Adding water to the boiler

larryjbjr Posted By larryjbjr, Oct 26, 2017 at 4:15 PM

  1. larryjbjr

    larryjbjr
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    Jan 24, 2017
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    I was just thinking the other day, right now I have a water hose stuck into the top of the boiler so when she gets a little low on water I simply turn the spigot on and top her off. But that ain’t going to work once temps get below freezing.

    So can someone tell me how to set my boiler up so that I can fill it without having to stick a hose in the top?

    PS: I assume that it is normal to lose a little water here and there.....
     
  2. Bad LP

    Bad LP
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    Add a fill valve with a back flow preventer to the return or your primary loop depending on how it's plumbed.
     
  3. peakbagger

    peakbagger
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    Is this an OWB? As long as you install a proper back flow preventor a standard fast fill will work pretty well anywhere on the heating loop.
     
  4. larryjbjr

    larryjbjr
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    Yes, an OWB.

    I’ll look for a back flow preventer then.

    Thanks.
     
  5. leon

    leon
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    Can you see the water level gauge from where you will be filling it?
     
  6. larryjbjr

    larryjbjr
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  7. leon

    leon
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    You can invest in a cheap plastic water meter to count gallons if you know
    approximately how many gallons per inch of depth you have in the
    boiler to properly fill it.
     
  8. Fred61

    Fred61
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    Is it standard procedure to be topping off an OWB that frequently?
     
  9. larryjbjr

    larryjbjr
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    I assume since this is an open system that some evaporation is normal.
     
  10. pernox

    pernox
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    Not sure if other models are different, but with mine I only top off yearly if that. If you're filling regularly because it needs the water, I would consider looking for a leak in your system. For example, I topped up last year with some treatment and water, and my first few fires actually burped water. Turned out the fill wasn't necessary.

    Woodmaster 4400, open loop.
     
  11. Bob Rohr

    Bob Rohr
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    Is it boiling over? It really should not need frequent water fill. Remember every time you add water you are adding addition minerals that precipitate out on the walls of the boiler.

    If you really had to add watt frequently, build a toilet tank type fill set to the level you need to maintain. But it really should not take that much technology.
     
  12. SuperSpy

    SuperSpy
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    Not to mention you're diluting the anti-corrosion agent (you're using anti-corrosion agent, right?) every time you fill it.

    The manual on my CB states very loudly that you have to check and re-apply corrosion agent every time you add any amount of water to the unit, then immediately fire the boiler and get it up to temperature as bacteria in the water can feed on some of the anti-corrosion chemicals if not killed.
     
  13. larryjbjr

    larryjbjr
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    I just got the boiler installed this year. It was a used boiler I bought real cheap.

    I have had to add water for two reasons:

    1: Occasionally she boils over. I’m not sure why yet, but I think maybe I am putting too much wood in there. It mostly idles but for some reason the temp stays way up there and occasionally boils over.

    2: I have some kind of algae in my system. When I first started running it the Y strainer kept getting clogged up. So twice a day I open it up and clean the Y strainer. When I do so I usually run a few gallons of water through it to make sure the pump is not dry. For a while there I was doing real good and not getting hardly anything in the strainer. But yesterday the system boiled over again and now last night and this morning the strainer was totally clogged.
     
  14. larryjbjr

    larryjbjr
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    I do not currently have any chemicals in the water. I am planning to order some cleaner and rust inhibitor from Johnson sometime next week.

    I was about to order some last week but I am not sure if the cleaner they have will deal with the algae problem. I think I’m just gonna try and see what happens.

    Money is tight, that’s why I switched to wood in the first place. But I’m just going to have to do what I have to do
     
  15. SuperSpy

    SuperSpy
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    Opening up the system to clean is ironically what's probably re-introducing the algae. What I would do once you get your chemicals is completely empty the boiler (once the fire is fully out of course), flush it out with extra water, then add the chemicals to the empty boiler, then add water. Make sure you don't fill it all the way to the maximum fill line as the water will expand when heated. Once you get the chemicals in it and the boiler (mostly) full. Immediately heat the unit to sterilize the water.

    That should ensure your initial charge of water is completely clean and properly treated. After that, you should really find the cause of the boil-overs as the excess heat can be really hard on the steel if it ends up exposed without something to cool it.
     
  16. maple1

    maple1
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    Shouldn't be so easy to boil it over. You might need to check your shut-down controls (draft fan? natural draft with a damper flap?) and make sure that's OK. And aquastat settings. It also might not be seeing the internal circulation it needs - i.e., too hot on top while bottom isn't that hot. But we don't know much about your boiler and the way it's set up.

    I don't think I would guess at, or trial and error, things re. treatment. Call a pro - there are places that deal with this stuff, know what they are doing, and will get you the right stuff & procedures. I forget the names - maybe Precision Chemical or something like that might be one? Someone else can clear that part up, hopefully. Adding fresh water to it will just keep adding more oxygen & minerals into the boiler - prime environment for rusting.
     
  17. Fred61

    Fred61
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    I' not suggesting what you should do but I'll tell you what I would do. Because of my past career in the sixties when I was trying to accomplish things that bordered on the impossible at the time, I regularly had to think out of the box.

    The algae must be killed. Flushing with plain water won't do it. I would give it a healthy dose of copper sulfate, heat it up and circulate for a period. The gunk captured in the strainer will turn brown and will need to be cleaned after short sessions of pumping. Then I would rinse it thoroughly.

    I used to buy copper sulfate by the bag. for treating my pond. It was relatively inexpensive. I usually keep a small amount around for coloring the flames of our campfires.
     
  18. larryjbjr

    larryjbjr
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    Wouldn’t copper sulfate simply cause of the algae to settle to the bottom?
     
  19. larryjbjr

    larryjbjr
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    I contacted the man who sold me the boiler. He actually is an elderly gentleman who used to be a Johnson dealer. He is shipping me some cleaner and some treatment as well. Should be here Monday.
     
  20. pernox

    pernox
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    Are the boil over issues happening right after a fill? If so, it's just the water expanding, and it will level itself off. I agree with the above that you want to check your temp controls as well - if you're set to cut off too high, turning the high limit down may solve it. Mine will go up to 190 safely according to the manual if I recall correctly, but I keep it at 175 just for added safety. We burn lots of pine in the shoulder seasons.

    I agree with your plan of dealing with the algae first. Once that has been addressed and you have a proper fluid mix in there you can really dive into the boil over issue. You may just find that having a clean loop solves all of it.
     
  21. Fred61

    Fred61
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    I doubt that you'll find a chemical that will invite it out of the boiler and kill it.
     
  22. hondaracer2oo4

    hondaracer2oo4
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    Like others have mentioned about boiling. You have a few possibilities. 1 is the aquastat isn't shutting down at the correct temp, check and watch that. 2 check flapper door is not hanging up when it closes allowing air to keep entering the boiler and boil off. Three is lack of boiler flow internally causing hot and cold spots which is really bad for your boiler. This causes boilers to fail quickly, the steel doesn't like water boiling against it.

    As far as algae goes, thinking out of the box, how about pool chlorine shock or bleach? This should easily kill an algae bloom like a pool. I can't see chlorine hurting the boiler components but I may be wrong. Chlorine dissipates quickly, just don't use a shock tab with that chemical that makes the chlorine last.
     
  23. larryjbjr

    larryjbjr
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    I have checked the aquastat and the flapper door and both are working just fine. I’m thinking it may be my loading door. I’m going to check it again and maybe tighten it up a little bit.

    Honestly, I thought maybe I was just putting too much wood in there considering that my boiler is idling most of the time. Yesterday I put less wood in there and it seem like it did fine. On days that I work I’m going 14 hours. So normally in the morning I just load her up pretty full to make sure I have a good bed of coals by time I get back.

    I would be very nervous to put chlorine in there. Just doesn’t seem like a good idea. Maybe some others could chime in?

    I think for now though I’m just going to try flushing it with the cleaner I’m getting. If I still have trouble after that I might be willing to take some greater risk....
     
  24. Countryboy1966

    Countryboy1966
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    Overheating can be coming from the pipe/pump sizing aspect of the system design.

    Unfortunatley its the only type of overheating issue I have ever really had.

    Consider sharing your pipe pump sizings run lengths etc and I bet you will find a few things to improve.
     
  25. hondaracer2oo4

    hondaracer2oo4
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    Is bleach bad for metal components?

    I forgot door gaskets, check those as well!
     

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