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water on floor around the boiler

timo888
timo888 Member Posts: 137
There's water on the floor near the oil burner. It is spread out on the floor (maybe a quart of it). I felt inside the copper tubes and the one marked in the attached picture is wet at the bottom.



Pressure gauge shows about 22psi now. Is this valve factory-preset at 30psi?



There's an expansion tank on the system. Does this water below the relief valve indicate that the expansion tank needs to be replaced? Serviced?



Service technician is coming on the 28th of this month. Does this issue need to be addressed ASAP or can it wait two weeks?



Thanks

P.S. I am now aware that the circulator should be horizontal; last technician who was here put it vertical--the circulator broke while he was here (!) --wasn't broken before he showed up-- and he did not have a horizontal mounting with him.

Comments

  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 15,342
    The diaphragm in the expansion tank

    may have failed, and the tank became waterlogged as a result. I'd get this fixed yesterday- if the safety valve doesn't open, the system could become dangerously over-pressurized. 
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • billtwocase
    billtwocase Member Posts: 2,385
    I would like to see

    what else is on the black iron piping where the relief valve is
  • timo888
    timo888 Member Posts: 137
    edited April 2011
    nothing but the vent pipe

    I will take a picture of what is downstream on the thicker black pipe, and post it. As for the 3/4" copper vent pipe, its only source of water is the overpressure relief valve.



    1. Thick black iron pipe exits the boiler.

    2. Pressure-relief valve on Tee

    3. Pressure Gauge

    4. Turns 90-degrees to a SpiroVent air separator

    5. Hanging down from the SpiroVent the gray expansion tank

    5. Downstream of the SpiroVent is the circulator (mounted vertically -- current psi is 22)

    6. Then comes a branch to two zone control valves (radiators up, indirect water heater down)
  • billtwocase
    billtwocase Member Posts: 2,385
    I'm thinking more location

    of the tank
  • timo888
    timo888 Member Posts: 137
    edited April 2011
    expansion tank below air separator

    Expansion tank is connected to bottom of SpiroVent. There is no influx of water there as for example you see on Watts diagrams, where they have autofill downstream of the air separator. A 1/2" black iron nipple exits the bottom of the SpiroVent, connects to a 90-degree elbow, and then another piece of 1/2" black iron pipe connects to the top of the expansion tank.



    How is baseline system pressure set? Is that done at the valve where the cold domestic water pressure is reduced before it enters the system?
  • billtwocase
    billtwocase Member Posts: 2,385
    pressure reducing valve

    and extrol tank. They work together. I must say, that is an interesting looking install. Was the feed valve new when the boiler was installed? I'm assuming this was a replacement boiler. As Steam said, the tank could have lost it's charge, or could even be overcharged. It should have 15 PSI in the bladder with it either disconnected from the boiler, or "0" pressure on the boiler. 22 PSI is not that high, and could even be a bad relief valve, but both tank and feeder need to be checked first. 
  • billtwocase
    billtwocase Member Posts: 2,385
    another thing

    high limit setting, and where is it shutting off? 
  • timo888
    timo888 Member Posts: 137
    pressure setting

    Yes, it was a replacement boiler. Everything was new as far as I know.



    The water is only sporadic. I've come down to the basement in the morning to find it there. For the past couple of nights it has been dry.



    It would be convenient if a ball valve had been installed below the air separator so the expansion tank could be isolated from the system. Something else for the to-do list.



    I am not sure what you mean by "feeder". Is that the valve that reduces the domestic water supply to the boiler? Are these adjustable or factory-preset?
  • timo888
    timo888 Member Posts: 137
    edited April 2011
    Watts valve on cold water supply to boiler

    Here is a picture of the valve on the copper line that feeds the boiler. Is that lever on the front a way to set the valve? Or is that for testing purposes? I haven't touched it. The picture is rotated, by the way. Left in the picture is actually Up.
  • billtwocase
    billtwocase Member Posts: 2,385
    looks like

    an old valve. If the body is cast iron, and not bronze, it is an old valve, and is probably the problem. I am not positive if they still make the cast iron bodies or not, as I stopped using that brand years ago for problems. Also, can you spin off the lever on top, and show a pic of the adjustment - the exposed threads and lock nut. If it is screwed down too far, the pressure will run higher than needed in your case.
  • timo888
    timo888 Member Posts: 137
    edited April 2011
    expansion tank question

    The expansion tank was removed a couple of years ago by the oil company who came to replace a rusting elbow (see pic). You can see by how clean the damper is that this rust occurred pretty soon after the initial install.



    They did not do anything to the tank when they reconnected it, and did not test it afterwards, though the system has been operating all that time without gushing any water.



    Does disconnecting the expansion tank from the elbow require it to be pumped up again? It does not sound waterlogged. When I tap it lightly on the top with the end of a wrench--there's clank-clank sound not a clunk-clunk sound.



    I am not sure what you meant by "spinning off the lever" on the top of the pressure reducing valve. It the lever threaded onto a bolt?
  • billtwocase
    billtwocase Member Posts: 2,385
    yes

    the lever assembly threads (female) over the adjuster. There will be a small rod thru the center of that adjuster. That is what the fast fill lever depresses to feed water in manually, or to pick up it's pace
  • timo888
    timo888 Member Posts: 137
    Aha

    so that's what that rod is. I will take a pic when battery recharges. Thanks for the patient explanations.
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    Wattts CI 1156F PRV's

    If the valve body is painted with a copper-ish colored paint, and a magnet will stick to it, it is the old style CI valve. If it is the new style, there is no paint and it is natural bronze. The old valves are notorious for leaking water bye and also, not filling when the pressure drops. So much so that I think that there are many boilers out there that failed because the valve didn't fill. One day back a few years ago, you could no longer get the CI ones which were a lot cheaper than the bronze ones. But the new bronze ones with the same number, were the same price as the old CI ones.

    It is my personal experience that once you operate the fast fill by-pass lever on an old CI 1156F valve, it will not ever completely seat properly and will continue to leak at some slow rate. The other problem is that there is a SS screen at the outlet and as CI particles drop off into suspension, the iron particles stick to the screen and stop the filling.

    I strongly suggest that you replace the valve. They aren't very expensive. If I have the slightest hint of a problem with a bronze one or a CI one, I replace them.

    The Extrol tank may be bad. It is difficult to tell you of all the ways to check it for correct operation. There is a date code on that tag that is under the adjustment nut on the PRV (1156F). You should be able to decipher the date code. The Extrol tank is probably the same date. It may need to be replaced also. 
  • timo888
    timo888 Member Posts: 137
    old iron kind

    A magnet sticks to it. Added to the to-do list.
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    edited April 2011
    S1156F Watts

    Replace the valve. You shouldn't even need to drain the system. Close the valve with the yellow handle between the PRV and the boiler. Break the union in the inlet of the PRV. You should be able to unscrew it and replace it with the bronze model S1156F. After you replace the valve, drain enough water out of the boiler/system to get the pressure gauge to read "0" (zero). If it doesn't, and reads (say) 5#, the gauge reads 5# low. In other words, if the gauge reads 15#, it is really 10#. If it is the other way, you don't know.

    Check the air pressure in the Extrol tank with a tire gauge on the Schrader Valve. If it is lower than 10#, I replace the tank. It came with 12#+. You can add air but if the tank is more than 10 years old, it may be bad and you don't have room for expansion.

    I personally do not like Pressure Relief valves on boilers located where the manufacturer of that boiler wants you to put it. Any air or steam that develops in the system will end up under the seat and over time, will start to leak. Just like it leaks under the caps of float vents. Putting them on the hot stream/supply insures that they will leak after a time. I personally believe that they should go into the boiler where that tapping is but it is metric and requires an adapter. There is some ASME code requirement that the water must go in to the bottom of the valve with the valve in an upright position. I always install them off a tee with an air vent on the top with a nipples and an ell facing up so that the air and steam go into the vent before it will try to go to the bottom of the relief valve.

    Someone may say that there is some obscure code requirement that you can't do this but I got tired of replacing valves every few years. No "Old Fashioned" boiler I ever worked on or installed had the relief valve installed in this location. It is for the convenience of the manufacturer to put it there.

    I've seen these valves start to leak at 28# and over a short period of time, start dripping at 25#, then 22# and so on, down. All from evaporation crud residue under the seat.

    Change the valve and replace the Extrol tank if it doesn't have the factory charge in it. You can charge it up but you will find that it is loosing air.

    Just my experience,

    Good Luck
  • timo888
    timo888 Member Posts: 137
    edited April 2011
    at what pressure point should OPV release when working properly?

    Thanks for the suggestions/instructions. I will definitely be replacing the old PRV, probably getting a combo backflow-preventer/PRV. Oil company did not install a backflow preventer.



    If, for the sake of argument, we assume that all the valves are working properly and the Extrol tank is in good shape and has its 12# original charge, and the overpressure valve is set at 30psi and is working, and the pressure gauge is accurate too, do I understand correctly that the overpressure valve should release water when the gauge pressure reading exceeds 42psi (i.e. 30+12)? I am hazy on how the Extrol works.
  • add
    add Member Posts: 94
    what brand is

    your indirect hot water tank ? do you have a well?
  • timo888
    timo888 Member Posts: 137
    edited April 2011
    municipal water @ ~80psi

    Not a well, municipal water, about 80psi. I don't know how much reduction in pressure the PRV does yet, as I haven't turned system off and drained it (to get a sense of the gauge accuracy). Will do that when family doesn't need showers--very early Saturday morning. ) Brand is Buderus Logalux LT 200/2 (53 gallon)
  • Ironman
    Ironman Member Posts: 6,869
    Not 42 PSI

    The relief valve should relieve at 30psi. You don't factor in the setting of the fill valve. The relief is the high limit for pressure, the PRV is the low limit for pressure.



    What type of heat emitters do you have and what is the btu rating of your boiler? Your expansion tank may also be under-sized.
    Bob Boan
    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
  • timo888
    timo888 Member Posts: 137
    edited April 2011
    BTU

    98000 BTU. The heat emitters are called, I think, "fin-rads": a supply and return on either side of a tube with a series of closely spaced rectangular pieces of metal about 5" square.



    Here's some more diagnostic info:

    -- outside temp was 70F and thermostat was set to 60F .

    -- I turned the boiler off at the electric on/off switch

    -- had two family members each take a long shower (53gallon tank)

    -- turned boiler back on

    -- boiler fired for approximately 25 minutes to heat the water tank and I watched the gauge needle rise from around 18psi to 40 psi. At that point the boiler clicked off.

    -- radiator zone supply line still cold as it should be; only tank supply line hot



    I don't know yet how accurate the pressure gauge on the boiler is. On the to-do list. But there was no release of water from the pressure-relief valve. I thought I heard a faint hiss at one point lasting only a few seconds, but I was watching the needle and couldn't really identify the source.





    Also, here are couple of pics showing how little space there is. Would this Watts valve, which comes with a backflow preventer, be the newer bronze variety? Or I have also seen HONEYWELL FM911.Could I put either of the backflow valves on the stretch of copper marked in the photo?
  • add
    add Member Posts: 94
    just a curiosity

    hi thanks for the reply, i haven't really read all the post,it was just a curiosity when i saw the picture of the buderus boiler ,and brought back some memories ,i am sure you are in good hands,i would replace the feed valve the prv and the extrol tank and then go from there i am sure you are on that track good luck.
  • timo888
    timo888 Member Posts: 137
    service tech closed the auto-feed valve

    The system was making some loud rumbling sounds on startup for the past couple of days, and was taking four or five attempts before it would ignite. The service tech replaced a nozzle on the Riello last night and now it's purring again.



    He closed the auto-feed ball valve on the supply side and said to leave it closed and open it only when bleeding the radiators. With the feed valve isolated from the street supply, the pressure gauge on the boiler reads about 19psi when it's not firing. With the feed valve out of the equation, what accounts for the 20psi?



    I put a mountain bike suspension fork air pump on the Extrol's Schrader valve and its gauge reads 12psi.
  • billtwocase
    billtwocase Member Posts: 2,385
    feed valve off

    Is this only to test the valve for the potential culprit? I don't see a low water cut off on the system, at least the pics that you posted don't show one. I would not leave it off if you don't have one. There has been debate about that I think on here. Unless the boiler has a LWCO, the valve should be on in my book. 
  • EddieG
    EddieG Member Posts: 150
    Space

    You are going to be tight on space to install the backflow / PRV combo. I would install a backflow. But it is going to require some re-piping. Also do your self a favor and replace the 90 degree elbow that connects the expansion tank with a tee. Also get a 1/2 inch close nipple, 1/2 female thread ball valve, and a 1/2 inch boiler drain. Were you remove the 90 degree elbow, install the ball valve followed by the tee. Have the tank come out of the bull (odd side) of the tee and the boiler drain out of the run of the tee. Use the close nipple to install the other run side of the tee to the ball valve. Then you will be able to check your tank without draining the system in the future.
  • timo888
    timo888 Member Posts: 137
    edited April 2011
    such a thing as a circulator / LWCO?

    Do they make a unit that is a combo circulator/ LWCO?



    No, he meant permanently closed, not just as a test to see if the feed valve was the culprit.
  • timo888
    timo888 Member Posts: 137
    edited April 2011
    why boiler drain on tee?

    What is the purpose of the boiler drain on the tee? Does it drain the Extrol?
This discussion has been closed.