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What is all this crud?

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jrozycki
jrozycki Member Posts: 3
20 year old hydronic system. 

There is black sludge at the pressure relief.

Grayish powder at the taco zone valves

Blueish powder at the water feed/ backflow.

Our water is a little hard.

I noticed this the other day when I noticed water under our furnace. The leak is actually from the spirivent Jr. I will post separate thread for questions I have related to that. But this post is to figure out if I have a problem with corrosion.
 


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  • kcopp
    kcopp Member Posts: 4,432
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    Serious water quality issue.
    1st look is that the system has glycol in it and has gone bad.
    What type of tubing is in the system out to the radiators and or radiant floor?
    jrozyckiHomerJSmith
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 22,131
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    You have it all! White deposits from the minerals in the fill water. Green form the brass and copper corrosion, also from fill water. Black sludge could be magnetite, stick a magnet into the sludge. If it sticks that indicates the ferrous metals are breaking down in the system, often caused by oxygen ingress.

    It needs a cleaner chemical and good power flush. Find and seal all leaks, refill with DI water and add corrosion inhibitors.

    Does or did it have glycol, antifreeze in it? What type of distribution piping? Any pex tubing?
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
    jrozycki
  • jrozycki
    jrozycki Member Posts: 3
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    Thanks for the reply kcopp.

    Copper to first floor air handler located next to furnace.

    Then I guess pex (i'm just a handy homeowner) to the air handler in the attic. I've attached picture of the antifreeze (bucket left by installers 20 years ago) and pipe/tubing.
  • kcopp
    kcopp Member Posts: 4,432
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    System needs to be drained, cleaned and flushed out w a good cleaner. Maybe a power flush.
    Then filled back w/ good water. Is there a reason it has antifreeze?
    Is there an air handler in the attic?
  • jrozycki
    jrozycki Member Posts: 3
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    Yes, there is an air handler in the attic, which was unconditioned space when we bought house brand new 20 years ago. I was getting icicles in the winter and had the attic put into the conditioned envelope( as best as we could) by insulating the roof rafters about 15 years ago. Seems to help with snow melt but not perfect.

    So do I no longer need antifreeze? I doubt I'm ever at risk now of the pipe freezing up there.  I'm obviously going to call in a professional but doing my homework before hand helps me communicate better with the HVAC company. Thanks
  • kcopp
    kcopp Member Posts: 4,432
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    As long as the air handler is in conditioned space as well as the piping to it, you should be good w/o it.
    Intplm.jrozyckiAlan (California Radiant) Forbes
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 22,131
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    These are a good way to clean, then protect the system. Just enough for a system your size.

    The cleaner goes in first, run it for a few days then dump.

    Refill and add conditioner.

    If you water is extremely hard, it would be good to bring in some filtered water to refill the last time.

    Probably need to replace some gaskets at the pumps, etc.
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
    jrozycki
  • Alan Welch
    Alan Welch Member Posts: 267
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    Attic's can get pretty cold in the winter,did they remove the gable vents or whatever was used too ventilate ? Kidde makes a wifi water sensor, but it also has a temperature sensor built in, a great way to monitor a place like an attic. Sometimes antifreeze is a necessary evil.