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Pipes leaking at shutoff connectors (All of them)

CraigsCraigs Member Posts: 24
Hey all,

So I recently just went through a tune-up of my heating system. Well-Meclain SGO Gold with 2" mains, and 1" feeds off the mains to radiators. I have about 39' of main, and a Maid-O-Mist#1 main vent on the end.

I've had the house since 2011, and had the first cleaning in October 2013.

Before the cleaning, I had done nothing to the system, and it worked great after pitching all radiators.

So then I decided to buy "We Got steam heat" and give it some TLC.

I replaced a VentRite.35 main vent with a maid-o-mist #1, so now less air coming from my radiators when it fires up. I also insulated all piping in the basement (Wish they said it shrinks about ½" per 6' before I cut and installed it).

And I put in a variable 1-5PSI and 1-30 varying pressure valve.

So you'd think things would be better now.

Well, whats happening now is that the radiators are all spitting just slightly at all the shutoffs. Not at the knuckle, but there and around the main fitting. It's nothing drastic, but you hear all of them, just like a little slight hissing/spitting and a drip from like condensation every 10 minutes or so, so not drastic.

I have a Honeywell pressuretrol 97-331a set at 1 differential, and .5 cut in. (cut in as low as I can go). The pressure gauge only says about .1psi when the system has been going at full bore for about 15 minutes. Why can't I get .5 like I desire. I hear of people getting anywhere from .5 to 2 psi, yet I only have .1, or my gauge. If I take it off and blow into it with force, it does move, so I don't think it's defective. It's one of the duals that reads from -30 - 30 and -1 to 2psi.

Water level is fine. Boiler works fine. I re-packed all the shutoffs with fresh graphite packing last winter also, before the whole heating season and no leaks.

I hear a lot of boiling water in the pipes near the boiler, that I didn't think I heard before, but might have just not been paying attention before I read the book.

Main thing I'm concerned with is I had 0 leaks before on any radiators, now they all spit just a tad. I'd rather have it back to the way it was with no leaks of course. Something had to go wrong with the boiler, as I can see one leak possible, but not all. And I would assume it's too much pressure, but it only shows .1psi. Is this to little?



  • New leaks after servicing

    I suspect your pressure is much too high now, as a result of the pressuretrol adjustments, having disconnected the linkage, or the pigtail being clogged. A good low pressure gauge would tell you in ounces how over the top you were, and a vaporstat would be more accurate. You can also tell when you have enough main venting by the back pressure of venting on the gauge (2 ounces is ideal).--NBC
  • CraigsCraigs Member Posts: 24

    Pressure gauge only reads .1, and it's brand spanking new, and it reads 0 with the system off.

    disconnecting linkage???

    Can I clean the pigtail? I'm assuming this is to the pressuretrol?

    Back pressure of venting gauge?

    Laymans terms please.
  • Ounces of pressure

    You only need a few ounces of pressure to get steam up several floors, and of course the 0-30 psi gauge is useless for diagnostics, so an accurate gauge would show you your real pressure.

    Ironically, the cheapest components shipped with the boiler are the gauge, and pressuretrol. I adjusted mine during the first few firings, and the disconnected linkage allowed the pressure to shoot up to 10psi. I then got a vaporstat and later found the right gauge. When I started adding main vents, I continued adding until during the venting phase the pressure didn't exceed a couple of ounces. When the vents close, the pressure goes up to 8 ounces, so the right gauge is useful. Maximum main venting prevents short-cycling during the venting phase, but of course if your boiler is too big, then you will have short-cycling. Some boilers can be under fired to compensate for that.--NBC
  • icesailoricesailor Member Posts: 7,265

    Buy and install a pressure/vacuum steam gauge. It doesn't stop at zero but goes negative. Buy a good one, not a cheap one.

    You're learning why using rubber "Armaflex" type insulation doesn't work as well on heating systems. Especially steam. It shrinks. Fiberglass is a lot more expensive, it's better and doesn't shrink.

    If the "Steamers" here agree with me about the gauge, perhaps they will recommend one. I don't consider myself a "Steamer". I can get "Steamed Up" when I see some of the things that the "You Can't Fix Stupid" crowd do.

    Some may say that about me.
  • CraigsCraigs Member Posts: 24
    Recommend a gauge to buy?

    This one does go from -1 to 2 psi, but also has a scale of -30 to 30 on it as well. And it was just installed last month.

    I still don't understand the "Linkage" reference.

    Should I clean the pigtail?

    My vents on my radiators don't make a peep, but I know they are working, cause when the system fired up this morning, I checked, and I could feel cold air slowly coming out them. going from the vent rite .35 to the maid-o-mist 1 mad a difference on that for sure.
  • Linkage

    Inside the pressuretrol is some sort of linkage connecting the diaphragm which moves with pressure, and the micro switch.. I suspect when I was adjusting mine for the lowest pressures, I must have gone too far and it unscrewed somewhere inside, rendering it a paperweight.--NBC
  • vaporvacvaporvac Member Posts: 1,512
    I was told "no"...

    I was told in a recent post asking just that question, that no such animal exists any longer. My original vaporstat does read inches of vacuum. If there is one, I'd like to know as I'm about to get one offered by a fellow Wallie who no longer needs it. Someone recommended a substitute to measure the vaccum, but for the life of me, I can't find it in any of my recent posts or email exchanges.CTD
    Two-pipe Trane vaporvacuum system; 1466 edr
    Twinned, staged Slantfin TR50s piped into 4" header with Riello G400 burners; 240K lead, 200K lag Btus. Controlled by Taco Relay and Honeywell RTH6580WF
  • CraigsCraigs Member Posts: 24
    Ahh, Yes

    Here's the funny thing.

    After I got the book and looked inside the pressuretrol, mine was completely disconnected. Once the screw comes completely out, it can move to the side of the "Nut" it goes into, and that's where mine was.

    Oddly it worked completely fine this way. Now that I have connected it, and put it back as far as it can go, this is when I get the leakage at the connectors.

    I've backed it completely off, and actually removed the screw again. So I'll see what happens. Just left it sitting on the bottom of the pressuretrol.

    Heh, Right now the house is at 70, which is like a sauna for us, since we haven't even turned on the heat yet this year, and it's like 58 at night and AM, and gets up to about 64 in the house during the day. So i have to wait for it to cool down to test again. I feel like I have a fever right now.

    Were the family that just wears warm clothing, rather than just burns a boatload of oil. 8) Heat always off at night, and only turn on to warm us in the AM to get ready for school/work for 30 mins. then turns on for a few hours when we come home.

    (And I have friends that wonder why they burn so much oil, then when you ask them about their habits, they say "Well, I put my heat down to 71 when I go to bed").
  • Setbacks and economy

    Do a search here for all the reading on setbacks, and how little fuel they may save.

    The theory most people here have is that in order for a setback to save fuel, it should be more than 24 hours. I would try a setting of 65 all the time, and see if that is comfortable.

    You need the system to be as well balanced as possible, with enough venting to allow the air to escape with no resistance.--NBC
  • vaporvacvaporvac Member Posts: 1,512
    edited November 2013
    Not round, but....

    Hey Mark, My old vaporstat isn't round like that shown. It had one vertical  area to adjust the pressure and cut=in, both on the same line, but it definitely show inches of vacuum. I'll see if I can find one of my very old post that show it., If not I'll take a pic tomorrow since I'm still planning on using it for the one boiler.

    P.S, You wouldn't happen to have one of those hanging around, as well?
    Two-pipe Trane vaporvacuum system; 1466 edr
    Twinned, staged Slantfin TR50s piped into 4" header with Riello G400 burners; 240K lead, 200K lag Btus. Controlled by Taco Relay and Honeywell RTH6580WF
  • CraigsCraigs Member Posts: 24
    Took the adjustment screw completely out

    Which means it's set to as little pressure as possible, and it doesn't seam to leak. I can hear a slight squealing around the joint, but no visible drip.
  • CraigsCraigs Member Posts: 24
    Cant find anything like that….

    Here's a photo of the one I have.

    When the steam is running, after about 15 mins, my gauge only reads about .2 to .3 psi, which I thought seemed low. So I didn't think the leaking could be caused by too much pressure.

    And it's not possible the water gets too hot, right? Steam is steam.
  • BobCBobC Member Posts: 4,406
    edited November 2013
    Your gauge

    goes from -1 to 2 BAR OR -30 to 30 PSI, make sure your reading the right scale.

    Pressure gauges are pretty inaccurate at very low pressures so don't trust your readings at the low end of it's range.

    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • CraigsCraigs Member Posts: 24
    Wow, glad you pointed that out.

    I searched quite a few places for a vaporstat or a gauge that reads -1 to 5 or so. Hard to find.

    Any links to ones out there?
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