Boiler Water

Boiler Water

PostBy: Rick in In. On: Sun Jan 28, 2007 4:35 pm

When my new boiler arrives how should I get good water for inside the boiler? We have well water, which is very hard and has alot of rust. We have water that has been through the water softner, but I think soft water has a lot of salt still in it. I could catch rain water, it is soft and without iron. The boiler holds 27 gal. and I think the radient floor holds about 15 gal. Also is boiler treatment required? The boiler will be an ahs-130. Thanks.
Rick in In.

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PostBy: LsFarm On: Sun Jan 28, 2007 5:26 pm

I would use softened water about a day after the softener has cycled, there really should be very little salt in the water even right after it has cycled. But a day later there should be none.

Call AHS, ask their adivice and requirements on water treatment additives. The outdoor wood boiler manufactureers sell the treatment.

For my system I added some Ethylene Glycol, just enough to bring the freezing point down to 22-25*F. The Antifreeze also has anti-corrosion additives. And I didn't want a freeze-up if for some reason I wasn't able to keep the water warm.

AHS will be the one to ask, they are warranteeing the unit.

Let us know what they say, I'd like to know.

Greg L

Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Self-built 'Big Bertha' SS Boiler
Baseburners & Antiques: Keystone 11, Art Garland

PostBy: europachris On: Sun Jan 28, 2007 6:22 pm

We had an old cast iron boiler (steam) at our house on Long Island back in the 80's. It used to be coal, but was converted to oil long before we moved in.

Anyway, we used a product called Squick or something like that. It was a powder that you added into the boiler when cold. You could leave it in the boiler, or come back a few days later and drain off any 'gunk' that collected.

I sometimes wonder if that old boiler is still going? I remember the oil burner guy who serviced it being impressed by the efficiency of it that he measured.

It would have been nice to convert that old girl back to coal. I really liked those big radiators steaming away.

Stove/Furnace Make: EFM 350/Iron Fireman
Stove/Furnace Model: Custom bituminous burner

PostBy: europachris On: Sun Jan 28, 2007 7:18 pm

They make the Squick for steam boilers and also a formula for hydronic boilers.

Can't believe I remembered that stuff from 20 years ago. But, then again, who could forget a name like that.

Stove/Furnace Make: EFM 350/Iron Fireman
Stove/Furnace Model: Custom bituminous burner

PostBy: Yanche On: Sun Jan 28, 2007 10:17 pm

My AHS came with two pints of boiler additive fluid. I'm sure it was just a re-packaging of something AHS bought in a 55 gallon drum. It had an AHS paper label on it. It's likely a sealant and pump lubricant. I only used one of the two pints. I was reluctant to use any for the reasons described below.

Here's what Weil-Mclain's manual says about my oil fired cast iron boiler.

BEGIN Quote...
Failure to maintain recommended pH and repair leaks can cause section iron corrosion, leading to section failure and leaks. Do not use petroleum-based sealing or stop-leak compounds in boiler systems. Damage to system components can result.

For pH conditions outside 7.0 to 8.5 range or unusually hard water areas (above 7 grains hardness), consult local water treatment company.
END Quote

From a Weil-Mclain tech bulletin on cleaning boilers:

BEGIN Quote....
To clean a water boiler:
A. Use one (1) pound of trisodium phosphate for every fifty (50) gallons of water content in the boiler.
B. Fill, vent, and circulate the system with the above mixture, allowing it to reach the design or operating temperature, if possible.
C. Circulate the mixture in the boiler for two (2) to three (3) hours.
D. Drain the system completely and refill with fresh makeup water.
E. Check the pH level of the boiler water after cleaning. It should be
between 7.0 and 8.5. A small amount of cleaner may be added to adjust
the pH up to the proper range of 7.0 to 8.5.
END Quote.

Trisodium phosphate is sold at Home Depot in the home/industrial cleaning supplies section. I have very acidic well water ph = 5.7. Here's what I did. I determined the volume of my two boilers, cast iron radiators and copper tube baseboard units by looking at the spec sheets. I determined the copper piping volume by length measurement and the calculating the volume. I ignored the elbows and tees. It's tempting to just fill the system and then just measure what drains out but I don't think that's very accurate because not all will drain out.

I then took a one gallon sample of my well water measured it's ph with litmus paper from a swimming pool kit and added measured amounts of trisodium phosphate until the ph was 7.0. Knowing how much trisodium phosphate was needed for one gallon I proportioned up for my boiler system. I mixed the appropriate amount in several gallons of water which I poured into my emptied boiler. I made sure there was more base solution than needed. Once the system was filled and the air bled out I measured the boiler water ph. It was now greater than 7.0. I let some boiler water out and re-filled with my acidic well water until I got the desired ph = 7.0.

BTY here's something related from Taco.

BEGIN Quote....
Question: I have had recurring failures of the Taco 007 Circulating Pump over the last several years. Any thoughts?

Answer: It is very unusual for a circulator to fail, but there are 4 basic modes of failure:

1. Oxygen in the system oxides the rotor laminations. The corrosion build up acts like a brake and stalls the rotor of the pump.
2. A weakness in the motor winding.
3. A loose wire or connection that needs to be repaired.
4. If there are many minerals in the water, they plate out on the rotor and eventually stall it.

If the problem is a stalled rotor, Taco has a replacement cartridge. If the motor is bad, you'll need a new pump. If you drain your system and put in fresh water, or if you have a leak where new water is being added all the time, oxygen and minerals will be continually added to the system. Whatever the reason, it is unusual for a 00 pump to fail.
END Quote.

Hope this helps.

Note to Greg L ... I think you are running an unpressurized system. Since it open and make up water is alway added you will continue to have fresh oxygen added. Could cause Taco pump failure.

I think the same failure mode would apply to those pumping potable water through a coil in their stoves. I have no clue to how long it takes for a failure.

Stoker Coal Boiler: Alternate Heating Systems S-130
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite Pea

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