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Losing water part II - sacrilegious question

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by Nofossil, Mar 7, 2013.

  1. Nofossil

    Nofossil Moderator Emeritus

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    Now that my problem is solved, I have to wonder....

    This is probably a bad question for three reasons: (1) Blasphemy and (2) Initiation of endless debate, degenerating into name-calling, high blood pressure, and gnashing of teeth (3) It's probably already been answered.

    Given that, I have to go for it.

    For this class of small leaks in pressurized systems, what are the merits and/or risks of boiler 'stop leak' treatment? I used many similar products on old cars in my younger days, and they actually worked surprisingly well. Similar temperatures and pressures. Could I have solved this years ago for a couple bucks and a couple minutes? Would I have voided my warranty, ruined my system, frozen my circulators, and instigated a plague of locusts?

    So - what's the collective wisdom of the forum?

    For my part, any single circulator in my system is worth more than the cars in question (really - it was a long time before I paid more than $50 for a car), so I've shied away.

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  2. Fred61

    Fred61 Minister of Fire

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    There's been some discussion recently on boiler stop-leak. If I remember correctly, Eric Johnson claimed to have used it and was discussing it with Maple 1. I didn't do a search but this gives you a place to start. I have never used the stuff but stored the idea in my brain if perhaps I found myself in need down the road.
  3. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    Haven't got much time right now - just on the way out the door. But find the thread 'boiler stop leak solutions'. I had two or three niggling little drips at the bottom of my system, on BI fittings. It would have been a major pain to try disassembling/reassembling to fix them. It took me forever up here, but I finally rounded up 4 bottles of the Gunk brand. It has a warning in the fine print not to use on wet lubed pumps (which as far as I know is pretty well any common circulator). I poured a bottle in through my sidearm return point where there was a convenient union & ball valve, which was also right at the bottom of the system where the leaks were & where my main load circ is. The leaks stopped almost imediately and the circ is still running fine (I disabled the circ & let things flow by convection for the first few hours). It was the best ROI investment I made in my whole system - I figured even if it ruined a 15-58 circ, it would be worth it if it stopped those leaks. I don't know though how effective it would be for a leak like yours, way up high like that - given the ratio of stop leak to storage is nowhere near what was recommended. I think I figured I'd need about 14 gallons of the stuff to meet their recommended ratio with my storage. !!!
  4. Mushroom Man

    Mushroom Man Member

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    I used one litre 4 years ago to fix a small leak in the primary loop that would have been a major PITA to tear apart. I haven't had any issues as a result. One litre in 50 gallons is pretty diluted. The leak may have sealed itself in time but a small drip can drive one crazy...water torture.
  5. Coal Reaper

    Coal Reaper Minister of Fire

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    how does this stuff function with automatic air vents?
  6. Fred61

    Fred61 Minister of Fire

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    Well hopefully if the float is operating correctly, liquid won't make it up to the air discharge chamber.
    Your question did pucker me up though!!!
  7. Nofossil

    Nofossil Moderator Emeritus

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    I suppose if you put this stuff in, and it worked REALLY well, you'd never be able to drain it.
  8. Blue Tornado

    Blue Tornado Guest

    That is good! LOL

    Has anyone used Hercules Boiler Liquid. Wonder what is in that bottle, says shake well before use.
  9. Fred61

    Fred61 Minister of Fire

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    I'm shaking now and I don't even have the bottle.
  10. Bob Rohr

    Bob Rohr Minister of Fire

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    As a last ditch effort, sealers have some merit. I have used the Fernox product to seal leaks in in-slab radiant piping.

    There is always a method to find and fix leaks in exposed or easily accessible piping, think battleships and submarines, and pool leaks. Inert gas with sniffers, sensitive listening devices, infrared cameras, perhaps leak sniffing dogs :) We have chopped up slabs to repair leaks, found with cameras, but that is not always an option with expensive floor coverings used on some radiant installations, marble, etc.

    If a sealer is "your final answer" look for a product developed for hydronic use, not an automotive sealer.
  11. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    The Gunk stuff I used was for boiler & hot water systems. Which is why I found it very odd that it also spec'd to not use on wet lubed pumps. Do any other stop leak products spec that also?
  12. slowzuki

    slowzuki Feeling the Heat

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    Isn't because the crystals carried in the fluid used to plug the leaks also are abrasive?
  13. tom in maine

    tom in maine Minister of Fire

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    A long time ago a friend of mine was living in a rented house here in Maine.
    There was an old steam system that had a defective automatic fill.
    He had to keep an eye on the sight glass and add water regularly.
    One night, it was below zero and smelled the boiler was really hot.
    It was low on water. He shut it down and waited an hour.
    He added water and cracked the boiler to hell. It was a large 7 section steam boiler that had some very big cracks in it.
    He called me the next morning thinking he was going to have to move.
    I went to the local plumbing house and got a couple bottles of leak sealer.
    The building owner showed up. It was about 5 above out and he was really PO'ed.
    I stepped back when he showed up and offered that I had leak sealer. He was convinced it would never work.
    He did let me try it. We had nothing to lose.
    We removed a PR valve and poured it in.
    Filled the boiler and it almost immediately stopped hemorrhaging water.
    It worked for the rest of the winter even though it had huge cracks.

    On the other hand, we have had circulators plug right up with it. Caveat emptor.

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