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Water dripping from steam pipe

I'm new here.  I had a power problem last night. Lights flickered for a couple of hours (problem was a faulty transformer outside) during which I heard knocking in my steam pipes. Then the pipe closest to the furnace started to leak water through the ceiling sheetrock in the basement.  Could be coincidence but I'm assuming everything is related.  I was hoping it would stop when the power was restored to normal but it didn't. I never had a problem with the steam pipes before. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Comments

  • Water leak?

    I'm afraid I can't think of a way that steam and electricity would be related to cause a leak. I would suggest that it has something to do with a waterline. Is there a waterline in the general vicinity of the leak?  Possibly the electrical problem caused a valve to shut down suddenly  and the resulting water hammer popped a joint somewhere on the line. The valve doesn't necessarily be close to the leak.

    Off hand the only electric valves I can think of might be a dish washer or washing machine or possibly the automatic water unit (if you have one) for the steam boiler. Was any of those operating at the time of the power problems?  If you can isolate different branches of the house water system that might be a place to start or perhaps cut a small hole in the ceiling and poke a mirror and a flashlight up there and take a look. Let us know what you find.

    - Rod
  • Brian_74
    Brian_74 Member Posts: 237
    auto-feeder related?

    This is a super long shot, but what would happen if the power went out while the auto-feeder was adding water? Could it get stuck open? (This might be a really stupid idea. I'd be the first to admit that I don't know how the autofeeders work.) It could then flood the system, forcing water upstairs until it found a way out.
    1929 Ideal Heating vapor system.
  • jpf321
    jpf321 Member Posts: 1,567
    electricity and autofeeder

    brian reminded me of Mr. gills article, good thought brian!! .. http://www.gwgillplumbingandheating.com/webapp/GetPage?pid=500
    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
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 15,262
    Was the leak

    from an actual pipe, or an air vent installed on the pipe? 
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • evil power

    could be that the faulty transformer has fried some part of the auto-fill. if you turn it off, then you could see.--nbc
  • Brian_74
    Brian_74 Member Posts: 237
    Thanks JPF

    But I think it might be more a case of even a broken clock tells the right time twice a day. Thanks for the link to the article. It made me feel better about not having an autofeeder. Glad there's a way to correct the problem, too.
    1929 Ideal Heating vapor system.
  • Joe123
    Joe123 Member Posts: 4
    Water dripping from steam pipe

    The autofeeder article was great, and I'm guessing that is exactly what happened.  Any way to check to make sure?  If so, what has to be done to repair the problem?

    Thanks to all for your help.  What a fantastic group of helpful people.
  • Joe123
    Joe123 Member Posts: 4
    Not sure

    Its concealed but I don't believe there are any vents there.
  • jpf321
    jpf321 Member Posts: 1,567
    welll ...

    if your auto-feeder went crazy .. you should have a completely full glass gauge .. if your glass gauge level looks normal, then it may not be the feeder...
    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
  • Brian_74
    Brian_74 Member Posts: 237
    But check it when it's cold

    JFP had a very good idea about checking the sight glass. I wouldn't have thought of it. But now that he's mentioned it, I'd like to add two thoughts. First, the system may have purged itself of enough water that your gauge won't be completely full. Second, try to check it when the system is as cold as possible. I like to check my the instant the thermostat clicks on since that's the maximal off time for that cycle.
    1929 Ideal Heating vapor system.
  • Joe123
    Joe123 Member Posts: 4
    Bingo!

    It's completely full!  Now what?
  • jpf321
    jpf321 Member Posts: 1,567
    edited February 2010
    drain to normal level

    firstly .. drain, drain drain ... until autofeed kicks in so that you can test that it is filling properly .. and shutting off properly .. after the autofeeder shuts off, then watch your gauge over the next few hours to make sure that no additional water was added due to a leaking auto-feeder ... that *should*solve your drip assuming the drip was caused by a flooded system ... and you should be good to go... i'd also believe that you have had not significant heat since the auto-feeder overfilled your system.



    lastly .. once the autofeeder adds the proper amount of water and shutsdown .. make sure you make steam immediately thereafter for about 15-20mins to drive off rust causing dissolved oxygen in the new feed water ..
    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
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