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Its always something, leaking drain on 2nd steam of the season.

Its always something. First cold night here, getting down into the thirties. I had already run the boiler once this year, just to make sure everything fired up. My wife asked if it was ok to turn the heat on. I said sure, but let me just check the boiler beforehand.



While I was down there it occurred to me to drain a little water off the drains on the returns and the boiler, since I had fired the system up once, and it would probably have collected quite a bit of crud.  Upon closing the drain on the boiler itself I was rewarded with a steady drip, drip, drip, about every second.



I tried to open and close it all the way, tried a putting a little english on it with some channellocks, no dice. So I dug around in what I have for plumbing parts. I did not have a cap, so I ended up with a garden hose to 1/2" NPT adapter ->black iron nipple ->1/2" ball valve.  Not super pretty, but seems to be holding water, and the heat is on, and the wife is happy.



On another note, check out where the boiler drain and skim port on this boiler are, then look how the equalizer and hartford loop were plumbed, Something tells me it was never skimmed, since the equalizer pretty much blocks the port.. There is no access to the mud leg.
If you can't be good, at least be good at it.

Comments

  • Hap_Hazzard
    Hap_Hazzard Member Posts: 2,849
    That should get you through the season.

    It's not hard to change a boiler drain, but you can wait until spring. Then you might want to do a complete repipe if you're up to it. I can see a whole litany of problems there, just in those three pictures.



    If you're handy you can probably get it done over the summer, but it's a learning experience.
    Just another DIYer | King of Prussia, PA
    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S | 3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
  • nicholas bonham-carter
    nicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,576
    Dripping drain valve

    Maybe it would be a good idea to change that valve for a full port ball valve, which does not have a washer to be damaged by rust particles on the seat.

    I also notice your riser appears to have been bushed down which could cause a bit of wet steam, with condensate being shot up into the mains as a result of the higher velocity.

    You have guessed correctly about the lack of skimming, I am sure.--NBC
  • Toymotorhead
    Toymotorhead Member Posts: 54
    It ain't as good as it should be but its better then it was.

    I had been thinking about changing the drain out, and extending it to a new location. Just to keep from burning my hands when I drain it down. I like the idea of a full port ball valve, especially since I don't have a good mud leg.



    There are a laundry list of problems with this boiler. I think the installer might need a good working over with his own pipe wrench.



    Its a Weil-McClain EG40 so that is a decent start. And according to some quick calculations on how much EDR I have, even with installing the missing radiator I should be just about right size wise.



    Electrical: When I bought the house the service switch was buried behind the gas pipe. Like bend the gas pipe out of the way to turn it off buried There was no cutoff switch at the top of the basement stairs. There was no firematic thermal cutoff over the boiler. The boiler was tied in with the basement lights. All those I have fixed.



    Now onto the harder problems

    The boiler does not sit level. The near boiler piping was not done right. The main riser is reduced down, there is no real header, the equalizer and hartford are in one of the worst possible locations, so skimming is going to be really hard, if not impossible. I might try to see if I can skim anything off the tee on the equalizer, I don't hold a lot of hope, but Its worth a try. (its amazing what you can learn hanging around here)  The main tees off itself to one radiator in an upstairs bathroom on like a 50 foot run. Its kinda odd but since there are no unions on either branch of that tee I think its original, and it works.



    Oddly enough though, I have found through trial and error, it seems that once I get the water de-rusty in the fall, and if I keep the water in the sight glass slightly below 1/2 way, its seems to make pretty good steam. Its the difference between: yea! the pipes are hot, and @#$% where is the burn cream.



    This winters projects (why do I always wait till winter?) Getting that boiler drain redone, getting the Home-Cheepo main line vents changed out with a Gorton #2 on the big loop, and #1 on the small loop. And adding a second gauge with a usable scale. And adding a radiator back where a previous owner extended the riser 10 feet horizontally and replaced the radiator with a section of finned pipe, with all the plumbing pitched the wrong way. That is after I get the buggered up spud out of the radiator I traded a rack of Budwiser for, and get it blasted and painted, and order a new valve.



    One of these days I will have the time or money for all that.

    Cheers

    Richard.
    If you can't be good, at least be good at it.
  • gerry gill
    gerry gill Member Posts: 3,078
    Another boiler piped by someone who cant read.

    Just change the drain out to a ball valve. One with a lanyard and cap would be nice. Could also repipe the header while your at it.
    gwgillplumbingandheating.com
    Serving Cleveland's eastern suburbs from Cleveland Heights down to Cuyahoga Falls.

  • crash2009
    crash2009 Member Posts: 1,484
    Spider webs

     in the second picture, would suggest, that it might be time to have the burners cleaned.  I don't know why, but those little buggers seem to be attracted to the pilot light.  Proper cleaning and testing of the low water cut-off switch is pretty much mandatory every year.  If, you remove the pressure gauge from the pigtail and blow in the hole, that will ensure that the pigtail is not plugged.  Weil Mclains (at least mine does) have another drain on the other side of the boiler.  Skimming, from here, it looks like, you should be able to get to it, just below the pigtail to the left.  The skimmer will probably leak too-get some caps.



    Let's not forget, the most important maintenance. Have a combustion analysis done when you get the burners cleaned.     
  • Hap_Hazzard
    Hap_Hazzard Member Posts: 2,849
    Ball Valves

    If you're a Harbor Freight shopper, check your coupons. I noticed they had coupons for all their full-port ball valves this month. I've never seen them do that before. They seem to be pretty decent valves, and even their regular prices aren't bad.
    Just another DIYer | King of Prussia, PA
    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S | 3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
  • Toymotorhead
    Toymotorhead Member Posts: 54
    Skimming from the Equalizer

    Due to the way the equalizer is plumbed (mentioned in the last post) My only option for skimming is the plugged tee on the equalizer. I managed to get the plug out. 1) Remind me to ask for something bigger then a 16" pipe wrench for Christmas. 2) Remind me to never use whatever pipe dope the installer used. Heat it, beat it, Cheat it. When I was done, I just cleaned the threads with a wire wheel and used teflon tape. I have I feeling I may be in there again.



    I heated up the boiler till it was almost steaming, installed a 2" nipple into the tee on the equalizer, and slowly raised the water level up to the equalizer over about 30 minutes, I skimmed off about 15 gallons of 200` water, The first bucket I could see oil in. The second I could not see anything.



    So all in all, a step in the right direction, not an ideal way to do things, but better then nothing. We will see if I my temperature probe on the riser runs any hotter over the next days.



    Cheers

    Richard.
    If you can't be good, at least be good at it.
  • Hap_Hazzard
    Hap_Hazzard Member Posts: 2,849
    Joint Compound

    I've been using a pipe joint compound with teflon. http://www.oatey.com/apps/catalog/instance_assets/assets/Photo/31233.jpg
    Just another DIYer | King of Prussia, PA
    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S | 3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
  • Toymotorhead
    Toymotorhead Member Posts: 54
    Repairs went pretty easy.

    Got around to replacing the crappy boiler drain. I considered just trying to replace the washers in it, but the threads and the stem were just too chewed up to make it worth trying. The old drain came right out of the water jacked, but I did order a 3/4" Pipe tap ahead of time, I could have gotten away with no having it, but Murphy says it was worth ordering ahead of time.



    I extended the drain port out from behind the hartford loop, and instead of a boiler drain I used a ball valve. I go the fitting worked out so it is still pretty close to the boiler itself and would be hard to hit walking by, and I clocked the handle on the valve so its very hard to accidentally hit.



    I tried to wash all the fittings down to get the oil off them beforehand, its anybody's guess as to how well it worked.



    I added a some support, since its extended so far. Its a EMT conduit clip, and some spacers made out of EMT, and a little plate cut down out of some stuff from the scrap bin. It should add some support, but still be pretty flexible if the whole assembly tries to move due to thermal expansion.



    I need to order up a 3/4"NPT to garden hose adapter, but for now this will work quite well.



    On another note, this was my first time using the "Blue Monster" brand tape and dope, I see why so many people like it. It just seems to work easier.



    Ever forward.
    If you can't be good, at least be good at it.
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