For Jim Cater, Project Engineer at Combustion Service & Equipment Company (CS&E) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the most reliable way to find effective solutions for his customers is to personally test them.
After servicing and repairing equipment from many customers with failed heat exchangers, clogged ECM (electronically commutated motor) pumps, and blown-out boilers, Cater took matters into his own hands. He wanted to find the cause of these breakdowns and develop long-term solutions to manage the health of commercial hydronic systems.
“In our many boiler service agreements, we’ve seen an increase in failures due to scaling” says Cater. Seeking a total solution, CS&E analyzed the scale from failed equipment, and discovered that in many cases, it was largely composed of iron oxide, or magnetite. After testing different filters and chemical formulas, CS&E addressed the issue by partnering with ADEY®, the leading manufacturer of magnetic filtration systems.
An Important Discovery
Cater already knew that high-efficiency (HE) equipment operated best with clean incoming water, so the fact that this equipment was being affected by water containing magnetite wasn’t surprising. What was surprising was the damage pattern.
“It’s seasonal” says Cater. “When you keep a boiler at higher temperatures during the heating season, you’re keeping out oxygen. When you lower the water temperature and then, months later, raise it for a seasonal changeover, oxygen is first absorbed and then released out of solution. When water and oxygen contact steel piping, iron oxide is produced. Once you turn things back on, it’s pushed into the system and circulated. That’s when you get the most debris.”
The Solution: MagnaClean®
After months of research, Cater had the answers. Now it was time to test a solution. He installed an ADEY MagnaClean® Professional 2XP™, designed for larger residential or small commercial heating systems with 1-¼” NPT fittings.
Because the system at CS&E is meticulously maintained (no surprise from a company whose business is maintaining hydronic systems), Cater admits, “I didn’t actually expect to find magnetite. But we’ve had about 3/8” accumulation around the magnetic rod inside the filter both times we’ve cleaned it.”
Cater says he’ll recommend MagnaClean to customers struggling with magnetite. Besides effectively combatting iron oxide, he adds, “MagnaClean installed and cleaned easily. Other brands are difficult to disassemble. With MagnaClean, the lid easily twists off and once you remove the plastic sheath on the magnetic rod, the magnetite just falls away.”
For Cater, the need for MagnaClean filters is clear. With the growing prevalence of ECM pumps and other HE equipment, which normally feature a lower water content and narrower waterways — plus an energy-efficient temperature cycle that mimics the magnetite-producing temperature fluctuation of seasonal changeovers — Cater predicts an increased need for the economical and effective solution offered by MagnaClean.