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Reconnect oil boiler after copper ransack

Mr_TA Member Posts: 44
Hi all,

I bought a house with an oil hot water baseboards home

heat and coil water heating New Yorker AP-590 system.  This was a foreclosed property and the thieves (****) stole the pipes. I want to test if the boiler works before deciding if I want to do it myself or hire a plumber, etc.

Attached is the

picture of the boiler with pipes still in place.

The boiler manual I got from a local dealer:

<a href="https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B_DmMDJNkBi5bU1zUWs0YkVJNUhNcEZyUzJ3c1RNVnhSMTFN/edit?pli=1">https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B_DmMDJNkBi5bU1zUWs0YkVJNUhNcEZyUzJ3c1RNVnhSMTFN/edit?pli=1</a>

Referring to the figure 7 on page 9 of the manual, a few questions I had:

<ul><li>Am I correct in understanding that the "PRESSURE REDUCING VALVE" reduces water line pressure to home heating water circuit pressure, therefore enabling the HAND VALVE to stay open continuously?</li><li>The drawing has 2 COLD WATER SUPPLY inputs, I'm assuming I just need to split the cold water line into 2?</li><li>What is the purpose of the FLOW REGULATOR? I only found a 1/2" model at a local HD and the boiler's ports are 3/4", and I hear main pipes should be 3/4", too. Is the FLOW REGULATOR required or optional?

</li><li>Do I need to connect both the water and the heating circuits to test the unit, or can I just connect the water circuit alone? (provided the home heating thermostat is off) I'd like to know if the unit works before spending more effort/money on plumbing.</li><li>What are FLOAT TYPE VENTs, are they meant to release air? Am I looking for something like Honeywell FV180 or

Taco Hy-Vent 1/8"?</li><li>I'm assuming the WATER TEMPERING VALVE setup is optional and is meant to reduce accidental burns if someone opens a hot water faucet, while keeping machines' hot water hotter?


Appreciate any help!!!!! Also, any additional documentation/manuals/guides would be most welcome - would like to RTM before asking questions.</li></ul>


  • Weezbo
    Weezbo Member Posts: 6,232

    that is sad to hear.

    4. plug the holes and test with air. that will quickly tell you if the boiler froze and broke.

    without a test first all else would be a moot point.

    for a guy with no air compressor you will end up with quite a few hr's into freaking with leaks in the piping arrangement should the boiler 'hold' when tested . dry firing just is not a good thing.

    a threaded boiler purge valve on the bottom tap of the boiler could be used to introduce air or water . to test with water not always the smartest way to roll time wise .

    you can plug one side of a coil and use another threaded no kin spun in on the opposite opening that you plug . water side test is 100 psi . boiler side you can roll 50 psi.

    5. Calleffi makes a two part air release it is comprised of a check vale that stays in place an a removable air eliminator.

    6. it is not an option it is even poor economy to not install a mixing valve/ blending / anti- scald valve... the anti scald valve does all of the above it is just made with different tolerance as it were.

    i am leaving the other question go so you get some more help

    *~//: )

    yet have enough to get started...
  • Mr_TA
    Mr_TA Member Posts: 44
    More questions

    Hi Weezbo,

    Regarding testing the unit...

    "plug the holes" - what holes? It has 4: cold water in, hot water out, heating return (with cold water branched input), and heating supply.

    "test with air" - flip the heating thermostat on and see if burner comes on? Or do I have to run air through the hot water circuit, using a compressor or pump of some sort? (My original plan was to connect cold water line to hot water circuit and a simple valve on the hot water output to imitate real working condition)

    What kind of problems do these have usually? I know burners fail from time to time, also circulator is a moving part so it can break, anything else I should verify as functional before I can make the decision to keep the boiler and connect new piping to it?

    House winterized (by bank) - does this indicate unit is probably fine?

    Thanks for the help!
  • Paul Pollets
    Paul Pollets Member Posts: 3,642

    Testing the boiler, controls, burner and pumps should be done by a trained technician. Your homeowner's insurance will most likely pay for the service.
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    Don't do that:

    Don't do that, try to test for leaks by filling the system with water. Do it with air.

    Air leaks are a lot easier to wipe up that a water leak.

    If you're serious about this project and have the know who to do it, buy a inexpensive air compressor from Sears, Lowes, Home Depot, Harbor Freight or whomever. It doesn't have to be anything that you can't carry with one hand. Like well under 75#.  Go to a auto supply store or a hardware store and buy a decent 50' rubber air hose. Don't buy one of those coiled plastic ones. They may be cheap but you'll come to hate them. An Oil less Compressor will work fine. Often times, the compressor will come with a quick disconnect connector on the compressor. Buy a set of male/female air hose connectors that match. Make a device that has a boiler drain on one end and a air hose connector on the other. Make it out of 1/2" steel nipples. Take a washing machine hose (Double Hose Connection) and connect it to the boiler on any drain you can find. Connect the hose to the compressor and the pressure connector on the boiler. Set the pressure regulator on the air compressor to 20# and open the drain valves. If you hear air hissing out, stop and fix whatever is hissing out. If you can't stop the hissing, you may have too much damage. But you won't know until you try.

    This is long and I could make it longer. I'm not going to bother if you aren't going to try it. A professional could help you. Anything you don't understand, ask. Someone will explain it to you. DO NOT under any circumstances try to fire off the boiler without water in it. You will break it surely. I doubt that the boiler is broken from freezing. Its a welded steel tube boiler and not likely to crack. Stretch and break, but not likely to crack like cast Iron.

    You  can get a portable Pan Cake style compressor for around $200.00. I like the Hot Dog Style better but you can't get them anymore. If you're serious, I'll show you some. Everyone needs an air compressor.
  • Mr_TA
    Mr_TA Member Posts: 44
    OK got it

    I should first test it for leaks and then think about connecting it.


    Plug all holes.

    Introduce air pressure to drain valve using your guide.

    Look for leaks.

    If none found, come back here for next steps.


    Also any reason why I can't pipe the rest of basement while getting the boiler up and running? W the intention of plugging in the pipes when boiler is tested and ready?
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265

    If you don't know what you are doing, it can cost you a lot of money in experimentation cost. I don't know your abilities. If you need one, try to find a professional to do this or get then to help you if they will.

    If you have enough sense to ask, you might have the sense and skills to try.

    Homeowners insurance isn't going to cover any of this because you got the property "as is" in a short sale?

    If you are going to try, look at it as a bunch of small projects snowballing into a big one. Do what you want. Fix the boiler and any other present piping before you start doing any new projects. Don't get ahead of yourself.

    Been there, done that.
  • Mr_TA
    Mr_TA Member Posts: 44
    edited June 2014

    I'm currently replacing the roof. In my other house, I replaced hot water tanks, fixtures/drains, also tore down/rebuilt a couple of rooms with new electrics, etc. So yes I know what I'm doing, but then at some point everything is for the first time.

    Hence my questions, I don't want to screw anything up, at the same time connecting a boiler (which is already partially installed) is not like sending a man to the moon, I **could** hire someone but that's 1) much more $$ 2) the quotes I got so far were to replace the boiler and I don't think that's necessary (at least without testing it first).

    On a high level, I need to test:

    1) that boiler doesn't have leaks, by introducing high pressure (instructions as above);

    2) that the burner works (talk about this next I guess);

    3) that the circulator works (easy to replace, I think? doesn't warrant a boiler replacement for a broken circulator)

    Simultaneously, I can reinstall the missing pipes since that's pretty straightforward.

    Related: I was told that the heating circuit can use Type M due to lower pressure, whereas water circuit needs Type L or K. Made sense to me, was that correct information?

    PS. I also once fixed an older gas furnace - replaced the thermocouple - also with help from this website - THANKS FOR THAT!!!
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    edited June 2014

    #1: You don't need "High Pressure". 20# will do. 30# and the relief valve will blow.

    #2: The oil burner is working unless they cut out the wires and oil line for the copper. Don't fire the burner without water in the boiler. Disconnect the high pressure line from the pump to the nozzle where it goes into the burner. Loosen the pump side. Place a container at the end. Turn on the power to the unit. If oil sprays out, the burner is working. You can fine tune it later when it is filled with water. If it was running when they turned off the power for the foreclosure and before everything was stolen, the burner works. Same as the circulator.

    #3:  Why do you think that the circulator doesn't work? Don't run it without the boiler being filled with water. It is water lubricated and will wear out without the lubricating water.

    Save your self some money (time) and install a ball valve with a drain above it on the supply and return of the boiler where it goes into the system. Then, you can check the boiler and have it working, and then check the system by using your air compressor. If you're doing roof's, you must have an air compressor. Use that compressor.

    What caused the cellar to flood? When did it happen? There's a High Tide mark 4" up from the floor.
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    edited June 2014

     "" Your homeowner's insurance will most likely pay for the service. ""

    I doubt that homeowners insurance will pay for something that was defective or broken before the policy was written. Then, they usually "Pro-Rate" the loss. If it is a $15oo boiler, they might give you $300.00 towards a new one. If they accept the loss that occurred before they wrote the policy.

    No one wanted to fix it. Just sell him a new boiler?

    When someone calls you on the phone, they want to spend money. What a great place to send an ambitious apprentice to gather troubleshooting skills and personal techniques to repair something like this.

    (sigh) Times have changed. Apprentices are supposed to be born knowing everything. If they don't, they can go flip burgers at The King or gather carts from the parking lot at Wally World.

    Or work for someone else to gather experience. Then, when you hire them because of their "Experience", you have to take a year (if they can stay that long) to retrain all the bad habits out of them. That's what my old dead boss used to say. Its my experience too.
  • Paul Pollets
    Paul Pollets Member Posts: 3,642
    The fix

    The homeowner posted a pic with pipes in place; this presumes he owned the property before the theft. I've done a lot of work for insurance companies. They may pro-rate the boiler, if defective, but generally pay for replacement and restoration, less deductible. 

    Why would someone send an apprentice to review or price what is in the realm of a journeyman?  How is a homeowner able to set up and tune an oil burner? While this is a free country, some skills is in this trade/industry do require more than obtaining the manual.  I realize some homeowner's are more handy than others but what is the liability?
  • Mr_TA
    Mr_TA Member Posts: 44
    I bought it like this

    I got a good deal because it was foreclosed. The picture was taken by real estate agent and is what I saw when I looked at the house initially - the **** came for copper at some point between I initially looked at it and pre-closing inspection. I didn't want to argue with the bank on the missing pipes because the price was already super low and the bank was basically saying deal or no deal due to some unrelated paperwork issues. Banks hate having to deal with P&S conditions - they just dump you and find a guy who signs a vanilla P&S, and I wanted this house.

    The reason I'm willing to give a shot myself is: the oil, electrics and flue are still connected and seem to be in good working order. All that I need to do is verify that the boiler is good (which it probably is) and plumb the pipes.

    At this point, I think I need to understand how this boiler works internally. Oil heats water - how? Is there an internal hot water tank? Or it's a heat transfer radiator without a tank, like a pure water-run-through system? (seems more likely, given the small size)

    Maybe I can take the front panel off and peek inside, actually probably should've done that first...
  • Mr_TA
    Mr_TA Member Posts: 44
    Spoke to the dealer again

    A plumber working for the dealer answered some questions.

    1. It's a tank-less design.

    2. 2 separate water lines  running through heat transfer device, one potable and one  heating.

    3. I should be able to connect water to the hot water side, obviously having let the air out, and the burner should turn on and heat it to the aquastat settings (recommended 160-180).

    4. I don't need to connect heating circuit to test the hot water circuit.

    Will try to test for leaks, and then hopefully for operation of the hot water side, in the coming days and let everyone know.
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265

    Where did I say anything about having some Junior Rookie figure out what it will cost and figure out what to do?

    My interpretation was that the bank got the house in a foreclosure. Someone looked at the house and negotiated a sale. They took pictures of the boiler when they first looked at the house. Before passing papers, the criminals went and stole the copper for drug money. Therefore, no insurance company is going to pay off.

    As far as "Apprentices" go, I've seen second year apprentices that were more qualified than 10 year Journeymen. Anything I say here to a potential DIY'er is geared to get them to hire a Professional. I'm a Pro and I like to see Pro's doing the work. If a Potential DIY'er is bound and determined to TIMS, God Bless Them. But if they don't know what they are doing or haven't done anything like this before, lots of luck.

    This is a gravy job. Just re-connect the missing pieces. The professional skill comes from knowing where the pieces go. How long would it take ME personally to test and possibly fix whatever is missing? A whole lot less than the TIMS. Did they cut out all the copper water and heating pipe? Not said. Its not like someone is starting from scratch. Good luck and hard work.
  • Zman
    Zman Member Posts: 7,467
    Slow down

    You are are correct that you have 2 separate water circuits in the boiler. You are incorrect in thinking you can fire the boiler with just the domestic side hooked up.

    The domestic coil is submerged in the heating circuits water. The entire system needs to be hooked up in order to fire the system.

    Have you pressure tested yet?

    I would suggest pressure testing the boiler first to find out if this boiler is worth the effort. You don't need to test the domestic coil, if it leaks you will see it when you test the boiler.

    Once you have determined if the boiler is good, post your proposed piping diagram on here for feedback.

    You should really make sure you have wrapped your head around the key safety elements in a boiler system. Failure to correctly install the pressure relief valve or low water cutoff can result in a major explosion (see mythbusters).

    Incorrectly venting are tuning can result in carbon monoxide poisoning (death).

    From what I have seen in your posts so far, you don't seem to understand the job at hand.

    An incorrectly installed boiler really can kill you.
    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
  • Mr_TA
    Mr_TA Member Posts: 44
    All is gone

    Cold water is done using some crap, rotten gray plastic probably pvc. Except for when it entered the boiler about 5 feet. So hot water and heating pipes gone but baseboard radiators still in place. And cold needs redo anyway.
  • Mr_TA
    Mr_TA Member Posts: 44
    That's what the plumber said

    I was suspecting that there is some kind of submersion of one coil in another, which is why I asked him if there was any tank and he said now. But then he could've been thinking about a different model (I gave him the model# I had) because mine's older. When he said I could test fire one without the other, I thought maybe it's a heat transfer with two lines going through it side-by-side.

    Nope, didn't get to pressure test yet. I'll probably do that, and then familiarize myself with the boiler a little more before doing more work. There is plenty to do (roof, pipes, bathroom/kitchen fixtures, walls/finishing) in the house - I'm not in dead-rush to get it working.

    Pressure relief valve seems to be there already (they didn't cut that off, were going for the big copper pieces, probably in a rush).

    The manual linked to in the thread post doesn't have low water cutoff anywhere on the drawing, however it does mention in text above. And I'm pretty sure it's already there, too (judging by the looks of it - I'm not at the house now, recollecting from memory).

    I will post more pictures, including a diagram I'm thinking of, after I get out there.
  • Mr_TA
    Mr_TA Member Posts: 44
    edited August 2014
    Boiler connection schema

    Hi all,

    Finally got around to working on it. Had furnace guy look at the unit, he said he found no leaks and that it should be in good condition. I have cut and soldered all of the piping in place, except for the furnace connections, both water and heating.

    I put together this schema, can anyone look at it?

    1. The manual says that the heating circuit feed has to be as depicted with digit 1. However, that's not possible with the actual unit, since there are no connection points between circulator and the furnace itself. Is 2 or 3 the better way?

    2. Is there any difference between flow regulator and pressure reducer? Home Depot carries both which are slightly different but similar parts. The manual says I need one of each connected as I depicted. However a bunch of local codes say they're the same thing and it only makes sense that they're the same. I found these at HD, which ones should I use and where?





    3. What's the purpose of a "flow regulator" for the hot water? Aren't faucets serving that function?

    4. Same question about the heating circuit feed, I thought I had to fill the system once and then close valve C, what is the "pressure reducer" for?

    5. The manual says the relief pipe needs a vent, but that part wasn't affected by the robbers and didn't have a vent before. It doesn't mean that's correct as the house is a complete mess in almost every other way (carpentry, roof, deck, etc.)  Any thoughts, should I install one?

    Thanks in advance for any help.
  • Zman
    Zman Member Posts: 7,467

    You do not have a furnace you have a boiler.

    The parts you are looking at are not the ones you need. Home depot does not carry boiler parts. The guy in the orange vest does not know anything about boilers.

    You really need professional help with this one.
    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
  • Mr_TA
    Mr_TA Member Posts: 44
    edited August 2014
    He forgot

    To connect cold water to the heating circuit - so much for professional help. I use these words interchangeable, but basically this is a combo, heating furnace and tankless water boiler.

    **** Where are you - honest, reasonably priced, knowledgeable plumbers - in real life??? ****

    Anyhow, would you care to answer my questions or point me at any reading materials on the subject? Main question I have is, what do all of these flow regulators/pressure reducers do? (Assuming they restrict the flow of water, is that right?) How are they different? Why are they needed?

    PS. If HD is not the right store, where *should* I buy parts? Are stores like Grainger a good source?
  • Zman
    Zman Member Posts: 7,467

    Furnaces heat air.

    You have a boiler with a tankless coil.

    The flow control on the DHW side is installed so that you do not have a higher flow rate than the coil can handle. You may or may not need that one.

    Between the domestic water in the house and the closed boiler loop you need an assembly that will reduce the pressure and prevent the potentially toxic boiler water from entering your drinking water. They look like this http://www.supplyhouse.com/Watts-0386461-1-2-9-11S-M3-Combination-1156-9D-Sweat-3688000-p
    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
  • Mr_TA
    Mr_TA Member Posts: 44
    edited August 2014
    Makes sense

    Curious, on the hot water side, is it correct to say that without the flow control valve, opening too many hot faucets will cause the temperature to drop, as opposed to having the valve, the temperature will stay but there will be less water? If so, then what is preferable? Does running too much water through the coil damage it?

    That same site has this part as well:


    This is a little cheaper, but seems to be otherwise identical, do you know what the difference is?

    Wasn't able to find any such thing in stock around here (Boston area), will have to order online, unfortunately.

    Never mind, FW Webb close to me has it.

    Thanks for the answers!
  • Mr_TA
    Mr_TA Member Posts: 44
    Hi all, just wanted to say thanks to all who answered - the system works just fine after having it connected according to the manual and the tips on this forum.