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Particles from the boiler flush out faucet.

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I have a Bryant steam boiler and several radiators. A valve was leaking and replaced. That was a few weeks ago. I also leveled the radiators to have a
slight tilt back to the valve. The system is a one pipe system.

Since then, every few days I flush out a little of the brackish water into a pan. I did that 5-6 times and always got the usual maroon brackish water as I’ve gotten over the years.

Yesterday was different. There was the brackish water but also lots
of particle about the size of sand but some 2-3 times bigger and a few
1/8”. See photo.

My guess is the particles are rust from inside the radiators. I also guess
that water is going back to the boiler but not positive yet. Another guess
is there was a jam up of particles probably at the bottom of a radiator and that
some of them finally washed away allowing a lot to flow out.

So I got a lot yesterday and the picture is from this morning. A further
guess is all this is ok and eventually the radiator or radiators will flush
out what they have for rust and the flushed water return to maroon
brackish water only after a while.

The question is am I guessing right? Is this ok or is it something more?

Comments

  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,739
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    What are you flushing water from? Do you have a float low water cut off that you are blowing down, or are you just pulling water from a low point in the system?

    I wouldn't worry too much about particles like that. Steam systems get rust, limiting intake water, and keeping the system as tight as possible help, but it will always rust and create some amount of brown water/sludge/particles over time.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,543
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    probably normal as @KC_Jones said
  • trouts2
    trouts2 Member Posts: 9
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    Thank you for the responses EBEBRATT-Ed, KC_Jones

    The boiler has a faucet in back that is for draining the boiler and what I've been using to drain from. There is no automatic refill. I had one installed than never worked right so had it removed.

    It looks like all is ok with the particles I'm seeing. I was spooked by never seeing them
    versus brackish water then suddenly over two days like the photo. I drained it this morning and got particles but a lot less than the two prior days. So it seems the particles will flush over time. Since 4-5 of the radiators were not tilted to the valve and two very much so I'll probably see what had been building up for a long time.
    Hopefully the boiler will use a less water with the valve replacement and leveling the radiators for a slight tilt towards the main valve.


  • dopey27177
    dopey27177 Member Posts: 887
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    As far as the boiler using water goes, one pipe systems will use water and the boiler should be regularly checked.

    Vent valves vent moist air and some steam at each heating cycle. A heating cycle occurs when the thermostat calls for heat and when the t stat shuts the boiler down.

    The colder the weather the more heating cycles will happen in each day.

    As to the dirty water, the boiler should be drained and filled with clean water at least once a year if the color is dark brown. That includes the low water cut off which should be flushed once a week, the low water cutoff when flushed should be done when the boiler is on line. When the low water cutoff is flushed the boiler should shut down.

    Also if you have a wet return that piping should be flushed as well.

    Jake
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,739
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    trouts2 said:

    Thank you for the responses EBEBRATT-Ed, KC_Jones

    The boiler has a faucet in back that is for draining the boiler and what I've been using to drain from. There is no automatic refill. I had one installed than never worked right so had it removed.

    It looks like all is ok with the particles I'm seeing. I was spooked by never seeing them
    versus brackish water then suddenly over two days like the photo. I drained it this morning and got particles but a lot less than the two prior days. So it seems the particles will flush over time. Since 4-5 of the radiators were not tilted to the valve and two very much so I'll probably see what had been building up for a long time.
    Hopefully the boiler will use a less water with the valve replacement and leveling the radiators for a slight tilt towards the main valve.


    If you don't have a float low water cut off (I'm assuming a probe style then), you should not be draining anything from the boiler on a regular basis. Leave it alone as draining water doesn't accomplish anything except accelerating corrosion inside the boiler.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15