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Cracked drain valve pipe

A few weeks ago I finally submitted to my wife's request to fire up the boiler, a Burnham IN8. Before doing so, I wanted to drain off the rusty water and fill back up to full.

However, when I turned the drain valve, nothing came out. I'd had this problem before -- gunk in the drain pipe -- so I knew I just had to remove the drain valve and clear out the pipe.

Unfortunately, I was in a hurry (eager to get out on a bike ride) and didn't think to use two pipe wrenches.

So instead of screwing off the valve, I <span style="text-decoration:underline;">cracked the pipe</span> coming out of the boiler -- a 2" nipple.

It wasn't completely destroyed -- I felt something was wrong right away -- but the crack was enough that water began to drain out of the boiler.

Whatever movement I had made was apparently enough to dislodge the blockage, so I opened up the drain and emptied out the boiler.

Then off to the hardware store. My first thought was to try to repair the crack with some Water Weld. But while at the hardware store, I also picked up a 3/4" pipe nipple extractor -- an ingenious thing that grips a piece of pipe from <span style="text-decoration:underline;">inside</span>.

So far, the Water Weld is holding up, though there is a slight drip, and the area around the pipe is rusty and getting built up with some kind of deposit. I don't know how long it will hold.

I'd like to fix this thing properly, but I'm concerned that even with the nipple extractor I just won't be able to get that pipe out of the boiler, but in trying to get it out I'll crack it off completely and I'll be left with a big hole in my boiler.

Another option is to remove the bushing that this pipe attaches to. But again, I'm concerned about being able to get it out. A few years ago I was unable to get the plug out of the skim tapping on this boiler (had to skim through the upper sight glass tapping).

What's more, that would mean removing (somehow) the casing around that side of the boiler, which would be tricky (gas pipe comes in pretty tight, for example).

So, that's the backstory. My question is, Should I:

1. Leave well enough alone -- hope the Water Weld holds through the winter?

2. Try to get out that nipple and replace it, and if that fails, go for the bushing?

A wrinkle in all this is that I'll be out of town from Nov 4-9. Which means if the pipe starts leaking badly while I'm away, my family will be very cold.

On the other hand, if I get myself into a position where I've got nothing but a big hole in the boiler where the drain valve tapping belongs, then I'm screwed.


-- Eric


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