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Water Treatment


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  #11  
Old 01-08-2014, 03:25:22 PM
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Ken Majeski Ken Majeski is offline
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Default Re: Water Treatment

Well, I was just going to watch this for a while.

But,

I did try some of the Sodium Sulfite stuff. I wasn't happy with what it was doing to the boiler. I had Bare spots of Bare Raw metal in the lower portons of the boiler even though I steamed it often. I always mixed it with some warm water before dumping it in the water before steaming up

Sodium sulfite is Heavy Stuff and when the boiler sits I believe it settles out and concentrates in the bottom. It also will raise Hell with your water tanks.

My opinion is that stuff is for industrial boilers that are under constant circulation.

I then went to soda ash keeping a PH of around 10. I was happy with that. No more Bare spots.

Then I tried some of Jims Stuff. I believe it worked well and have to get some more next spring. I don't believe I have used enough to get that protective layer of Magnetite Hydroxide or whatever you call it but I am on the way.

Unless you have Perfect boiler water with a PH of 10 I believe you need to do something. My water here runs around 8 but does have a lot of lime in it.
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Old 01-08-2014, 04:32:16 PM
Jeff Smith Jeff Smith is offline
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Default Re: Water Treatment

Ken,

I am looking forward to seeing your report on the Boilersaver in the future. I hope you have as good of results as I am and others that have called me and discussed their use of the product. Did you adjust your pH prior to using the product?

Thank you,
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  #13  
Old 01-08-2014, 06:22:39 PM
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Default Re: Water Treatment

Nope didn't adjust anything. But after working the engine all day the PH was about 10.3 and the TDS negligable.

Lately I have been using this engine only one day a year as I don't haul it around anymore.

No doudt I would be getting a faster reaction if I used it more but the last few years I have got practically No Scale out of the engine just a little white stuff when I wash it.
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Old 01-09-2014, 01:22:48 PM
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Default Re: Water Treatment

I ran LSB in mine for the first time last year. I thought i did fairly well keeping up with it during my operation.

The year prior being the first run in 13 years i got an unnerving amount of scale out of the engine on two different occasions. Which had been previously cleaned out at its last run.

Last year after using LSB, I was pretty pleased at the end of the season. As I didn't not see much of any scale in the water bottom at clean out. My boiler is still coated brown though as it has always been. (Didn't see the gray color as others have reported)

I did however come up with a really old rag or pile of waste material in the water bottom. I have no idea how that got in there but it was stuck to the water bottom. It wasn't in there the year prior. We got a 3/4 inch pipe about 6 inches long out of the boiler that was hiding on top of the flues when we replaced them the year prior. So there is no telling what other treasures are hidden within it.
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Old 01-11-2014, 11:10:13 AM
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Default Re: Water Treatment

Nice to see that others are thinking about long-term boiler preservation and water treatment.
I have been very busy with the on-site service aspect of the BoilerSaver business.
I have a new host for the website and the site has been re-composed, but it is not ready to go live on-line yet.

As has been stated, there have been many threads about this down through the years.
You can use the search feature on the blue taskbar above to find them.
I started out as a steam enthusiast at a young age.
Both my grandfathers worked with steam power.
Grandpap Dan Resetar was a carpenter millwright in a glass factory powered by a Hamilton Standard cross compound corliss.
One could eat off the terra cotta floors in that engine room.
My grandpa Conte was a locomotive engineer on the Pennsy, based at Pitcairn yard, just east of Pittsburgh.
When I was about 10, I learned to fire my neighbor Dave Sheaffer's 40 horse Case in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.
I used to ride my bike 10 miles to Williams Grove then hitch a ride home with Danny Heiges.

I noticed the white and pink scale deposits in boilers and started thinking about the whys and wherefors.
During my hitch in Uncle Sam's Navy, I was trained on boiler water treatment.
This was in the era of Phosphates and coordinated pH control.

Here are the essentials:

Iron and steel corrode least when the water pH is between 9.5 and 11.5.

Using neutral water, around 7, or anything below pH 8.4, is like adding acid to your boiler.

Acids dissolve things. They eat holes in iron, steel ( and aluminum ladders ).

Bases can be defined as water solutions above pH 7.
In reality, between pH 6.2 and 8.4 there are acids and bases at the same time.

Some Bases are Alkali. An alkali leaves a white, cement-like deposit when it concentrates.
The crystals in these deposits tend to keep growing and expanding.
Store this information away for a moment, we will come back to it.

Other bases are not alkali, a good example of this is Ammonia.
It is good for cleaning glass because it's basic nature will cut oil and grease, but will not leave a deposit.
We get clean shiny glass. Amines are a chemical family related to ammonia.

Boilers are water concentrators. We put water in, distilled water comes out as steam.
The impurities in the water stay behind in the boiler.
There are suspended particles; mud, sand and dirt.
There are dissolved minerals and salts that can cause scale and corrosion,
or just raise Total Dissolved Solids, which affects Surface Tension, the Persistence of steam bubbles
and the tendency for water to foam and fill the steam space, resulting in carryover or priming.
Some of the minerals form scale, which blocks heat transfer and circulation.
This results in overheating of boiler metal and holding concentrated corrosive salts
and moisture in contact with the metal, even when the boiler is empty and supposedly dry.
The scale and corrosion particles break loose and become suspended particles, along with the incoming sediment
The small particles circulate around in the water.
They will cut and wear thin the tubes, especially at the firebox tube sheet.
They can be picked-up and travel out with wet and foaming steam.
They will cut, gouge and wear valves, rings, cylinders and rods.

Back to boiler chemistry;

We don't want to have real high pH in the feedwater, just enough so that
it will concentrate in the boiler and produce a pH of about 10 in the steaming boiler.

Alkalis, like Soda Ash ( washing soda ) and Lye ( sodium hydroxide ) can easily get over-concentrated in a boiler.
Too much of a good thing.
From a mechanical standpoint, joints that are mechanically expanded to be steam and water tight are under high mechanical stress.
These are staybolts, rivets, rolled tubes and threaded pipe connections.
Micro-cracks are formed in the metal structure.
The Alkali Crystals mentioned before will get into these micro-cracks, start to grow and expand the cracks.
Likewise, crevices that have poor water circulation and high heat
flow will form these High Alkalinity areas.
Where these are occurring, we have Caustic Stress Corrosion Cracking.
The local pH goes way up, around 14.
The Alkali crystals open the cracks even more, and we get visible weeping, crystal ' flowers ' and structural damage to the metal.

This is why Best Practice is to use a Phenolphthalein ( P ) alkalinity test if you are using Alkaline chemistry.
ASME and ABMA recommend controlling P alkalinity to 300 Parts Per Million ( PPM ).
They are geared toward modern welded boilers.
My personal and professional recommendation for riveted construction is 150 PPM P Alk.
We will achieve the good pH of 10 without getting too much of a good thing and we will have a safe margin against Caustic Stress Corrosion Cracking.

Most of us in the hobby steam field are using cold feedwater in our boilers.
Ok, you have an injector or an exhaust feedwater heater that is delivering 170 to 190 F water to the boiler.
That is still cold feedwater, because there is no Deaeration step. The water still contains dissolved air and 21 % oxygen.

A steaming boiler over 220 F that is venting some steam will have very low dissolved oxygen in the boiler water, down around 40 Parts Per Billion.
The damage to boilers from oxygen happens when they are cold and wet or damp.
When filling your boiler, steam it the same day, if at all possible.
After steaming your boiler, either drain it while still warm ( not steaming hot, except if it is well cleaned and conditioned.
Live steamers who have been using Terlyn LSB blow down hot from 15 psi. )

Another point about dissolved oxygen is the use of Sulfite, chemical oxygen scavenger.
It is useless on a locomotive, traction engine or anything using cold feedwater without a Deaerator.
It is highly electrically charged, it contributes disproportionally high toward Total Dissolved Solids and the tendency for boiler water to foam.
Also, when a boiler is cold and oxygen from air does get in, it causes pitting at the water line.
Due to the high electrical conductivity and the presence of sulfur, it contributes toward Galvanic or Mixed Metals corrosion.

If you need to store a boiler cold, use a Nitrogen Inerting Blanket.
This has been discussed many times, use the search to find it or ask specifically for information and discussion.

Another Bad Actor in boilers is Chlorides, as in Sodium, Calcium and Magnesium Chlorides.
In ice and snow country, road de-icing salts get into the groundwater.
This gets concentrated in boiler water and causes major and rapid corrosion, much worse and faster than oxygen pitting.
Another significant source is from water softener operators who dump the used salt brine from their softeners on the ground
or in drain fields where the salt contaminates groundwater and gets picked up by well pumps.
Sadly, some folks only know half the story, they are softening their boiler water, then corroding the boiler with salt.
Keep the salt drainage away from wells and watersheds.
If you have high chlorides ( over 30 Parts Per Million ),
Terlyn treatment will help protect your boiler becauses it forms a protective film on the steel when used consistently.
Another helpful pre-treatment is the use of Reverse Osmosis to remove 90 - 95 % of salts and lower Total Dissolved Solids in-general.

Boiler Preservation is not a One Shot Cleaning then forget about it.
As described by others, you will get haphazard results and possibly cause more damage than good.

Boiler Preservation is 98 % good habits in practice, consistently.
If you're going to go the Alkali route, buy a test kit, know how to use it and follow the accepted recommendations for boiler chemistry.
Everyone should have a pocket TDS / Conductivity meter. Why ?
You can measure TDS and control blowdown in order to avoid carryover and foaming before it starts .

As a trained professional who is also in the hobby, for over 15 years, I tried all the standard conventional water treatments in locomotives and traction engines.
They all work, with plusses and minuses.
The main disadvantage is that they all require a dedicated water treatment person to sample and adjust the treatment every day.

My buddy, Dale Koons, mentioned Terlyn to me one day at Rough and Tumble.
I read up on it and called Bill Bondie in Colorado. It turned out that we were both Navy Submarine Nuke Machinist's Mates.
We hit it off well by telephone. To this day, I have never met Bill face to face.

Warning, some would consider this to be a dreaded " infomercial ". If so, please look away...

Terlyn LSB uses Amine rather than Alkali. The pH cannot go over 10.4 .
There is no risk of Caustic Stress Corrosion Cracking.
Daily chemistry testing is not needed.
You can get good results by simply adding the recommended dosage and listening to the sound of your engine exhaust and whistle.
Do not blow down unnecessarily, keep the treatment in the boiler and working for you.
Do Blow down as needed, but not excessively. I send out written instructions and answer questions by phone and e-mail.

Terlyn LSB 4000 is the high strength for full size engines. It is packaged in Quarts, Gallons and larger.
The 8000 is half the strength and packaged in pints for the convenience of scale live steamers.
The hobby aspect of BoilerSaver doesn't make any money.
It doesn't even break even, but it's my contribution to the hobby.

I buy Terlyn LSB 4000 and 8000, along with their Cooling Tower treatments and water softener cleaner, Crystal Clear.
I buy in case quantities and sell individual bottles to users in the hobbies.
This makes it easy and inexpensive for the typical traction engine owner, live steam modeler, steam auto or boater to get top-notch boiler treatment.
There are clubs, museums and individuals who are purchasing case quantities directly from Terlyn.
If you want to do this, that's fine. The important thing is that you all take care of your boilers.

I got into this because there was more confusion and misunderstanding than good information regarding boiler water treatment out in steam hobby land.
I helped start Steam School in 1987 at Rough and Tumble along with my friend, the late Everett Young.
I have learned a lot myself and met some of the finest people along the way.
Thanks to Harry and the Moderators for keeping 'Stak going and allowing us to share
Lessons Learned, Best Practices and have a lot of fun.
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Last edited by Jim Conte; 01-11-2014 at 12:18:54 PM. Reason: Added text on TDS, scale and corrosion product erosion.
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  #16  
Old 01-12-2014, 11:50:13 AM
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Default Re: Water Treatment

I have seen antifreeze used (one quart added at initial filling) with pretty good success to keep foaming/priming from occurring at a show in this neck of the woods. The water is hard, chlorinated, etc municipal water. Compared with the boilers that don't add antifreeze, it works pretty well at keeping the steam dry, and these boilers go through a several thousand gallons of water over 3 days- it's just not sit-n-simmer. Now, they do have some serious cleaning to do afterwards, there's no getting away from the concentration of minerals and it comes out like chocolate milk.

My boilers are treated with Boiler Saver the last couple years. One had not been treated with anything for several years since new and it is surprising how the scale has built up. I've been getting handfuls of scale out at the end of the season and starting to see bare metal again- the treatment works in that way too. I still get the "chocolate milk" and priming if I don't blow down as I should to keep TDS down while using the water mentioned above.

Questions:
Is the antifreeze doing anything to prevent scale build up, or just sharing anti-foaming properties when TDS is high? Would there be any reason to use Boiler Saver with a shot of antifreeze?

And, I collect rainwater for use at home, I use soda ash to bring the PH up to around 10 since my tank is steel...would this cause any issues if I still treated it with Boiler Saver for use in my boilers? Is it more practical to just treat the collection tank with Boiler Saver at the begining an leave out the soda ash?

Thanks for all the good discussion and info.
John
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Old 01-13-2014, 11:30:30 PM
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Default Re: Water Treatment

John, My recommendation is to compromise on the storage tank pH. Control the pH to 9 rather than 10.
The higher pH means that you are starting out with 10 times too much alkalinity than is necessary or desirable.
That will concentrate way high, way fast in your boiler.
All dissolved things, whether it is nasty limestone, road salt or good treatment chemical,
add up to Total Dissolved Solids ( TDS ) and the tendency for foaming in a boiler.
From a practical standpoint, we want the water TDS as low as possible and alkalinity moderate, to start with.

Another suggestion is to use a combination of phosphate and sodium carbonate rather than all carbonate.
The phosphate is friendlier to the steel and forms a protective film, especially at low temperature,
more than the carbonate and it's decomposition product, hydroxide does.
Admittedly, it is more expensive and needs to be dissolved in a bucket of warm water before it is mixed and circulated evenly in the storage tank.

That touches on something important, you don't want to have an uneven or stratified mixture.
Differences in concentration actually lead to corrosion, like a battery having a plus and minus end.

In the early days, I used to recommend using a touch of anti-freeze as an anti-foam.
The anti-foam in antifreeze is an additive. It's like buying an orchard to get an apple.
Concentrated anti-foam is available, if needed.
The better solution is to keep the TDS down.
Beat me up for sounding like a salesman but, each molecule of the Terlyn LSB treatment will ' collect '
up to 3,000 particles of crud, suspended and dissolved stuff that would otherwise be circulating in the boiler.
It forms a ' dirty snowball '.
It is still micro-scopic, round edged and non-adhering, and will flow as a sludge out the blowdown.

I'm sad to hear ( in a previous post ) that some folks have had foaming issues when starting to use Terlyn LSB.
It will start cleaning and the TDS will increase rapidly, especially if the dose is high and the boiler is dirty.
That is covered in the written instructions, but it sounds like it needs to be emphasized more.
Expect to need more blowdown in the first days of using Terlyn LSB. Then it will taper off as the boiler gets cleaned and conditioned.

Also, many folks have oil and grease in their boilers.
Using a basic water treatment will start to convert that material to primitive soap.
Be ready to dilute that out with blowdown.

I have seen some folks who wanted to get a good cleaning and intentionally double dosed the treatment.
They steamed around easy for about 4 hours, then had to park the engine and let it cool down for a washout the next morning.
They got two 5 gallon buckets of scale, rust and crud out.
After that, they went back to the standard dose with no problems foaming.
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Last edited by Jim Conte; 01-13-2014 at 11:43:39 PM.
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Old 01-14-2014, 03:19:05 PM
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Default Re: Water Treatment

I've been reading this thread for a while and want to make a comment. I've been around Terlyn LSB8000 and know how well it works in smaller steam boilers. I use it in my 1/8 scale locomotive and know many other Live Steam locomotive owners that use it too. I've seen it clean up and remove scale on many boilers that had never had any kind of water conditioning. Used as directed, it cleaned the boilers up in less than one season of operation. The only problem I've seen is when a too strong solution was added to a very limed up boiler and there was a foaming issue. That was quickly correct by some frequent blow-downs and the engine continued in operation without any problems. Even many guys that use distilled water in their boilers also add Terlyn LSB8000 to get the corrosion protection it provides. None of the scale locomotives that I know of, have had any ill effects from using this product over the last 10+ years I've seen it used. That's saying something considering how fussy the miniature injectors, pumps, and valves can be on these engines.
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Old 01-14-2014, 04:00:29 PM
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Default Re: Water Treatment

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Byrne View Post
[SIZE="3"]That's saying something considering how fussy the miniature injectors, pumps, and valves can be on these engines.
I am involved in the live steam community also, and I think you left out the most critical element...

......and that is how fussy the owners are.........
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Old 01-14-2014, 05:27:48 PM
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Default Re: Water Treatment

Man Jeff, have you ever got that right!!!
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