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Cleaning out perpetually clogged steam boiler

Hello -
I am in the process of cleaning out the inside of my residential steam boiler. This unit has clogged multiple times per year at the sight glass openings due to buildup of sediment in the unit. I am looking to blow out all of the junk inside. I have located an opening by temporarily removing the skim valve so that I can access the inside to use a pressure washer. One challenge is that the opening that I have to work with is only 1" in diameter so a traditional pressure washer wand with nozzle will not fit through this. I recall reading from my prior post that there are specific wands that professionals use to do this. I need something thin <1 inch wide and also something that will spray a wide circumference to hit all angles of the inside of the boiler to knock down all of the sludge and sediment. Can anyone recommend something that will work for me? I tried to google search but did not find.

I previously posted a question to this forum. Here is the thread: https://forum.heatinghelp.com/discussion/165675/steam-boiler-clogging-repeatedly#latest

Appreciate any advise I can get from the pros!


    JUGHNE Member Posts: 9,914
    edited September 2018
    You could build a wand out of 1/4" pipe, 4-5' long.
    A coupling with a plug on one end and adapt a ball valve and hose fitting on the other end.
    Drill a series of holes around the coupling circumference and one in the end of the plug.
    1/8" holes or smaller. Angle some of the holes if possible.
    The water spray will go in all directions.

    You could also make this wand out of copper fittings.

    If you have some wet return pipe at the boiler that rises up to the Hartford Loop that section of pipe usually collects junk from the system and if you flush it out before it gets up into the boiler that will help a lot.

    How about some pictures of your boiler, back up and show all sides and all pipes.
  • leonz
    leonz Member Posts: 573
    edited September 2018
    You can purchase a flat fan spray nozzle from tractor supply but you will not get much pressure with it

    It would be worth your while to search for the drain plug and purchase one of the pressure washers that are under $100.00 from lowest, home despot, and harbor freighted.

    You will get a number of nozzles with the pressure washer and the wands are pretty long to conform with OSHA safety rules.

    If you have gone this far you should look for a plug in a drain tapping at the bottom of the steam chest to clean it out as there should be one there.
  • You could follow Peerless' boiler cleaning instructions, using Arm&Hammer washing soda, in a slow simmer, skimming as you go.
    Finally, overfill the boiler as much as you can, and open the bottom drain valve. not as good as the wand, but easier!--NBC
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 9,914
    Does your skim port go into the top boiler sections header.
    In other words, can you insert a stick into it and go all the way across the boiler?
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,518
    I'm guessing that unless you also clean out any wet returns that you will continue to see this problem. Probably 80+% of the sludge you have in the boiler is sludge being carried back to it by the wet returns. When is the last time the wet returns were cleaned?