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Boiler Basics (cont.)

Water treatment strategies:

Boiler heating systems lose water through steam and water leaks. Additional water called "makeup water" is added to the boiler to replace these losses. The amount of make up water and the level of naturally occurring impurities in the water will determine the type of water treatment required. Boiler heating systems that have very few leaks will require simple water treatment programs. Your boiler inspector or water treatment professional can assist you in developing a water treatment program. Steam and hot water boilers typically require different water treatment programs.

Steam boilers:

Steam boilers are usually treated to prevent scale and corrosion. Scale producing dissolved minerals accumulate in the boiler water when mineral rich make up water replaces mineral free steam and condensate leaks. Strategies to prevent scale attempt to keep the components of scale such as calcium and magnesium suspended in the boiler water or to reduce their concentrations in the boiler water. Draining water from the boiler (bottom blowdown) is a common method for reducing the concentration of solids and to discharge sludge.

Corrosion is reduced by adding oxygen scavenging chemicals to the boiler water. Boiler water testing is required to ensure that conditions suitable for scale and corrosion are not present.

Hot water boilers:

Scale build up is usually not a problem in hot water boilers. Although make up water contains dissolved minerals, system leaks discharge water with an equal amount of dissolved minerals. Since as many minerals are leaving the boiler system as enter it; minerals do not have the opportunity to accumulate in the boiler water.

Corrosion remains a problem so oxygen scavenging chemicals are added to address the problem.

Note: Provided and posted with permission courtesy of State of Oregon Boiler Program staff.

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