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Boiler Water Treatment

Hi, this is Chuck from Meeker, Colorado, and I'm back again with another question. Someone used to service my boiler when the house was a rental. There is no reason to believe they didn't know what they were doing but I'm the new guy and think I should figure out how to take care of my own stuff.

From Dan and on The Wall I read about the importance of annual boiler water treatment so I called up my local supply house and they sent me a bottle. (They have to send it. I can't just go get it. My new little town, Meeker, Colorado is at the end of a road on the way to no where. You have to really want to get to Meeker, Colorado. The local weekly newspaper (6 pages) reported that in 2021 more people in Meeker died of boredom than Covid.)

Anyway, the bottle arrived. It said "Hercules Scout" on it. It purported to be treatment for hot water and steam boiler fluids. The directions for steam boilers said "pour it in, fire the boiler, DO NOT DRAIN". Seriously!

Now, this stuff did not say what it was going to treat inside my boiler but I'm thinking that if it was Ph then it would have advised me to check the Ph ahead of time. It didn't. So it must be treating crud and corruption. (Stay with me. Dan taught us to imagine what life inside boilers and pipes must be like and I'm doing this now.)

So, I pour it in, fire the boiler, and this stuff cleans all the crud & corruption off the interior of the boiler (who knows, maybe the steam carries it up into the piping and radiators too and all that gets scrubbed). So I imagine I'm just crud, detritus. They don't want me, no one does, but they don't actually get rid of me either because they don't drain me. I just sink down to the lowest part of the system, the bottom of the boiler, and settle in. But wait - the boiler fires again! The combustion chamber is right under me, just a quarter of an inch of cast iron away. I'm between the flame and the water it wants to turn into steam and I'm making things difficult. I'm an insulator! My dampness turns to steam and I explode then I reach the water above and collapse, I carry on like this to beat the band, playing a bit part in a show I have no business in.

How does this make any sense? To me it doesn't. Every fiber in my body wants to drain that dirty disgusting crud-laden water from my boiler but I can't. The directions forbid it. I was a Marine, still am, and my Drill Instructor taught me to follow orders.

So give me some different orders. I'm counting on you guys to get me off the hook.



  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,737
    I'd tend to agree, leaving crap on the bottom doesn't make sense.

    Are you trying to clean, or treat for maintenance? There is a difference. I don't feel chemicals are needed for cleaning, but I do treat my boiler water to keep the PH high to limit corrosion.

    For cleaning, especially if you think there may be some sludge buildup, using a wand to flush the boiler out is really the way to go IMHO.


    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • delcrossv
    delcrossv Member Posts: 742
    edited January 2022
    If you don't have that handy cleanout, then yes, after all the crud has settled, that should be drained off via the boiler drain. (You may have to do that several times).
    Trying to squeeze the best out of a Weil-McLain JB-5 running a 1912 1 pipe system.
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 5,702
    Scout is an interesting one. It has some diatomaceous earth in it which is the main ingredient of Squick...it's meant to entrap oils.

    I wouldn't use either one for a general water treatment. My current personal favorite remains Rectorseal 8-way. Don't follow the instructions, they want you to use too much. Add it a little at a time until your PH is 10 or 11.

    Others like zero treatment in their water, but I like my boiler to not rust as much.
    NJ Steam Homeowner. See my sight glass boiler videos: https://bit.ly/3sZW1el
  • ccstelmo
    ccstelmo Member Posts: 31
    edited February 2022
    Thanks guys. I'll clean that garbage out of there somehow and perhaps, once the heating season's over, figure out a way to get a nice big cleanout port in there like KC shows in the pics.
  • EdwinD
    EdwinD Member Posts: 159
    WM EG-55 holds 17.3 gallons of water. I use 8 oz. of Rectorseal 8-Way which works well.
    Weil-McLain EG55 2 pipe Vapor System
    OP Pressure .10 -.25 oz
    8-Way Boiler Water Treatment
    Barnes & Jones Big Mouth Vents