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Boiler Rumble

Hello all,
I have a 9 year old Peerless steam boiler. It's a natural gas fired series 63/64 model 63-03L 74K BTU . It has been working well, except for some minor tweaking after the install. This season it has developed a significant rumble when it starts up which goes away in a short while. It is making steam quickly and all radiators are getting hot, water in sight glass is clean and not surging at all. when the problem started I noticed the pressure was higher than it should be , I cleaned out the pigtail and found I needed a new pressuretrol which I installed along with a new pressure gauge ( just in case ). Problem still there. In speaking with a few people the consensus seems to lean toward scale build up. I have not had to deal with this before so any advice would be welcome ! Do I go with some cleaner, ( if so which one ) and is there a conditioner that would help keep this from happening again ? Thanks in advice for any help offered.

Comments

  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 10,268
    When was the last time it was serviced with a combustion test? If you get the rumble on start up and it goes away I would suspect a combustion issue instead of scale. Maybe check the chimney as well
  • HVACNUT
    HVACNUT Member Posts: 4,194
    edited November 22
    Agree with @EBEBRATT-Ed, have you popped the front cover and watched ignition? Stand back and to the side while viewing. 
  • JohnnyJohnny
    JohnnyJohnny Member Posts: 8
    Thanks for the quick response. I have checked the burner and the flame looks good to me, nice and even. I had not thought about having it checked out by a professional, I'll look into it. The chimney is fine, it's a stainless steel liner inside a masonry chimney. Thanks for your ideas, I will have it checked out soon.
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 2,373
    edited November 21
    @JohnnyJohnny, There are two different "Rumble" noises being discussed herein. You may want to get a guy that knows about Steam and Combustion... not just a regular plumber. I have been asked by many of my competitors to com out to look at Oil Heat, Gas Heat, Steam, and Boiler problems that are a little over their head. The guy who installs or repairs your kitchen faucet or swaps out a toilet may not fully understand combustion or the oddities of steam heat. The professional you call should be able to determine if the noise is a combustion noise or a steam issue. Try "Find A Contractor" link on this site to see if there is one near you.
    Edward Young
    Retired HVAC Contractor from So. Jersey Shore.
    Cleaned & services first oil heating system at age 16
  • JohnnyJohnny
    JohnnyJohnny Member Posts: 8
    Hello again,
    Hope you all had a nice Thanksgiving. Thanks for the input, I had a tech. from the gas co. come out and check the burners . He said everything is up to snuff, so now I'm back to thinking scale,looking for something to use that will be effective without hurting the boiler, any ideas would be welcome. Thanks again.
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 2,373
    edited November 27
    TSP available at the hardware store or paint store. I'll try to find the article about how to use it BRB

    Here it is. https://weil-mclain.ca/support/product-support/faqs/maintenance/

    Q: How do I clean the boiler?

    A:

    Steam Boilers

    To clean a steam boiler, use one pound of trisodium phosphate (TSP) for every fifty gallons of water content. Heat the boiler to 180°F; hold at 180°F for two hours. Do not allow the boiler to make steam. After two hours, drain the boiler and fill with fresh makeup water. Water treatment chemicals should be thoroughly reviewed before they are introduced into the boiler. Foaming agents that will interfere with steam action are of particular concern. Sodium carbonate (one pound for every 30 gallons) or sodium hydroxide (lye) (one pound for every fifty gallons) may be used.

    Check pH level after cleaning. It should be between 7 and 8.5. A small amount of cleaner may be added to adjust the pH up to the proper range.

    DO NOT use petroleum based products in the boiler.

    This was in an article published by Weil McLain before the turn of the century. Can we say that now..."Turn of the century" and not mean the 1890s?

    I think I read this the first time in 1980s

    Good luck with your project.

    Mr.Ed
    Edward Young
    Retired HVAC Contractor from So. Jersey Shore.
    Cleaned & services first oil heating system at age 16
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 10,268
    I agree with @EdTheHeaterMan about using TSP is works very well 1 lb/every 50 gallons of boiler water. The only difference is I would skim the boiler to get rid of any floating crud then drain and refill a few times to get rid of the tsp
  • Chris_L
    Chris_L Member Posts: 217
    I had a problem with rumbling in a couple steam boilers a couple years ago. It was especially noticeable as the water started to boil.

    I found this worked well: https://www.oatey.com/products/hercules-boiler-heating-system-cleaner--1728813847 and I've been using it since. You can get it at the big box stores.

    I'd suggest using it at half-strength initially, as it causes a lot of surging the first time you use it.