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Automatic water feeder?

Hi All, I'm a relative novice to steam heat. Had a question regarding a Weil Mclain EGH-95-pin. Can i add a automatic water feeder to this system? I currently add water as needed. I'm attaching a pic of the system.image

Comments

  • KC_JonesKC_Jones Posts: 3,660Member
    How much water are you adding? Yes you can add an auto feeder, but be aware if you are adding water all the time you have a problem. These systems should use very little water and excess makeup water will kill these boilers. If your water usage is excessive you need to address that problem before worrying about adding an auto feeder. Auto feeders are convenience items, you should be peeking in on that boiler at least once a week out of habit to monitor things....especially water usage. Is this a new boiler?
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10202744301871904.1073741828.1330391881&type=1&l=c34ad6ee78
  • how often are you adding water?
    more than once a month might indicate a problem.
    if you do add a feeder, make sure it has a meter on it, so you can monitor the consumption.--NBC
  • BobCBobC Posts: 4,839Member
    Automatic water feeders probably destroy as many boilers as they save. Steam boiler can not be ignored, they have to be monitored at least twice a week to catch any problem early before they become serious.

    KC_Jones was right about knowing how much water is being added to a steam boiler, the automatic feeders make it to easy to ignore excess water use. You don't realize whats going on till someone tells you the boiler has to be replaced because it rotted out.

    If you are absolutely convinced you need a water feeder, get one that that has a water meter built in AND KEEP TRACK OF HOW MUCH WATER IS BEING ADDED. In any case do not ignore the boiler, make sure the low water cut off (it looks like you have the probe type) works and that it is cleaned every year..

    Bob
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • HatterasguyHatterasguy Posts: 6,058Member
    Attractively priced water meter which can be installed separately from automatic water feeder:

    http://www.dwyer-inst.com/Product/Flow/WaterMeters/SeriesWM2
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Posts: 8,729Member
    A philosophical thought on automatic water feeders...

    BobC has a point. If you don't pay attention to the automatic feeder, you can cause a lot of corrosion in short order. You do need to pay attention to how much water you are adding (I use, for example, a whopping total of two gallons a year, exclusive of blow downs).

    However.

    That said... if you are in a situation where you may not be able to monitor the water level on a really regular basis, like pretty much every day, an automatic feeder can keep your system running if a steam leak develops. This could be handy, for instance, if you go away for a weekend in cold weather. Beats having the system shut down and freezing the building -- or worse, having the LWCO fail and dry firing the boiler.

    Overall? I'd opt for an automatic feeder with a meter telling you how much water was being added, and checking the whole thing once in a while.
    Jamie



    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.



    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-Mclain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
  • HatterasguyHatterasguy Posts: 6,058Member
    Whether you visit the boiler daily and add the required water, or use an automatic water feeder, the end result is identically the same as far as the boiler is concerned.

    Of course, you can ignore the automatic feeder at your peril, but the feeder, in and of itself, isn't the culprit here.
  • kacrejamkacrejam Posts: 28Member
    On average i add water once or twice a week during cold weather. This is driven by the water level setting off the LWCO. I add at least a gallon (or more?) each time. I do get dirty water in my system seemingly more than average. This requires me to to do blowdowns on a regular basis (Once every week or 2 weeks). I'm not sure but seems like this is alot of adding water and cleaning the system. I don't get where all the water is going? Don't have any leaks I am aware of. The house is old (~100years) (~4000 ft2). Has 7 radiators and 4 indirect radiators in basement (ceiling mount).
  • KC_JonesKC_Jones Posts: 3,660Member
    That is excessive water usage for sure. Is this boiler new? Do you know if it was skimmed when it was installed. You could have a leak somewhere that you really should find. The excessive water usage is what eats these cast iron boilers up. Leaks can be water or steam...steam leaks can be harder to locate. Is this a one pipe or 2 pipe system? What is the venting like? Are the vents closing properly? The system should stay fairly clean if it was properly cleaned when it was installed. If you are going off on the LWCO on a weekly basis I would guess you are losing gallons of water every week on a boiler that size.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10202744301871904.1073741828.1330391881&type=1&l=c34ad6ee78
  • kacrejamkacrejam Posts: 28Member
    Its not new. Was here when I bought the place 9 years ago. I'm guessing ~20yrs old or more. I do have a sunroom addition that i don't use that has rads. I thought i had shut off the supply to this addition. Maybe i have a steam leak in there?? I can't imagine i have leak anywhere else. I don't see puddle anywhere in unfinished basement. 2 pipe system. I do have vents on each rad and one big one (Gorton?) on main.
  • vaporvacvaporvac Posts: 1,512Member
    Why are there vents on the rads with a two-pipe steam system?
    Two-pipe Trane vaporvacuum system; 1466 edr
    Twinned, staged Slantfin TR50s piped into 4" header with Riello G400 burners; 240K lead, 200K lag Btus. Controlled by Taco Relay and Honeywell RTH6580WF
  • kacrejamkacrejam Posts: 28Member
    Thats a good question. I guess there shouldn't be a vent on a two-pipe system. However I do need to clarify. The system is a mixed system from what i understand. Some rads are two-pipe and some are one. I'm attaching pic of a two-pipe rad with vent. Should i remove this vent and put plug in place?
    image
  • KC_JonesKC_Jones Posts: 3,660Member
    Definitely a 2 pipe radiator and that vent shouldn't be there. Looks like a knucklehead may have worked on that system. What can happen is the trap on the radiator can fail closed and then the radiator doesn't work. Someone comes in and says steam is supposed to have vents that is your problem and adds the vent. The radiator works, but the problem hasn't been fixed. Honestly given your water usage issues and what this rad looks like I would recommend you get a good steam professional in there to look your system over. As far as leaks, if you have a steam leak or multiple steam leaks you may not see a puddle the steam will just go into the air and that's it. Do you have Radiators with only one pipe hooked to them? If so it's possible they aren't original or a knucklehead took it to the next level and just removed the second pipe not knowing what was going on. Where do you live? We may be able to recommend a good steam professional to you.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10202744301871904.1073741828.1330391881&type=1&l=c34ad6ee78
  • kacrejamkacrejam Posts: 28Member
    Yes, I do have some rads with one-pipe. No sign that they originally had a return line. I would be interested in someone with good experience to check out my system. I live in southeast PA near Villanova.
  • KC_JonesKC_Jones Posts: 3,660Member
    I would try one of these 2, both great choices and I know they both will travel for steam. Call them and see what they say.
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/thatcher-heating-and-air-conditioning
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/all-steamed-up-inc-
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10202744301871904.1073741828.1330391881&type=1&l=c34ad6ee78
  • jimmythegreekjimmythegreek Posts: 48Member
    thats alot of water to add to this boiler, I have the same unit. Correct me if Im wrong but this seems like a way oversized boiler for your load by the sounds of it. I have 38 radiators and 10,000 sq ft in a commercial building that Im heating w my EGH-95. I noticed you said 7 radiators and 4 indirects, not sure how big your indirects are maybe thats the large load on your system. Regardless you definitely got something leaking steam/water, I have a drip in a bolt flange that I have to address at end of season and I add a gallon of water at best once a week. The auto feeders are very easy to add and u can get the mcdonnell miller matching unit that will run off of that probe LWCO, but you would want something with a meter to see what water you are adding as suggested earlier
  • kacrejamkacrejam Posts: 28Member
    Thanks jimmy. Yeah I must be leaking steam. The indirect rads I have are very large and they do have vents on them. I don't understand yet why I use so much water. I'm tempted to add the auto feeder for when I'm on the road.
  • It might be time for the overfilling test, which is to let the boiler cool down a bit, and then overfill up to the header. Let it sit for a few hours, and then look for leaks. These could be seen in the firebox, or in the returns.
    If none are seen, then look for any steam leaks in the radiators, or main vents.--NBC
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