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steam section broke at the top.

fwb1375 Member Posts: 7
Have a steam boiler that has a leak in the top of boiler section. Large enough to look like a small water fall on top of the section. Problem is that the boiler is going to have to be ordered. Has anyone ever temporarily repaired anything like this? I am just trying to buy some time. It is not leaking water, just leaving alot of steam out of the flue for now.I dont know how long it has been like this.


  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,275
    If it''s a crack

    there's a remote chance that something like JB Weld might work.  Then again, it's rather likely that it won't hold up to the heat.  If it's really a hole... enjoy the clouds of steam out the stack; they can be rather pretty.  And hope the new boiler comes soon...
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • Steve Nichols
    Steve Nichols Member Posts: 124
    Steel Stick works (kinda)

    Okay, well depending on how close the hole is to the waterline, I had a repair hold for about 6 weeks.  It's now just giving up.   It was an older Burnham 4SIN that a friend had noted was losing water.  Found a hole size of about a half dollar in top of section that feeds the gauge glass. 

    This was the third attempt, and what I learned was: get the metal as clean as possible.  I used  a dremel tool and mini wire wheels and sanding drums.  Then, good solvent (wear gloves and respirator). Epoxy that worked the best was Steel stick.  I actually made a series of "rings" of putty looking kinda like a bullseye, giving each piece time to set up before placing the next 'donut'.  I molded the first ring so it actually lined the front and back part of the hole (think of a grommet).

    The biggest thing here is the metal prep has to be real good otherwise the epoxy won't bond as well as could be expected.  Let it cure for at least the recommended time.  I also like to work on it while the sections are still warm.  It makes for a better cure with the epoxy.

    Drop the water line a bit and cross fingers!
    striving for peaceful coexistence with an oversized boiler....

  • fwb1375
    fwb1375 Member Posts: 7
    thanks for the replies

    thanks for the replies.i found a couple high temp epoxy products at autozone i may give a try.
  • Jason_13
    Jason_13 Member Posts: 304
    Steam leak

    The bigger problem is why does this happen. Usually happens due to excess water being fed into the boiler thank car rides attaches to the iron. Check your vents, check your valve packing for leaks and check for any underground returns that may be leaking
  • fwb1375
    fwb1375 Member Posts: 7
    steam leak

    Boiler is 30 to 40 years old.It does have a condensate tank outside of the boiler room with a make up water float. Maybe it would be a good idea to meter that water.
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    Epoxy Repairs:

    Epoxy might work for you. Or anyone else for that matter. If the hole is on the bottom, an easy fix. Side/vertical or horizontal/overhead gets to be difficult. A two part epoxy mix might be too runny. If it is, you should be able to add WEST 406 Colloidal Silica to the mix to make it stiffer and easier to work with. Make like something between mayonnaise to peanut butter. The colloidal Silica because it is just very fine sand. Heat shouldn't bother it.

    Surface preparation is super critical. Like someone else said, get it down to bare metal. Clean it well. There may be something better but my favorite is cheap PVC cleaner. It cleans almost anything except Rectorseal #5 off of a surface. If the hole is very small, spooge the epoxy through the hole and because you must get it to the right consistency, you want some to squirt out the back but not run down the inside. That will help hold it in the hole. If after you have cleaned out the hole to make it clean, the hole is of a large and proper size, that you can stick something in it, Imagine patching a hole in Sheetrock. You stick something as narrow as the hole but longer than the hole. Putting the narrow end in the hole but spanning the hole with the length. Like a stainless steel washer, held with vice grips and ground flat on two sides. So it will go through the hole but span the hole. Put a small diameter stainless bolt in the washer. Stick it in the hole and when centered, pull back on it. Now you can get creative. You can spooge up the inner washer with epoxy and pull back on it, hold it in place with a nut and washer. Once set, cover the outside. You can take a bigger washer on the outside and with a bigger piece of scrap copper tube, cut a 1/2" piece and cut a slot out of the top, hold it in place and use it for a form so you can fill the mold from the top from the top. Spanning all of the hole and using the bolt sticking out to hold it all in place. You can put the mixture in a medical syringe with the end tip cut off and squirt it in  a hole.

    Epoxy is a beautiful thing. The real key is the washer that you can pull against on the inside. If the hole is in a curve, cut the copper to fit the surface curve.

    You might think of another way based on the ideas I have suggested. I once fixed a water tank with a temporary patch that held enough to last until a new tank could be procured and installed.

    Dremel makes a carbide drill rasp like you would use in a Roto-Zip (they might make one too) that will grind cast iron like 80 grit sandpaper will grind the finish off a floor. Don't use anything that isn't a 2-part Epoxy. If J-B Weld isn't 2 parts and you have a choice of 2 part, use the 2-part.

    If someone wants a price to fix this in an hour with 5 minute epoxy, tell them to get someone else. With time and careful preparation and application, it SHOULD work. Until they get a new boiler.

    I hope you understand my methodology or that it has given you ideas.
  • VA_Bear
    VA_Bear Member Posts: 50
    Be EXTRA careful

    with Silica add in compounds!!!!! Silicosis is a long term exposure problem from breathing in silica, however even minimal exposures can cause significant problems down the road, especially if you develop any other breathing problems down the road.