Click here to Find a Contractor in your area.
Welcome! Here are the website rules, as well as some tips for using this forum.
Need to contact us? Visit https://heatinghelp.com/contact-us/.

Blowdown Separator

Weil
Weil Member Posts: 16
I recently installed 3 steam boilers for a retirement home in Chicago. The engineer is asking for a blowdown separator. I have only seen these on high pressure steam boilers. Since when skimming a boiler it is to be performed while warm not hot. Thoughts are appreciated.

Comments

  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 1,794
    edited May 2020
    What pressure are you operating?
    What is the boiler size?
    Blow Down is different than Skimming.
    Is Blow-down performed daily , weekly?
    ALSO... we like pictures!!!
    Edward Young
    Retired HVAC Contractor from So. Jersey Shore.
    Cleaned & services first oil heating system at age 16
    Specialized in Oil Heat and Hydronics where the competition did Gas Warm Air

    If you make an expensive repair and the same problem happens, What will you check next?
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,491

    What pressure are you operating?
    What is the boiler size?
    Blow Down is different than Skimming.
    Is Blow-down performed daily , weekly?
    ALSO... we like pictures!!!

    Not to hijack the thread but what is the difference between surface blow down and skimming? I've seen both terms in multiple places.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 8,144
    The engineer seems late to the game. Did he include this in the original plans/drawings/specs?
    He should be able to explain the how and why of it all. :*

    Yes, we would like pictures.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 15,343
    edited May 2020
    Blowdown is totally different from skimming, not just different. Which is it you really want here?

    I might add -- blowdowns are really only called for if the use is consumptive -- that is, the steam is not condensed and recycled. They are used -- if they are used routinely -- to control total dissolved solids, which otherwise build up and can cause foaming and carryover issues.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.
    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-Mclain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
  • Weil
    Weil Member Posts: 16
    Installed 3 Weil McLain 788's with Beckett modulating burners 2,050,000 BTU's each. Vacuum system reaching 2.5 PSI. And I am only talking skimming. 100% condensate return. Skimming is performed weekly.



    Dave in QCA
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 15,343
    If you're only talking skimming, then you have relatively low flow -- and no pressure. A simple oil/water separator should do the trick. Whether it will make the engineer happy is another question altogether...
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.
    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-Mclain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
  • Weil
    Weil Member Posts: 16
    i should add that skimming was performed initially multiple times after installation. Now the LWCO's are blown down weekly. And they have chemical treatment and weekly testing.
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 8,144
    Very impressive, great looking job!
    Looks to be very serviceable for the future.
    Skim ports with valves piped right to drain.
    I don't know what more one could ask for.

    This must be a large retirement home.
    3 zones or common manifold?
    SuperTech
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 8,503
    @Weil

    Is he asking for a blow down separator or is he thinking of a flash tank which would cool the condensate befor going to the sewer
  • Weil
    Weil Member Posts: 16
    Thank you. Common inverted header. I am a steam guy. I am just looking for confirmation for this engineer that it is not needed. I really appreciate your responses.
  • Weil
    Weil Member Posts: 16
    It is a 120 year old hotel converted to a retirement home.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 15,343
    If your man is really looking for a blowdown separator -- presumably to discharge only relatively clean water (no particulates, no oil) to the sewer, can't you pipe the blowdowns to a decent size grease trap? Say 15 minutes retention time and you should be pretty darn clean. I'd consider it overkill (there isn't going to be much except maybe some rust in there -- very little oil), but... sometimes the customer wins.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.
    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-Mclain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
  • nicholas bonham-carter
    nicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,422
    What sort of chemicals are they putting in?
    Is there a problem with the water supply?
    Are the boilers staged?—NBC
  • retiredguy
    retiredguy Member Posts: 350
    In my area, either term could be used, flash tank or blow down separator and they both accomplish the same thing, cooling the hot water/steam below some given temperature before it enters a sewer system. If this device has a cold water line with a temperature sensing device then you may be in an area where it is against a "code" to allow water in excess of a given temperature to enter a sewer system. The skimming that you referenced is probably what we called "surface blow". I rarely saw surface blow down on any system or boiler that small, however I think it is a good addition on and steam boiler. When I was still working there were very few engineers that did what I thought of as exceptional work. Most were engineers in name only.

    By the way, that is a good looking installation.


    And as @Jamie Hall wrote;
    Blowdown is totally different from skimming, not just different. Which is it you really want here?

    I might add -- blowdowns are really only called for if the use is consumptive -- that is, the steam is not condensed and recycled. They are used -- if they are used routinely -- to control total dissolved solids, which otherwise build up and can cause foaming and carryover issues.
    ChrisJ
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 2,756
    Possibly dumb question here: why is the skimming weekly? Is there some oil getting introduced into the system?
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,491

    Possibly dumb question here: why is the skimming weekly? Is there some oil getting introduced into the system?

    Commercial stuff is a different animal.
    As @retiredguy said, could be other stuff from makeup water.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
    ethicalpaul
  • PMJ
    PMJ Member Posts: 1,072
    A blowdown separator was part of the original design of the low pressure 200HP steam boiler I had installed. As I recall the Engineering firm designing the system said it was a code requirement. Its purpose is to cool down the water from the blowdown and protect the sewer system. Blowdown water comes from the bottom of the boiler where the sediment collects.
    1926 1000EDR Mouat 2 pipe vapor system,1957 Bryant Boiler 463,000 BTU input, Natural vacuum operation with single solenoid vent, Custom PLC control
  • SlamDunk
    SlamDunk Member Posts: 978
    edited May 2020
    Our blow down separator is used to send flash steam thru the roof vent (to prevent separator from pressurizing) and cool the water enough to not melt PVC sewer pipe or sewer pipe seals. And just as I typed this, I see that @PMJ said the same thing
  • Weil
    Weil Member Posts: 16
    Thanks guys. He is only concerned with temperature above 180 degrees Fahrenheit entering the drain. I misspoke. We are not skimming weekly. We are just blowing down the LWCO's weekly.
    ethicalpaul
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 8,144
    Does this go to a sump pit or directly to the drain?
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 8,144
    I service a boiler a little smaller than one of these.
    The blowdown and all draining goes into a large sump pit.
    It probably holds 30 gallons before the pump starts and probably has half that sitting in the bottom half. Blow down water would mix with existing cooler water and the pump runs very seldom.

    Another possible solution which I hate to say is a 5 gallon metal bucket at each blow off point. Would really detract from the fine piping though. Then could be blown down into the buckets and then emptied as they cooled, maybe the next day.

    The blow down of each LWCO is just to flush the bowl and assure the burner stops?
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 8,503
    Around here the sewer temperature limit I have herd of is 120-125
  • dopey27177
    dopey27177 Member Posts: 433
    With temperatures as low as 120 you will need more than a 5 gallon bucket or 30 gallons of water in a sump pit.

    Remember the bottom blow down is also used to empty the boiler of water in the event of overfill.

    For the job to be safe (proper tmp control) a flash tank installed properly, a pit or container large enough to hold at least 100 gal. of water and a cold water supply to add enough cold water to cool the hot boiler water to the required temp the pump discharges the blow down water.

    By the way that is a magnificent boiler room install.

    Jake
  • Mike_Sheppard
    Mike_Sheppard Member Posts: 673
    My local code is no higher than 140 degrees into drains. Plenty of low pressure steam boilers around here have flash tanks with a thermostat and cooling water.
    Never stop learning.
  • Joe_Dunham
    Joe_Dunham Member Posts: 50
    NYC buildings with con-ed steam (district steam) have dilution tanks. The waste condensate is pumped into the tank and ultimately the sewer. There's a thermostatic valve that mixes cold water into the tank to bring it below (130 or 140, I forget) The top of the tank on the side has a tapping connected to drain, and the bottom has a valve to drain sediment once in awhile. Theres also steam separators . Some big NYCHA boiler rooms have these. Its just a big tank with a baffle in it to catch carry over and dry up the steam before it goes to the buildings
  • Dave in QCA
    Dave in QCA Member Posts: 1,764
    Dave in Quad Cities, America
    Weil-McLain 680 with Riello 2-stage burner, December 2012. Firing rate=375MBH Low, 690MBH Hi.
    System = Early Dunham 2-pipe Vacuo-Vapor (inlet and outlet both at bottom of radiators) Traps are Dunham #2 rebuilt w. Barnes-Jones Cage Units, Dunham-Bush 1E, Mepco 1E, and Armstrong TS-2. All valves haveTunstall orifices sized at 8 oz.
    Current connected load EDR= 1,259 sq ft, Original system EDR = 2,100 sq ft Vaporstat, 13 oz cutout, 4 oz cutin - Temp. control Tekmar 279.
    http://grandviewdavenport.com
Sign In or Register to comment.

Welcome

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!