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Utica Boiler water level is off

Chris12345 Member Posts: 4
I have an Utica PEG-C gas steam boiler. At the end of the last winter it started showing some problems with handling the water level. I thought that was just a temporary issue that will go away. Now this season this started happening again - every day I have to drain a small bucket of water maybe 5 gallons to keep the water level in the glass tube down to the recommended level. I have not touched anything on it to trigger any water pressure changes that I know of. The cut in is set at the lowest level, 0.5. On top of that it stopped working yesterday. I cleaned the burners and the combustion chamber and I think I isolated the issue to the roll-out safety switch - when I remove the leads and put them back on the boiler starts up, runs for under 10 minutes and then shuts itself off regardless whether the thermostat is asking for more or not. I will have to clean the flueways looks like but the water level issue persists. Why would water suddenly start collecting in the boiler above a given level without adding any more water? It almost looks like there is a secret hidden water source feeding the boiler.


  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,477
    Too much water

    Do you have an autofeeder on the boiler that might be leaking by? Or the steam return is slow and the feeder is adding water when it gets low and then when the returning water does find it's way back your boiler is overfilled.

    Do you use the boiler to heat your domestic hot water, if so the coil might have a pinhole leak.

    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • Chris12345
    Chris12345 Member Posts: 4
    Utica Boiler water level is off - now won't start

    Hi Bob,

    this boiler I only use for heating, I have a separate hot water heater. What you write makes sense. However, there is no autofeeder, that is the funny part. There is a manual valve that I open to add water after bleeding the boiler. Water goes through a regulator. I'm thinking now that the valve could be leaking slightly without triggering any noise - normally there is a loud humming when I open the valve even a little bit, this valve is connected directly to the pipe with hot water coming out of the water heater. What is interesting that over the summer months when the boiler was shut down the water level in the glass stayed level. When the heating season started the problem came back.

    Right now however a larger problem opened up which may be related. I opened the boiler to clean the flueways to find the flue collector has rusted pretty badly in one corner and the chips are probably falling down to the combustion chamber (when I cleaned it I vacuumed a good amount of rusty chips from its floor). It's Sunday today and I can't buy a new flue collector or the putty to hold it in place so I just blew air into it to clean it, vacuumed what got blown down to the combustion chamber and reassembled the boiler. Now it won't  even start. I know I need to clean the chimney - I want to do that in the spring - but would soot in the chimney cause this? The boiler stays quiet, there is current coming to it, but it won't even wake up.
  • Chris12345
    Chris12345 Member Posts: 4
    Utica Boiler water level is off - now won't start

    I'm posting a few photos of the burner - sorry, they may be a bit of an eyesore - I'm currently working on the basement.
  • Chris12345
    Chris12345 Member Posts: 4
    Utica Boiler water level is off - now won't start

    I just took my construction vacuum cleaner, stuck the hose in the draft hood and gave the flue collector another blow down. Turned it back on and it worked up to the thermostat setting for the first time in the last 30 hours. Water level higher than before the last run of course. I'll order a chimney sweep, I'm considering replacing the damper motor (it was replaced 3 years ago) but I'm not sure doing it myself is a good idea.
  • JStar
    JStar Member Posts: 2,752

    That looks like A LOT of water damage. Was the system flooded?