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Leaky Gorton help

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HarryL
HarryL Member Posts: 59
I mounted two Gorton #2 at the end of the dry return (see photo). I just fixed one leaky radiator valve union, so I turned up the thermostat to see how everything else is working after a big setback. The primary intent was to verify the pressurtrol. This is the first time since installing the Gortons that I've really turned up the thermostat. Normally the PSI stays at about 0 and the thermostat is controlling the boiler. Pressuretrol dial is at 1 with 1/2 on the cut-in.

When the pressure got up to about 0.4 PSI I noticed that the Gorton mounted on the elbow was hissing out of the top of the valve. By this time all of the radiators were hot and vents closed from steam. I was also getting a few drops out of the last elbow of the antler too. It seemed to be from the nipple end, not where the Gorton screws in. I'm going to pull the antler down and see if I was a little too gentle in my assembly process.

It seems pretty clear that this Gorton is bad. Any thoughts on anything else that I should check? Until now, I've never really been sure when the Gortons close. They do get "hot" though and that seems to coincide with the radiators getting hot.

To test again and also verify the pressurtrol, is it a bad idea to close off all (or maybe all but one) radiator and let the boiler build its pressure and avoid waiting for the radiators to heat up?

The boiler is a Burnham Independence IN4. The water in the sight glass drops about an inch and only bounces about 1/8". I skimmed yesterday.
Home owner, 1927 2-story, single family
1 pipe Burnham IN4I, Boston area

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  • HarryL
    HarryL Member Posts: 59
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    More info...

    I took the antler down (thanks again for those that recommend mounting on a union!). When I tipped it, a bit less than a teaspoon of water came out. When I installed the antler, I was careful to be sure the horizontal run where the Gortons are mounted has some slope back towards the dry return. What I forgot to check was the horizontal coming off the vertical. I reused the tee off of the dry return where the installers had mounted a #35 and it "looked" vertical. Unfortunately, it isn't so condensate is collecting at the horizontal elbow before the Gortons. The Gortons heat up but could this bit of water be messing with the steam that should be closing off the Gortons? That doesn't seem to explain why one closes and the other doesn't but I will to fix this problem and retest. The T is 12 years old and wouldn't budge. I think I'm going to replace the first 90 after the union with two 45s and remount.
    Home owner, 1927 2-story, single family
    1 pipe Burnham IN4I, Boston area
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,741
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    I will also add there is always going to be water in there because the fitting ID is bigger than the pipe ID so you will get a small amount of water pooling there. It can't be stopped.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • HarryL
    HarryL Member Posts: 59
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    I had room to swing the antler 90 degrees clockwise so now the first nipple is parallel with the dry return. I'm going to try this and then see what happens on my next test.

    Is it a bad idea to close the radiators valves while I focus on this problem and also to check the pressurtrol without waiting to heat the radiators?
    Home owner, 1927 2-story, single family
    1 pipe Burnham IN4I, Boston area
  • Captain Who
    Captain Who Member Posts: 452
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    Make sure you have a properly functioning low pressure (say 0-3psi) gauge mounted on the same pigtail as the pressuretrol and that the pigtail and all piping are open and not blocked at all. It should get up to pressure a lot faster with only insulated piping to do the condensing of the steam.
  • HarryL
    HarryL Member Posts: 59
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    I tightened the antler up and swung it around so that there is some pitch all the way back to the vertical nipple. No drips, but still getting continuous venting on one Gorton and the outside of the case went up to 190 or so. When I had it off the antler today and turned it upside down, the vent closed off. The other had no evidence of venting and the case only went up to about 150 before cooling off a bit. The misbehaving Gorton is only a couple of weeks old. I think I will return it and get a replacement.
    Home owner, 1927 2-story, single family
    1 pipe Burnham IN4I, Boston area
  • Captain Who
    Captain Who Member Posts: 452
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    That is a bad reflection on Gorton's quality control I guess. According to the Gerry Gill video they will start to close at around 110 F and at about 130 F it may be closed, so for it not to close at 190 F is pretty bad. Did you try cleaning it with vinegar? I know that is nearly brand new but you never know if a bit of rust or grit got blown into it already. Another thing I've wondered about is how sensitive are they to not being vertical? You want the pipe to it to have pitch but maybe the vent itself still needs to be fairly vertical.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wl8vQ2MYhMs

    You said the other vent "had no evidence of venting" ? Well that's not good either then.
  • HarryL
    HarryL Member Posts: 59
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    @Captain Who‌ - I was just looking for that video. thanks!

    I wasn't clear. The "working" vent, vents fine while cool and closes when it gets hot as it should.
    Home owner, 1927 2-story, single family
    1 pipe Burnham IN4I, Boston area
  • Captain Who
    Captain Who Member Posts: 452
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    My pleasure. I'll be doing the same thing in a few weeks after I get my hourmeter and counter installed and collect a week or so of baseline data. Keep us posted.
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,888
    edited December 2014
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    Gorton's quality control is pretty good- we buy #2 vents by the dozen. Once in a while a bad one gets thru, but there is no problem getting them to replace it.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • HarryL
    HarryL Member Posts: 59
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    Progress... I pulled the problem Gorton out and just plugged it for now. The time for the steam to make it through to the Gorton was about the same as with two, though I did have a few radiators closed off. I'll time again under normal conditions.

    I replaced the stock pressurtrol with a new L408J1017. I have it set at 1.5 off and -1 differential. It cut off and cut in as set which is something I never saw on the old unit. Hopefully that just means that my system is reasonably well balanced and it hasn't had to get up to the cut-off point, at least while I've been watching.

    Fortunately I think I'm done for the weekend. This doesn't really count as "honey do" list material and I need to knock a few of those off.
    Home owner, 1927 2-story, single family
    1 pipe Burnham IN4I, Boston area
  • Captain Who
    Captain Who Member Posts: 452
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    A lot of the people here seem to have the 16 oz model, which is the one I think I'm leaning towards, after I get my mains vented fast and my radiators balanced and venting slow.
  • SWEI
    SWEI Member Posts: 7,356
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    ...Which makes me think that a 4 PSI Vaporstat should be the standard limit control shipped on all residential boilers. What percentage of residential steam systems extant actually need to run at more than 3 PSI?
  • nicholas bonham-carter
    nicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,578
    edited December 2014
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    While we're at it, maybe all boilers should come standard not only with the Vaporstat, but also low, and high pressure gauges, and a piping kit to ensure proper piping, as well as the site glass, and float LWCO mounted on a larger diameter surge column designed to trap the surface oils in the LWCO. Every blow down, the oily water is removed from the boiler, and over a period of time, the boiler becomes completely clean, even without skimming. When you compare the cost of skilled labor to do several sessions, of several hours of skimming, the extra piping could be cheap insurance.--NBC
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,741
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    While we're at it, maybe all boilers should come standard not only with the Vaporstat, but also low, and high pressure gauges, and a piping kit to ensure proper piping, as well as the site glass, and float LWCO mounted on a larger diameter surge column designed to trap the surface oils in the LWCO. Every blow down, the oily water is removed from the boiler, and over a period of time, the boiler becomes completely clean, even without skimming. When you compare the cost of skilled labor to do several sessions, of several hours of skimming, the extra piping could be cheap insurance.--NBC

    Except that it seems a ton if not a majority of the knucklehead installers don't put in any of that extra labor. So supply what you suggest would look like extra cost to most people. Not saying it's right, just suggesting the reality of the situation, the reason this site exists.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • rrwitherspoon
    rrwitherspoon Member Posts: 104
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    Preaching to the choir
    That is such good idea