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Furnace overfills

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I'm new to the forum, but not to the industry. I always like when the wise guys can't spell. It's furnace, not furance.

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  • Jon Held
    Jon Held Member Posts: 48
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    Furnace overfills

    Brand new Weil-McLain SGO3 boiler replaced the VERY old unit in my home. Starting from a cold system with the water level at the indicated mark on the furnace, she fires up beautifully, brings up a head of steam very quickly and begins to heat the home. After a few minutes of firing, the unit shuts down on low water, auto fills to the correct level and continues to fire until the house thermostat is satisfied. Once the system has cooled, the furnace is now overfilled and the second burn will start to push more wet steam into the system until the water level starts to drop. This leads to a very inefficiant and noisy second burn.

    The LWCO is all solid state with no adjustments and also runs the auto fill. What are my choices here??
  • coalcracker
    coalcracker Member Posts: 51
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    Two possibilities: Your equilizer loop wasn't installed correctly (piped) or your water is dirty, oil contaminated and wasn't skimmed off the top.
  • Jon Held
    Jon Held Member Posts: 48
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    First thing I did after the installers left was to completely drain the system and let it refill on its own and see where the water level wants to be with the new control system. The external plumbing wasn't molested other than the main from the new furnace to my existing mains. Please explain or point me to a link that explains "equilizer loop". Thanks for the reply.
  • u will never

    You will never find any equalzier pipings on furance(s).... You'll get more and better answers when you call your heating system BOILER !
    Can you post any pictures of your boiler and the pipings connected to it?
  • Paul Fredricks_3
    Paul Fredricks_3 Member Posts: 1,557
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    If you could post some pictures of the boiler and the piping around it that would be a big help.
  • Jon Held
    Jon Held Member Posts: 48
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    Will snap some pix tonight and post ASAP. My apologies for mixing nomenclature.
  • coalcracker
    coalcracker Member Posts: 51
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    Equilizer loop is also called a Hartford Loop. Each manufacturer has a specified pipe size and length for each part of your piping in the loop.
  • Jon Held
    Jon Held Member Posts: 48
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    Agreed. I've learned to let the knuckleheads slide off my back. BTW, I ordered the Lost Art of Steam Heating. Hopefully that can answer my questions.

    Also, while I said that no other piping had been molested, there is a new Hartford loop for the new unit. I have a call and an email into Weil-McLain and a call into my installer. With any luck this won't cost me a boatload of cash.
  • Jon Held
    Jon Held Member Posts: 48
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    Boiler Overfills

    OK, downloaded the installation manual from Weil-McLain and spent some time with a tape measure, level, and a Sharpie. Using the water fill line imprinted on the boiler (the reference that the manual uses), all measurements for the Hartford loop and steam main are within spec.

    So now what??
  • Jon Held
    Jon Held Member Posts: 48
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    Another thing to note, when the unit is firing for steam and she's starting to really cook, the sight glass goes dark with sediment. I've drained the system from both the boiler drain and the Hartford loop drain, but both run clear. Is it possible that the sediment is in the old wet return lines and got dislodged when the installers cut out the old unit? If so, what is the best way to clean this stuff out?
  • martin
    martin Member Posts: 144
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    Boiler Overfills

    Did the unit get cleaned and skimmed, sometimes you have to do it more than once.
  • bill nye_3
    bill nye_3 Member Posts: 307
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    What is

    What is your pressuretrol set at? Are all of your radiator valves fully open? Mainvents? Radiator vents?
  • coalcracker
    coalcracker Member Posts: 51
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    I asked one of our old timers about skimming and he's already had to skim one boiler six times until it cleared up.
  • Jon Held
    Jon Held Member Posts: 48
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    I did not touch the pressuretrol. I made the assumption that the installation would include proper cleaning and setting of controls. After all, I did use the local oil delivery company that has been servicing my old unit. The cut in pressure is .5 PSI, but I haven't opened the control up to see if there is a set point for cut out.

    All radiator vents were replaced about 3 years ago with VariValves on my main floor and with Gorton on my second floor. The main vents are new (replaced last week) with Gorton #1s, but I may replace the long main run with a #2.

    All radiator valves are always fully open.

    Keep in mind that when the system is cold and the boiler starts to bring up a head of steam, radiators get hot quickly, quietly, and evenly. Much faster since I replaced the main vents. The problem occurs when the stat calls for heat a second time and the boiler is overfilled.

    Is there a proper procedure for "skimming" a unit?
  • Jim Franklin
    Jim Franklin Member Posts: 170
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    This may be a long shot, but is it possible the pipes are expanding enough to change pitch, say a long riser pushes down on a main, causing it to retain water? When it cools, the pitch changes and the water runs back into the boiler.

    jim
  • Jon Held
    Jon Held Member Posts: 48
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    Possible, but I wasn't having overfill issues with my old and crusty furnace.
  • coalcracker
    coalcracker Member Posts: 51
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    In the manual that came with the unit, it should show where the plug is located to skim in the illustrated picture.
  • Jon Held
    Jon Held Member Posts: 48
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    Got it. It was buried inside the startup procedures. There's an 1 1/2" fitting right on the front of the unit that is unlabeled everywhere except the parts list. Skim tap. Bingo.

    You'd think they'd bring something like this up in several places in the manual and hang a label on it.

    BTW, WM hasn't returned my phone call or email. My installer should be a the house today to "check it out".
  • Jon Held
    Jon Held Member Posts: 48
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    OK. Had a service guy at my home. He adjusted the flame in the firebox and now I have an oil leak and the boiler still overfills. This is awesome.

    WM sent me a tech bulletin with the following quote:
    “Your new boiler holds a lot less water than the old boiler which is why it is all steaming out. Here is a tech bulletin on a solution.”

    The bulletin wants me to add an 8” diameter reservoir pipe to the condensate line to increase steaming time. Does this sound reasonable to anyone out there??
  • The Wire Nut
    The Wire Nut Member Posts: 420
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    Not to beat Jon to the punch...

    Jon happens to be family and contacted me about this. He sent me some photos that revealed a lot about his problems. To wit, an 1 1/4 copper header coming off of a 2.5 to 1.25 reducer a few inches above the jacket. Follow that with a bull headed feed from the one riser to the 2 mains.

    The barometric damper is installed at the end of the T that's used to connect the vertical to the horizontal breaching by the stack. It's the way they specifically tell you not to do...

    And forget about them skimming it, they brought the EMT for the power feed directly in front of the still plugged skim tap.

    Jon has done a lot of research on this, and even noticed that they hadn't drilled a hole in the stack to do the combustion tests. He's ordered Dan's books and after reading them I have no doubt we'll have a new wethead in the making.

    I'm going to help him reinstall it properly. Jon is a skilled mechanic and it will be a blast to work with him. I have no doubt that most of his issues will be resolved after that.

    It's amazing that this kind of work is still being done. Even the quality of their soldering was worse than the your below average DIY duffer. If those knuckleheads keep doing this kind of work, they may yet, one day, end up as real dead heads. Or worse, end up making the homeowner one...

    Alex "Stonehouse" Marx ("The Wire Nut")
    "Let me control you"

    Lost in SOHO NYC and Balmy Whites Valley PA
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