An outdoor wood boiler must be flushed every four years at a minimum, but possibly more often if the furnace water is not properly treated.
You must do a "Sediment Flush" on your outdoor wood burning boiler every year. This is just a 5-second flush from the bottom drain valve to remove any sediment buildup. The water will look muddy at first but should clear up within five seconds.
If it's still cloudy after five seconds, continue flushing until the water runs clear, even if that means all the boiler water drains out. Sediment will destroy your boiler and heat exchangers.
Please note - Do not completely drain a boiler that has any fire or coals in it. Remove all firebox contents (firewood, coals, ash) before a complete flush. This is not necessary for a 5-second flush.
If you have properly treated your outdoor wood furnace water faithfully every year, and obtained "SATISFACTORY" water analysis results from the Outdoor Boiler Lab every year, you only need to flush your boiler every four years. You may want to remember this based on the presidential cycle, or every four years from the year you purchased your boiler.
If you have owned your outdoor wood stove for more than four years, and have never flushed it, NOW is the time to do so. Follow the "Flush Procedure" below.
Fill your boiler with fresh water that has not been treated with a water softener. If you have a water softener in your home, please bypass it when filling the boiler. Softened water contains sodium (salt), and you can imagine what road salt does to a car's steel.
Our lab can typically determine whether a customer has a water softener since our sensitive lab equipment can measure it, resulting in an "UNSATISFACTORY" test result.
If you have not treated your outdoor furnace properly in the last 12 months, it is recommended that you flush your boiler immediately, regardless of the season. Follow the recommended "Flush Procedure" below.
It is vital that you completely flush the outdoor boiler water now if you have ever used a poor fake "wood boiler water treatment." PLEASE NOTE: Some manufacturers have discovered that the water treatment they recommended and sold harmed boiler steel.
We have seen this - corrosion occurs BELOW the waterline, and not above. Wow! DO NOT BUY CHEAP IMITATION OUTDOOR BOILER WATER TREATMENT!! It will destroy your boiler.
With the EPA ban on outdoor boilers, remember that once your boiler fails, you cannot replace it. Our Outdoor Boiler Liquid Armor water treatment was specifically formulated as a corrosion inhibitor to protect your exact grade of steel with great precision and safety.
Failed Test Flush
If you receive an "UNSATISFACTORY" water analysis test result, you will be advised to have a retest. If it fails the second time, you will be given instructions on what to do next - drain 50% of the water, refill with fresh water, then submit another water sample.
If you receive a third failed test result, you should flush your boiler immediately. Again, follow the recommended "Flush Procedure" below.
If you use antifreeze in your system, you will need to call our technical team for a more customized analysis of when and if you need to do a complete flush.
If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact OutdoorBoiler.com via any of the following contact methods at this link HERE.
1. Allow the fire to completely burn out and allow the water jacket temp to drop to 80 degrees or lower.
2. Remove all firewood, coals, and ash. Take this opportunity to completely scrape out the firebox of all ash and creosote that removes easily.
3. Connect a hose to the bottom drain valve of the boiler. This is found in the bottom rear of the boiler so as to be at the lowest point of the water jacket. Direct the hose to where you want the boiler water to drain. Note that GX Series boilers have two drain valves and both should be flushed during this process.
4. Turn off the pump. The power to the furnace can be shut off from the breaker if desired to achieve this.
5. Clean the filter cartridge. Put filter assembly back together completely. Replace filter cartridge as needed - it is a stainless steel mesh screen and is reusable, but will not last forever.
6. Open the drain valve. Allow the water to completely drain. It should only look like muddy river water for a few seconds and then turn clear.
7. Once completely drained, close the drain valve(s).
8. Refill the boiler completely with fresh water. Bypass any water softener. Do not add water treatment to this water.
9. Turn the pump back on.
10. Open any bypasses around heat exchangers, and the filter.
11. Allow the pump to circulate water for a minimum of 24 hours. Make sure all ball valves are open so that this freshwater flushes out all pipes.
12. Turn the pump off, and close the bypass at the filter.
13. Drain boiler again by opening drain valve(s).
14a. Refill the boiler completely with fresh water. Bypass any water softener. At this time, be sure to ADD Liquid Armor water treatment to this water according to proper specifications - ONE gallon of water treatment for every 200 gallons of water jacket capacity.
We recommend one gallon of water for every 150 gallons of water jacket capacity for the initial fill.
14b. Liquid Armor Water Treatment is available at this link HERE - do NOT use any other boiler chemical as none of these are authorized for use in your outdoor wood burner, and some have even been found to INCREASE the rate of corrosion.
15. Turn the pump back on and allow this to circulate the water for a minimum of 24 hours.
16. Take a water sample and submit it to the Outdoor Boiler Lab for FREE testing. In approx. 4-8 weeks, you will receive your water analysis test result via email (don't forget to put your email address on the water sample bottle).
Most test results come back "SATISFACTORY". Follow the test report instructions, if any.