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Finally found the leak!

ChrisJ
ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,439
Spent some time today shoveling all of the dirt and coal dust away from the wet return today and a union caught my eye, mainly because I don't understand why its there in the first place.

I stared at it for a bit thinking about it and then looked under it and plenty of bright green corrosion.  Wiped it with my hand and....... its WET!



There is some slight surface corrosion from the coal dust on other spots on the pipe but nothing else appears to be leaking at this time. I'm planning on fixing it Monday.  I need to get a setup to drain the boiler without making a huge mess.



Thanks for all of the help and insisting the boiler MUST be leaking otherwise I would've just assumed it was normal and ignored it.<strong>  In the end I bet the help of the great people on heatinghelp.com saved me a boiler and A LOT of money.</strong>
Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment

Comments

  • crash2009
    crash2009 Member Posts: 1,484
    Congratulations!

      I wouldn't jump for joy just yet, the leak you found might not be the only one.  What is all that green over to the right?  Is that a leak from within, or above?
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    Leaks:

    This is a common leak place. Replace ALL the fittings. Don't try to use them over unless you are very experienced. And I personally wouldn't use any of them over. The leak is on the left side of the union caused by not getting the union side hot enough. Do not use "close" nipples between the fittings. If that is 1" copper, use nothing less than 2 1/2" copper nipples. If 1 1/4", use 3" nipples. Remove all the fittings from the ell to the union. Cut it back on the right. Solder part of the union on the tube. Solder the other part on a piece of tube. Space the nipples accordingly. Solder it up.

    When you solder something up like is there now, a right handed person will normally solder from left to right. The ell will be first and be OK. The tee will be next. Then the union. The left side of the union will be the first to be soldered and because the tee had been soldered first, it will appear that the left side of the union is soldered. But the mass of the fitting will suck the heat out of the left side. Then, the last to be soldered will be the right side of the union. Even if you wipe it with a rag, it will appear to be soldered but it may not be. Longer nipples will show when wiping that it has already cooled in the union. With a probable leak.

    When you solder and wipe with a rag, if a few seconds after you remove the heat, and the solder won't wipe or run with a rag, you probably didn't get it hot enough. If you use a propane torch, you often can't get behind the fitting leaving a cold spot. You need to heat the entire circumference of the fitting.

    IMO
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,439
    MAPP

    I use a MAPP torch which seems to do a better job and heating large fittings like this. I can see what you mean by the bulk of the union sucking up the heat and causing a cold joint. I will keep this in mind when I repair it. I am curious though, why is the union there? Is there a specific reason this could not have just been sweated together without it?



    I'm considering ripping most of the corroded stuff out and just replacing it. Its not that much to do and is probably worth it to have the peace of mind.



    What stinks is the cost of 1 1/4" copper and associated fittings. Moneys really tight right now so I might end up just fixing the leak and leaving it for now until things get better. Best I can tell the corroded green area on the right side of the picture is 100% dry top and bottom. There is a pipe above it which may have leaked in the past but who knows.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • Ron Jr._3
    Ron Jr._3 Member Posts: 603
    edited July 2011
    Not sure why

    they soldered the union in that particular spot . Really doesn't do much there . Maybe they had a leak and cut the pipe to drain the water out enough to re-solder ?  I see the drain valve but usually that's not enough to drain the pipes enough . Any water left in there is drawn to the heat when soldering . I'd recommend what the other pros said and try to replace as much as possible . If one or 2 joints were leaking , chances are some more of them are marginal . But if replacing all of it isn't in the card right now just keep an eye on the joints once the union is replaced .



    I'd also recommend a shut off valve on the vertical pipe before the Hartford Loop . To flush out the flux and clean the return pipes out . Good luck !
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,439
    All fixed

    Spent my Saturday replacing all of the nasty pipe and all seems good now.



    Of course now that the wet return no longer leaks the backflow preventer is now dripping from its vent :).
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • Rod
    Rod Posts: 2,067
    New Wet Return

    Looks Nice!

    - Rod
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,439
    Still losing water

    Well this is rather discouraging.



    I am still losing water.  It drops around 1/8th of an inch on the siteglass over a period of 1 week.  Boiler is not making steam only maintaing domestic hot water.  I cannot find any other leaks except when I stick my pinky up in the valve of the LWCO its wet.  I am not sure if this is just left over from the last time I opened it though.

    Do the valves on the #67 LWCO go bad often?  I know I can pickup a new one for around $40 but would rather not right now unless its bad.  I was going to screw a 3/4" pipe plug into the valve but its so badly corroded and nasty its not going to happen.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,715
    Replace that valve

    the leak will only get worse. Use the #14B ball-type valve.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,439
    New valve ordered

    I jammed a paper towel up into the threaded pipe opening on the blowdown valve and left it for 12 hours or so.  Sure enough the towel got soaked.



    New valve coming from pexsupply.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,439
    edited July 2011
    Eewwww

    Well,

    If your boiler keeps losing water and you have a #67 LWCO check your valve.  Mine was leaking pretty good and never left a drop or even looked wet or rusty from a normal point of view,.



    Mine did not have a pipe like it was supposed to but it does now.  Even so this will give an idea of what can be pretty much invisible unless you bend over and look closely at things.  So far I do not appear to be losing water anymore.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
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