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Utica boiler shuts off

So I moved into my house around August and have not fully figured out my system yet...

I have called several local techs and one was not comfortable coming to my house as he did not know my system, one guy came and tried but gave me some excuse as he looked puzzled...So I figured well, let me try to get this thing turned on myself with the help of some online articles...I did, and it worked, for now...

So I have this Honeywell psi thermostat that I have been having to turn up a bit little by little in order for my boiler to turn on and allow my radiators to heat...Well now it's at a point that the only time my boiler will come on is at one of the highest points in this Honeywell PSI thing...

I have noticed people mentioned the cut off for this Honeywell PSI cut off should be set at no more than 2psi for efficiency but I have not been able to get my system to run at a lower point in this thing...

I will say that I have this PSI reader that has slowly crept up and now it's showing around 5.5 PSI. Is there too much pressure in my system? If so, how can I relieve my system of pressure? Are my return line relief valves not working? Do I have to turn up my radiator pressure relief valves?

I have read articles about steam venting and thinking something may be up with my main vents? Any advice would be greatly appreciated...

I can post pictures of my system if needed...


  • nicholas bonham-carter
    nicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,510
    edited December 2011
    5.5 psi!

    that pressure is too high, so get the model number of the honeywell pressuretrol, and find the instructions for setting it to cut in at .5 and out at 1.5 psi. when the boiler won't run, can you determine which safety is preventing it. if it is the pressuretrol, could the boiler be too full [waterline should be 1/2 way up the glass tube].

    get the steam books from the store here and you will understand how to manage these systems better, and do most repairs yourself, since there seems a shortage of steam men where you are.

    yes to the pictures.--nbc
  • elnene2k
    elnene2k Member Posts: 8
    Pictures up!

    Attached some pics of what I was referencing...

    So I readjusted my Honeywell Pressuretrol system and drained all the water in tank...

    Should I drain the water in the system as well? Will this relieve my system of the pressure currently on it?

    Also, I guess I'm trying to find out why my meter is showing 5 PSI and why it has continued to slowly get higher...Any ideas?
  • elnene2k
    elnene2k Member Posts: 8
    Main vents?

    Oh yeah, here's a pic of my main vents...
  • Mike Kusiak_2
    Mike Kusiak_2 Member Posts: 604
    Pressure reading

    Does the pressure gauge read 5.5 PSI at all times whether the boiler is running or not?

    If it always reads the same, either the gauge is bad or the piping connected to it and the pressuretrol is clogged. Clogged piping may also explain why the boiler does not fire up unless you turn the pressuretrol up higher as I believe you mentioned.
  • elnene2k
    elnene2k Member Posts: 8

    Well, I took off the pressure gauge and noticed after removing it, it stayed at 5 psi and it will not go down...Weird...

    Must be bad...Another thing I noticed, there is no electrical connections attached to this gauge...Does it have to be connected?


    What you mentioned was the solution for this guy in this thread:

    So if pressure gauge is not going down to zero but still, nothing is connected to it electrically wise, i am assuming even though the pressure gauge is bad, because the gauge is not really controlling anything, I assume there is a clog somewhere...

    I have emptied all of the water including all pipes...So what now besides me getting a new gauge? What other lines should I disconnect for unclogging? Maybe a refill may unclog it?
  • dead gauge

    definitely, put on a new gauge [0-30psi, as required by code, but useless for diagnostics]. the only electrical connection is to the pressuretrol, and the low water cut-off [lwco].

    i can't see the settings on the pressuretrol, but from the lever position, they seem to be set too high, and the pigtail may be clogged, resulting in elevated pressure.

    those main vents need to be changed out for at least a gorton #1 or 2.

    be careful about too much draining and refilling, as the fresh water has a lot of oxygen in it. oxygen+iron+water=rust!--nbc
  • Hap_Hazzard
    Hap_Hazzard Member Posts: 2,395
    Not surprised.

    The gauge wasn't isolated from the steam, so I'm not surprised that it failed. The pressuretrol is mounted on a pigtail (aka siphon or steam trap), but the gauge is screwed into the tee at the end of a straight vertical pipe nipple, so it would be exposed to live steam. The pressuretrol may have suffered a similar fate if its trap was empty. It looks to be somewhere between 4 and 6 inches above the water line, so it would be hard for much water to get into it, so unless it was filled at the outset, it might not have enough water in it to prevent the steam from reaching the pressuretrol's diaphragm.

    The gauge doesn't control anything. It's just there to tell you what the pressure is inside the boiler. It has no electrical connections. The pressuretrol contains a simple on-off switch that switches off the burners when the pressure reaches its set point. It senses pressure via the displacement of its diaphragm, which pushes a metal rod against a rocker that contacts the microswitch. In the absence of any pressure the switch contacts should be closed. When the pressure acting on the diaphragm rises to the cut-out point, the switch should open. It should close again when the pressure drops to the cut-in point.

    While you have the thing apart, make sure you can blow air through the pigtail, then see if you can see any movement in the pressuretrol when you blow air into it. If they're both okay, fill the pigtail with water and put it back together and order a new gauge and a pigtail to install it on. You might want to rotate your tee 90 degrees so you can mount the pigtail for the gauge on the side opposite the one for the pressuretrol instead of having it come out the top, but make sure you get the right kind of pigtail for the way you choose to mount it.

    If your pigtail is clogged, you'll need to order a new one. Sometimes you can unclog them if you work at it, but it usually isn't worth the frustration.
    Just another DIYer | King of Prussia, PA
    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S | 3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
  • elnene2k
    elnene2k Member Posts: 8

    Thanks so much for the help guys!

    I was clueless when I started till I found this site...

    So I took the pigtail apart and it was indeed clogged with black crud...I blew into it with my mouth (nasty, I know), but it cleared out a bunch of gunk pretty easily...

    I went to my local hardware store and bought another 0-30 gauge and installed it along with clean pigtail...Connected everything together and flipped the swtch at the new recommended lower pressuretrol settings and it started back up without a prob....

    It is running fine right now but the new air valves and pigtail are definitely in order...Going with the Gorton #1's I found at an online site...Need to get the 3/4 connection...

    I wonder if these old ones will come out based on how tight and rusty they appear to be...

    I'll let you guys know in a few days to see how the system is behaving...
  • elnene2k
    elnene2k Member Posts: 8
    Thread sealer

    Quick note: I used teflon tape to seal the threads on the connections of pigtail & gauge...Should I have used something else?

    What about for the air valves? What should I use?
  • Hap_Hazzard
    Hap_Hazzard Member Posts: 2,395
    Thread sealer

    PTFE (teflon) tape is fine for 1/4" joints, but for larger ones you'd want to use pipe joint compound.

    Make sure you put a siphon between the new gauge and the boiler. The original gauge might have had an internal siphon (though I doubt it), but I'm pretty sure the new one doesn't. You can either get a new pigtail for it or mount it on the existing one by putting the tee after the pigtail and adding any elbows, nipples and couplers you need.
    Just another DIYer | King of Prussia, PA
    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S | 3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
  • elnene2k
    elnene2k Member Posts: 8
    I see Hap...

    Yeah, I see what you mean...I will def be flipping the T to bypass the gauge once I get a new pigtail and will use a 0-3 psi gauge...

    Thanks again peeps!

    PS: Just ordered the new Gorton #1 vents!
  • elnene2k
    elnene2k Member Posts: 8
    Thanks again

    Yeah, I will def follow the advice...thanks Hap
This discussion has been closed.