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keep having to refill boiler

michael_15
michael_15 Member Posts: 231
So I'm trying to figure out what is going on with my system -- I have to refill the boiler approximately once per day, or after a few hours of run time. 



One pipe steam

I've checked over all of the main vents and radiator vents -- no leaks

I've checked over all of the piping (it's all exposed) -- no leaks

I thought maybe it was sending steam up the chimney, except that I don't really know how to check for that, especially if it's condensing and dripping back down or something.  I watched the chimney outside just now and I'd say there's moderate puffs of white stuff coming out, but don't know if that's just normal anyway.  File attached.  It's really big, so I'm not sure it worked, but it's also here:



<a href="https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B347ymE2TT5aOElON1U4OWw1VTg">https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B347ymE2TT5aOElON1U4OWw1VTg</a>



Is there anything else I ought to think about checking before summoning a professional?



Thanks!,



-Michael

Comments

  • JStar
    JStar Member Posts: 2,752
    Steam

    White cloud = leak. Verify this by overfilling the boiler and looking for water on the floor, or inside the boiler.



    Time for a new boiler.
  • Steve Whitbeck
    Steve Whitbeck Member Posts: 669
    Yup

    Time for a new boiler.

    white smoke out of the chimney with a steam boiler is a bad sign.

    Just imagine how much lower your gas bill will be with a new boiler.

    Now that you are no longer heating the outdoors.
  • signs of a leak

    you can overfill the boiler above the top, when it has been turned off, and let it sit for several hours. any leak should be seen in the firebox, or on the floor.

    when it first fires up on a cold day, there will be a short period of white exhaust, which will disappear as the flue gets warmed up.

    time to do your homework here by learning how to measure your radiators heat output [EDR], so the new boiler can be sized properly.

    how old is this boiler? post some pictures so we can see if improper piping has shortened its life.--nbc 
  • John Mills_5
    John Mills_5 Member Posts: 935
    Temp

    How cold out at the time of the video? 
  • michael_15
    michael_15 Member Posts: 231
    more information

    It was probably about 20 degrees F outside during the video.



    The funny thing is, the boiler is only nine years old.  I had it piped up by someone I'm pretty sure knew what he was doing, as well.  It's a bit oversized but not tremendously so -- I looked at some of my old notes and counted about 245 EDR of radiators and mains to what I believe was about a 100-110k BTU boiler.  Well, that was a lot more oversized, so I added some hot water radiators to it as well to heat other parts of the house. . .



    I tried overfilling the boiler a week or two ago, but I wasn't sure how full to make it.  I filled it probably 5 or 6 inches past the sight glass on the side, and then waited about 5 minutes, didn't see water, and re-drained it.  Perhaps I should have put in more water or waited longer. . .



    I've attached pictures of the piping.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 12,832
    9 years?

    While I can easily believe the block rotted out in 9 years if I were you I highly urge you to get the guy that installed it back to look at it.  Burnham gives a 10 year warranty on the block. 



     The Burnham V8 series that was in my house when I bought it had its block rott out in only 3 years then a second time in only 5 years, but this was due to abuse in my opinion.  I couldn't even go for warranty as I didn't originally buy the boiler and the company that installed it was out of business.



    I get some steam from my chimney on cold days, but I don't think as much as I see in your video.  Some steam is normal from a gas burner, has something to do with burning gas producing high levels of moisture.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • Mark N
    Mark N Member Posts: 1,094
    Leaks

    how often were you adding water before you had to refill every day? You should only lose less than a 1/2 gallon in a month. Find the leaks in your system or the next boiler will not last either. Have your water checked might be high in chlorides.
  • nicholas bonham-carter
    nicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,564
    Over-filling leak-test

    Fill it again, and leave it for most of the day, to show any drips. The hole may not have to be large to evaporate the amount of water you are losing. Take the pri off and fill it to overflow there.--nbc
  • michael_15
    michael_15 Member Posts: 231
    more updates

    Ah, the problem is, I'm not sure what the warranty information is.  I bought the house after the boiler was installed - I know it's nine years because it's written in marker on the boiler.  I had it repiped more recently when I had the FHW zone added.



    Anyway, before this season, I was refilling the boiler about once a year.  Then, early this season, it became once a week.  Now, it's once a day. 



    Ah, well.  If it is a boiler-has-a-hole-in-it problem, is that a fixable problem or is there significant boiler surgery/replacement needed?  Or perhaps a temporarily fixable problem if, say, I'm planning on renovating the whole house next year (not certain on that one)?



    Thanks again to everyone!
  • nicholas bonham-carter
    nicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,564
    Over-filling

    Let the boiler sit overfill for a day. You could take off the prv, and fill up to there.

    See if you can get the original installer to have a look, and tell you if any warranty is in effect. Post a picture of the boiler piping here so we can see if there are any problems.

    A leak above the waterline will not seal with any stop leak, so you will have to replace the sections, which Burnham may give you. If you can't find the original installer, then see who else on the Burnham website would be an installer in your area/distributor in your area.--NBC
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,306
    Credit towards a MegaSteam?

    If overfilling the boiler shows a leak I would think long and hard about replacing a section. the V8's are not known for longevity and replacing a section will cost a significant amount of money because it's a lot of labor. They will not pay a nickle for labor.



    If your going to stay with oil, see if Burnham will give you some credit towards a new MegaSteam boiler, they are really head and tails above most others.



    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
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 12,832
    Megasteam

    BobC I think you made a mistake as that is an Independence boiler and not oil fired.

    And we all know where Burnham stands on power burners with Megasteam.



    Besides, even though the boiler I had that rotted out was a V8,  I bet with a tight system that didn't loose much and water treatment I bet a V8 will last 20+ years. 
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • eklektech
    eklektech Member Posts: 6
    pressure reducing valve

    somewhere on the cold water line that feeds the boiler is a pressure reducing valve that keeps water in the system.  it reduces the water pressure from your home on one side of the valve to whatever the pressure is in your system (factory default it 12 lbs on most) and that valve keeps a constant 12lbs which keeps you from having to manually fill it.



    you need to check that valve to see if it is functioning. any shop that handles B&G parts will have one for around $65 depending on the pipe size feeding your boiler.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 12,832
    edited January 2013
    Steam

    eklektech this is a steam boiler not a hot water boiler.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • eklektech
    eklektech Member Posts: 6
    mea culpa

    i just gave myself a 'time-out.'



    i'll be back after i've sat and thought about what i've done.
  • nicholas bonham-carter
    nicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,564
    understandable mistake

    don't beat yourself up electech, it"s difficult with the layout here, for nooobies to know where to post their questions, and you naturally thought this was a hot water system. 

    maybe if "steam" was the first topic, then all steam questions would be in the right area, instead of being mixed up in "wall", and "steam". you never find hot water heating questions in the "steam" section, because of the order of topics.--nbc
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 12,832
    Yep

    A very understandable mistake as this should be in the steam section.



    Besides, its not like I said "OH MY GOD YOU IDIOT! THIS IS A STEAM SYSTEM!"



    :)
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
This discussion has been closed.