Boiler Chemical Treatment
I recently asked our visitors if they used boiler chemical.
Here is how they responded...
Editors Note: A combination of blowdown and chemical treatment is often the best way to protect your boiler investment. Blowdown removes "solids" while chemicals that act as "Softening Agents" will react with calcium and magnesium to produce a non-adherent, easily dispersed sludge which forms on the surface of the water and settles to the bottom. Frequent blowdown will easily eliminate this "mud" that settles to the bottom. The hardness of your "makeup" or fresh water will impact how much chemical is required and how often you need to blowdown. The "blown-out" water is replaced with fresh makeup water, which dilutes boiler solids. A Combination of blowdown with chemical treatment is the accepted way to control solids.
92% say they use boiler chemicals. By my own observations at the tracks I've visited, I would say the number is closer to 50/50. So why is this survey so skewed? Or is it correct?
We asked our web visitors how often they blow down their boilers.
How much blowdown do your really need?
Editor's Note: There are two common tests to help you determine the volume and frequency of blowdown. These are "chloride level" and "specific conductance".
Chloride (not to be confused with chlorine), does not leave with the steam, is used to determine the number of "cycles of concentration" in your boiler water. If your fresh or "make-up" water chloride level is 10 ppm and boiler water chloride level is 50 ppm, the boiler water is at 5 cycles of concentration. Five is a pretty good number for most boilers in most areas.
Another method of regulating blowdown is specific conductance. A conductivity meter is used to measure the conductivity of the "make-up" water and compared to the conductivity of the boiler water. Divide the two numbers to calculate the "cycles of concentration". Example: If the makeup water conductivity is 30 "umhos" and boiler water conductivity is 210 umhos, 210 ÷ 30 equals 7 cycles of concentration.
Test kits and Umhos meters are available. You may also have your make-up water and boiler water tested by someone who has experience with this type of testing. You can check with your boiler chemical supplier or full scale steam railroad operator for assistance. If anyone knows of a reputable company that can do these tests for a reasonable cost, please contact me.
If you don't want to test your water, you can always guess at the proper blowdown. I can tell you one thing; the 8% of folks that NEVER blowdown, are not blowing down enough.
*Corrosion control is another important issue and is monitored using pH and alkalinity tests. Test strips and meters are available to measure pH and test kits are available