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Y-Strainer cleaning

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by MNBobcat, Dec 28, 2009.

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  1. MNBobcat

    MNBobcat Member

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    Minnesota
    Hi Guys,

    I made one mistake during my installation of my wood boiler in the last few weeks. When I installed the Y-Strainer I didn't think to put a shut-off valve in front of it. Which means I would need to shut the valve off at the boiler 250 feet away. I would get a ton of water before the pex line from the stove to the house is empty.

    How does one clean the Y-Strainer? Is it necessary to remove the big cap and pull the screen out to clean it or can a person pull the small plug and clean it that way? If the latter, could I get by with installing a drain where the small plug is located? That would be a much easier fix than draining the line, cutting the 1 1/4 copper and sweating in a new ball valve above the strainer.

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  2. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    I could be wrong, but I believe you are "hosed"... You have to pull the screen out, which is held by the big cap - the little cap is just there to allow you to drain it before pulling the big cap...

    No bets, but you might minimize the water loss if you shut off whatever valves you do have and worked fast, if the flow is obstructed on the far end, there should be some tendency to hold the water in the pipe, sort of like a hamster bottle...

    Gooserider
  3. in hot water

    in hot water New Member

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    A lot depends on what is captured in the strainer. Lose dirt, copper shavings, solder balls, etc will flush from the strainer via the drain port. It's best to install a full port ball valve with a hose connection in that small port.

    If it has greasy substances like solder flux, pipe dope, oils or greases from the boiler assembly, then the screen may need to be removed and brushed or cleaned with a solvent or soap.

    The bigger challenge is knowing when it's time to clean it. Without a pressure gauge on either side it may be difficult to know when it's ready to flush.

    Usually they only need to be cleaned out after a start up period. If there is no way for dirt or debris to enter the system they should not need a ongoing regular cleaning. The valve on the Y port would help for those quick inspections on a yearly basis.

    Sometimes a cavitating pump, downstream is an indication of a plugged strainer, or a decrease in heat output.

    hr

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  4. Gary S

    Gary S Member

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    No, you do not have to remove the big cap. Put a valve in the small fitting. Flush it once in a while.
  5. MNBobcat

    MNBobcat Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2009
    Messages:
    120
    Loc:
    Minnesota
    I think what I'll do is install a drain valve for now and this summer if I think its necessary I'll install a ball valve in front of the strainer. My OWB was filled with water that ran through a carbon filter and then through a water softener. I may get some initial junk in the strainer, due to debris from the install, but as was mentioned probably won't get much junk in the strainer down the road. I guess I'll play it by ear and see what happens. Thanks for the info!
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