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Boiler leaking ... safe to throw valve?

I have a very old gas-fired boiler, The New Yorker, S-131-AP, 113,900 Btu/hr output.  I know nothing about its operation.  We hired a technician to come out and maintain it and were told there was no maintenance to be performed.

A leak developed on an outside pipe, in a joint labeled 1/2" 9D-M3 Backflow Preventer.  This is right next to a bell-shaped device whose label I cannot read.

I'm clueless and there are pipes going everywhere.  The valve handle nearest the leak (I'll call this handle "A") stops the leak, but I'm reluctant to throw any valves without knowing what I'm doing.  For now I am channeling the leak to buckets while I seek knowledge.  Before I discovered the leak, the water had run all over a cluster of electrical devices protruding from the front of the boiler (power to the unit has been off for months).

Picture attached, but here's the sequence of pipes starting from outside the room (and honestly I don't know which direction is which): there's a 3/4-inchish pipe from outside to a T joint, one branch of which (the NON-leaking branch) splits again and both sides run into the unit (still small pipes), with some kind of tiny T-valve on one that leads to another small pipe (with a shutoff handle) leaving the room. The other branch from the first T I described passes through shutoff handle "A" on its way to the section with the bell on top, then joins a larger pipe that has an upright cylinder sticking out of lit (shaped like an upside-down radio tube), and this larger pipe goes into the boiler through some kind of electrical box, as well as down through the floor.

Leaking perhaps a gallon every several minutes if that matters.

Grateful for any assistance ... I don't want to do something stupid.

Hoping I can just throw the lever and call for help, but do I call HVAC or plumber?


  • Danny ScullyDanny Scully Member Posts: 609
    edited September 2012
    Yes, close valve call technician

    Yes, you can close valve labeled "A" and call technician. This appears to be a condensate hot water heating zone off a steam boiler (internal heat exchanger). The backflow preventor does just what its name implys, it prevents the backflow of boiler water into your domestic water system. Backflow preventors usually have union connections, so if it's leaking from there it should be able to be tightened without too much of a hassle. The backflow preventor may also be leaking from a built in relief vent, which some are equipped with. In this case, it should either be replaced or cleaned. Good luck!
  • Charlie from wmassCharlie from wmass Member Posts: 3,922
    check the find a contractor tab on the top of the page

    Hopefully there is a person near you listed. In the mean time clear the plastice bags and stuff away from the boiler. it needs room from combustibles and the person doing the reapirs will need the room too.
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
  • RobGRobG Member Posts: 1,850

    Follow the advice given above. The tech who told you that your system required no maintenance should never be let in your house again. use the "find a contractor" section on this site. If you cannot find one near you, let us know your location and we will help you find one. In the meantime, shut of the valve to stop the leak, also, turn off the power to the unit, there should be an emergency switch located near the boiler or the boiler room entrance. If you can't find it, shut off the circuit breaker to the boiler.

  • BillTheNoobBillTheNoob Member Posts: 2
    Thank you

    Thank you all for the quick responses.  Using the lookup here, I could not find a contractor anywhere close by.  ZIP code 23508 in Norfolk, VA.

    Thanks again.
  • RodRod Posts: 2,067
    Norfolk Pro Lead

    Hi- You might want to contact Dan Foley. He is an experienced steam pro and is located in northern Virginia near Washington. When I contacted him last spring, he told me he doesn’t go as far south as Norfolk.  However, he did give me a name of a good pro located in Norfolk, which unfortunately I don’t still have. You might want to contact him as I‘m sure he could recommend someone to you.    Dan Foley’s email is: [email protected]   


    - Rod
  • nicholas bonham-carternicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 6,535
    edited September 2012
    Never throw away old parts

    Never throw away any parts of your steam system-especially valves, which may be proprietary to some ancient system.. If you are certain with consultation with a professional that a part is not needed, then offer it up here on the barter page.

    Many people have thrown a switch and were very sorry they had done so.--NBC
  • Dan FoleyDan Foley Member Posts: 1,046


    Thank you for thinking of me.  Norfolk is about 3 hours away and too far for me.  I would recommend Gary Hayden @ Premier Comfort:

    531 West 24th Street  Norfolk, VA 23517

    (757) 965-3538
  • RodRod Posts: 2,067

    Hi Dan- Thanks very much for the referral to the Norfolk heating pro. After writing my post I remembered that my cousin has just recently bought a house in Norfolk so I'll pass the name along to him too.

    - Rod
This discussion has been closed.


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