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Old 12-18-2011, 07:53 AM  
averagejoemn
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Default Steam Heat - Boiler Maintenance

Greetings! I recently purchased a 1928 Tudor in South Minneapolis which has a... Steam Boiler Heat System! Not to be confused with a hot water system. Basically they are very similar with radiators that discharge steam into the air being one of the differences.

So hopefully someone out there knows something about these systems as I am starting to find out a lot. First I have a Burnham boiler, with several additions including a Safegard low water cut off system, a McDonnell& Miller electric water feede, Conbrasco water guage and guage glass and finally a Honeywell Pressuretrol Controller.

Here's what I've learned recently; my system as a external low water cut off valve that I'm supposed to open once a month to flush out the sediment chamber. I've done this and the first time I opened it it was really dark, like oil almost. I've flushed out probably 4-6 more gallons and now it is mostly gray, but not clean and clear.

The sight glass for determining how much water is in the system is too cloudy to view, so I don't know how much water is in the system.

I'm guessing I'll have to go back to the plumber that installed it (which was in 2003).

Any other suggestions or insight?



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Old 12-18-2011, 03:11 PM  
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for the sight glass, you can shut off the the valves, top and bottom, then loosen both compression nuts holding the glass. Carefully twist and lower the glass into the lower valve until you can slide the glass out to the side from the top valve. Now that the glass is out you can take a cloth, must be fairly small, or a brush and run it through the glass. Again, be very careful!



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Old 12-18-2011, 03:20 PM  
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So close both garden handle style valves then remove the sight?



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Old 12-18-2011, 03:34 PM  
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yes, it will help if you slide both rods out that run along the glass also.

SO close the valves, loosen the nuts that hold the glass, and then remove the glass. Just be careful it is glass and is expensive.

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Old 12-18-2011, 05:09 PM  
paul52446m
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Default Steam Heat - Boiler Maintenance

Quote:
Originally Posted by averagejoemn View Post
Greetings! I recently purchased a 1928 Tudor in South Minneapolis which has a... Steam Boiler Heat System! Not to be confused with a hot water system. Basically they are very similar with radiators that discharge steam into the air being one of the differences.

So hopefully someone out there knows something about these systems as I am starting to find out a lot. First I have a Burnham boiler, with several additions including a Safegard low water cut off system, a McDonnell& Miller electric water feede, Conbrasco water guage and guage glass and finally a Honeywell Pressuretrol Controller.

Here's what I've learned recently; my system as a external low water cut off valve that I'm supposed to open once a month to flush out the sediment chamber. I've done this and the first time I opened it it was really dark, like oil almost. I've flushed out probably 4-6 more gallons and now it is mostly gray, but not clean and clear.

The sight glass for determining how much water is in the system is too cloudy to view, so I don't know how much water is in the system.

I'm guessing I'll have to go back to the plumber that installed it (which was in 2003).

Any other suggestions or insight?
You never will get the water clear, because its going through cast iron boiler and radiation. Don't flush it to much because every time you add new water to the boiler and that water is heated, all the lime and impurities in the water is dropped to the inside bottom of the boiler. it does not take to long for this lime to build up to the point that the boiler will be dry firing and and that will crack your boiler.
When you say your radiators are putting steam into the air you mean the auto bleeders are letting a little steam out before they stop?
If you have a steam boiler and you want to clean the glass out, i would suggest you first find a place to buy them. Steam eats into the top of that glass and its real easy to break them . Also the gaskets get hard so you may have trouble trying to reuse them. So if you want to be able to clean the glass you really should stock a new glass and gaskets. I buy the glass in 16" long pc. and then cut them fit.
Do you have the book that came with the boiler? You might want to check the book for what the different tapping are for. I have never seen a Gage installed like yours where steam can come up into the Gage.
Why don't you take some more pic. so i can check other things. Paul
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Old 12-18-2011, 05:47 PM  
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Old 12-18-2011, 05:49 PM  
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Old 12-18-2011, 07:53 PM  
paul52446m
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Did you find the instruction book on the boiler? That pressure gauge should not be in the tapping. That siphon pipe that goes around 270 degrees, should have a tee on it so you can put both the pressure gauge and your controller on it. When the installed that siphon it was suppose to be filled with water so live steam can not get to the control and gauge.
The tapping where the gauge is now should be a skimming valve opening for cleaning the
top surface of the water. If your water gets too dirty and too much floating dirt or thread cutting oil, then it will not make steam on the surface of the water. The water will try to push out of the boiler. That when we use a skimming valve. Paul

http://www.comfort-calc.net/Skim_a_Steam_Boiler.html

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Old 12-18-2011, 08:29 PM  
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Thanks Paul, I think this one is a bit out of my league, I'll let you know what the plumbers say.



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