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  1. #1
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    Mar 2009
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    Default Rusty Water in Boiler Vial

    Hello, everyone.

    I have drained and refilled my boiler at least a dozen times and the water in the vial is still brown. Should I be concerned about this or is this normal?





    Thanks,
    Erik

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    Default Re: Rusty Water in Boiler Vial

    Erik:

    Nice photos of your steam boiler!!!

    There will always be some discoleration of the water in a steam system---epecially in an older system, or in areas that have hard water.

    That being said, it is important to weekly "blow down" or drain a gallon or so of water to get rid of the dirtiest water to keep the problem to a minimum.

    From the photo, it looks like most of the discoleration is on the inside of the sight glass---the sight glass can be cleaned after the heating season is over by shutting down the boiler, closing the water inlet valve & closing the 2 knobs (one each above & below the sight glass to isolate the sight glass so it can be removed & cleaned with a wire bottle brush.

    Consult the boiler owner's manual for the exact procedure for removing the sight glass for cleaning before attempting it---the mfgr will mail you a copy of the manual if you don't have one---some of them are on line--Google the mfgr name & model # of the boiler to see.

    The water in the sight glass should be approx. at the 1/2 full position---the photo submitted shows too much water in the boiler---you'll have to drain some until it reads at the 1/2 full mark.

    Sometimes the sight glass water will bounce up & down during operation if the system is internally dirty.

    http://ourfixerupper.com/bleeding-sh...and-clangs.htm
    http://heatinghelp.com/steam_problems.cfm
    Last edited by NashuaTech; 03-08-2009 at 05:00 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    59

    Default Re: Rusty Water in Boiler Vial

    Erik:

    Nice photos of your steam boiler!!!

    There will always be some discoleration of the water in a steam system---epecially in an older system, or in areas that have hard water.

    That being said, it is important to weekly "blow down" or drain a gallon or so of water to get rid of the dirtiest water to keep the problem to a minimum.
    This is a good tip. Thank you!

    From the photo, it looks like most of the discoleration is on the inside of the sight glass---the sight glass can be cleaned after the heating season is over by shutting down the boiler, closing the water inlet valve & closing the 2 knobs (one each above & below the sight glass to isolate the sight glass so it can be removed & cleaned with a wire bottle brush.
    Thank you for these instructions!


    Consult the boiler owner's manual for the exact procedure for removing the sight glass for cleaning before attempting it---the mfgr will mail you a copy of the manual if you don't have one---some of them are on line--Google the mfgr name & model # of the boiler to see.

    The water in the sight glass should be approx. at the 1/2 full position---the photo submitted shows too much water in the boiler---you'll have to drain some until it reads at the 1/2 full mark.
    Actually, it seems as though the vial needs to be about 3/4 full for us to get hot water. Do you have any idea why this might be?


    Sometimes the sight glass water will bounce up & down during operation if the system is internally dirty.
    Yes, this happens. What do I need to do to remedy this?

    http://ourfixerupper.com/bleeding-sh...and-clangs.htm
    http://heatinghelp.com/steam_problems.cfm

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    Default Re: Rusty Water in Boiler Vial

    Hello? Can anyone help? Please?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    550

    Default Re: Rusty Water in Boiler Vial

    The appearance of the water in the site glass looks fine---I think all that is necessary at this point is to do a quick weekly blowdown as described previously.

    If any of the air vents (the main ones in the cellar, or the ones on each rad) start to clog up then that would be an indication that the system needs a cleaning.

    The homeowner's manual would specify the procedure for this---but this is best done by a contractor, as nasty chemicals are involved & serious eye injury is always a possibility.

    It sounds like you have a hot water takeoff on your boiler for the domestic hot water taps---in this case, the system is not producing quite enough hot water for your family's needs---so yes, the water level on the sight glass has to be bumped a little higher.

    If your family is constantly running out of hw for showers, etc., one way around this is to install a 30 gallon or 40 gallon INDIRECT HOT WATER HEATER.

    Basically, a coil is run thru the 40 gal. tank & the hot boiler water is circulated internally to heat the domestic hot water.

    Such units by Triangle Tube Phase 3, HTP superstor, Crown Megastor, TFI Everhot or Amtrol Boilermate are highly recommended.

    Typical unit cost is $700-$1k plus $300-$500 for installation---these units are highly recommended---they last for decades without problems & you'll never run out of hot water.
    Last edited by NashuaTech; 03-10-2009 at 01:19 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    59

    Default Re: Rusty Water in Boiler Vial

    The appearance of the water in the site glass looks fine---I think all that is necessary at this point is to do a quick weekly blowdown as described previously.

    If any of the air vents (the main ones in the cellar, or the ones on each rad) start to clog up then that would be an indication that the system needs a cleaning.
    What does "the ones on each rad" mean? What is a rad? Where are these air vents located?


    The homeowner's manual would specify the procedure for this---but this is best done by a contractor, as nasty chemicals are involved & serious eye injury is always a possibility.

    It sounds like you have a hot water takeoff on your boiler for the domestic hot water taps---in this case, the system is not producing quite enough hot water for your family's needs---so yes, the water level on the sight glass has to be bumped a little higher.

    If your family is constantly running out of hw for showers, etc., one way around this is to install a 30 gallon or 40 gallon INDIRECT HOT WATER HEATER.
    A plumber who came over to do an estimate for us recommended this, as well. This is a good idea, even though I don't like the thought of heating water that is not being used right away.


    Basically, a coil is run thru the 40 gal. tank & the hot boiler water is circulated internally to heat the domestic hot water.

    Such units by Triangle Tube Phase 3, HTP superstor, Crown Megastor, TFI Everhot or Amtrol Boilermate are highly recommended.

    Typical unit cost is $700-$1k plus $300-$500 for installation---these units are highly recommended---they last for decades without problems & you'll never run out of hot water.[/QUOTE]

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    550

    Default Re: Rusty Water in Boiler Vial

    By "rad" I meant radiator---each one of your radiator convectors has an air vent--the first signs of a dirty system often begin by the failure of one or two of these radiator vents & thus a cold or lukewwarm radiator.

    Indirect hot water heaters have extensive insulation & thus low standby losses, there are also no "up the flue" losses common in oil-fired or gas-fired hot water heaters, since the iHWH is a heat exchanger/storage tank that uses the boiler's hot water to make domestic hot water.

    You would think that you would use a lot of fuel just to heat the DHW, but you don't---the stored hot water remains hot & the gas-fired or oil-fired burner doesn't have to fire so often.

    I can guarantee you'll save $$$ on fuel usage over how you're heating your domestic hot water now, and you'll have lots of hot water for clothes washing, dishwashing, showers, etc.---the big stickler is the $1k-$1.5k price tag.

    The sites below explain the different types of hot water heaters out there---the second site has a "peak usage" chart so you can determine how many gallons of hot water your family needs & uses during the "peak usage" part of the day (usually in the morning when everyone is getting ready for work/school, etc.)---this will help you decide what size IHWH tank you need, if you decide to buy.

    http://www.aceee.org/consumerguide/waterheating.htm
    http://web.extension.uiuc.edu/disast.../waterhtr.html
    http://hotwaterheatersguide.blogspot.com/
    Last edited by NashuaTech; 03-11-2009 at 06:17 PM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    59

    Default Re: Rusty Water in Boiler Vial

    Quote Originally Posted by NashuaTech View Post
    By "rad" I meant radiator---each one of your radiator convectors has an air vent--the first signs of a dirty system often begin by the failure of one or two of these radiator vents & thus a cold or lukewwarm radiator.

    Where are these vents located and how do I determine if they're failing?



    Indirect hot water heaters have extensive insulation & thus low standby losses, there are also no "up the flue" losses common in oil-fired or gas-fired hot water heaters, since the iHWH is a heat exchanger/storage tank that uses the boiler's hot water to make domestic hot water.

    You would think that you would use a lot of fuel just to heat the DHW, but you don't---the stored hot water remains hot & the gas-fired or oil-fired burner doesn't have to fire so often.

    I can guarantee you'll save $$$ on fuel usage over how you're heating your domestic hot water now, and you'll have lots of hot water for clothes washing, dishwashing, showers, etc.---the big stickler is the $1k-$1.5k price tag.

    The sites below explain the different types of hot water heaters out there---the second site has a "peak usage" chart so you can determine how many gallons of hot water your family needs & uses during the "peak usage" part of the day (usually in the morning when everyone is getting ready for work/school, etc.)---this will help you decide what size IHWH tank you need, if you decide to buy.

    http://www.aceee.org/consumerguide/waterheating.htm
    http://web.extension.uiuc.edu/disast.../waterhtr.html
    http://hotwaterheatersguide.blogspot.com/

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    59

    Default Re: Rusty Water in Boiler Vial

    Erik:

    Nice photos of your steam boiler!!!

    There will always be some discoleration of the water in a steam system---epecially in an older system, or in areas that have hard water.

    Quote Originally Posted by NashuaTech View Post
    That being said, it is important to weekly "blow down" or drain a gallon or so of water to get rid of the dirtiest water to keep the problem to a minimum.
    I just had my boiler technician over today, to do an annual cleaning. He told me I should not be draining any water from the boiler because fresh water brings minerals into the boiler that will speed up the decay of the cast iron pipes. Why did you recommend draining a gallon of water from my boiler each week (which I have been doing)?


    From the photo, it looks like most of the discoleration is on the inside of the sight glass---the sight glass can be cleaned after the heating season is over by shutting down the boiler, closing the water inlet valve & closing the 2 knobs (one each above & below the sight glass to isolate the sight glass so it can be removed & cleaned with a wire bottle brush.

    Consult the boiler owner's manual for the exact procedure for removing the sight glass for cleaning before attempting it---the mfgr will mail you a copy of the manual if you don't have one---some of them are on line--Google the mfgr name & model # of the boiler to see.

    The water in the sight glass should be approx. at the 1/2 full position---the photo submitted shows too much water in the boiler---you'll have to drain some until it reads at the 1/2 full mark.

    Sometimes the sight glass water will bounce up & down during operation if the system is internally dirty.

    http://ourfixerupper.com/bleeding-sh...and-clangs.htm
    http://heatinghelp.com/steam_problems.cfm

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