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Leaky valve? Help

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aboyd
aboyd Member Posts: 31
I'm looking for an answer as to what these are called and what to do if they are spewing steam and dripping water onto my basement floor ( enough that I need a bucket). Is this normal? Our boiler is brand new but these valves or vents are not. Can I replace on my own or is it a bad idea? Thank you! Sorry pics are sideways. Vents are up at ceiling. image
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Comments

  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,742
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    Those are main air vents. If they are spraying water and steam they are bad and need replaced. You should do this ASAP because you are losing water from your system which is bad for steam. Those are Hoffman #75 vents as near as I can tell. Replacing them isn't a big deal if you are comfortable with using tools and screwing pipe. How long and what size are those mains? Is this a one pipe or two pipe system? If you are going to replace them it might be good to make sure you have adequate venting on your system.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • aboyd
    aboyd Member Posts: 31
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    You were right on the money! We have a 1 pipe system. Just ordered the valves. Should I do anything special when replacing? (Besides turning her off and Teflon tape)?
  • aboyd
    aboyd Member Posts: 31
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    Thank you btw! You don't happen to have any insight on skimming a new 450,000 BTU well McLain do you? I'm getting some unstable water levels in my sight glass assuming due to oil in the water
  • nicholas bonham-carter
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    There should be explicit instructions in the manual for skimming, including the installation of the skimming port.
    If the installers didn't read that part of the manual, then what else might they have missed. Let's have some pictures of the near boiler piping.
    I am sure your pressure is too high, so best to put on a 0-3 psi gauge, to keep an eye on the pressure. Those main vents can become paperweights above 3 psi! Yours may be salvageable by washing with vinegar.
    You will probably need a dozen of those vents to have the capacity you need for such a large system, and your low-pressure gauge will show you when you have enough venting on the dry returns. Gorton #2 main vents are more capacious, if you have the headroom. One gorton 2 for each 20 feet of 2 inch main is the rule of thumb, with larger pipes needing more of them. Generally, an antler, or manifold, can be built to hold them all.--NBC
    KC_Jones
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,742
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    That's a big boiler! Did your contractor measure all the radiation in the house and size the boiler according to that or just go off of what was there already? As I said in my first post " If you are going to replace them it might be good to make sure you have adequate venting on your system. " With a system that big I can pretty well guarantee what you have there is not even close to enough venting. Measure the length of the mains and the size, in addition you could purchase the venting book from this website it's only 10 bucks and it goes to charity. Lot of good information in there for venting. I agree with NBC (dawned on me this morning in the shower lol) that pressure is probably too high if your vents are spewing that badly. What is your pressuretrol set to? The front should be set as low as possible and if you open the cover the white wheel should be set to 1. Please post some pictures of the boiler, near boiler piping and pressuretrol setting so we can see the install.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • aboyd
    aboyd Member Posts: 31
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    I basically had a "rebuild" done on the boiler. First 2 cells were leaking due to improper installation ans piping (says my hydronic guy) so we put in 8 new cells, new blow down, new Levi and reused psi gauge with 2 shut offs in sequence. I will go downstairs and take pics of boiler this morning. Was installed/repaired yesterday there is no way they did a slim. I got a bucket off in about an hour, and am planning on skimming more this weekend. I have a 4800 sf home with 3 finished floors, 17 Rads total. Not sure how that measures up for appropriate boiler size, but it has a lot of house to heat!
  • aboyd
    aboyd Member Posts: 31
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    Geez! So many typos! (New blow down and LWCO)
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,742
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    It's not the size of the house it's the size of the connected radiators that matters....for steam anyway.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,439
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    Another thing which can make vents spit and otherwise lose their cool is too much pressure. What pressure is your cutoff set at? It should be no more than 1.5 to 2 psi. Anything more than that is trouble...
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • RobG
    RobG Member Posts: 1,850
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    aboyd said:

    I basically had a "rebuild" done on the boiler. First 2 cells were leaking due to improper installation ans piping (says my hydronic guy) so we put in 8 new cells, new blow down, new Levi and reused psi gauge with 2 shut offs in sequence. I will go downstairs and take pics of boiler this morning. Was installed/repaired yesterday there is no way they did a slim. I got a bucket off in about an hour, and am planning on skimming more this weekend. I have a 4800 sf home with 3 finished floors, 17 Rads total. Not sure how that measures up for appropriate boiler size, but it has a lot of house to heat!

    I was wondering what a Levi on a steam boiler was? :)
  • aboyd
    aboyd Member Posts: 31
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    So this is my sight glass after an hour skim late last night. Will be skimming for 3 more hours over the weekend. The rusty colored water on top I'm assuming is debris/oil etc from late of maintenance from previous home owner and new iron work 2 days ago. Before skimming the water was crazy at 4psi, now back to zero. I'm hoping this will solve the problem after oil is out of the water :)
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
    edited November 2014
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    Why do you have two Pressuretrols on there? If it is for backup, in case one fails, they need to be on seperate pigtails. If that pigtail gets pluged, which they often do, neither Pressuretrol will work the way it is currently configured. Also, it may take a few weeks for the oils to work back to the boiler, depending on how far down the line that work was done. If it was just at the boiler, you may be ok when you get done with this series of skims. Be prepared to skim some more in a few weeks. I'd take that glass off and wash it out as well so you can see how much dirt/rust redevelops. Did they clean that pigtail out when they bebuilt the boiler? The pressure may be building up enough to cause the Vent problem. Those are relatively new hoffmans (unpainted version). They last for years and years but if I were going to replace them, I think I'd try to turn those elbows off and put a new elbow on. That looks like where you can get the most leverage and they usually turn off fairly easily (at least mine do).
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,742
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    Yikes, those pressuretrols need turned down! Why do you have 2? Is there a lo/hi fire set up on your boiler? You should be running the boiler as low a pressure as possible. The front setting typically is set as low as possible and the white wheel inside is set at 1. The pressure you are running at is a vent killer and is almost certainly part of the reason you are having spitting issues. What port are you skimming from? I can see your skim port in the picture of your gauge, but it looks plugged with no pipe or anything in it. Could you also post pictures of all the near boiler piping header and main takeoffs?
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,439
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    See my comment on pressure, above -- with those pressuretrols set as they are, that could be the whole problem. If the vents even work properly any more at all -- high pressure is not kind to vents. As the folks above said, turn at least one of them down (assuming that they are wired in series, and both functioning...)
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • aboyd
    aboyd Member Posts: 31
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    Thank you all for such great feedback. Here are some more pictures of the boiler and the skim valve. I'm assuming since I drained from this valve until no water came out then light turned on my water bypass and let a small trickle fill a bucket that a skimming was done. Correct? I have no manual as this was a rebuild not replace :) my water feeder said its used 2 gallons today (12 hours) I've never had a feed counter before so I'm not sure if that's a lot?? Can oil in the water cause extra water usage?

    Here are some pics of te rebuild, Hartford loop, 2 blowdowns, feed an such.
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
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    That's not the skim port. That is the drain port. The skim port should be above the water line. Should be in that round panel opening above your LWCO, probably behind that insulation. Looks like they didn't put a nipple and full port ball valve/plug in there which is what you need to skim. When skimming, you want to shut your auto water feeder off and manually open the water supply only enough to get a small trickle out of that skim port. needs to trickle for several hours and you may have to do it several times. Looking at you Pictures, your header is wayto small. It should be at least one size larger than the riser out of the boiler and for that size boiler, they probably should have used both risers and they probably should not have bushed down the risers going to your mains. Would be much better to carry those risers up full size and then use a reducing elbow to get down to the size of the mains. The header looks a bit low. What is the distance from your water line to that header? All these things contribute to very wet steam which are probably contributing to your venting problem.
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,742
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    Ok first thing...that header is completely inadequate for that boiler...I can not stress this enough. Your system in all honesty will never in a million years function correctly with that piping. According to the manual that is supposed to have 2-2 1/2" risers from the boiler it appears you have one and a 4" header. That is why they cranked your pressure trying to overcome that garbage piping. This install is wrong. I apologize if I am coming on strong, but that contractor did you wrong big time. You also are not skimming from the correct location. The skim port on that boiler is the capped connection near your sight glass. As far as water usage you probably shouldn't use that much water in an entire heating season, unless that usage is from you skimming? If you are using that amount of water from just operation then you have a real problem and probably why the old boiler failed. I posted a link to the manual for that boiler. I have a link in my signature to a much smaller version of your boiler I installed in my own house. Your boiler needs even bigger pipes than I have. Please ask as many questions as you can everyone is here to help in any way we can! I attached a link to the manual for that boiler. Your contractor needs to see it to show them what they are supposed to be doing. You could also refer them to this site as there are plenty of pros on here that can help point them in the right direction.

    http://www.weil-mclain.com/en/assets/pdf/eg_boiler_manual_tcm47-17442.pdf
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • Abracadabra
    Abracadabra Member Posts: 1,948
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    That looks like an EGH-115? Disappointing near boiler piping. That should have 2 - 2.5" risers into a 4" header I don't see a skim valve, I don't think. The yellow one looks like a boiler drain valve, since it's below the return tapping on the boiler. If you drained from there you did not skim. Take 2 pictures of both sides of the boiler showing everything on the boiler.
  • aboyd
    aboyd Member Posts: 31
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    I'm ready to pass out! Just spent 10k on this repair! The previous piping had 2 - 4" risers with a 6" header reduced to 4 (I think) with a wheel type thing on top. He told me that the reason the cells leaked was due to the additional riser issue and condensation. I am disgusted. Why would he not leave me a slim port? Knowing that so muh piping was being replaced?
  • aboyd
    aboyd Member Posts: 31
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    What do I even say to the company when I call tomorrow?
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
    edited November 2014
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    The only thing you can say is that it needs to be fixed and you expect them to fix it. Show them the manual that KC linked to and tell them that you had a much better Near Pipe configuration than you now have. Best of luck getting this resolved and keep us posted on the outcome. It sounds like the old configuration was as near perfect as you could get.
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,742
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    He totally ripped out a proper install and gave you a garbage one. I hate to be rude, but I am being totally honest. If it was me I would calmly...as calmly as I could tell them that they didn't do it even close to manufacturers spec (show them the manual because obviously they never looked at it). I would further ask/tell them they need to correct their error. If they don't want to help you I would politely mention small claims court and see what happens. Either they blatantly ripped you off or they have no idea what they are doing. The reason these boilers typically fail is due to leaks and too much make up water. It is basically impossible to "over pipe" a steam boiler. The bigger and more pipes are better with these boilers. That person fed you a line big time. I would guess they wanted to be in and out fast and make a quick buck off of you hoping you wouldn't know any different.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • aboyd
    aboyd Member Posts: 31
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    I could puke. Especially since I got into a cussing match with the installer after install (trying to add on parts and labor for things that were included in the initial quote) :(
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,784
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    Don't puke, try to relax and hopefully we can get all of this fixed for you with as little stress as possible.

    Where are you located?
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
    KC_Jones
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,742
    edited November 2014
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    I am sorry and I feel bad for you, but at the same time I am infuriated that contractors do this kind of stuff. If they were trying to add stuff after the fact like that it sounds like a rip off artist. I would contact them back, but I wouldn't hope for much. Is it written in your contract that they would do it to manufacturers spec? If so you might have some leverage. The only "leverage" you have with them is the contract. I would look over your paperwork and see what you can see. You should also keep in mind it might not be worth pursuing unless they are willing to correct it for no additional cost or minimal cost if they are willing to fix it. Where do you live? Did you try the find a contractor link on this site to see if there are any "steam men" in your area? The guys that do this right are passionate about doing it right. You may need to consider a new contractor. Remember anything can be fixed and with the help of people on here you can be guided through.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • aboyd
    aboyd Member Posts: 31
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    We are in akron, ohio.

    Installer is the head "boiler guy" hydronic specialist for hjacks plumbing and heating in the area.
  • SWEI
    SWEI Member Posts: 7,356
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    I almost hate to broach the subject, but why would anyone replace eight sections instead of installing a new boiler?
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,742
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    OMG...you are in major luck!!!!!! Gerry Gill is only 30 miles from you! One of the best in the country with steam. I would think he goes that far. Call them for sure and find out. Here is a link to his info. I think I would still call the original installer first and see what you can make happen.
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/g-w-gill-plumbing-and-heating
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • aboyd
    aboyd Member Posts: 31
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    @SWEI‌ he said he could save me thousands and replaced everything but the jacket. Brought the block in -- in 2 500lb sections!

    So Gerry Gill is kinda a big deal then?
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,784
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    aboyd said:

    We are in akron, ohio.



    Installer is the head "boiler guy" hydronic specialist for hjacks plumbing and heating in the area.

    I would contact Gerry Gill and see what he recommends.
    You may have to pay him to correct the piping and then try to get the original installer to pay for it. I have a friend that went through the same thing and had to take the first company to small claims court.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,742
    edited November 2014
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    aboyd said:

    @SWEI‌ he said he could save me thousands and replaced everything but the jacket. Brought the block in -- in 2 500lb sections!



    So Gerry Gill is kinda a big deal then?

    He wrote one of the books (venting) that is for sale on this site. Yes he is a big deal. When I saw ohio I had to look fast because I knew he was in Cleveland. It looks bad now, but you might end up in much better shape overall.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,784
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    aboyd said:

    @SWEI‌ he said he could save me thousands and replaced everything but the jacket. Brought the block in -- in 2 500lb sections!



    So Gerry Gill is kinda a big deal then?

    He is in my book.
    He's one of the best there is.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,742
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    Also please keep us posted as to what happens. Everyone likes to hear the outcomes so we can find out if you had a positive outcome.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
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    Gerry Gill is as good as they get! Do call him and see what he can do for you. Given the price you said you paid (and we don't discuss pricing here) you certainly could have gotten a brand new unit, controls and all but that is water over the dam at this point. Your original piping sounded like it was perfect for a boiler this size and it will cost a bit more to get that back but you can try a court action or simply chalk it up as an incremental cost to have a well running system and to a learning experience.
  • aboyd
    aboyd Member Posts: 31
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    So i made 2 phone calls today. First to the installer. I asked him why there was no skim port installed. he said they " don't do that, we don't want you skimming yourself. I'll come over next week and skim it for you." I then asked him about the pressure settings he said to move them from 3 to 1.5. Then i asked him about the risers and header not meeting the minimum requirements for the boiler ( it's actually an EGH-105, a little smaller than we thought ) He said that he pipes boilers "old-school" with 2.5" pipes everywhere to create more steam?-- He said they normally call to schedule a skim 3 weeks after install (first news to me) He tried to assure me that he wanted me to have peace of mind, and they did indeed skim at install. How? When there is no skim port? He also wasn't phased by the amount of water the feed had calculated ( 2 gallons in a day ) -- "I've seen boilers this size use up to 20 gallons a month!" I quickly reminded him of his lack of arithmetic skills as 2 gallons a day would equal 60 gallons a month :/

    His last words before getting off the phone " Ya know steam isn't a science, everyone has the way they like to do it. The manual is a recommendation not a requirement and will not void your warranty." What do you guys feel about his response/demeanor? I'm not sold.

    ( i also left a message for GW Gill today.)
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,784
    edited November 2014
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    I believe that incorrect piping can void the warranty.
    As the manufacturer says it's a "minimum" requirement. I'm sure Gerry Gill will make everything right.


    Both 20 gallons and 60 gallons a month are not only wrong they will without a doubt void your warranty and destroy the boiler fairly fast. Your system is much larger than mine but I'd be surprised to see even a gallon a month when things are working right. His comment about him not wanting you to skim actually makes me angry as do most of his other comments. To be honest, going only by his installation and his comments he shouldn't be working on steam systems.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
    KC_Jones
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,742
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    "The manual is a recommendation not a requirement and will not void your warranty."
    I have a Weil Mclain boiler and it clearly states in their warranty that they will deny it if they determine the failure to be due to improper install. The further state that a proper install must be at a minimum what they state in their manual. Everything that guy told you is garbage. "old school" only if that means wrong. He is also wrong about water usage. This guy is trying to rip people off. If the boiler takes on water it kills the boiler...period. He obviously wants it to die so he can make more money on replacements. Small pipes don't "make more steam". There is actually a BTU rating for each pipe size and a 2 1/2" pipe can carry around 250,000 BTU's and your boiler puts out 312,000 BTU's. You don't need to know anything about boilers to see that isn't going to work...ever. There is plenty of science to steam and if that guy knew this he wouldn't do such crappy installs. IMHO you have 2 choices keep pursuing this with someone who doesn't know what is going on or isn't going to do it right. Or you pursue having Gerry come out and fix it properly and tell the other guy they are not welcome at your house ever again. Honestly I would give them a bad review if possible AND make sure to let all your friends and family know not to deal with them. That's just me though.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,784
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    This is right from the manufacturers instructions which he chose not to read.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
    aboyd
  • aboyd
    aboyd Member Posts: 31
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    Do you think i should use the boiler with " caution " until Gerry can come out? i don't want to do anything to harm the boiler. It's Ohio and i'm cold.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,784
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    @aboyd‌
    Watch this video, I think it may help you understand better rather than just taking our word for everything.

    http://youtu.be/6BCCXW8lA1g
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment