The Dangers of Bad Water and Boilers

If you do maintenance for a living, or live in a home that uses a boiler for heat, you know about the importance of having a good boiler.  It’s important to have reliable equipment so that you won’t have to worry about inconsistent heating, or about having to pay for costly boiler repairs.  It is important for your boiler to be in good working condition, but it’s also equally important to have a good boiler feed water system.  The water that’s going into your boiler system needs to be conditioned to not just avoid problems, but also any downstream systems.  Untreated boiler feed water can cause a lot more trouble than you’d think.  If you’re using untreated boiler water, you leave yourself vulnerable to these costly problems.

Corrosive compound build-up

Build up can be a problem in any water system, but it can be especially troublesome in boilers.  O2 and CO2 can accumulate in your system, and over time that can cause corrosion.  Dissolved oxygen, salts, and carbon dioxide can build up quickly.  This can usually be avoided by using feed water that is alkalized to a pH or 9.0 or higher.  Using water with the right pH can also help form a layer of magnetite on the boiler to avoid material from any further damage.  If you still happen to have some compound build-up, it could lead to problems like…

Boiler Scale/Mud

Compound deposits in your boiler will slowly start to reduce its efficiency and reliability.  Deposits don’t just reduce the amount of heat transfer in the boiler; it also helps slow down water flow and blocks boiler tubes.  Salts and minerals that remain in your boiler will get too concentrated, and you’ll start to notice a nasty looking grey-ish white build up on the inside of your boiler.  Eventually your boiler won’t be able to function well, and you’ll notice inconsistent water temperatures and water flow.

Stress corrosion cracking/Caustic embrittlement

The buildup of those caustic chemicals may not just decrease the efficiency of your boiler; it could actually cause significant damage to your pipes and boiler.  Caustic embrittlement usually occurs at temperatures of 200 to 250 degrees Fahrenheit, a temperature that can be easily reached in any water boiler.  This problem is particularly troublesome because it usually occurs in important steel boilerplates.  It also usually occurs in the most stressed and vulnerable parts of your boiler


Comments are closed.