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Weil-McLain Water Woes

AM7
AM7 Member Posts: 14
Happy Holidays all!

This is a convoluted story, but I'll try to state it clearly.



We have a W-Mc EG series gas boiler that's probably 12 years old. Until last winter it was working fine. Now, it goes through literally gallons of water in as little as a night. The glass can be nearly full at 9 pm and completely dry by 3 in the morning - at which point the house is freezing (59 degrees last night).



I had a plumber examine the piping in the basement and some of the radiators, which he tightened, but the problem continues. I also had the unit serviced in the fall.



I spoke with W-Mc and was told that the problem appears to be a cracked heat exchanger. However, the tell-tale signs of a crack don't exist -- there's no sign of water anywhere near the boiler (or in any of the walls or on the floor near the radiators, for that matter) -- and I don't see steam coming from the chimney when the unit is running.



We do get a lot of hammering, knocking and what sounds like high-speed dripping in the piping on one side of the house, but only there.



Any thoughts?

 

Comments

  • Tim McElwain
    Tim McElwain Member Posts: 4,480
    Is your condensate return line

    back to the boiler buried in the floor (called a wet return)? If so it may be leaking and seeping into the ground. Your plumber should have picked up on that however.



    Do you have vents on the radiators (single pipe system)?
  • AM7
    AM7 Member Posts: 14
    water woes reply

    Thanks for your reply.

    The plumber went through the basement and could find no underground pipes. If by vents you mean secondary valves (the small ones that sit on the side of the radiator opposite the main valve), then yes, that's what we have.
  • Smith19
    Smith19 Member Posts: 95
    Traps

    Also check your traps to see if they have been bled, as that's a primary cause for banging.
  • Smith19
    Smith19 Member Posts: 95
    Traps

    Also check your traps to see if they have been bled, as that's a primary cause for banging.
  • AM7
    AM7 Member Posts: 14
    traps

    Thanks. Would that have anything to do with loss of water from the system, too?
  • Paul48
    Paul48 Member Posts: 4,470
    Look Up!

    Got clouds of white coming out of the chimney?
  • AM7
    AM7 Member Posts: 14
    water woes

    I haven't seen any. I keep looking, too. 
  • Paul48
    Paul48 Member Posts: 4,470
    Wet Return

    Have the plumber either replace the wet return, or at least blow it out.The condensate can't get back to the boiler, and is backing up. That's your banging, as it comes in contact with live steam.
  • AM7
    AM7 Member Posts: 14
    wet return

    Thanks for the advice. I'll ask him to take a look at it.

    Could that be causing the system to run dry so quickly?
  • Paul48
    Paul48 Member Posts: 4,470
    edited December 2012
    Sure

    Picture a pot of water boiling on high on the stove.Your boiler can produce 10 - 15 times the heat.The wet return is the garbage pit of the system. If he decides to replace the wet return, only use copper below the normal water line of the boiler. http://ezinearticles.com/?Residential-Steam-Heating-Maintenance-1-Point-0&id=3183432
  • AM7
    AM7 Member Posts: 14
    chimney

    Well, tonight I saw steam coming from the chimney for the first time. So, I guess that means a cracked heat exchanger, right?

    Now the question is: do I replace the part or the boiler?
  • Paul48
    Paul48 Member Posts: 4,470
    Copy

    and repost your original post in the STEAM section.I'd still investigate a plugged wet return. Wisps of white smoke from the chimney is normal. Clouds like an old steam engine is not. Repost to steam and get the pros take on your situation.
  • AM7
    AM7 Member Posts: 14
    diagnosis

    Sure enough, there is a crack in the block. Now the question is: why should I accept W-Mc's offer to replace the single section when the whole unit might be faulty? 
  • Paul48
    Paul48 Member Posts: 4,470
    Warranty

    That is probably what the warranty covers.The problem is, the labor to replace the boiler section will probably be more than  the labor for installing a replacement boiler.
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,228
    Time for a new boiler

    Unless the boiler piping is textbook perfect I would install a new boiler. Replacing the section is going to cost a lot of money because there is a lot more labor involved and no guarantee that something won't fall apart in the process. Boiler warrantees keep the manufacturer honest but don't do a lot for the homeowner.



    If you were going to do the labor yourself that would be one thing but time is money and your looking at a lot of hours there. Make sure a new boiler is sized right and installed right, no shortcuts!



    Bob
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • SWEI
    SWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    ask

    Weil-McClain or the rep if they will apply a credit (for the cost of the section) to the purchase of a new boiler.
  • Paul48
    Paul48 Member Posts: 4,470
    Agreed

    Try to get some comp from them.Just don't lock in an easy out for them. Their cost for the section is probably very small.Maybe an employee discount would be more appropriate.Try fair negotiation first....you can always settle.
  • CMadatMe
    CMadatMe Member Posts: 3,085
    edited December 2012
    Be Careful How You Bark

    They may just ask for you to send the section back for inspection. What section and where was the crack at? Just because it's cracked doesn't mean it's defective. If the cause goes un diagnosed you'll have the same issue down the line. Here's a little article fo digest before you bark too loud.



    http://www.heatinghelp.com/article/323/Boilers/244/Steam-Boiler-Failure
    "The bitter taste of a poor installation remains much longer than the sweet taste of the lowest price."
  • Paul48
    Paul48 Member Posts: 4,470
    Please...No Barking!

    I definately wasn't advocating that. If you become the enemy of the person on the other end of the line....YOU'RE DONE. Be kind and ask for their help. They may be able to offer you something good.
This discussion has been closed.