Add/Change Water Versus Boiler Life


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Old 12-06-22, 05:41 AM
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Add/Change Water Versus Boiler Life

Does changing the water in a steam heat boiler really shorten the boiler's life?

A steam heat system exhausts trapped air and admits new oxygenated air on every boiler kick on cycle. So if new, oxygenated, water is added (say to make up water due to a radiator leak somewhere) there is no difference in corrosion causing chemical behavior, no?
 
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Old 12-06-22, 12:36 PM
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I don't know about residential steam boilers but every commercial building with a steam boiler requires an automatic water makeup provision as well as a Hartford loop to get an insurance policy. As such, water is constantly being added while steam boiler is in operation. Not sure the author of the statement in post 1 isn't saying the same thing , just differently, because any steam boiler with no water has shortened it's life.
 
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Old 12-06-22, 02:11 PM
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AJ,
Water is constantly being added to a steam boiler manually or automatically due to the open system and the steam process so unless your water is getting dirty and effects the steam delivery process there is really no advantage to changing it on a constant basis.

Being a steam system, if you had a rad leak you would not drain water anyway because there is no water at that level, only steam which stops when boiler is shut down or heat is satisfied.
 
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Old 12-06-22, 03:28 PM
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Definitely will shorten the life of the steam boiler.
Every time the steam boiler runs it will expel any oxygen in the water. When the water cools it will absorb some oxygen but not as much as fresh water. Any steam boiler that takes on more fresh water than normal it will get small pin holes at the water level which is the disengagement area of the oxygen. This is called oxygen corrosion.
A bigger problem is chlorides that enter with the water. Chlorides are cumulative and could cause more damage than the oxygen will cause. Chloride corrosion usually affects the top of the cast iron sections. I have seen holes big enough to stick your head in on top of steam boilers.
This is one of the reason the old float type LWCO's were virtually eliminated in residential boilers due to flushing the float chamber out every week. As the DOE kept raising the minimum boiler efficiency the boiler sections got smaller and holding less water. This can cause more premature issues when adding more fresh water. The new probes do not require any flushing or draining.
 
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Old 12-15-22, 01:33 PM
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Thanks.
 
 

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