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troubles with a new install

Dan_43 Member Posts: 50
Boiler troubles

I have a 2 family rental the 2fl boiler cracked. I have replaced it with a Slant/Fin galaxy GXHA-160. I measured all the radiators added a pick up facture of 1.5. Chose the boiler that was the next size above my sq/ft figure. This is my 3rd boiler (no pro, but not a novice either) I plumbed the near pipe as per the specs. My header is 32” above the water line they wanted a minimum of 24”. The returns are 48” above the water line. My Hartford loop is 2” below the waterline with a closed nipple. There is no hammering.

I’m not living with the boiler, so I cannot see a pattern yet. I have 4 symptomatic problems that I’m aware of. Some of the vents are filling with water. The tenant told me he has added water many times. The 3rd detail is when the boiler is on the water in the sight glass rises to the top and stays there and does not even bounce. You can see the water from the top of the glass draining in. The last detail is that the pressuretroler is set under 2-lbs but the gauge is not shutting down until it reaches 4-lbs.

Actions I plan on taking today are to swap out the pressuretroler. Change one of the main vents that is faulty, and possible do a chemical clean. I have the skimming tap still in and have skimmed it several times over the last 2 weeks but have not used any chemicals. I have some Squick Yea or Nay?

What should I do? what is going on?


  • Dirty water?

    Sometimes it takes quite a while to get all the oil out.--NBC
  • MDNLansing
    MDNLansing Member Posts: 297
    Not a pro but...

    I'm not a pro, but I can see 2 issues with the near boiler piping. First, the T on the riser isn't helping, Each riser to the mains should connect to the header on dedicated taps. You should feed them with two separate T's and extend the header a little bit past the last one. Also, your equalizer needs to reduce in the vertical plane, not on the 45. Move the reducing coupling lower to the vertical drop into the return.

    Also, keep skimming. It takes a few weeks for the oils to leach out and make it back to the boiler sections. You should skim when you install and every several weeks as needed. You might just have bad water that is drawing up into the riser and hanging out in the header due to the other two issues I mentioned.

    You mention the tenant is adding water, but do you see it going anywhere? Gallons in means gallons out somewhere. If not, the system is flooding and you might also have water higher up in the radiators and take offs. You might also need to drain the entire system and get the water in the upper parts of the system out.
  • vaporvac
    vaporvac Member Posts: 1,520
    equalizer piping...?

    This piping looks really different to that of my SFTR50s. With those a drop header is required and the take-offs must be separated as mentioned above. I'll have to look at the Galaxy I&( later.

    Regarding the equalizer...MDN, I had never read that before. Do you have a link where I could read about it because we had planned on reducing some on the 45 rather than come down with 4", then reduce to 2" on the vertical. I know not to do it on the horizontal, but had never read about the 45. thank you.
    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
  • Dan_43
    Dan_43 Member Posts: 50
    riser issue

    This is the way the dead men plumbed it. I replumbed it but kept it the same. ??
  • MDNLansing
    MDNLansing Member Posts: 297

    I was given this advice by two people. First, the steam guy I'm working with suggests not introducing any place that can slow water in the return from the header. When the boiler first starts it will generate steam up the equalizer, this can condense and pool in the reducing coupling. When steam and condensate enters from the header you can get hammer by a wave created when it reduces. If you have to reduce it on the 45, he says to use an eccentric coupling so no water can slow.

    I also have an email response from Weil-McLain. I sent them my near boiling piping design and they recommended leaving all horizontal and 45 piping the same size and only reducing with a street elbow pointing down, or in the vertical plane. They offered no explanation for this though, just the recommendation. The exact wording is as follows...

    "4. Maintain consistent pipe diameter on all equalizer pipes except those that are exactly perpendicular to the water line. Reducing size with a street elbow is acceptable so long as the reduced side of the elbow is perpendicular to the water line."

    I just replied to them asking for an explanation of this item. I'll post what they respond with. I'm assuming its the same reason I stated above, but it might be something different, I'm not sure.

    I don't think this is a big issue though as I've seen plenty of installs that do it. I don't have enough experience to tell you what I've seen in the field but eliminating any place for water to collect makes sense to me. However, if it were a major no no I would think there would be plenty of posts talking about it. Maybe ask some other pros?
  • Dan_43
    Dan_43 Member Posts: 50
    Water is much cleaner, New problem!

    I replaced one of the two main vents. They are both at the very end of the return in a tee just before the drop to the boiler. what's even crazier is that the vent fitting is 1/4". so I increased the pipe to 1/2" and put a STD main vent on. when I fired up the boiler the vent started to vent but would never shut down. I replaced it with another one of the same type, same results. These are the ones that Home Depot sells. Can they both be bad or is there something else going on?

    shouldn't the vent shut down immediately when the steam hits it?
  • MDNLansing
    MDNLansing Member Posts: 297

    Yes they should.

    What kind of vent is it?

    Our HD's don't sell anything steam related so I'm unfamiliar with the brand they carry. A properly functioning vent will close when steam gets there though. Some models close faster than others, but it should close nonetheless. 1/4" venting was actually pretty common. On all of my venting I up the 1/4" to 3/4" and install the vents on an antler.

    Could you post a pic of the vent as well please?
  • Chemicals yea or nay

    Peerless recommends arm&hammer washing soda, followed by lots of skimming.

    I would only put water in it, so you don't have a layer of oily diatomaceous earth insulating the bottom of the boiler from the flame.

    Double check your pressure with a low pressure gauge, as the supplied pressuretrols are notoriously inaccurate.--NBC
  • rmoore007ri
    rmoore007ri Member Posts: 45
    reducing elbow

    Above I read:

    . . . They offered no explanation for this though, just the recommendation. The exact wording is as follows...

    "4. Maintain consistent pipe diameter on all equalizer pipes except those that are exactly perpendicular to the water line. Reducing size with a street elbow is acceptable so long as the reduced side of the elbow is perpendicular to the water line."

    Where the header turns down into the Hartford loop, if you do not install the elbow as described, water can pool behind it. Pick up a reducing elbow and look at it. as you turn it.
  • Dan_43
    Dan_43 Member Posts: 50
    main vent that would not close

    I have taken a picture of the vent. the markings on the vent are USAV-883. What puzzled me was that both would not close. If I blow through the vent right side up air passes, upside down it won’t, which, I understand is how they should work.
  • MDNLansing
    MDNLansing Member Posts: 297
    edited December 2013

    The air leaving might not be hot enough to close them. By time the steam reaches the end of the return it's possible it has cooled enough that the mechanism isn't closing the vent. Some vents use a float and close when the steam condenses enough to pool water, others have a bimetallic element that expands with heat, and yet others use a vapor float that lifts with high temps.

    The vent at the end of my return only closes after a long cycle. It's a Hoffman 76 and it takes a lot of heat to close it. I was able to remove the vent and install 3 smaller bodied vents and they all closed after one cycle. I am assuming they had smaller elements and retained more heat, allowing them to close when the larger one wouldn't. I had pretty good success adding smaller vents to the end of each main and using 3 small vents at the end of the return. so, instead of venting all the mains to a single return spot, I was able to vent each main individually, then use smaller ones in the common venting spot. This can be expensive trial and error though. Since you say the system runs up to 4 psi even with this vent open, you have good pressure even without it closing properly.

    This issue about the boiler not shutting down until 4 psi is something i would focus on. Too much pressure can cause a lot of issues in a perfectly functioning design. It could run great at 1.5 lbs and terrible at 4. Were you able to look at the pressuretrol and find anything? They can get gunked up and malfunction. They can also break and go bad. No matter what, you want the system to shut down at no more than 2 psi, preferably 1.5 or less. I would get that squared away, then reassess the issues that still exist.


    That vent looks alot like a 90 degree radiator vent on a straight post instead of the 90. These style vents usually have a float that needs it to fill with water to close it. With a 1/2" straight shaft though, I'm not sure how this thing would hold any water. If it's built like the radiator vents the water would just drain out the bottom without it closing. I've never seen a main vent like this before, maybe a pro has more info on this?
  • mcsteamy
    mcsteamy Member Posts: 77

    Those "main" vents are pure junk.  They do not vent quickly enough to serve as a main vent.  Replace all existing main vents with a Gorton #2. Root of the problem?  No, but a necessary fix.  As already recommended, figure out why you are not shutting down until 4 psi and get it down to 2psi or less.  
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