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Metallic Debris in FHW Boiler

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Bob Gagnon plumbing and heating
Bob Gagnon plumbing and heating Member Posts: 1,368
edited July 5 in THE MAIN WALL

Hey everyone,

I'm getting a LOT of debris in a FHW boiler I installed 8 years ago. The system has copper finned baseboard and radiant heat with oxygen barrier Uponor pex. The only ferrous metal in this system are the expansion tank, circulators, and about 3' of black pipe. The water here is good, and the expansion tank has lasted 8 years no problem. I flushed out about a cup of debris, and the customer had about 2 more cups in a bucket that he flushed out. I'm thinking I'll install a magna pro, magnetic sediment filter, and replace the black pipe with copper. Any idea for something I could add to help flush out the system? Any idea why this is happening? I've never seen it before.

Thanks in advance., Bob Gagnon

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Comments

  • Derheatmeister
    Derheatmeister Member Posts: 1,572
    edited July 5
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    Do you have any equipment to measure PH,TDS,SAL,EC and O2 content of the system fluid ?

    How do you know if it is Ferrous? Does it have magnetic properties ?

  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 22,483
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    Does it stick to a magnet? Greasy feeling?

    Any smell? Iron bacteria looks like that and smells like rotten eggs. It will eat away ferrous metals.

    Is the system tight, no fill water being added?

    I'd run a cleaner, hot for a few days, then power flush with 28 psi, 8 gpm to move the solids out.

    A mag separator would be a good ideal. A Caleffi XF would be a great addition.

    https://video.search.yahoo.com/yhs/search?fr=yhs-ima-st_mig&ei=UTF-8&hsimp=yhs-st_mig&hspart=ima&p=caleffi+XF&type=q3000_set_bcrq#id=1&vid=d3a1cb863dabc4d33a534e8c35ef49db&action=click

    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
    jringel
  • Bob Gagnon plumbing and heating
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    The debris is magnetic, not greasy, no rotten egg smell, but I thought I smelt a slight anti freeze scent , but customer swears none has been added. Water was not slippery. The water is from the same river that supplies hundreds of thousands of homes here and I've never seen anything like it. Could stray electric current cause this?…

    Thanks, Bob Gagnon

    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
  • HomerJSmith
    HomerJSmith Member Posts: 2,511
    edited July 6
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    If it's magnetic, it is ferrous. If there is only 3' of black iron pipe and the pump volutes, it must be the pipe that is producing the debris. The pic with the debris in your palm has a curve to it and probably conforms to the interior of the iron pipe. I would want to remove that 3' section of pipe and look at its interior. I have seen a lot of poor quality iron pipe in my day. The size of that debris circulating thru the sys would really do a number on the pump impellers. By all means check the acidity in the sys. Electric currents love acid environments. If it is 7 or below, change the water and buffer to about 8.5.

    If it is iron look to where the iron is. My thoughts.

  • Derheatmeister
    Derheatmeister Member Posts: 1,572
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    It is most likely from you Circ Volutes and Iron pipe…

    Depending on the Metals involved in your system the PH should be between 8.2 and 10ish.

    As you may Know Wetrotor Circulating pumps do not Like being subjected to Ferrous Materials.

    I highly recommend having the propper tools to investigate the system Fluid so you can put a remedy towards this situation.

    Rhomar Water can test your fluid or you may PM me for advise.

    https://www.rhomarwater.com/Steam_Treatment.html?gad_source=1&gclid=Cj0KCQjw1qO0BhDwARIsANfnkv-A4TuDN6OSJVHqsvHiM9-IrS4TBHrKcn-52VtvgG_skJoa4uoPWh8aAlq9EALw_wcB

    I will be out until Tuesday..

  • HomerJSmith
    HomerJSmith Member Posts: 2,511
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    I'll be out for the rest of the year, mentally that is.

  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 22,483
    edited July 7
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    At this point it comes down to how much time , energy and $$ you want to spend on the forensic?

    Sending samples to labs, testing the source, etc.

    The treatment will most likely be the same. Run a hydronic cleaner, a power flush to remove those solids. Be sure the system is 100% leak free.

    Fill with DI water and monitor the system every few years.

    Strong opinions both ways if you should add a hydronic conditioner to DI water.

    Knowing that you get film providers, ph buffering, oxygen scavengers, and other ingredients that are kind to the multi-metals in the system, I am a proponent of a Rhomar or Fernox treatment, even with perfect hydronic water.

    Which ever way you go, have a test kit to check up on the system fluid ocassionally. If you use hydronic conditioner chemicals, they provide the appropriate test kit and boosters if needed.

    It is a lot like hydronic glycol, if you use them they need to be checked and maintained to do their job.

    https://www.pmengineer.com/articles/86921-corrosion-in-open--closed-loop-systems

    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream