To Treat Or Not To Treat
Even though it is hot out and the only thing you worry about when it comes to your boilers is whether the lay up parameters are met (What? You did not lay up your boilers? Better call and ask for our guidelines for Lay up), it will soon be time for another installment in one of the hottest ongoing debates in the boiler industry - Should Cast Iron Sectional Boilers Be Treated Chemically Or Not?
Before this publication reviews its opinion (we are a Water Treatment Periodical, after all), lets look at the argument for non treatment. Some people, including certain insurance companies, have had bad experiences with unscrupulous water treaters adding too much chemicals and causing carryover and surging which eventually led to either boiler failure, condensate system failure, or both. Under these circumstances it is certainly reasonable to conclude that no treatment is better than these experiences.
However, it has been shown time and time again that a well conceived, well managed and well executed treatment program prolongs the life of boiler room equipment in every case. This being known, the selection of the Water Treatment Firm becomes the critical decision, not whether or not to use treatment. In fact, part of a well conceived program is analysis of the system. In some smaller systems utilizing Cast Iron Boilers, the system is so tight that a slight amount of oxygen scavenger and polymer is all that is required along with scant blowdown. In these systems, monitoring is important, not treatment.
As an indication that treatment is important in general for Cast Iron Sectional Boilers, the Operation and Maintenance Manual for one of the best selling firms, AB Smith, warns of the damage and/or poor operation for systems that are not properly blown down. This implies, of course, that the blow down should be monitored in some manner.
In addition to the above, it is well known that treatment and monitoring for scale prevention saves operational dollars by eliminating efficiency-robbing scale from developing on heat exchange surfaces. One-eighth (1/8) of an inch of scale can increase fuel usage by 20-25%. Taking a look at the seasonal fuel bill for any facility versus the cost of water treatment usually proves the common sense of finding a good Water treatment Firm and utilizing them to help save fuel, water and maintenance dollars, even in systems with Cast Iron Sectional Boilers.