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a lot to do,and more questions

I am obsessed with getting my (2 pipe system RIGHT.) I fear,I dealt mainly with knuckleheads. Then I read that wonderful book,by Dan H., I am an almost 77 year old female,and hope to win a medal as his oldest woman-follower.OK, here it goes:    #1: I set the "cut"out pressure... almost to the lowest point, now...do I have to worry about getting a shock when I open the screw to look into the insides? It was at a 2, got it down to .5,should I go lower? and THEN,what should the "cut-out" # be?   #2. the water is pretty rusty when I let a little out here and then (I have a modern Utica boiler with automatic water-filler, it seems to fill it,regardless of the boilers body-heat! Now, one knuckle-head told me to turn off the electricity when I empty the boiler..huh?? I read to turn ON the heat, it should turn itself off,  ok, and I will do this on a warm day,so no heat will be needed for a while. Then--does the automatic filler do the job, or do I open the manual waterhandle?Can I actually keep the water running for a few minutes? I asume to have a hose going to the sink,or maybe I have to carry a bucket, that would mean a slow proccess. What do you say? More questions latr, I hope I get some help. I wish I had learned about steamheating 55 years ago, unstead to dream of a wedding. Well,never to late,I hope. steam-crazed 


  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,736
    edited February 2012
    Depending on which boiler you have

    the controls may be wired for 120 volts or 24 volts. So it's best to turn the power off to the boiler if you're not sure which, before opening the pressuretrol up. Is this boiler oil-fired or gas-fired? What model is it?

    When you're inside the pressuretrol, you'll see a white wheel with numbers on it. Turn this wheel until the number 1 points to the front of the control.

    If the pressuretrol cut-in is set to 0.5 PSI and the differential (white wheel) to 1, it will cut off the burner at 1.5 PSI assuming the control is accurate.

    You say this is a 2-pipe system- are there any manufacturer's names on the original radiator valves, traps or any hardware in the pipes around the boiler? Can you post some pictures?
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 22,972
    No, it's never too late to learn

    and steam responds very well to common sense!

    On pressure -- most pressuretrols respond well to what you are doing -- the cut in (which I think you meant) is set on the outside, and 0.5 is as low as they will go.  The cutout is set by that, plus the differential which is set by the dial inside, which is typically set at 1 -- which will work just fine.  It is probably a good idea to turn the power to the system off, though, if you do decide to take the cover off and poke around inside.  Got to admit I don't always, but...

    On water -- where are you letting the water out?  Typically there will be a combination low water cut out and automatic feeder thing on the face of the boiler, next to the sight glass, and it will have a big valve at the bottom of it.  Once a week or so you should open that valve and drain the goopy water into a bucket (so you can see what's coming out).  It will be grungy, but should clear up pretty quickly -- a gallon or two should do it.  That's all the draining that's usually needed.

    There are two schools of thought on power and the automatic feeder while you are doing this.  One of them says to leave the power on, and do it when the boiler is running.  It should turn off and the water feeder should feed -- that way you know that the low water cut off is working as advertised, ditto the feeder.  The other school of thought is that if your feeder keeps track of the gallons fed, and that's of interest, is to first mark the water level on the sight glass (I use spring type clothespins -- they're ust right), then turn the power off and close the isolating valves on the feeder and do the flushing, then use the manual valve to bring the water level back up to where it was (and close it!), turn the isolating valves back on and turn the power back on.  It's easier to do than it is to describe...

    I believe in automatic water feeders, by the way, particularly the sort that keep track of water fed.  It's good peace of mind to know it's there and it works -- particularly at our age!

    There is no need at all to drain more water than that from the boiler on any sort of regular basis.  Some don't drain the boiler at all... ever!
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • steancrazed
    steancrazed Member Posts: 11

    OK, I will do more homework. the power is the normal house-current, Utica Boiler Peg, I will get more info and Pictures. But 1 more question, I want to clean the glass that is now all rusty and dirty, I have to look very closely,and I failed to watch the Mechanic how he closed the water off, I see 1 turner on top.... Maybe I should wait till someone can show me in real slow motion. Thanks, I will be back again. Ingrid
  • steancrazed
    steancrazed Member Posts: 11
    utica boiler

    ok its 120 volt,Gas fired and I will turn off the power just in case.The screw looks funny,at the bottom of this pressuretrol, maybe its set already on the right spot, but how can I know. Actually after sooooo many years of love and care,and considering,its not all done(more insulating to be done for one it runns pretty well)

    Nevermind all the steamtrapps that have never been touched. thanks again
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