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No Site Glass Gauge

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I have a PEBCO steam boiler. No site glass gauge to see water level in boiler. Boiler is covered in ab cement. It has a small drip valve at bottom bell of boiler on return pipe of two pipe system installed around1920. There is a bolt on the top bell shaped fitting about half way up boiler under the pressure gauge.

If I open the bolt on top bell and fill until water comes out, is that the right level?

This is my first winter to run a steam boiler.

Not cover in the Lost Art.

Comments

  • nicholas bonham-carter
    nicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,578
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    Pictures please

    Your boiler must be so old that it only has "try cocks"

    Replacing those with a sight-glass would make life easier. Does it have a low water cutoff?--NBC
  • NewSteamKid
    NewSteamKid Member Posts: 8
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    Pictures

    Have slow connection.

    Now low water cutoff that I can see.
  • NewSteamKid
    NewSteamKid Member Posts: 8
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    One more picture

    Gas feed
  • nicholas bonham-carter
    nicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,578
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    Surge column

    At one time, there were no doubt, the components of a sight-glass: gauge cocks, and sight, or gauge-glass, and it would be a good idea to reinstall them, especially if you have no LWCO. The components are not expensive atpexsupply.com.--NBC
  • NewSteamKid
    NewSteamKid Member Posts: 8
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    WILCO

    Thanks

    I will put a site glass between the bottom tricock/bell and the top bell with the bolt.
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,076
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    Are you certain this is steam??

    NBC,  the first picture looks like the Honeywell Heat maker for gravity flow hot water as in How Come? pages 38 & 39,  if so this is full of mercury.  Could the picture with the top control be showing an old aquastat?  Send some pictures of more boiler piping and radiators.
  • nicholas bonham-carter
    nicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,578
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    Proceed with caution

    Good call. Best to study this carefully before taking any action. May we have some more pictures please of the column, and details of any graphics, lettering on it.

    Some old boilers had rather sculpted surge columns, but maybe this is not the case here.--NBC
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,076
    edited October 2013
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    To new steam kid;

    Look for an open expansion tank in the attic or on a high wall on top finished floor.  Or maybe one hanging in the basement between floor joists.  This system could make steam but might be an accident if it did in more ways than one.  Do the radiators have a steam vent on them or just a air bleed square head screw device.  Usually chewed up by pliers by now.  If in doubt  get Dan's book How Come?  (Hot water only)

    Also the open expansion tank (roughly 2' X 2' X 3') could be boxed in to make it pretty or if in the attic boxed in & insulated to keep it from freezing.  Boiler nameplate might say steam but usually include water listing also.
  • JStar
    JStar Member Posts: 2,752
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    Boiler

    Sure looks like a mercury pot.



    http://www.heatinghelp.com/files/articles/1210/86.pdf



    Here's a Honeywell Hot Water System brochure.
  • nicholas bonham-carter
    nicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,578
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    Thank goodness for the collective wisdom here!!

    Luckily there are many eyes, and brains here to catch these things, and their nuances.--NBC
  • NewSteamKid
    NewSteamKid Member Posts: 8
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    No longer a Steam Kid

    Thanks

    I did not see a "pump" on the system so I thought it was steam. The old PEBCO boiler is rated for water and steam. That mercury system had to be high-tech back in the day. I have won a double lottery: Mercury and asbestos. Two inch pipes feed the 3/4 inch risers.

    The expansion tank is in the attic. I tried to take a photo for my first post but it was too dark to get a photo with my IPad.

    How do I check the water level? Turn on water and wait for water to come out the expansion tank overflow that goes back down to the basement.

    I will get the book.

    Anyone need a book on steam heat?
  • NewSteamKid
    NewSteamKid Member Posts: 8
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    No longer a Steam Kid

    Thanks

    I did not see a "pump" on the system so I thought it was steam. The old PEBCO boiler is rated for water and steam. That mercury system had to be high-tech back in the day. I have won a double lottery: Mercury and asbestos. Two inch pipes feed the 3/4 inch risers.

    The expansion tank is in the attic. I tried to take a photo for my first post but it was too dark to get a photo with my IPad.

    How do I check the water level? Turn on water and wait for water to come out the expansion tank overflow that goes back down to the basement.

    I will get the book.

    Anyone need a book on steam heat?
  • NewSteamKid
    NewSteamKid Member Posts: 8
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    Expansion Tank

    Slow connection.

    Tank in attic.
  • NewSteamKid
    NewSteamKid Member Posts: 8
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    Valve

    Valve on Rad

    Hot Water?
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,076
    edited October 2013
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    To new gravity kid

    Your expansion tank looks newer than the rest of the system; is it open on the top?  How Come? has your system in it, as does Classic Hydronics.  As for your steam book there was a Steam Lady in North Utah "TAMBATE" who posted on the Main Wall 9-29-13.  She might be in the steam book market?

    Just make sure your 30 PSI relief valve works and the aquastat high limit functions.  Until one actually knows where the water level is I would only add water to a cold system.  And also it is a triple lottery; there got to be lead in there somewhere too :)  Opening the air bleed vents would also give you an indication of where the water level is.  If no air or water comes out then you need more height of water in the system.  Again I would only add water to the system when cold.
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