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Hydrolevel VXT Failures

Long Beach EdLong Beach Ed Posts: 686Member
Anyone else having problems with these? 



Seems that every one of some ten we've installed has failed in the first three years.   Some simply stop working, others buzz instead of feeding and some have intermittent problems. 



Hydrolevel's been good about it all, but we've naturally stopped installing them.  And yes, we read and follow the instructions.  The problem is with the electronics. 



It's a shame because we like the concept.  But for now it's back to M&M and separate water meters. 
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Comments

  • Al CorelliAl Corelli Posts: 395Member
    I Hope Not

    I just installed one today. I positively LOVE these things. The ability to program delay and gallonage is the greatest thing. I used to have to make up delay relays before these things!
    Al Corelli, NY



    914-804-2234
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  • Long Beach EdLong Beach Ed Posts: 686Member
    edited January 2012
    Just today...

    Al, we just exchanged another one at the supply house today.

     

    What happened to the last two (within a month of installation) is that they work intermittently.   We checked on a boiler and found it shut off on low water and the VXT doing nothing.   Pressing the manual feed switch did nothing.  We cycled the power and the VXT performed normally.  Couldn't duplicate the problem, so out it went.



    Several have failed this way.



    This one cost me three hours for two mechanics.  Add it up.  Hydrolevel doesn't reimburse for labor. 
    Post edited by Long Beach Ed on
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  • Ron Jr.Ron Jr. Posts: 524Member
    edited January 2012
    Haven't had a problem either

    with the VXT , as far as I've heard . I'll ask our service manager if they've had to change any out yet . We only have maybe 20 or 30 in so far though . Installed one yesterday with this EC-4 . 
    jpg
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    Peerless ECT4 steam.jpg
    0B
    Post edited by Ron Jr. on
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  • GordoGordo Posts: 383Member ✭✭
    edited January 2012
    We were so concerned about this issue that

    we called Hydrolevel in New Haven directly and asked the Manufacturing Manager if they had heard of any lockout failures as described above with their VXT.



    We were told that they had not.



    We also asked if their products were made in China. 



    We were told that they were not.



    What does the display read on the VXT when they go into failure?  We haven't had any nuisance lockouts unless the VXT tries to feed twice in a row  without satisfying the LWCO.
    Post edited by Gordo on
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  • Long Beach EdLong Beach Ed Posts: 686Member
    edited January 2012
    Hydrolevel VXT Failures

    The display continues to call out the gallons used.  The unit simply locks up.  It doesn't feed, even though the feeder is calling for water and shuts the burner.  The manual feed switch doesn't do anything either when it locks out.  It's an electronic problem, because resetting the power frees it up and then it functions normally. 



    We love the control, when it works.  Thank God it's not overfilling. 



    Hydrolevel has replaced many of them for us and for others around New York.  Maybe they just throw them out and don't ask why the returns are stacking up like cord wood?
    Post edited by Long Beach Ed on
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  • Paxter2004Paxter2004 Posts: 1Member
    Same thing, buzzing no feeding

    Bought an investment property 2 years ago, thrilled to see this feeder on one of the steam boilers.  On routine monthly flushing/ inspection I noted the feeder wasn't kicking in when the water level was low.  So I figured I'd manually refill by pressing the top button and to my surprise all I got was a buzzing sound, no water feed.  Cycled power and still same thing.  No error code on the display, in fact it looks to be running perfectly.  Plan on changing it this week, though I'm no plumber or heating specialist, hopefully this is something I can do on my own...  Plan on buying something different, any recs?  Should just call someone else to do this?  Seems simple enough. 
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  • Long Beach EdLong Beach Ed Posts: 686Member
    Buzzing Sound

    We know that buzzing sound too well. 



    Just sent another one back to them.  We now install another brand's feeders with separate water meters. 



    If you can sweat pipe and do wiring, you can install it.  Just pipe it properly with unions so you can test it should you suspect it of leaking. 
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  • OverwhelmedOverwhelmed Posts: 18Member
    Any Updates on Failures?

    Any updates for this thread? Two years later, are the newly-purchased Hydrolevel VXTs still failing? Or has everyone who had that experience with them abandoned them for good?



    My cracked Burnham is taking on a lot of water now. Local boiler guy has suggested I add an auto feeder now, which I'll subsequently be able to transfer to my new boiler. Timeline for new boiler might be about 6 weeks off, by the time I decide what to get, who to install and how, etc. and get everything delivered here.
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  • Long Beach EdLong Beach Ed Posts: 686Member
    edited January 2014
    VXT Failures

    I own four of these VXT's.  Since 2012, I have had three failures.  Each has been replaced under warranty. Only one of the original installations has not failed.  One of them is now flashing its digits.  It still works, but will need replacement also.  It's two years old so I'm screwed.



    Of the fifteen or so that we have sold to others, perhaps five have failed.  Who knows if the others are still working.



    I love the concept, and the Company stands behind its product.  But the quality of the electronics is definitely lacking, and we have stopped selling and using them.  We have simply lost too much money with this product and this company.



    If your boiler is losing water, find and correct the cause.  Installing an automatic feeder will only accelerate the damage to the boiler caused by adding all that fresh water.   Troubleshooting a steam system for leaks is time consuming and requires a brain, so don't expect any volunteers.  It's best done by plugging the vents, pressurizing the system with air, and listening for the leaks.



    If you know the problem is a cracked boiler, I suppose you can add an automatic feeder, but tomorrow (after you spend an hour installing the feeder)  all hell may break loose, a chunk may fall out of that boiler and the feeder won't do dick.  Why not move up plans to replace that boiler?
    Post edited by Long Beach Ed on
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  • OverwhelmedOverwhelmed Posts: 18Member
    What Instead?

    Thanks, Ed! That is what I feared hearing. I force-fed myself Dan's "We Got Steam Heat" book yesterday, and was so excited to read his recommendation for the Hydrolevel VXT. I thought I had found one piece of the puzzle. Not so much, huh? :-(



    What are you using instead?



    Long, maybe mysterious story on why my current boiler cracked, but it definitely does need to be replaced. I'm specifically looking for feeders with (or can be combined with) meters, so I don't mask problems with the new boiler. And I'm also trying to figure out whether there may be other, substantial system leaks somewhere. I'll be asking for help with that in a different thread.
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  • OverwhelmedOverwhelmed Posts: 18Member
    Why Not Sooner?

    Ah LB Ed, you added to your post after I started my response!



    Would love to move up new boiler install, but don't know if it is possible. I don't much know what I'm doing and trying to figure it all out. I'm a recent widow, older, and hobble around with a cane. This is all so foreign to me.



    I'm in Detroit. From the responses I got (on Wall and off) I don't think it is possible to just call someone as I've been told said someone does not exist here. Detroit, as in the city everyone left. Even if I could afford it-- not instead of vacations or a new car or trust funds for my grandkids (if I had any)-- I'm talking basic survival here.



    So, best I can respond is that I'm trying, and will continue to try and hopefully not panic and lose it entirely.



    Also Detroit, where it is balmy 27 degrees presently, but where we're expecting highs in the teens and lows like 4, zero and -2 over the next couple of weeks. :-(
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  • SteamheadSteamhead Posts: 9,046Member ✭✭✭
    We install a lot of VXTs

    only problem we've had is if something gets past the strainer and keeps the valve from closing. That's an easy fix.



    The one that's flashing its digits has probably fed so much water that it went up to 999 and rolled over. Reset it and it should work again, then fix the leak.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
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  • Long Beach EdLong Beach Ed Posts: 686Member
    Flashers

    Thanks for the suggestion.  No they didn't "roll over".  The systems are good and  they fed maybe six gallons since installed.   Maybe "flashing" is the wrong word.  They are actually fluttering.  Some segments appear to be vibrating like a bad neon bulb.



    It's interesting to hear that you have no trouble with them.  Maybe it's the quality of our power out here?  We lose power several times per month in LIPA's service area.  Perhaps we suffer from surges too?  But other appliances and controls have no problems. 



    We may put a data logger on the power meter and see what we get.  Found one on ebay I have been eager to try.
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  • 98chaos98chaos Posts: 9Member
    Ran into a problem with a VXT120 today.

    I was troubleshooting a system today where the boiler kept flooding. While isolating components, the VXT kicked on without a command from the boiler.  I disconnected the feed circuit from the LWCO.  The only power was 120v from the panel box.



    The VXT kicked on again 3 more times during the next half hour. BY ITSELF.

    Twice within a minute of resetting it, and once within 7 minutes.  Then it didn't do it for the next half hour.  Needless to say, I will not be installing another.

    Anyone use the TACO EWF version?
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  • SteamheadSteamhead Posts: 9,046Member ✭✭✭
    Sure

    the hot and feed wires aren't reversed?
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
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  • 98chaos98chaos Posts: 9Member
    Yes.

    Absolutely positive
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  • Jared234Jared234 Posts: 1Member
    Fail

    I bought one of these online, not from a wholesaler and installed it.

    1 month later it stopped working, just buzzes.



    I contacted Hydrolevel directly to get it replaced under warranty, but they will only replace it to a wholesaler.

    They will not honor the warranty to an end user.



    This company is a joke, how are they still in business?



    Anyone know a wholesaler that wants to return it for me?
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  • Long Beach EdLong Beach Ed Posts: 686Member
    You were warned....

    I told you so. 



    We stopped using them a long time ago.  Simply too many call backs.   And one by one, we are still getting call backs on the ones we installed.  It's the gift that keeps on taking from us.  We took the loss and don't even want the free replacements.



    A wonderful idea, executed with garbage electronics. 



    If you buy one from a legitimate supply house, you should be able to return the defective one after the fact.   This way, you always own one and you can take bets on how long the latest one will last before it feeds/doesn't feed/buzzes/blinks.  Eventually one will last a year and a day, be out of warranty, and you can throw it out and rid yourself of your "change the VXT again" hobby.
    · ·
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