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Are chemicals needed?

John_34 Member Posts: 35
I'm adding zoning (2 zones) and several radiators to my hot water heating system. When I refill the system, should I use any kind of additives: cleaner or sealing solution such as that sold at lowe's/home depot?


  • Robert O'Connor_5
    Robert O'Connor_5 Member Posts: 25

    Whats the ph?..Robert O'Connor/NJ
  • hr
    hr Member Posts: 6,106
    How's the water look

    when you drain it?

    Sometimes when you do a lot of soldering or threading, or both, you have "left behind" oil or flux, pipe dope, etc.

    At the very least, run it hot and flush.

    Personally I like to run a hydronic cleaner for a day or so. It cleans, adjusts ph, scavanges O2 and leaves a film behind to protect all the components.

    Rhomar has a nice cleaner and system treatment package.

    All heat transfer surfaces, be it boilers or radiators, work best when not fouled, scaled, or rusted.

    I'd get chemicals or treatments made specfically for your hydronic system.

    hot rod

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  • John_34
    John_34 Member Posts: 35

    I don't know the PH. I haven't even filled the system back up yet. To give you a few more details......I'm converting the system from 1 zone to two zones, installing two B&G circulators, flo-control valves, zone relays for the circulators, 7 new (used) radiators, and alot of new copper. I am a do-it-yourselfer determined to do it myself. I did manage to find alot of info on zoning from B&G, but do-it-yourself info on the subject of hydronics seems to be very hard to find. When you say to run the system for a day or so, I'm not sure what you mean. I assume you mean run it normally. Since it's August, it wouldn't be running at all..so I'm not sure what to do there. And when you say run it hot & flush, do you mean turn up the thermostats for both zones and run it until it reaches normal operating temperature, then drain it? Or is there another more specific way to flush?

    Thanks in advance for your help and patience with my lack of knowledge.
  • hr
    hr Member Posts: 6,106
    A good reason

    for there not being a lot of B&G do it yourself hydronic info :) Pretty easy to get in over your head if you don't have some hydronic, heat flow and heat trtansfer training.

    Plenty of great reading info available at the "Books and More" section to help you learn more. Consider hiring a pro to at least check your work before you refire the beast!

    Yes, I suggest at least running the boiler up to temperature and circulating through all the zones, even if it is not heating season. Most soaps and cleaners work much better with warm water. Oil and grease are hard to cut and flush out with cold water. Don't drain and refill a hot boiler with cold water however. allow the sections to cool before refilling.

    Good idea to check the final fill water also. Ph and hardness are good to know. Real hard water, high TDS, and out of wack ph will all work on the components.

    Hydronic chemicals will help treat all that, but they do have limits. Bad water will use up the inhibitors quickly. Best to check before hand.

    Plenty of installers go nude and just fill and run. Older thick walled cast boilers and iron pipe may go for years with this method.

    Newer boilers with higher tech materials and thin HXers are more sensitive to bad water conditions. Stainless and especially aluminum need tight water specs.

    hot rod

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  • John_34
    John_34 Member Posts: 35
    PH, DIY, etc

    To test the PH and hardness, can test strips like that used for swimming pools be used?

    As far as the DIY issue goes, I know I'm no expert, but after reading B&G's "zoning made easy", and another publication by them about "how hydronic system compenents REALLY work"; and reading everything else I could find on the web about hydronics, I felt confident I could handle it.

    As mentioned before I installed the two circ pumps, and alos flo control valves on the returns (to avoid problems with "ghost flow" gravity circulation), isolation valves at each pump with flo control valves built-in. I put together what they call a Hydro-Flo Enhanced Heating Module (see it here: http://fhaspapp.ittind.com/homeowners/hydroflo.htm). Before doing all this I researched it as much as I could, it took me months of spare time to plan & figure out what I was doing & buying, and things like figuring heat loss, sizing radiators, etc.

    Do you reccommend me using both of Rhomar's products: Hydro-solv 9100 to clean it, & Rhomar 922 hydronic treatment?

    Thanks again.
    an enhanced
  • John_34
    John_34 Member Posts: 35
    Hardness & PH

    One thing I forgot to ask, where should the PH & hardness levels be? Do you test after the system is run for a certain amount of time?
  • hr
    hr Member Posts: 6,106
    Glad you read up

    I'm a DIYer in many cases also. Just want to make sure you handle hydronics safely. Gas or oil, hot water, electricity and venting of combustion by products, fresh air makeup are all areas to be educated in :)

    Changes in the wet side of a boiler can sometimes effect the combustion side i.e. low return temperatures sooting the HX passages. This could lead to combustion problems. Need to know how one relates to the other to keep it all safe.

    Contact Rhomar for more treatment info. Tap water can have a wide ph range, 7 for pure water, 11 for a TSP solution and 4 for orange juice :) Hardness can also be wide ranged. The ph can be tested with strips, or meters. The ph will change with the addition of chemicals and Rhomar will guide you to the acceptable ranges for their product.

    Happy heating! Keep the greasy side down and shiny side up.

    hot rod

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