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Black residues on sight glass on a newly installed steam boiler

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Got a new steam boiler installed. It was used for a few days now. Today was fairly warm and the boiler hasn't ran. Went to check and there was black residues on the sight glass. Does this mean the boiler has to be skimmed? The technician claimed it doesn't have to be skimmed.

Comments

  • neilc
    neilc Member Posts: 2,703
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    yes, that needs skimming,
    that black is oil and casting residues,
    do you have a skim port?

    post a picture from further back showing that sightglass, and all the piping above to the system mains,
    from a couple different angles
    known to beat dead horses
    ethicalpaulmattmia2
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,529
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    The black residue is normal on a new boiler. It's usually best to run the boiler for a week-2 weeks and then start the skimming process.

    Your technician saying it doesn't need skimming means he's lazy or not too smart
    EdTheHeaterManmattmia2
  • datawaym8
    datawaym8 Member Posts: 33
    edited October 2022
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    neilc said:
    yes, that needs skimming, that black is oil and casting residues, do you have a skim port? post a picture from further back showing that sightglass, and all the piping above to the system mains, from a couple different angles
    Yes, it does come with a skim port at the same level as the top of the sight glass.
    Is it safe to continue using the boiler in the meantime? I don't have the proper tools to unplug the fitting cap.
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 7,840
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    datawaym8 said:


    Yes, it does come with a skim port at the same level as the top of the sight glass.
    Is it safe to continue using the boiler in the meantime? I don't have the proper tools to unplug the fitting cap.

    How long has it been running? Just a few days? Did you pay in full?

    It is safe to operate. after 2 weeks the installed should come back and skim, it is in the instructions. If you still owe him money, then you should have no problem getting him back.

    If it is paid in full then you might start with the contract and see if there is a warranty on material and workmanship from the contractor that includes labor for the first year. It should. But it may not. That is why you need to hold some $$$ back until you are satisfied. Once you know the answer to the warranty question, call for a warranty covered repair to look at this black buildup forming a pipe. (Don't let then know it is a glass pipe called the site glass) words like afraid and carbon-monoxide are always helpful to get the contractor back. once he is there, show him the black mark on the glass pipe and show him the part of the instructions that say to skin the boiler.

    In person, it is harder to say no to such conclusive proof as the installation manual. Maybe he can then show you how to skim the boiler so you can do it again yourself.

    Just some rambling thoughts on the subject from an old man in a wheelchair

    Edward F Young. Retired HVAC ContractorSpecialized in Residential Oil Burner and Hydronics
    BobC
  • datawaym8
    datawaym8 Member Posts: 33
    edited October 2022
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    datawaym8 said:


    Yes, it does come with a skim port at the same level as the top of the sight glass.
    Is it safe to continue using the boiler in the meantime? I don't have the proper tools to unplug the fitting cap.

    How long has it been running? Just a few days? Did you pay in full?

    It is safe to operate. after 2 weeks the installed should come back and skim, it is in the instructions. If you still owe him money, then you should have no problem getting him back.

    If it is paid in full then you might start with the contract and see if there is a warranty on material and workmanship from the contractor that includes labor for the first year. It should. But it may not. That is why you need to hold some $$$ back until you are satisfied. Once you know the answer to the warranty question, call for a warranty covered repair to look at this black buildup forming a pipe. (Don't let then know it is a glass pipe called the site glass) words like afraid and carbon-monoxide are always helpful to get the contractor back. once he is there, show him the black mark on the glass pipe and show him the part of the instructions that say to skin the boiler.

    In person, it is harder to say no to such conclusive proof as the installation manual. Maybe he can then show you how to skim the boiler so you can do it again yourself.

    Just some rambling thoughts on the subject from an old man in a wheelchair

    It has been running for less than a week. Unfortunately, I paid in full.
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 7,840
    edited October 2022
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    If you found him on here, then he should be a good choice. Let the person that answers the phone that. I don't think they want you to let us know you had a bad experience. Most of the contractors will do what it takes to satisfy their customers. If you have a bad experience, you can private message @Erin Holohan Haskell with the info to see if there is a pattern that needs to be addressed.

    Try to get help directly from the contractor first. Just be assured that operating the boiler with a little black on the sight glass is just fine. Give the contractor plenty of time to resolve the issue. This Is the busy season. so let them fit you in to the schedule as a fill in job at the end of a day or make an appointment a week or two in advance. Also be flexible with unforeseen emergency calls and allow for rescheduling as needed. example: if you had no heat on a cold day, would you want someone with heat to keep the technician from you because of a little black smudge on the sight glass?
    Edward F Young. Retired HVAC ContractorSpecialized in Residential Oil Burner and Hydronics
  • neilc
    neilc Member Posts: 2,703
    edited October 2022
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    datawaym8 said:


    neilc said:

    yes, that needs skimming,
    that black is oil and casting residues,
    do you have a skim port?

    post a picture from further back showing that sightglass, and all the piping above to the system mains,
    from a couple different angles

    Yes, it does come with a skim port at the same level as the top of the sight glass.
    Is it safe to continue using the boiler in the meantime? I don't have the proper tools to unplug the fitting cap.


    I would say you're safe to use the boiler,
    unless, and this is more system than any life safety,
    if you're hearing horrible knocking and banging, water hammer, anvils from hell,
    then that could be damaging to the rest of the system,
    or if the boiler is throwing up wet steam, which is likely with the boiler needing skimming,
    and that wet steam is escaping rad vents and wetting your walls and floors , , , well that's bad to,

    can we see the pipe job above the boiler ?
    known to beat dead horses