How to open pressure relief valve to flush steam system

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Old 01-19-08, 11:37 AM
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How to open pressure relief valve to flush steam system

Hi, I have a one pipe steam heating system and I have a container of rustex to `flush out the system'. I was told to empty it into the boiler through the the pressure relief valve.

Sounds simple, and I'll bet it really is. However I cannot figure out how to do it for certain. Here is a picture. (copy and paste into your browser address bar to see)

Can you tell me what to do?

http://www.taketimeyoga.com/archiveend/reliefvalve.htm
 
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Old 01-19-08, 11:52 AM
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I'm not familiar with that product, but I believe you would have to remove the relief valve and pour it in there with a funnel. You might consider replacing the relief valve while you've got it off already, especially if it's 10 years old or more. $20 for a valve is cheap insurance.
 
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Old 01-19-08, 11:58 AM
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pressure relief valve

Looking at the picture link, how would I remove the valve then?
 
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Old 01-19-08, 12:04 PM
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You would need a pair of pipe wrenches... first remove the pipe that drops down. You may have enough room to swing the horizontal pipe around and unscrew the valve. When you remove the valve, be sure to hold the coupler just below the valve. Don't unscrew the pipe out of the boiler.

Make sure the boiler is cool and there's no pressure on it before you start. Don't wanna be a Charlie Jones ! Steam can kill you or at the least, hurt very badly !
 
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Old 01-19-08, 12:10 PM
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pressure relief valve

Thanks!! I suspect that but because it's the boiler I dont do anything unless I am absolutely certain
 
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Old 01-20-08, 07:58 PM
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I wonder why you want to add the cleaner. Is the water dirty or pipes banging? The supply is not piped correctly and could cause problems.

Ken
 
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Old 01-21-08, 05:21 AM
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Hi KField,

The water is not particularily dirty in that once a week I drain the water for the two seconds it takes for the water to run clear. The pipes are not banging.

It's been 5 years since I bought the house and this was a maintenance action item that the plumbing supply place nearby said would not hurt to do and could help.

Can you tell me how the supply is not piped correctly?

thanks....

Dave
 
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Old 01-21-08, 06:21 AM
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The steam header hits the back of the equalizer tee. The equalizer is usually a smaller size than the supply and the supply tee should be at least 6 inches from the end of the header to avoid splashing. In your case, when the water hits the back of the tee, it splashes and any that comes back or splashes up will be carried up the riser and eventually into the system. In addition, it looks like the returning condensate has to pass the leaving steam in that riser. That is not good either. A few more pictures could be helpful but if the system is not noisy, the cleaner is probably unnecessary and may change the PH and cause other problems.

Ken
 
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Old 01-21-08, 09:04 PM
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pressure relief valve

Hi, OK, I posted another picture on the previous web page:
http://www.taketimeyoga.com/archiveend/reliefvalve.htm
 
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Old 01-21-08, 09:21 PM
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You said one pipe steam but it looks like there are condensate returns coming back. (A second pipe) How many pipes connect to each radiator? Is there a vent on each radiator and one on th end of each main? The supply is still not piped correctly in my book. I can't say what improvements you would see if you changed the piping so don't go hacking anything apart just yet. Let us know the results of the water treatment.

Ken
 
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Old 01-21-08, 09:37 PM
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pressure relief valve

The radiators each have one pipe feeding them, and a steam vent on the other side. Throughout the piping system there are condensate returns.
 
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Old 01-23-08, 06:35 AM
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The tee at the end of the header is the only piping problem here. You are right it does not belong there. With the age of the boiler i am not even very concerned with that. Granted it is wrong, but with the steam velocity they are dealing with back then, it is not as much of a problem as it would be with the new boiler of today. We have greater velocities and it would be a bigger problem. The equalizer usually changes size below the hartford loop which is 2" below the NWL (normal water level), but is not critical. A larger equalizer at that point does not hurt anything but smaller will. With the age of the boiler and no system problems other than some wet steam, I would not change it now. Wet steam increases the fuel bill slightly, slows down the travel of steam and can cause the boiler to add unwanted water if there is an auto-feeder. The cost of changing the piping wil not save him enough to recover before the boiler dies. He is not having specific problems he can point out.
When the boiler is replaced the piping should match the piping in the I&O manuals. This will verify the driest and fastest steam. Keep pressures low for best operation.
 
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