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Water softener and steam boiler

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Comments

  • LionA29LionA29 Posts: 254Member
    @RomanGK_26986764589 I remembered you said that you have some boiler slugging from water contaminants,correct?
    Your reports looks different from mine but I hope we can get some other input analysis on here.
    @Fred @Larry @ChrisJ @KC_Jones @hot rod
    Thanks
  • hot_rodhot_rod Posts: 11,750Member
    8-10 ph is a common range for iron steam boilers.

    Public water reports are mainly for water safety and usually do not break down chlorides or other salts in a TDS number. Send a sample off to a water treatment specialist for that info.


    Rhomar Water offers a steam boiler water analysis that includes:
    Conductivity
    ph
    alkalinity
    total hardness
    chlorides
    sulfates
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    The magic is in hydronics, and hydronics is in me
  • LionA29LionA29 Posts: 254Member
  • FredFred Posts: 7,978Member
    I went out and got the water report from our local municipality too. It is pretty much a joke, however I am sure I could call them and get a detailed report. The one posted doesn't show chlorides either. It actually doesn't even show hardness but it explains that our water comes from an underground aquifer, X number of trillions of gallons, and the very first process, after pumping it up is a "softening" process, then it is filtered through a bed of sand, then treated for bacteria/whatever, etc.
  • LionA29LionA29 Posts: 254Member
    @Fred so it's pretty much " marketing report"?
    Lol. I guess you have to do some testing yourself or Experiencing some sort of water issue.
  • FredFred Posts: 7,978Member
    LionA29 said:

    @Fred so it's pretty much " marketing report"?

    Lol. I guess you have to do some testing yourself or Experiencing some sort of water issue.

    @LionA29 , that's exactly what it is. If I thought I had a water problem, I'd give them a call and get the full water report but, with a boiler that is now 34 years old and still running, I would be hard pressed to demonstrate that anything they did to change their treatment process affected my boiler. I probably will request a full report when the time comes to replace my boiler, just so I know what I'm dealing with on a new boiler.
  • CanuckerCanucker Posts: 545Member
    edited February 2017

    @LionA29 I live in NJ. According to American Water, my water is coming from the Raritan system. Here's the link, maybe I am simply not seeing it and you have better eyes. My zip is 08812.

    https://amwater.com/njaw/water-quality/water-quality-reports#zip=08812&distance=5&latitude=40.597309&longitude=-74.478818&currentpage=1

    It's in your detailed report. Look for the sodium column in the secondary contaminants table
    You can have it good, fast or cheap. Pick two
  • @Canucker Thanks! Wow, the range is pretty broad for mine. it says 33-89. I guess if I send a sample to the lab I'll get more detailed results.

    @LionA29 Yep. I do have a slugging in the boiler which I assume due to water. :neutral: That's why I was trying to find out the chlorides level in my water. My TDS is 350 ppm.
  • hot_rodhot_rod Posts: 11,750Member

    @Canucker Thanks! Wow, the range is pretty broad for mine. it says 33-89. I guess if I send a sample to the lab I'll get more detailed results.

    @LionA29 Yep. I do have a slugging in the boiler which I assume due to water. :neutral: That's why I was trying to find out the chlorides level in my water. My TDS is 350 ppm.

    Very high TDS, most boiler manufacturers want under 100 ppm TDS. Have any chemicals been added? That will drive up TDS numbers.

    A TDS and ph meter will tell you a lot.

    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    The magic is in hydronics, and hydronics is in me
  • MilanDMilanD Posts: 1,107Member
    Rhomar makes this - seems a good solution and high volume on the 1,000 model.

    http://www.rhomarwater.com/products/catalog/rhopure-300-and-1000
  • hot rod said:

    @Canucker Thanks! Wow, the range is pretty broad for mine. it says 33-89. I guess if I send a sample to the lab I'll get more detailed results.

    @LionA29 Yep. I do have a slugging in the boiler which I assume due to water. :neutral: That's why I was trying to find out the chlorides level in my water. My TDS is 350 ppm.

    Very high TDS, most boiler manufacturers want under 100 ppm TDS. Have any chemicals been added? That will drive up TDS numbers.

    A TDS and ph meter will tell you a lot.

    No chemicals were added as far as I know. That is the city tap water. The pH is 6. I use steam master but it didn't help with slugging. As soon as I add make water, the boiler starts to act up. I assume because of the increased concentration of TDS with make up water. I am thinking in the future I will be adding distilled make up water in order to not increase TDS.
  • hot_rodhot_rod Posts: 11,750Member
    Ph is too low and you have a lot of dissolved minerals.

    I doubt you will find distilled water,very inexpensively. True distilled water is made by boiling and collecting the condensate, slow and expensive to produce.

    Demineralized water is run through media bed, similar to a softener. You should be able to buy DM water locally or rent a tower and filter your own water, if you decide to clean, flush, and start over.

    We sell a demineralized cart and for jobs where draining down is not practical, you can use it as a side filter for a few days or weeks to lower the TDS. It needs to be done in the off season, the resin beads cannot take warm temperatures and be efficient.

    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    The magic is in hydronics, and hydronics is in me
  • rbeckrbeck Posts: 57Member
    We at US Boiler do not suggest the use of softened water in a steam boiler. I will add maximum Chlorides is 99 ppm. When a boiler fails it is a good idea to run the boiler if possible, drain off some water from the bottom of the boiler, take a sample and check Ph, TDS and Chlorides. I have seen boiler failures with small holes in the top and large holes in the top. The larger the hole usually the PPM chlorides is much higher.
  • hot rod said:

    Ph is too low and you have a lot of dissolved minerals.

    I doubt you will find distilled water,very inexpensively. True distilled water is made by boiling and collecting the condensate, slow and expensive to produce.

    Demineralized water is run through media bed, similar to a softener. You should be able to buy DM water locally or rent a tower and filter your own water, if you decide to clean, flush, and start over.

    We sell a demineralized cart and for jobs where draining down is not practical, you can use it as a side filter for a few days or weeks to lower the TDS. It needs to be done in the off season, the resin beads cannot take warm temperatures and be efficient.

    I also have a separate RO water faucet. But it takes forever to fill a 5 gallon bucket.
  • LionA29LionA29 Posts: 254Member
    @RomanGK_26986764589 well at least you have it. So drain and clean then add the RO water during maintenance which could be end or before season. It will be all in a days work
  • hot_rodhot_rod Posts: 11,750Member

    hot rod said:

    Ph is too low and you have a lot of dissolved minerals.

    I doubt you will find distilled water,very inexpensively. True distilled water is made by boiling and collecting the condensate, slow and expensive to produce.

    Demineralized water is run through media bed, similar to a softener. You should be able to buy DM water locally or rent a tower and filter your own water, if you decide to clean, flush, and start over.

    We sell a demineralized cart and for jobs where draining down is not practical, you can use it as a side filter for a few days or weeks to lower the TDS. It needs to be done in the off season, the resin beads cannot take warm temperatures and be efficient.

    I also have a separate RO water faucet. But it takes forever to fill a 5 gallon bucket.
    Yeah, RO is slow and wastes a bit in the process. What is your RO capacity? You may go through a lot of membrane replacements trying to generate that much boiler water.

    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    The magic is in hydronics, and hydronics is in me
  • MilanDMilanD Posts: 1,107Member
    FWIW - just measured TDS in our boiler water - holy cow - 368 ppm! Waiting on my ph tester and found an elecronic chloride tester I'm ordering tomorrow. Straight tap water is at 239 ppm TDS, with city report at 181ppm. I do know chlorides are 67.6 mg/l from the city. I do have 2 steamaster tablets in there now, and had a 7 yo cast fail a few weeks ago (sprung a pin hole at the last row of pins on the end section). This section was replaced and I now am trying to help this situation as I'm fully expecting more failures to come.

    50 gal condensate tank water - 3 ppm (it's distilled water in the tank, return condensate).

    I'm just back from the grocery store with 23 gallons of distilled water. Cleaned them out of distilled water. Tomorrow, I'll pick up another 27 gals at a different store (our boiler is 40 gal, plus 10 extra for make-up the next few weeks). Plan on draining, wanding and refilling our boiler with distilled water this week. Temps in 50s in the next few days.

    Then, installing the RO for the make-up. Should not need more than 3-5 gal/week after the float switch blowdowns. This should keep up.

    So I guess, that's one way to go... Get testers and get busy.
  • LionA29LionA29 Posts: 254Member
    edited February 2017
    Quite a wake up @MilanD hah
  • MilanDMilanD Posts: 1,107Member
    @LionA29 yep. I couldn't believe our water was that bad. 7 yo boiler fail. City keeps bragging about "taste competiton winner, in a national double blind taste test..." uhm... It's water. It shouldn't taste like anything.

    Anyhow, once all is loaded with distilled water (just checked it and it's truly 0 ppm), this should get us the water quality we finally need.

    Tuition.
  • LionA29LionA29 Posts: 254Member
    Thanks for the info @MilanD. I hope it makes a difference on HH with all these contributions. It's good to share info and I always like to help in areas I can help even though I'm not a PRO, just an average "Joe".
  • Just make sure you adjust the PH of that distilled water as it will be very low and acidic.
  • MilanDMilanD Posts: 1,107Member
    > @RomanGK_26986764589 said:
    > Just make sure you adjust the PH of that distilled water as it will be very low and acidic.

    Baking soda is in hand. Thank you for the reminder.
  • Larry_52Larry_52 Posts: 181Member
    Holy cow, missed a lot here. @LionA29 your boiler could absolutely have a lower hardness than the incoming feed if you use little makeup. What ever scale formed on the boiler wall has lowered the dissolved solids and indirectly equates to a lower hardness. As long as you use little to no makeup this isn't the worst thing, in fact just a small scale layer on such a low pressure low heat flux boiler can be beneficial (acts like the oxide protection layer). What type boiler do you have? If it's a power head with gas or oil, the target wall insulation better be on there, other wise the area of the back wall will NOT have any benefit.

    Agree with everyone, no softener. Your water barely even warrants the look at a house softener system. What is more concerning on your report is the LSI index goes as low as -5. That is highly aggressive water and will corrode a steel pipe in no time. The range was -0.5 to -5.6, which means that when they sampled it a multitude of times they only give you a high and a low not the average. Knowing your water source and seasons, trust me it leans towards the lower part of the LSI index most of the time (average).

    Other things to note, demineralization only removes ions it does not remove everything. It happens that ions can be a majority of water quality issues. To properly "clean" the water thoroughly requires an activated carbon filter before a demineralization unit. The water out of a carbon+demineralization unit will produce water at a pH of 7.0 every time. If the water sits it will absorb CO2 from the air and drop into 6's.

    I bet the white scale you see could actually be the build up of aluminum corrosion on the outlet. Your water is so low on the LSI index that the only place you could possibly scale is in high heat flux areas like your boiler, not likely at ambient. The LSI is so low any scaled pipe other than sulphates would go back into aqueous form and turn scale free and start corroding. Ideally the water company wants the LSI at 0 to 0.5 so they don't need to add phosphate and your pipes and there pipes don't corrode.

    RO's in proper shape can be depended on to produce 99% rejection of the dissolved solids, 100% of solids removal. So your chlorides would drop to 2.79 on the permeate or clean side. RO's do not stop dissolved gas from transporting across membranes so CO2 slips by and pH is always lower than 7. This means RO water is always aggressive in corrosion. That can be easily fixed if it is only a sole source for the boiler with chemicals. If it's a whole house RO then There is plausible concern on the corrosion of house piping (depending on piping size, demands, and type). The total downside of an RO is it must reject and that reject will be around a range of 15% at best to 25% at worst of feed water to it. So for every gallon you feed the RO at a minimum depending on source and pretreatment could mean a average 20% of that 1 gallon down the drain.

    My chloride concern is usually when I go above 500 on my own boiler but it averages 250ppm. It is a peerless ec and has been operating for over 26 years as such. Of those 26 years only 10 got the babying of my hands, it had some issues to say the least when I took ownership. I cannot argue if the industry is experiencing the water line failures they have and bring the chloride facts to back it up. They are motivated to not have these issue and don't make up these findings over years of data. The only thing that must have changed is the casting alloy. Probably less of the alloying elements that cost like nickel, chromium, manganese and too much sulphur impurity. I don't know the answer to this, just a guess.

    You could use RO or just demin but you must treat each the same with pH up to 10-10.5 and whatever oxygen scavenger or layer protection enhancer necessary. I used to mess around with raw chemicals such as caustic and sodium sulfite but have been to reduced to just steam master tablets from ease of use.
  • Larry_52Larry_52 Posts: 181Member
    @MilanD what city do you live in?
  • MilanDMilanD Posts: 1,107Member
    > @Larry said:
    > @MilanD what city do you live in?

    Wyoming, OH
  • LionA29LionA29 Posts: 254Member
    @Larry I have a WM E.G-40 gas Steam.
    Thank you for your reply and yes, you did miss a lot
  • MilanDMilanD Posts: 1,107Member
    edited February 2017
    @Larry

    So carbon filter in front of RO and then couple of steamaster tablets should do it, in general? (I plan on testing it anyway).

    Does one need to get that pH up to 10 range, or would be 8.5-9 be "good enough" with steamaster as only additive? I was thinking baking soda to raise the pH as necessary. Any thoughts on this?

    Thanks!
    -Milan

  • hot_rodhot_rod Posts: 11,750Member
    MilanD said:

    @Larry

    So carbon filter in front of RO and then couple of steamaster tablets should do it, in general? (I plan on testing it anyway).

    Does one need to get that pH up to 10 range, or would be 8.5-9 be "good enough" with steamaster as only additive? I was thinking baking soda to raise the pH as necessary. Any thoughts on this?

    Thanks!
    -Milan

    I had not heard of the carbon filter, with a DM for boiler feed water? I'd like to learn more about that. Maybe Larry can tell us more.

    I have used carbon as a "polishing" filter to take taste and chlorine odor down for potable water. They are sometimes part of an under counter RO system.

    It seems like it would take a large carbon block to filter enough for a boiler, radiator fill?

    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    The magic is in hydronics, and hydronics is in me
  • MilanDMilanD Posts: 1,107Member
    hot rod said:

    MilanD said:

    @Larry

    So carbon filter in front of RO and then couple of steamaster tablets should do it, in general? (I plan on testing it anyway).

    Does one need to get that pH up to 10 range, or would be 8.5-9 be "good enough" with steamaster as only additive? I was thinking baking soda to raise the pH as necessary. Any thoughts on this?

    Thanks!
    -Milan

    I had not heard of the carbon filter, with a DM for boiler feed water? I'd like to learn more about that. Maybe Larry can tell us more.

    I have used carbon as a "polishing" filter to take taste and chlorine odor down for potable water. They are sometimes part of an under counter RO system.

    It seems like it would take a large carbon block to filter enough for a boiler, radiator fill?

    I just read @Larry 's long response to OP, about DM filter needing to have a carbon in front of it.


    Other things to note, demineralization only removes ions it does not remove everything. It happens that ions can be a majority of water quality issues. To properly "clean" the water thoroughly requires an activated carbon filter before a demineralization unit. The water out of a carbon+demineralization unit will produce water at a pH of 7.0 every time. If the water sits it will absorb CO2 from the air and drop into 6's.

  • MilanDMilanD Posts: 1,107Member
    Here's the filter that they call RO: has PP, GAC and DI filter in one package. This would take a day to refill a whole steam boiler (one user says it made 50 gal in 18 hours, 0-3 ppm reading off his well water). BUT, with some distilled water from the grocery store to start, and this little thing in line for make-up fill, it may work on systems that have chloride and hard water problems. FWIF... I'm putting one in on ours... already got 50 gal of water from the grocery store... what a pain in the rear...

    https://smile.amazon.com/Portable-Reverse-Osmosis-Filtration-POQ-4B-50/dp/B00GJCE2X4
  • LionA29LionA29 Posts: 254Member
    @MilanD take it easy there, you may need a truck.
  • Larry_52Larry_52 Posts: 181Member
    MilanD said:

    @Larry

    So carbon filter in front of RO and then couple of steamaster tablets should do it, in general? (I plan on testing it anyway).

    Does one need to get that pH up to 10 range, or would be 8.5-9 be "good enough" with steamaster as only additive? I was thinking baking soda to raise the pH as necessary. Any thoughts on this?

    Thanks!
    -Milan

    Any RO needs a prefilter and if the membrane is poly type some form of dechlorination, acetate type membranes do not need dechlorination. A carbon filter removes organics, solids and chlorine so in front of an RO is ok.

    No you don't need to be up to 10, I just recommend it as it gives you room for buffer with make up. I would say 9 to 10.5 is fine for a home steam boiler.

    Baking soda I would not use, it is unique in that it's alkalinity will neutralize anything above pH of 8.4 and neutralize below pH of 8.4. It is one of those chemicals that is amphoteric (like ambidextrous). So trying to get to pH of 9 with baking soda is impossible. In fact it would neutralize a boiler above 9pH and bring you down to 8.4 (with more added alkalinity) If you want to use a solid base try soda ash, but be careful too much will put you near 12 pH. The soda ash will also leave some CO3 to give you a protective carbonate scale layer. I use solid lye or aka caustic in lieu of soda ash as it does not have the CO3 and is all OH-. Takes even less to get the job done, just more expensive than soda ash.
  • Larry_52Larry_52 Posts: 181Member
    MilanD said:

    > @Larry said:

    > @MilanD what city do you live in?



    Wyoming, OH

    The way you described you chloride change sounded like NYC from last year report. I could have explained that.
  • Larry_52Larry_52 Posts: 181Member




    I had not heard of the carbon filter, with a DM for boiler feed water? I'd like to learn more about that. Maybe Larry can tell us more.

    I have used carbon as a "polishing" filter to take taste and chlorine odor down for potable water. They are sometimes part of an under counter RO system.

    It seems like it would take a large carbon block to filter enough for a boiler, radiator fill?



    @Hotrod sorry not what I intended. I was pointing out that IX (demin) exchange only removes ions and does not really clean out tiny solids well, any colloidal silica, any organics even VOC's and other things. The combo of GAC and demin gets you pretty close to absolute pure water.

    Demin by itself for boilers is fine. Although if you were regenerating the resin your self then I would recommend the GAC. Resin exposed to chlorine over time oxidizes and can no longer support cation or anion ion exchange. Resin can get fouled with solids like a media filter so best to filter before it. If you exchange the spent resin when exhausted then don't bother.
  • MilanDMilanD Posts: 1,107Member
    > @Larry said:
    > I had not heard of the carbon filter, with a DM for boiler feed water? I'd like to learn more about that. Maybe Larry can tell us more.
    >
    > I have used carbon as a "polishing" filter to take taste and chlorine odor down for potable water. They are sometimes part of an under counter RO system.
    >
    > It seems like it would take a large carbon block to filter enough for a boiler, radiator fill?
    >
    >
    >
    > @Hotrod sorry not what I intended. I was pointing out that IX (demin) exchange only removes ions and does not really clean out tiny solids well, any colloidal silica, any organics even VOC's and other things. The combo of GAC and demin gets you pretty close to absolute pure water.
    >
    > Demin by itself for boilers is fine. Although if you were regenerating the resin your self then I would recommend the GAC. Resin exposed to chlorine over time oxidizes and can no longer support cation or anion ion exchange. Resin can get fouled with solids like a media filter so best to filter before it. If you exchange the spent resin when exhausted then don't bother.


    So that little RO filter from Amazon that I posted a little earlier has all that's needed Pp, GAC and DI all in one. I'll replace the 5 micron sediment in front of it with another gac, in front of it for extra capacity.

    And soda ash it willl be. Didn't know about baking soda and pH limit.

    Thanks @Larry !
  • MilanDMilanD Posts: 1,107Member
    For those interested in chemistry of this: here's a good link:
    http://www.pdhonline.com/courses/m165/m165content.pdf

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