Whenever you’re dealing with equipment that uses water, you’re going to encounter sludge from time to time. And boiler systems are no exception. In fact, of the 20 percent of all boilers that require maintenance on an annual basis, it’s said that sludge is the most common culprit. That’s why it’s important to know why sludge forms and how to properly deal with it, or else it could lead to system corrosion and premature boiler failure.

What is Boiler Sludge?

Just what is boiler sludge, you ask? Essentially, it’s nothing more than the deposits found in water building up within the boiler tank over time. These deposits may consist of minerals, oils, and other matter. Sludge can stick to the boiler walls and continue to grow in size over time, causing clogs and other issues.

Why is Boiler Sludge Bad?

Boiler sludge can hinder your system’s efficiency in a few ways. First, when sludge builds up within the tank, it can negatively affect your boiler’s heating performance. Boilers with a lot of sludge have to work harder to heat up and use more energy as a result – which leads to higher bills for you. The deposits that build up into sludge can also clog the boiler tubes, thereby preventing adequate heating. Lastly, if sludge is left untreated, it can render a boiler system useless, and you’ll have to replace the entire unit.

Is There A Way to Check for Sludge?

Yes, you can check for boiler sludge, and the good news is that it’s fairly easy to do. Simply release the air out of one of the radiators and observe the color of the water that drains out of it. If the water is clear, your system is free of sludge. However, if it appears dark, you’ve likely got a significant amount of buildup that you’ll need to remove.

How Can I Get Rid of Sludge?

Sludge is a little trickier to remove from a boiler than from other machinery. For example, with a hot water tank, all you’d need to do is flush the system out. However, with a boiler, you’ll need a specialized piece of equipment called a blow down tank. This machine works in two ways. First, it will continuously perform a surface water blow down to reduce how many solids can accumulate in the water. This helps to prevent sludge from forming in the first place. It will also periodically perform a bottom blow down to clean sludge out of the bottom of your system.

Once you’ve removed sludge from your boiler, you’ll want to take preventative action to ensure sludge buildup is minimized going forward. There are many different products, like magnetic filters and certain chemicals, that can help you prevent buildup in your system.

When it comes to your boiler system, sludge is something you should take seriously. If you don’t, you could be out thousands of dollars for a boiler replacement. For more information about boiler blow down tanks and how to clean a steam boiler, contact Rema Dri-Vac today!

About the author