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HELP! Automatic feed sounds like a freight train!

Hope someone can help me here before I go crazy!



We bought and are rehabbing a 1840's brick home with steam heat. The boiler is gas and circa 1980. I was panicked that the system may not be functioning properly, but it really does seem to work great. The ONLY problem that I have is actually with the automatic feed that adds water to the system. Whenever it kicks in to fill the boiler it vibrates all of the water pipes in the house so violently you can feel it in every room. There's also a terrible noise like a fog horn or freight train. Once it fills and shuts off everything is fine. The system itself runs without any trouble at all.



Just can't figure out how to stop the racket!!! Thoughts?

Comments

  • nicholas bonham-carter
    nicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,478
    fog horn sound from auto/over-fill

    how often is this happening, as there should not be such a great loss of water as to make this a daily occurrence

    that sound is obviously coming from a chattering valve in the auto/over-fill. go to the website of the manufacturer [maybe mcdonell-miller], and you will find out if a rebuild kit is available. unless you are very handy, it might be time to call a pro, or wait until spring.

    you may be able to moderate the problem by closing off the supply valve to the unit, and only opening it when you go down to check the boiler every couple of days [you do check the boiler regularly don't you?].--nbc
  • FJL
    FJL Member Posts: 354
    edited March 2011
    I am having the same problem ...

    I have the same problem, of sorts. I have noticed, at times, that when I drain or flush the lwco each week that it will sometimes turn on to fill the boiler and when it does turn on the pipes will vibrate until I close the drain valve of the lwco. I also occasionally hear a vibration sound in my apartment (I'm on the second floor) while the boiler is running. I wonder if that is the sound I am hearing. I guess I need someone to come out and look at the valve for the lwco?
  • Big Ed_4
    Big Ed_4 Member Posts: 1,707
    edited March 2011
    Could Be

    What is happening is the water flow is interrupted ... A fast fluttering of the flow could cause a sound wave through out the pipes ... I seen loose washers ,rocks in the line,solder balls, toilet fill valves and one time seen an unmatched pressure in a domestic expansion tank cause the problem . It may be the feeder or just the amount of flow through the feeder to cause the problem some to act up someplace .The location of sounds could be deceiving and throw you off . The sound wave could travel like the low tech toys we made as a kid , using two paper cups and a taught string . Having gone though this rare problem a few times , I would go though the process of elimination before condemning the feeder ...
    I have enough experience to know , that I dont know it all
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,474
    edited March 2011
    If that's an old-style feeder

    like a McDonnell & Miller 47-2 or 101/101A, it may mean the valve assembly is worn. It would be worth upgrading since these are iron-body valves that can rust up. I recommend the Hydrolevel VXT, since its valve is brass and it has a built-in counter that keeps track of the water being fed to the boiler. We use the VXT as our standard feeder.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • FJL
    FJL Member Posts: 354
    LWCO

    I believe I have a 47-2. A pix is below. Mine isn't too old though. Installed in the summer of 2007. I should last longer than that, correct?
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,474
    Yup, it's a 47-2

    and it should have lasted longer than that. Another thing that just occurred to me is if the shutoff valves on the water lines coming into and out of the feeder are the type that have washers, one of the washers might have come loose. Doesn't happen often but it's worth looking for. 
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • Thanks!

    Checked and drained the feed valve. Tons of sediment. I also topped off the boiler since it was feeding but barely registering in the glass tube. Since then the sound is gone and the feeder hasn't kicked in all week. Seems that for now at least it seems to have taken care of the problem. I probably will look to replace the cast iron fill valve as suggested by another post next heating season.



    I appreciate the help!
  • FJL
    FJL Member Posts: 354
    Will Look Into It

    Thanks.  I'll check it out.  The problem first was a sort of grinding/screeching sound that would occur when the LWCO called for water and that can now be followed by shaking of the water pipers.  
  • crash2009
    crash2009 Member Posts: 1,484
    edited March 2011
    It couldn't be this simple

    could it?  Mine was making a lot of noise too.  I opened and closed the manual fill a couple times, and noticed that my water pipes were not bolted to the wall.  It's hard to explain the sound but the copper was kinda rattling like a train coming down the tracks.  Went down to the hardware store and got some copper pipe hanger brackets, and bolted the pipes to the wall.  Now I don't get the noise. 
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