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Clogged returns

SMITTY64
SMITTY64 Member Posts: 65
I have a 2 pipe vented gas steam boiler with some clogged returns. Does anyone have any ideas on how to clear the lines? The furthest return is about 30 feet. Can I take apart at the radiator and flush the returns under pressure using a Clog Hog? Or would I be better off feeding a cleaner from the top of the returns down ro the boiler. I could cap off at the near boiler hartford loop and open the drain valve thereby eliminating any crud from entering the boiler. The crud would then get flushed directly out the boiler drain. Any ideas would be helpful.

Comments

  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 19,919
    Usually one can do quite well by getting a hose with a good flow of water in one end and opening a valve or T or whatever at the other. I would NOT use any form of pressure at all. First, it isn't needed, second, you are very likely to damage the pipe. Also you should not need a cleaner. Your second plan -- minus the cleaner -- the better one. If there is a really tight clog -- rare, but not unheard of -- a snake is the best way to go.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • SMITTY64
    SMITTY64 Member Posts: 65
    THANK YOU. THANK YOU.
  • pedmec
    pedmec Member Posts: 640
    i have used a electric handsnake with a 1/4 wire. actually makes the bend on 3/4 cast iron 90's. works great. then flush the line out with with water. hardest part is keeping the location clean
  • HydroNiCK
    HydroNiCK Member Posts: 150
    On a line that I had to repair/cut open anyway....I've used a compressor.  It forced sludge right out. 
  • SMITTY64
    SMITTY64 Member Posts: 65
    edited September 22
    At the end of last season they added the extension of piping haking the header longer. See attached pic. but I still do not believe it is correct as I am not even 24" above the water line. I took a measurement and its 21" to the bottom of the header.

    I flushed out the lines myself during the summer and those are clean. When I refilled and fired up the boiler the first boiler full of water literally disappeared. I filled up the boiler again and radiators got hot and a little bit of banging started. I believe this header is way too low. Any help is greatly appreciated as I want to be drama free by winter.
  • SMITTY64
    SMITTY64 Member Posts: 65
    The water line is the piece of blue tape and is 21 in to the bottom of the header. Is this what is causing my issues?
  • Hap_Hazzard
    Hap_Hazzard Member Posts: 2,781
    edited September 22
    The steam would be dryer if the header could be higher, so if your issue is that the water level fluctuates, it’s certainly not helping. A drop header would make a big improvement. 

    Btw, don’t get too aggressive cleaning returns. If you scrape off the rust scale it will have to rust all over again. Bare steel rusts, but rust doesn’t. 
    Just another DIYer | King of Prussia, PA
    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S | 3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 6,606
    Were the returns empty after you flushed them or did you leave them full of water? No water is going to return to the boiler until enough water is in the returns to get over the loop in the hartford loop.

    Did the water just suddenly back out of the boiler or did the level just slowly fall over maybe half an hour or so as the boiler produced steam out to the radiators? Until the wet returns are full steam could get places it shouldn't be and cause banging.
  • SMITTY64
    SMITTY64 Member Posts: 65
    Returns were empty. The header is only 20" above the water line.  They are coming out monday to repipe to the manufacturers recommended 24" minimum per the manuel. 
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,343
    My old Burnham v75 only had 14" and that boiler never made a sound, the extra 4" would be nice but I think your issue is elsewhere.

    Bob
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • jhewings
    jhewings Member Posts: 126
    I don't understand how the returns could be empty if there is correct water line in the sightglass because the water would enter the returns through the hartford loop if the hartford loop is positioned correctly.
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 6,606
    jhewings said:

    I don't understand how the returns could be empty if there is correct water line in the sightglass because the water would enter the returns through the hartford loop if the hartford loop is positioned correctly.

    Looking at the pictures it looks like the top of the hartford loop is right about where the water line is marked on the side to it is likely it is too high.
  • pedmec
    pedmec Member Posts: 640
    When they do come back make sure they return on the left side. you don't want your equalizer to be in an horizontal position as it is. you should 90 straight down into return.
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 10,038
    If you measure up or down from the jacket top/bottom to the water line and then transfer that line to the side with the HL.

    Then some pictures of the HL and return piping would be nice.

    Does the wet return jump up above the pipe at the boiler anywhere, or all at that level or lower?