Protecting the Boiler and Maintaining Efficiency

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Whether installing a new boiler or maintaining an existing one, it’s important to consider the inherent issues that can befall a hydronic system and impact the performance of its components. Anticipating these pitfalls and planning accordingly will result in a smarter installation.  By choosing your boiler accessories wisely, you can extend the life of your boiler and maintain its efficiency while guarding against potential problems down the road.

One of the most common issues comes in the form of ferrous debris, a result of normal metal pipe wear that, when left unchecked, can cause major problems. Over time, rust particles and other debris in the heating loop build up, creating an iron sludge that reduces boiler efficiency or even stops it altogether from working. The resulting damage can require expensive repairs, increase heating costs, and reduce the overall lifespan of the boiler.

To combat the accumulated sludge in the pipes, a system flush may be required. Depending on the severity of the issue, this could be a costly and time-consuming process. Moreover, doing so will not reverse any damage that’s already been done to the boiler. By the same token, boiler manufacturers are becoming more stringent about their warranty claim requirements. Installing a boiler accessory as a precautionary measure is the most consistent way to ensure due diligence is being done. The best protection from iron sludge is to prevent it from ever reaching the appliance.

To protect the boiler, consider the Magnetic Boiler Filter (MBF) from Webstone®, a brand of NIBCO. It captures ferrous and non-ferrous debris before it can reach the boiler using a high-powered 12,000 Gauss magnet. Its internal filter knocks out sediment as it enters the unit, breaking down the sludge and maintaining optimal flow rate. The build-up is captured in the body, which has a large storage capacity to increase time between service. The strapped cap is also used to actuate the integrated drain valve, making it simple to remove accumulation when needed, and a service tool is included to help remove the filter housing with ease.

The MBF bodies feature G-thread ends for connection to your choice of MIP, FIP, sweat, or press union fittings. Unions and bodies can be purchased as an installation kit or as separate components depending on the installer’s preference. Optional lead-free dezincification-resistant brass isolation valves are also available to simplify future service. When installed in conjunction with a circulator pump, the flanged ball valve saves space, labor, and leak paths compared to the off-the-shelf assemblies that would normally be required to connect the two appliances. It also mitigates the risk of electrolysis and galvanic corrosion, while allowing virtually no air into the system upon pump replacement. For more simple isolation needs, Webstone offers straight and angled G-union ball valves with reversible handles.

For smaller systems, the ¾” and 1” models feature a universal diverter that allows the MBF to be used in both horizontal and vertical piping orientations on the system return line. For horizontal installations on the system run, the Magnetic Boiler Filter XL model is now available in sizes 1¼” or 1½”. Introduced in 2021, the patent-pending MBF XL is ideal for larger residential and light commercial boiler applications, with a robust 2-layer metal mesh filter and manual air vent.

Webstone offers a wide array of system performance products designed to support efficient operations and protect components. To learn more about how you can work smarter, visit

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