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help me figure out my boiler fill piping...

I have a new (to me, built 1925) house, with a Peerless MI-06-SV-WP boiler. We caused it to turn on for the first time this last weekend, and the radiators were pretty slow to heat up. I figured they were in need of bleeding. I got air, but no water out of all the ones I opened, except the one radiator in the basement, which had no air. Examining the boiler tonight, I found that there's a gate valve on the supply line well away from the boiler. It was closed; I've opened it.

At the boiler, I have this valve:
the hand wheel screwed right off when I tested to see if it were open or closed, revealing a broken screw. The tag on the wheel says "Leave open during system operation/Fill Control American Tube & Control W Warwick RI". I can't tell if it's open or closed. There's lots of threads on the stem exposed, but who knows? There's a circulating pump at the top of picture, on the return piping. Higher up on the return piping there's another tank.

I have not opened the control box; the boiler is in a corner, and the control box is against a wall, and getting the cover off exceeding my willingness to perform contortions tonight. I says "Honeywell". But I don't see any sort of pressure control. Should there be on on the fill valve? Is the fill valve open? Does it need to be replaced with something I can turn?

Comments

  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 15,350
    That's a "Fill-Trol" setup. I don't particularly care for it, but it can work. It depends on the diaphragm in the expansion tank to operate the valve, so if the tank is under-pressurized, the system will be too.

    Best bet is to have a pro look at it. Where are you located?
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • steamedchicago
    steamedchicago Member Posts: 72
    We're in the north side of Chicago.
  • steamedchicago
    steamedchicago Member Posts: 72
    We had a pro come out and look the system over. He'd never seen a Fill-troll before, and wasn't terribly impressed with it. The valve is open, at least part way; it's slow to fill, he couldn't tell if that was how it's supposed to work, the valve being only part open, or the supply lines being corroded, or all three. It took me a couple hours over two days to get the radiators bled, I would open a bleed valve, get air out, and then the pressure would fall to zero, and air stopped coming out. Close the bleed valve, let the fill-troll slowly fill-troll back to set pressure, and repeat. There was an awful lot of air in the system, including an 8 foot (by 20" tall, by seven tube) radiator that I think was entirely free of water when I started.
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,514
    edited October 2016
    The fill trol is designed to maintain a preset system pressure which is adjustable. Usually 12-15 psi in a standard two story home. Provided the domestic water supply valve is always open, or on it will maintain that fill pressure.

    There Should be a lever on top of the fill trol to open it so the system fills faster for bleeding. It helps to have two people. One at the fill trol to maintain the system pressure by watching the pressure gauge, and opening the lever as needed. while the other does the bleeding. Or you could take the system pressure up to 25 psi and bleed then refill when pressure drops if doing it yourself. The relief is et to open at 30 psi on the boiler so don't get carried away.

    If the guy who looked at your system is a "pro" he should know what a fill trol does, and how it works.

    If you can post some pics.

  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,514
    ..
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 16,332
    It looks like you have two different expansion vessels? The old compression tank above the boiler and the diaphragm style Filtroil?

    Are they both valved into the system. One or the the other.

    Compression tanks are air management systems, no air purgers can be used without piping the air vent into the tank. An air bubble must be maintained in those tanks. Personally I would leave that old tank valved off, or disconnected, if the Extrol tank is properly installed and charged.

    Diaphragm style tanks, have a diaphragm to keep the air bubble captive. They are air elimination systems, much easier to manage, and they can and should have a good air purger or air separator installed.

    If you are up for some light reading, here is the long version of how the two operate.





    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
    SWEI
  • steamedchicago
    steamedchicago Member Posts: 72
    hot rod said:

    It looks like you have two different expansion vessels? The old compression tank above the boiler and the diaphragm style Filtroil?

    Are they both valved into the system. One or the the other.

    Compression tanks are air management systems, no air purgers can be used without piping the air vent into the tank. An air bubble must be maintained in those tanks. Personally I would leave that old tank valved off, or disconnected, if the Extrol tank is properly installed and charged.

    We think the tank on the fil troll is probably too small for the volume of the system. The boiler is slightly bigger than what extrol says the thing is supposed to be used on, I've got large radiators, and the original gravity system piping, so quite a bit of water to expand. I don't want to spend any money on this if I don't have to. We'd like to get a year or two out of the boiler and water heater, and then replace it with a zoned mod-con with an indirect for the domestic hot water.

    Thanks for the manual, I'll look at it later...