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spyglass & water level

Hi all,

I have been a lurker here for a few years and have generally found answers to my questions by searching previous forum posts. However I have hit a roadblock and must bother you with a question.

I have been away for awhile and usually drain a pint or so of water out my drain valve at the bottom of the Hartford loop everyweek. The water is generally clean and I have had no problems until recently. I took a few weeks off of the drain routine and noticed a water hammer develop. I started back up on the draining routine and noticed that there was allot of rust colored crud coming out of the drain. I drained about 2 gallons of water over 3 days and the water is now clear and the water hammer has been silenced for now. Now my real issue. I noticed during the draining that the water level on the spyglass did not lower, actually it looks to be completely full and not draining at all. I turned the valves on the upper and lower valve thinking that maybe it was filled with crud as well. Now I have forgotten if both valves were open or closed. It seems to me that the should both be open. Please correct me if I am wrong. I also would welcome any input on the full spyglass issue.


10 yr old Burnham 1 pipe boiler.


  • RAF
    RAF Member Posts: 65
    Both open

    Both valves should be open . You may need to loosen up the packing nut and remove the stem and run a rod into the nipple on the bottom valve the nipple may be pluged.
  • brandondiem
    brandondiem Member Posts: 2

    I had opened the bottom valve and removed the nut that plugs the drain nipple to see if draining water would lower the water level. It did drain water but the level did not lower. It seems that the lower valve is not plugged since it is draining. I wonder if the upper valve may be plugged and creating a vacuum that does not let the water in the spyglass drain.
  • jpf321
    jpf321 Member Posts: 1,567
    very possible

    one day Iturned off my top valve and forgot to reopen it .. when i later returned to the boiler, the water was way up above my normal level .. knowing that i have a manual feed and no auto feed i was quite perplexed .. then i remembered to open the top valve and the water dropped back down to normal level .. so with the top valve plugged, you may see a higher than normal level indeed
    1-pipe Homeowner - Queens, NYC

    NEW: SlantFin Intrepid TR-30 + Tankless + Riello 40-F5 @ 0.85gph | OLD: Fitzgibbons 402 boiler + Beckett "SR" Oil Gun @ 1.75gph

    installed: 0-20oz/si gauge | vaporstat | hour-meter | gortons on all rads | 1pc G#2 + 1pc G#1 on each of 2 mains

    Connected EDR load: 371 sf venting load: 2.95cfm vent capacity: 4.62cfm
    my NEW system pics | my OLD system pics
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 17,061

    lefty loosy, righty tighty... but it sounds as though something is plugged up in the gauge glass assembly.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • fresh
    fresh Member Posts: 1
    American Standard Boiler Manual

    I bought a 5 family building last year and it has a very old American Standard (steam) Boiler , Series 3B J2, 420,000 BTU/Hr. Does anyone know how I can get a manual for the boiler? I just want to understand flow and control, although I am sure most of what I see is typical for most boilers. Over the last few weeks I missed my weekly water skimming and saw the level was rose to above the water level gauge glass....There was water hammer. I drained anout 1 1/2 buckets and the water hammer stopped, but the glass is still full,,,not sure I am doing the right thing....having a manual will help with this and other minor problems I hope....
  • nicholas bonham-carter
    nicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,510
    old american standard

    if the old girl is drinking too much, and the waterline ends up too high; then it could be:

    1.leaking auto{over}fill solenoid valve

    2. leaking DHW coil [if there is one]

    3.pressure too high, forcing water up in the returns, which when it returns joins water added too quickly by the auto[over]fill. get a good low-pressure gauge,[ psi] and have it installed alongside the standard 0-30 psi gauge, so you can tell what the pressure is [hopefully under 1.5 psi, and if you are interested in saving money, ideally under 16 ounces if you have a vaporstat]

    get a copy of "the lost art of steam heating", from the shop here, and it will give you most of the information you need about your system.

    when you have more questions, it would be best to start a new thread.--nbc
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