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Water treatment after no treatment for a few years?

AlexTHPRD
AlexTHPRD Member Posts: 3
Went at least 3 years with no treatment in our steam boilers and hot water heaters.
Pretty sure there is zero chemicals in our steam boilers and residual in our hot water heaters. (we blow down the steam boilers weekly).

Was told its to late to reintroduced chemicals. We also have 2 VERY old bldgs that have steam boilers with no treatment for decades. I would imaging adding chemicals to them would be bad.

Can we start up our boiler treatment program after 2-3 years of no treatment?
If so, what chemicals would you recommend that would cause leaks and plugged strainers?

Comments

  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 19,150
    Well, you can. Cautiously. The real question is, do you need to? The very first thing I would do is to get the water quality in the boilers as they are now thoroughly analysed, and figure out just what you are trying to accomplish with the chemical treatment. Do you have some consumptive uses that lead you to need to blow the boilers down weekly? If not, are you sure you need to do that? If you do, that's fine -- but keep in mind that you will have to test and add treatment on a continuous basis if your feedwater quality demands it, and to maintain corrosion protection.

    On the possible leaking or plugging -- treatment may aggravate that, but not much. That said, it would do no harm to thoroughly flush any wet returns anyway (which, sadly, may expose leaks -- but better to know about them on purpose than oh dark hundred some wintry night).
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 3,336
    Are you doing a full "Boiler Blowdown" each week, or are you just blowing down the Low Water Cut Off(s) once a week, to keep the float chamber clear? There is a lot of water difference in the two different processes.
    Edward Young
    Retired HVAC Contractor from So. Jersey.
    Services first oil burner at age 16
    P/T trainer for EH-CC.org
  • AlexTHPRD
    AlexTHPRD Member Posts: 3
    Yes, I am blowing down the low water and bottom blowdown only
  • AlexTHPRD
    AlexTHPRD Member Posts: 3

    Well, you can. Cautiously. The real question is, do you need to? The very first thing I would do is to get the water quality in the boilers as they are now thoroughly analysed, and figure out just what you are trying to accomplish with the chemical treatment. Do you have some consumptive uses that lead you to need to blow the boilers down weekly? If not, are you sure you need to do that? If you do, that's fine -- but keep in mind that you will have to test and add treatment on a continuous basis if your feedwater quality demands it, and to maintain corrosion protection.

    On the possible leaking or plugging -- treatment may aggravate that, but not much. That said, it would do no harm to thoroughly flush any wet returns anyway (which, sadly, may expose leaks -- but better to know about them on purpose than oh dark hundred some wintry night).

    The weekly blowdown are just for our steam boilers and its the normal low water bottom blowdown only.
    The hot water heating boilers we do not blow down... With the exception of the high pressure relief test done every 3 months during the PM.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 19,150
    AlexTHPRD said:

    Well, you can. Cautiously. The real question is, do you need to? The very first thing I would do is to get the water quality in the boilers as they are now thoroughly analysed, and figure out just what you are trying to accomplish with the chemical treatment. Do you have some consumptive uses that lead you to need to blow the boilers down weekly? If not, are you sure you need to do that? If you do, that's fine -- but keep in mind that you will have to test and add treatment on a continuous basis if your feedwater quality demands it, and to maintain corrosion protection.

    On the possible leaking or plugging -- treatment may aggravate that, but not much. That said, it would do no harm to thoroughly flush any wet returns anyway (which, sadly, may expose leaks -- but better to know about them on purpose than oh dark hundred some wintry night).

    The weekly blowdown are just for our steam boilers and its the normal low water bottom blowdown only.
    The hot water heating boilers we do not blow down... With the exception of the high pressure relief test done every 3 months during the PM.
    Then you may not need much treatment at all. Test the water first, and use the minimum possible amount. As in so many things, too much is usually much worse than too little.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 13,076
    I would contact Rhomar water treatment and follow their recommedations.

    Personally, I would never run a steam boiler without treatment, especially a commercial one.

    But that's my opinion. See what Rhomar has to say.
    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
  • JohnNY
    JohnNY Member Posts: 2,959
    ChrisJ said:

    See what Rhomar has to say.

    Why would Rhomar say anything other than if you don't put their chemicals in your boiler immediately you're going to die a painful death?

    Contact John "JohnNY" Cataneo, Master Plumber for Consulting Work
    Or for plumbing in NYC or in NJ.

    Or take his class.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 13,076
    edited June 16
    JohnNY said:
    See what Rhomar has to say.
    Why would Rhomar say anything other than if you don't put their chemicals in your boiler immediately you're going to die a painful death?
    That's a good question.

    I'll counter with why would anyone that sells boilers ever recommend using anything other than plain water?
    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
    JohnNY
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 19,150
    In my humble opinion, the only residential steam boilers which actually need chemical treatment are those which have feedwater which is either much too acid or basic. That is, making the assumption that they use very little feedwater. Now -- if you get into larger commercial boilers, and certainly into power boilers (operating at let's say 450 psi rather than 0.45 ounces!) then you do need chemical treatment, closed system or not. But that's not what we're doing here. And as you can see above -- others may, quite legitimately, differ.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 13,076

    In my humble opinion, the only residential steam boilers which actually need chemical treatment are those which have feedwater which is either much too acid or basic. That is, making the assumption that they use very little feedwater. Now -- if you get into larger commercial boilers, and certainly into power boilers (operating at let's say 450 psi rather than 0.45 ounces!) then you do need chemical treatment, closed system or not. But that's not what we're doing here. And as you can see above -- others may, quite legitimately, differ.

    I like a good oxygen scavenger in my boiler as well as treatment to stop minerals from bonding to the iron and keep them suspended so they can be blown out. The corrosion inhibitors are nice too.

    Most residential steam heating systems spend an awful lot of time full of fresh air drawn in between cycles and the oxygen scavenger helps with that.

    Water treatment offers many benefits for any steamer in my opinion.
    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
  • JohnNY
    JohnNY Member Posts: 2,959

    In my humble opinion, the only residential steam boilers which actually need chemical treatment are those which have feedwater which is either much too acid or basic. That is, making the assumption that they use very little feedwater. Now -- if you get into larger commercial boilers, and certainly into power boilers (operating at let's say 450 psi rather than 0.45 ounces!) then you do need chemical treatment, closed system or not. But that's not what we're doing here. And as you can see above -- others may, quite legitimately, differ.

    I put eyes on something like 100 boilers every year. Maybe 5 of them use water treatment. I also have to process maybe 6-8 claims per year for premature boiler failures and their cause is overwhelmingly ruled "excessive makeup water" by the manufacturer. Even when water quality is substandard or even flat out bad, the boiler can live a decent life. It's the frequent replenishing of that water that kills the iron.

    That said, last time I checked I wasn't even close to being a scientist. And I wore two different socks to work today. So what the heck do I know.

    Contact John "JohnNY" Cataneo, Master Plumber for Consulting Work
    Or for plumbing in NYC or in NJ.

    Or take his class.
    PC7060