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Corroded return pipe

Hasn't failed yet but I noticed a bunch of fittings are flaking. The previous owners put in a softener system but the boiler is older than the steam system, so some damage might have been done from the scale.

Not sure how much time I have left, or if it is something I can do but working with pipe fitting is a pita from my limited experiences. I think the boiler is probably 12-15 years old but works fine.

Comments

  • Hap_Hazzard
    Hap_Hazzard Member Posts: 2,849
    Corrosion on the outside of the pipes is common in damp basements. Consider using a dehumidifier. If you're filling the boiler from your household water supply, make sure it comes off before the water softener. Never use softened water in a steam boiler.
    Just another DIYer | King of Prussia, PA
    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S | 3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
    ethicalpaul
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,413
    It looks like a combination of an active leak since it looks wet and remnants of asbestos that weren't completely removed. Or maybe something else is leaking on it.

    Don't use softened water in the boiler, that is worse on it than hard water.
  • Hap_Hazzard
    Hap_Hazzard Member Posts: 2,849
    mattmia2 said:

    It looks like a combination of an active leak since it looks wet and remnants of asbestos that weren't completely removed.

    To me that looks like old paint. When I replaced my wet return, it seemed like the parts of it that someone had painted with interior house paint were rusted worse than the parts that weren't painted. It's almost like it lets moisture in and traps it there.
    Just another DIYer | King of Prussia, PA
    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S | 3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
  • parity_check21
    parity_check21 Member Posts: 15
    Let me address some of the comments:

    The water hardness in my region is classified as "very hard"
    ~200 to ~350 mg/l as calcium carbonate or 1 gpg = 17.1 mg/l o

    I also have a second stage carbon filter that is part of the whole house system.

    The system is 5 years old. The boiler is approx 13 years old. Not sure if the feed pipes are typically the same age, I would think they have to be fitted at the time of install.

    It looks like the pipes are corroded from the inside out with the steel flaking off in layers. I keep a dehumidifier running in the basement, it is pretty dry. The corrosion seems to be where the fresh eed water is mixing into the system.

    My goals here are:
    1: Prevent an interruption during the heating season.
    2: Fix myself if possible, or find someone to fix it.
    3: Preventative measures to keep repairs from failing again.
  • Hap_Hazzard
    Hap_Hazzard Member Posts: 2,849
    edited January 18
    If you're re-piping the return, do it correctly. I see a couple of issues there, most notably the Hartford loop. It needs to be shorter. Much shorter. It's probably making some noise now. If you can, post some pictures of the whole return, if not a complete view of the near-boiler piping.
    Just another DIYer | King of Prussia, PA
    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S | 3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
  • parity_check21
    parity_check21 Member Posts: 15

  • Hap_Hazzard
    Hap_Hazzard Member Posts: 2,849
    Hmm. You might want to wait until summer and re-pipe the boiler. The header is big enough, but the system riser and the equalizer are at opposite ends, so you're not getting good steam-water separation. Also, the supply risers could be higher. You're probably getting pretty wet steam. The equalizer should also be bigger. At least get rid of all the reducers between the header elbow and the tee on the return and use the biggest pipe size you can.
    Just another DIYer | King of Prussia, PA
    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S | 3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
    BobC