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Auto water feeder for steam boiler-Required??

EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,513
New Installation (Massachusetts) steam boiler with boiler feed tank and pumps.

 It has always been my understanding if the job was gravity return to the boiler (no pumps) that an automatic city water feeder was not code required.

 Howeaver if the condensate returned to the boiler with a condensate pump or with boiler feed pumps that an automatic city water feeder was required on each boiler even if the make-up water was also piped to the boiler feed tank. 

Now I am finding several people do not agree with me. Anyone have any input? Maybe the Ma. code has changed?



  • nicholas bonham-carter
    nicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,576

    They are not required in Nebraska, but don't know about Mass. I feel they are the work of the devil, masking over-feeding due to leaks. The metering function is good, but will the owner read the meter?

    If the boiler has been installed improperly, and the pressure is too high, then they feed whenever the waterline drops due to water being pushed out,into the returns, resulting in a waterlogged boiler.

    If installed, they should be valved off for the first season of a replacement boiler to catch any leaks, which will more apparent when the lwco shuts the system down on low water. Of course if there is no one responsible in attendance, maybe this would be impractical.--NBC
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,477
    I live just south of Boston

    I recently put out a request for quote to several contractors for replacing my steam boiler. I specified that no auto feeder be installed and they all agreed so I don't think there is a requirement in MA.

    I am not a pro so there may be conditions where a auto feeder is required but not for a simple residential system.

    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,513
    water feeder

    I'm not sold on using them, I think putting cold water in a hot boiler may not be the best thing to do.

     I just wan't to know if it is MA code or not. My memory is that is was required at one time. I can't find it there now in the code but they have now adopted the ASME code in addition to some of their own rules and I don't have a copy. I called the boiler manufacturer and they were not sure. Waiting for them to get back to me. My next step is an e-mail to the State Boiler Inspector. Thanks for the reply.

  • nicholas bonham-carter
    nicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,576
    Cold water into boiler

    If you connect the feed into the wet return, then the fresh water will have a chance to be tempered before it enters the boiler. Since it is full of oxygen, the corrosion potential is in the return, which is easier to replace than the section of the boiler.--NBC
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,513
    water feeder

    Yes, that is a good point the city water should always mix with the return water before it enters the boiler.

     I did get an e-mail from the state inspector in response to the above question. They would like to see water feeders on the boilers that are equipped with pumps but the code only implies this they cannot insist that it be installed.
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