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Old 08-08-2009, 10:06 PM   #1
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Boiler maintenance


A few questions on the finer points of keeping my boiler "healthy".

1) I am adding 2 zones to my system (second floor) where ther were none before (the boiler is big enough to handle the load). Which is the prefered pipe K, L or M? I am aware of the other less costly alternatives but have heard they may be somewhat less reliable so we budgeted for copper (OUCH!).

2) I am going to antifreeze the system. We are gone for sometimes weeks at a time so would like to minimize the damages IF the house were to freeze up. Is there a life expectancy to the antifreeze and how often does it need to be checked? If it needs to be changed, what do I do with the spent product?

Thanks in advance, Dogdoc427
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Old 08-09-2009, 05:22 AM   #2
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Boiler maintenance


Type M.

Checked every year.
Must use proper antifreeze, or it could do more harm the good.
It MUST have inhibitors in it.

It shou;d never wear out. But, you have to check it.
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Old 08-09-2009, 10:06 AM   #3
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Boiler maintenance


Been
Does it not also reduce the heat transfer rate of the boiler/decrease it's capacity and by how much?

I would get the alarm company to put in a low temp thermostat and have it notify a relative if the house temp drops to 60 degF. That gives them some lead time to get a repair person out. Make sure the alarm company has 2 other backup contacts in case one of them is sick/unavailable.

Last edited by yuri; 08-09-2009 at 10:11 AM.
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Old 08-09-2009, 10:22 AM   #4
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Yes, it does reduce heat transfer.
By how much varies with how much antifreeze/glycol the mix is.

Can easily reduce it by 50% if mixed stronger then needed.

I prefer to use enough to prevent burst, instead of freeze protection.
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Old 08-09-2009, 10:56 AM   #5
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Boiler maintenance


It gets -40 degF here and colder with the windchill. We don't use antifreeze mix in our boilers. I do know all about it as in my previous career I worked with large boilers, office buildings, heat recovery systems. Usually takes more than 24 hrs for freezeup unless you got a drafty wall. If the problem can be caught soon enough and a tech fixes it I don't see the need to go with glycol. Have not heard of a burst boiler here but we make sure someone checks the house once a day.
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Old 08-09-2009, 11:19 AM   #6
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As long as its checked daily. Shouldn't have to worry too much about a freeze up.

Down here, homes weren't, and probably still aren't built as well as in your area.
So once in a while. A pipe will freeze.

It only burst, if they don't call us as soon as they notice they lost heat to what ever section the pipe went to.
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Old 08-09-2009, 10:02 PM   #7
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Boiler maintenance


Thanks for the info beenthere! As I said originally we are at times 'gone for weeks at a time' and want to be as little of an imposition as possible.
As I understand your advice, a modest solution (to protect to 5 degrees F) of antifreeze (intended for use in HVAC installations) should be the best compromise between protection and efficiency. It should be checked annually for desired level of protection and does not have to be changed at an interval like an automobile.


Yet unanswered is the best pipe, K,L or M. Would you use heavy wall pipe to withstand erosion over time or thin wall to dissapate heat easier?
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Old 08-10-2009, 04:45 AM   #8
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Boiler maintenance


Answered the pipe question in post#2.

Type M copper.

Its thin walled. Corrosion shouldn't be a problem. Specially, with inhibitors in the glycol.
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Old 08-10-2009, 06:00 PM   #9
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Missed it, Thank you!
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