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how serious a problem is it to run a boiler without doing/testing low water cutoff controls?

elfie Member Posts: 266
and also assuming the blow downs are not being done and/or being done properly?

have someone managing system who I am unsure is doing blow downs or testing the low water cutoff functions

the makeup water meter has shown no activity for several months so no new water is going into boiler (a very tight system i guess) and sight glass shows water level is OK

its a large commercial boiler (15 section cast iron)



  • Jean-David Beyer
    Jean-David Beyer Member Posts: 2,666
    My guess as a non-professional

    is that it is like buying fire insurance, doing backups on your computer, and things like that. You do not need fire insurance until just before the fire. You do not need backups until just before the crash. And you do not need a functioning LWCO until a little before the boiler explodes.

    But unless your crystal ball is better than mine, and you look at it more often than I do, you better have a LWCO in working order at all times.
  • Hap_Hazzard
    Hap_Hazzard Member Posts: 2,849
    It all depends.

    If the LWCO is mechanical (i.e. float type), and there is heavy sedimentation, the float can be prevented from moving if the water level drops, so the burner won't be cut off and the boiler could dry fire if the water level continues to drop. If there is an automatic feeder, it wouldn't do you any good, because the LWCO wouldn't activate it.

    What kind of water meter does it have and how is it connected to the water supply? Is it possible to bypass it or reset it?

    When I blow down my boiler, I intentionally use a valve that bypasses the water feeder, so the meter still reads "000". I only want this meter to register any water that was added in response to a low water condition, so I will know if there has been any water loss due to leakage. If I were adding water through the feeder, I'd have to remember or write down the meter reading every week in order to see if it changed on its own, but I can remember "000" without having to write it down.

    If the person doing the blow-downs on this system does it the same way, or if they reset the meter each time, you won't see any change in the meter either, but if they aren't doing blow-downs, you would probably notice a lot of rust in the gauge glass.
    Just another DIYer | King of Prussia, PA
    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S | 3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
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