cleaner is 9011). I'm proposing BTK-102A as the part number for the kit but i'm negotiable.

https://www.rhomarwater.com/Hydronic_Treatment-Boiler_Treatment_Kit_Aerosols.html

they also have boiler treatment kit in liquid pints (also no part number how about BTK-102P) and the individual liquid chemistry is available in gallons and fivers as well it appears. Ironically, the larger volumes for professional keep stock are less concentrated than the smaller kits.

speaking of pricing without mentioning numbers, the hand injectors seem over the top, small market I guess. but my past practice has been to isolate the boiler and lower the water half gallon and pour in chemistry, and then refill and bleed and repressurize the boiler and open to the system. Then, obviously the system would be emptied after a cleaning run so quite easy to put the treatment in when i have mostly refilled the system and isolating the boiler similarly. So that I'm pouring the chemistry into 6 gallons of boiler water, not just full concentrate into the empty boiler. That was my instinctive approach mayabe since I was used to treated steam, but i'm glad to be talked out of it if it is questionable practice for some reason that escapes me.

thanks,
brian

Comments

  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 14,552
    if you are only adding a pint, or quart, just pump it in without draining. Even those inexpensive drill motor pumps have adequate power to pump into a 10- 20 psi hydronic system.

    The Milwaukee cordless transfer pump is a glorified version of these rotary displacement pumps for more $$$. Handy for draining water heaters, toilets, etc also.
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • archibald tuttle
    archibald tuttle Member Posts: 778
    edited December 2020
    in talking to one time recovering heating help addict on this yesterday he mentioned that many of the treatments are aimed at raising Ph to limit corrosion. I realize there is a chemical treatment mystery in one of my systems that was given to me in a nondescript bottle by an old timer (i should be careful using that appelation as i'm probably as old now as he was when he gave it to me). this system was filled in 1992 with half 'imported' city water half anti-freeze and about a quart of this 'water mixable oil' he gave me (he also gave me the boiler). It's not a Timken but looks like one, cylindrical steel vertical fire tube.

    Anyway this guy was perhaps the best all around mechanic and instinctive mechanical engineer I ever knew. He fixed bombers in the desert in World War II where the services waived the education requirement for that position in order to get him into that role. (I think you were supposed to have high school and he only went through grade 6). And when he got back he opened a service station and heated his house with a really effective and pretty clean burning waste oil burner he built himself using a small call triggered compressor for gaining aersolation of the heavy only moderately filtered fuel (and kept his hand in with aviation getting his own Cessna tail dragger).

    So when he gave me the boiler he just handed me a decanted quart container of what he called 'water mixable oil' to guard against corrosion. system still working fine almost 30 years later with no change of fluid (and no make up fluid for that matter, stopped keeping up with the ready barrel and pump after maybe the first ten years) It is an occasional use structure so it only runs couple weeks a year around the holidays but that is still pretty impressive. So now while talking about treatment chemistry, I 'm kind of wondering what this water mixable oil actually is/was and whether I can still get it.

    In some ways it reminded me observing it in solution or suspension or whatever i was see if hyrdaulic oil with water in it, or maybe more precisely tapping fluids/oils that come concentrated to be diluted with water.

    What with all the care with backflow, and low water cutoffs on hyrdronic applications, not sure that this should be any more of a worry than anything else i'd put in. because of the glycol in that system was not hooked up to water pressure, but just recirc fill from a 50 gallon barrel with a pump. for the price of a cheap pump and some kind of pressure trigger it would be a great way to monitor water consumption in a hydronic system and to keep the loop closed except for evaporation I piped the overflow into the barrel.

    thinking outloud, as usual.

    happy new year,

    brian
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 14,552
    Yep, the wise steam guys know to boost the water to the alkaline side to protect the cast iron and steel. But excessively high Ph , hard or very hard water, can indicate scaling which can cause failures also, it hampers the heat transfers. So a fine line to tread.
    That is one of the functions of the steam additives. Old timers left a bit of the TDS cleaner in the fill to keep that ph to the alkaline side.

    The best hydronic conditioners give you multiple functions by adjusting Ph, scavenging O2, a film provider, and a circulator friendly fluid, well worth the cost in my opinion.

    I tinkered a bit with waste oil years back, we started having burner light off and adjustment issues, partially due to all the synthetic oils being used, they engineered those synthetics so the flash point is much higher and they don't burn as well. And the water or glycol from cracked block drain oil doesn't like to burn either :) All kinds of fluids get dumped into waste oil barrels and tanks.
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • archibald tuttle
    archibald tuttle Member Posts: 778
    edited January 1
    @hot_rod "a fine line to tread" guess that's why you get the test strips . . .

    any idea what that 'water mixable oil' was?
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 14,552
    Latex of some sort?
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • archibald tuttle
    archibald tuttle Member Posts: 778
    edited January 17
    @hotrod rhomar ph boost and TDS measurements on my mind.

    so back to water quality. this system is filled with 'softened' well water but I realize that most common softeners replace magnesium and calcium with sodium which doesn't reduce electrical conductivity and still can constitute high TDS, especially where the metric of concern besides scaling is galvanic corrosion. but IIRC, softening does reduce scaling potential if not electrical potential? And if I were interested in that I wouldn't test with TDS meter but with hardness kit?

    I realize now that I have put in rhomar protek 922 and i'm getting ready to test for sufficient concentration after a day of operation (not sure what the test strip looks for but it appears to be a go/no go indicator rather than a scale) and knowing that I am going to need ph boost , either rhomar's or somebody elses, because this water is fairly acid (around 5.5), both the protek 922 and the ph Boost (marketed as 83288-01 although not clear if that refers to the gallon, the 5-gallon or either, what does Rhomar have against part numbers) will affect the TDS measurement. I can test the system water to get a reasonable surrogate for 'before' to see if I should have filtered the water and then maybe back up a step if needed for the $20 to replace to the protek 922 although as mentioned in the first paragraph: is a TDS or a hardness test the most relevant for scaling and if the acidity is balanced and the connections galvanically stepped and first cathodic connections are 3 or 4 feet from the boiler is TDS/conductivity measure as tightly relevant, e.g. down to 30 ppm surrogate of conductivity measure.

    one interesting note i gleaned from a previous thread or publication ( I was reading the Caleffi PDF on water quality and various earlier threads and can't remember where i saw this) is that galvanic stepdown is a useful thing, e.g. a brass fitting to connect to copper is an example where the brass lessens the galvanic difference to either of the other two components–at least yellow brass. WTH color do we call current lead free brass? I haven't been able to find as carefully parsed a galvanic chart in that respect.

    As it happens, the availability and prevalent use of brass threaded adapters, circulator flanges, etc. have accomplish that relative to the boiler as a matter of convenience as much as galvanic stepdown design. Very common to run a few feet in steel to the circulator or brass isolation valve, etc. and then come out of the brass with a copper adapter. Although cast iron circulators in my experience are thus, by definition, in proximity to circulator isolation flanges and although brass is closer to iron (and thus preferable as flange material for cast iron pumps, i've seen more corrosion in circulators than anywhere else (especially on my isolated floor loops from before barrier pex - even before pex in many cases i've still got pb), maybe we should be using plastic bolts although i gotta figure what plastic can handle the temps but given that the fluid itself is a conductor of a sort is that important? Maybe still yes because a bolt is a lot better conductor than the water with some TDS (where you got to have some conductivity to make low water cutoffs work–another irony. Typically, I used to just go over to brass circulators for these loops, but thats getting hard to find although I guess stainless is an ok step down choice.

    And as i consider galvanic problems against the idea of proximity, I also start to get a better feeling about steel near boiler piping for cast iron boilers moving the connection of dissimilar metals away from the boiler. is more better. i usually have 3 or 4 feet of steel before changeover but no reason i couldn't do more, like up to the ceiling with the feed and across to the vent and change on the other side of the vent.

    Considering that my old practice would have been to fill the system and try to set it up so it was tight and had sufficient expansion capacity so as not to take makeup water regularly and let it go for 20 years. Did water quality really get that much worse or boilers are made that much closer to the edge. Or we didn't recognize the heat transfer degradation as much in the cast iron boilers that was always taking place? I do intend to dissect the boiler that came out here to see if it was corrosion or an expansion crack that caused the failure and check the condition of the interior just because it is an emperical check on what the water quality did to the previous boiler (although the water softener was not in place to the extent that this helps).

    How much am i getting right or wrong here?

    obviously subject to your interest in the subject but having a life too . . . :-)

  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 14,552
    Things changed when we started using PEX and other plastics in our system as O2 is the main reason for corrosion. If you could get and keep the system O2 free you would not have corrosion.

    Turns out system with a lot or plastic and few ferrous materials experience more corrosion when O2 is entering. It's called the relative area effect, this gentleman explains it well. Researching the British water quality standards I came across his article,m the CDA also has some research on copper and relative area.
    The analogy CDA uses, a single copper rivet in a steel ships hull would not cause a lot of corrosion potential on the hull. A copper ship hull with a single iron rivet would corrode that rivet in a short period of time. Sea water is considered an ideal electrolyte so you often see galvanic charts listed with sea water. Sea water works good for the ships hull example also :)

    Deionized, demineralized, RO water is a good start as all the ions both positive and negative are removed, softening with ion exchange does not get you pure water, it exchanges the sodium ion for the scaling ions, sometimes ion exchange softening actually increases the TDS. You basically swapped ions, took out the least desirable ones but...

    Pure water is hungary, low ph. So either boost the ph, or add hydronic conditioners to the "pure water"
    The Rhomar will boost that low ph, scavenge some O2 and most importantly it gives you a thin protective film on all metal surfaces to protect them from corrosion, knowing O2 will continue to get into all systems, non barrier and even barrier pex to some extent.

    Mixed metals is not a big concern in sealed closed loop system, IMO, depending on that relative area %.

    No such thing as low lead brass, ALL brass has a % of lead. Other coipper alloys like bronzes have different blends.
    The new NSF LF lead free or LL low lead approved brass are low lead. Depending on the listing it can be a weighted average test or the more stringent listings do an extraction test on a product and measure the amount of lead after a period of time soaking.

    if you want to know exactly what is in the boiler water, send a sample off to Rhomar for a test, there are only so many things you can determine with a hardness, Ph and TDS test on site.

    The shops I know that have been using demineralized water for 20 years or more, do not see all these corrosion related problems. If you site mix glycols you really need to use DI water or you compromise that glycol from day one.
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
    fenkel
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