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Too much 8way?

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Folks,

First off - thank you all for being here and offering your input.  My old boiler guy put me onto this site, and it really is THE SOURCE for steam info.

Onto my question - new boiler guy came over and put 1qt of 8way into a 20 yr old steam boiler.   Once cold season settled in (~2 months later), the boiler started surging and hammer like crazy until water was spitting out of the radiators.  Flushed the boiler and returns about 5x (7gallons of water roughly), and it started working like normal again.

Two questions:
1. Is 1qt of 8way a crazy amount for a residential steam system?

2. Do I need to keep my eye open for any residual problems after flushing the 8way?  Worried about rust from fresh water and maybe copper pitting from too much 8way.

Thanks so much all!

Chris

PS if any of you steam experts service Westchester, NY, give me a holler!

Comments

  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 5,743
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    That’s too much. I have a YouTube video where I put a lot in my new boiler and it was fine.

    However, in an old boiler it will free up a lot of gunk and perhaps cause surging.

    I recommend maybe start with 8 ounces and then test the ph and add a couple ounces at a time until you get 10 ph.

    drain off a gallon or so every week or so to see if any mud or heavily rusty water comes out, then refill. When it stops making new mud let it ride for the rest of the season.
    NJ Steam Homeowner. See my sight glass boiler videos: https://bit.ly/3sZW1el
    da13ear
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 5,743
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    Here’s the video. By the way, the instructions say to use a whole quart or so, but they’re crazy.

    https://youtu.be/_JFfO_VgvNQ
    NJ Steam Homeowner. See my sight glass boiler videos: https://bit.ly/3sZW1el
    da13ear
  • da13ear
    da13ear Member Posts: 30
    edited December 2021
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    Thanks for the quick feedback @ethicalpaul.  Can you suggest any PH strips that I should use to measure PH?  Also, I assume I just pour off some water and measure?
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,635
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    @da13ear

    Try @JohnNY you can PM him
  • delcrossv
    delcrossv Member Posts: 748
    edited December 2021
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    Dose goes by water content in the boiler or EDR. You just don't pour in a quart for any size boiler.

    If you're cleaning the boiler BEFORE the heating season, then follow the instructions on the bottle. If you've using it as a rust preventative DURING the season, gotta go by pH. I start close to 10 knowing it will fall as make-up water is added (less than half the dose on the bottle).

    YMMV.

    You can get test strips off Amazon. Yes, just drain out a sample and test.
    Trying to squeeze the best out of a Weil-McLain JB-5 running a 1912 1 pipe system.
  • cross_skier
    cross_skier Member Posts: 201
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    Apera Value pH meter kit with calibration fluids runs $40 at Amazon.

    Hap_Hazzardda13ear
  • Hap_Hazzard
    Hap_Hazzard Member Posts: 2,846
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    Apera Value pH meter kit with calibration fluids runs $40 at Amazon.

    I got a pH meter and a TDS meter for $10.99 ea. Meters are much more accurate than colorimetry tests for boiler water.
    Just another DIYer | King of Prussia, PA
    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S | 3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
    da13ear
  • PC7060
    PC7060 Member Posts: 1,174
    edited December 2021
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    Here’s the video. By the way, the instructions say to use a whole quart or so, but they’re crazy.

    https://youtu.be/_JFfO_VgvNQ
    Wow, @ethicalpaul - love the integrated sight glasses in the near piping.  Don’t think it would be as impressive in line with my little modcon.  :D
    ethicalpaul
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,794
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    Apera Value pH meter kit with calibration fluids runs $40 at Amazon.

    I got a pH meter and a TDS meter for $10.99 ea. Meters are much more accurate than colorimetry tests for boiler water.

    I stopped testing for pH a few years back because I thought the purple Steamaster was effecting the strips a lot. Purple + whatever = too dark

    What pH meter did you go with?
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • da13ear
    da13ear Member Posts: 30
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    BTW @ethicalpaul....just started watching the vid.   That boiler is beautiful.  Are those sight glasses in the steam main?
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 5,743
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    da13ear said:

    BTW @ethicalpaul....just started watching the vid.   That boiler is beautiful.  Are those sight glasses in the steam main?

    Thanks :) There is one in each riser and then I have one across the room in the vertical drop to the wet return.
    NJ Steam Homeowner. See my sight glass boiler videos: https://bit.ly/3sZW1el
  • Hap_Hazzard
    Hap_Hazzard Member Posts: 2,846
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    ChrisJ said:

    I stopped testing for pH a few years back because I thought the purple Steamaster was effecting the strips a lot. Purple + whatever = too dark

    What pH meter did you go with?

    Yeah, between the Steamaster and rust the color didn't match any color on the comparator.

    I got this one to replace the one I had for about 10 years. It suddenly stopped working. I don't know if the more expensive ones last any longer, but $1/year isn't too bad I guess. You can also get really fancy meters that measure pH, conductivity, TDS, salinity and temperature for $100+, but if I spent that much I'd probably drop it on my pool deck and break it.
    Just another DIYer | King of Prussia, PA
    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S | 3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
  • cross_skier
    cross_skier Member Posts: 201
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    @ethicalpaul

    I enjoyed the video and checking out your system.  Subscribed.  Thanks.

    Question -- How important is it to get the sediment out of an aging boiler?  I have heard of wanding and muck vacs but will the methods work or make a difference?  Will you set your boiler up so it is possible to clean out the guts?
    ethicalpaul
  • Hap_Hazzard
    Hap_Hazzard Member Posts: 2,846
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    I think the sediment does two things. It doesn't conduct heat as well as bare cast iron, and this hurts efficiency and makes the sections overheat. It also covers up any nucleation sites for steam bubbles to form, so steam has to escape more explosively, producing a rough boil and more carryover.
    Just another DIYer | King of Prussia, PA
    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S | 3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
    delcrossv
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 5,743
    edited December 2021
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    My long term plan is to keep my boiler water ph above 10 to minimize corrosion which leads to sediment. I also drain a little water (like 1/2 gallon) from the boiler drain after/during a firing cycle a couple times per season to keep the mud from stacking up.

    My previous boiler had mud packed in every nook and cranny and I never could free it all up before I replaced it, and based on the evidence I think that was due to it having no/minimal maintenance for a dozen or more years.

    If I were going to hang onto that boiler rather than replace it when I did, yes, I'd probably look into wanding it out.
    NJ Steam Homeowner. See my sight glass boiler videos: https://bit.ly/3sZW1el
  • cross_skier
    cross_skier Member Posts: 201
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    Thanks.  My Peerless is 23 yo and the pH has been kept 10-11 always.  Boiler has never been drained, blow downs every November. 

    I wish I would have put a cross on a short nipple into the 1-1/2 input for cleaning when I installed it. If I refill I would probably take it directly from the drain on the hot water heater, after clearing the sediment.

    I have no surging, waterline is stable, pigtail has never clogged.  But I am sure it will rot out above the waterline someday as all atmospheric boilers do.
    ethicalpaul
  • Hap_Hazzard
    Hap_Hazzard Member Posts: 2,846
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    Mine's about 40 years old and showing no signs of failing anytime soon, but I'm sure it has a lot of muck inside. I've done blow-down through the return, but never wanded it. On the older Peerless boilers you can get the best access by taking off the tankless coil flange. I might pressure wash it this summer.
    Just another DIYer | King of Prussia, PA
    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S | 3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
  • cross_skier
    cross_skier Member Posts: 201
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    I worry that the bolts that hold the flange on might shear if you have bad luck.  That would make for a bad day
  • Hap_Hazzard
    Hap_Hazzard Member Posts: 2,846
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    No guts, no glory. :D
    Just another DIYer | King of Prussia, PA
    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S | 3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
    PC7060
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,794
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    There's a huge shortage in boilers etc right now.

    If that flange isn't leaking don't mess with it. You're right, it is going to be a bad day, a real bad day.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • Hap_Hazzard
    Hap_Hazzard Member Posts: 2,846
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    I wouldn't think about it during heating season, but over the summer? Sure. One bolt isn't a bad day, but if they all broke I'd get cranky.
    Just another DIYer | King of Prussia, PA
    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S | 3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
  • delcrossv
    delcrossv Member Posts: 748
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    @ethicalpaul Where did you get those nifty view windows for your mains? ❤
    Trying to squeeze the best out of a Weil-McLain JB-5 running a 1912 1 pipe system.
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 5,743
    edited December 2021
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    You can find them on Amazon and other places, the connection is called "tri-clamp". They are used in chemistry and brewing. You can get tri-clamp to NPT adapters.

    https://www.amazon.com/TABODD-Sanitary-Stainless-Straight-Tri-clamp/dp/B0853567QY/

    The generally more interesting one and a lot easier to install is on my vertical drop to wet return.

    A bonus is they are even easier to attach than a union and they don't cost much more than one.
    NJ Steam Homeowner. See my sight glass boiler videos: https://bit.ly/3sZW1el
    delcrossv
  • Hap_Hazzard
    Hap_Hazzard Member Posts: 2,846
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    You can get tri-clamp to NPT adapters.

    Have you been able to find these in anything bigger that 1½" NPT?
    Just another DIYer | King of Prussia, PA
    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S | 3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 5,743
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    Have you been able to find these in anything bigger that 1½" NPT?

    Yes, the ones on my risers are 2" NPT. You want to get the 2-1/2 tri clamps (77.5mm ferrule) to get the 2" I.D. of NPT like this one:

    https://www.amazon.com/LOZOME-Sanitary-Fittings-Adaptor-Stainless/dp/B091Z7KN88
    NJ Steam Homeowner. See my sight glass boiler videos: https://bit.ly/3sZW1el
  • delcrossv
    delcrossv Member Posts: 748
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    Google found them up to 3"
    Trying to squeeze the best out of a Weil-McLain JB-5 running a 1912 1 pipe system.
  • da13ear
    da13ear Member Posts: 30
    edited January 2022
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    Hey guys, just wanted to follow-up here with a huge thank you to all! Another 3-4 purges and the boiler is mostly back to working. The ph is 8.5 now and the water is tan (before the 8way it was clear ugh).

    Unfortunately during the "experiment", the rads were venting some water and the PSI got upward of 3-4 so I've had to replace a few rad vents that went bad. Followed feedback here and went vent-rite 1s. Now just need to rebalance the rad vents and keep things stable until the spring.

    Happy New Year all!

    Chris
  • AdmiralYoda
    AdmiralYoda Member Posts: 632
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    @da13ear
    I have a 40 year old Peerless that despite the previous owners neglecting maintenance and it using a gallon or so of makeup water a week until two years ago is in great shape.

    According to some literature my boiler holds about 9ish gallons which seems about right. I use 8oz during heating season and it turns the water light purple and my pH is around 10-11 which I consider perfect.

    At first I had a little gunk after adding the 8-way but after a few flushings it ran clear.

    My advice:
    1st, plain fresh water is bad because it carries free oxygen which is bad for the boiler. I wouldn't do this unless you are using 8-way or a similar product that raises the pH and stops corrosion.

    - Flush your boiler a couple more times to get the water as mud free as you can.
    - Add 8oz of 8-way and let it run for 2-3 weeks to clean any residual gunk.
    - Flush it again until it is clean and add another 8oz of 8-way.

    It might take a couple times but the water should eventually stay pretty clear. I change the water once or twice a season and add 8-way each time.

    Before I set it away for the summer I flush it with fresh water, add 8-way and run the boiler for a while to drive out any free oxygen. Then fill the water to the top of the sightglass once the boiler has cooled. This helps prevent rust and sludge from forming over the summer.

    BTW, in my house I am known as Captain Overkill.

    ethicalpaulda13ear
  • da13ear
    da13ear Member Posts: 30
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    Appreciate the feedback Admiral! Your guidance totally makes sense to me. I am making sure to boil the water after a flush so i drive off the O2. Also there was SO MUCH 8way in there, that it is still there slightly.

    My plan is definitely to reintroduce the 8way, but first i need to stabilize my system again. I think i will follow your lead, and in March, work to add a few ozs of 8 way until i get to a pH of 10. Once there, ill see if the systems still steams without surging like it was doing now.

    Quick question - where do you pour your 8way into the system?

    Chris
  • delcrossv
    delcrossv Member Posts: 748
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    Usually the easiest is to unscrew the relief valve and pour it in there.
    Trying to squeeze the best out of a Weil-McLain JB-5 running a 1912 1 pipe system.
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 5,743
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    I have my skim pipe set up permanently with a tee and a valve so I can pour things in that way
    NJ Steam Homeowner. See my sight glass boiler videos: https://bit.ly/3sZW1el
  • da13ear
    da13ear Member Posts: 30
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    Hey guys, just wanted to close out this thread.

    Thank you all for chiming in.

    The boiler had way too much 8way. 5-7 purges cleared all the gunk out and stabilized the boiler.

    Got some pH strips and reader. PH is 9-10 normally.

    Pressure is still slightly high. Think that is a outcome of the previous owners ripping 3/10 rads out during a reno, but that is a different problem for a different day.

    Plan to reintroduce 8way or something like it in the spring, but do it myself and take it slow.

    Thanks again for saving my butt.

    Chris