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Author Topic: Drying steel boilers after a steamup - my chem professors method  (Read 58 times)


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  A newcomer brought up this subject on another site, and
I thought it might be apropos to bring it up here.  I'm
curious to hear opinions on my method.

  When steaming an engine with a steel boiler it is very
important to get every last bit of water out when done.
The Ind-x and Marx J-5322 have steel boilers, so beware!
This is how I end such a session.
  Empty as much water out as you can while it is still hot.
Then run it a bit on compressed air until no more water
is coming out thru the steam-valve.  Any left over drops
will  probably dry out then as the boiler is still warm.
Then, I take a few ounces of 90% or better grain alcohol,
pour it into the boiler, shake it around a bit, and then
pour out all that will come.  The rest will evaporate in
a jiffy.  NO OPEN FLAMES, PLEASE!  This is an old trick
my college chem teacher taught us to quickly dry labware.
Easy to see how it works on transparent glassware.



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Good tip Wayne.

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So, I'm not crazy for doing this.

At my age my wife thinks half the
out-of-the-ordinary methods I use
to do 'my things' are crazy.  And
when I say 'years ago we used to...'
I hear it from my 25 year old son.



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A goodly part of the reason for using that technique on labware was that it also sterilized it to a greater extent, which was often an important factor before their reuse.

As for using it to dry out your boiler, I'd say .... Good Idea! It is also used as an additive to absorb the water in fuel tanks and render it "burnable", which is slightly different that aiding in its evaporation ..... but not really much different, as it is in general making it more volatile either way!

Living in a hyper-dry climate myself, I simply leave the whistle and safety valve off of boilers that I put away in storage, and the little left behind by the syringe takes care of itself in short order, especially if emptied hot, which I always strive to do. If living in a damp climate, or at least on a damp day, my typical technique would likely not be a good way to go, which is where alcohol could come in very handy!!!
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