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Replace old style gas valve

VDBLUVDBLU Posts: 39Member
I have a slow leak in an old style grease packed gas valve. I've read it is best to replace this with a ball valve but I haven't found any replacements with a tap and valve for the pilot. Any advice on what to do?
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Comments

  • Steve MinnichSteve Minnich Posts: 2,468Member
    PHC News Columnist
    Minnich Hydronic System Design & Consultants
  • bob_46bob_46 Posts: 813Member
    That valve does not meet national fuel gas code it has a displaceable rotor, You can tell by the spring. The code specifies non-displaceable rotor.
    bob
  • rlaggrenrlaggren Posts: 159Member
    You're the one looking for ways and means so presumably you're the one thinking to do work here. With that in mind let me start with the following caveat:

    If that building is your residence most codes will allow you to do work on your own home yourself. Some don't. It's always worth checking to know the rules of the game you're in. Nobody here would recommend breaking code. Especially with gas, where problems may cause a really big disaster.

    In my experience most of those valves can be rebuilt to work well with just a cleaning and grease. Plumbers don't like that much because a repair has to be warrantied just like a new install but a repair usually doesn't pay as much and it's _far_ more likely to result in a call-back. They have a good point. Also, If the valve isn't greased every few years it gets hard to turn and starts to leak. At which point people tighten them up (when possible) to stop the leak and then they won't turn at all.

    If you are capable with mechanical stuff or machines _and_ with completing that work on schedule, you can likely do the repair yourself. Shut off the gas, take it apart in place, look it over (w/a good light and a mirror while lying down beside it) and see if anything is obviously damaged. Probably not and if so, grease it up and reassemble. Unless you've done lots of this stuff, that will take you 3-6 hours.

    You said there's a leak so I'm assuming you know how to check your work and find the location of your leaks - and fix them. (I'm also assuming you have done due diligence and definitely found the exact source of your present leak.)

    Have a Plan B in case you break something or find damage. At least figure how to cobble it back together as good as it is now so you can regroup. Then if you haven't found the perfect valve repipe w/two ball valves. Take care w/the pilot tube - it's less work to NOT have to replace that too; just buy the adapters you need. You want at least two good steel pipe wrenches, one of which will fit the large nut on the union and maybe cheater bars to extend their handles. Aluminum wrenches tend to break, especially with cheater bars . If there is no union close upstream of the valve, you will have to cut the pipe to get the valve off and then install a union (unless you disassemble the other way toward the boiler - probably more trouble). That means hacksaw work (easily possible) or a sawzall (quicker and easier to break things). If you have a big box store near you, or a _very_ accommodating vendor, purchase ALL the material and parts you can POSSIBLY need; return later. That will shave hours off a DIY job.

    Plan B is important. Have it ready to go. It will take most handy people 6-10 hours.

    Sound like Work? It is. It's doable. I'm trying to give you a realistic picture so as to help avoid large upset and disappointment.

    Sometimes using local professionals is the best go, even for the "easy ones". Not least because you have a chance to find people you like before you really Really need them. Remember, there is no one "right" method. Each pro may solve things a little differently.

    Rufus

    disclaimer - I'm a plumber, not a heating pro.
  • bob_46bob_46 Posts: 813Member
    Yes. It looks like you will have to do a little repiping. Your existing valve has a 1" X3/4" bushing on the downstream side. If you use a 3/4" valve you will have to reduce with a reducing coupling ahead of the valve. There should be a 3/4" union immediately after the valve. You are going to have to shut the gas off at the meter.
    bob
  • JohnNYJohnNY Posts: 2,358Member
    Why don't you just get rid of that old crappy gas train and put in a new combination universal gas valve either with a spark ignition or standing pilot?
    OR
    Get a new boiler with modern safety controls and good efficiency ratings. How old is that unit? Ever check how much carbon monoxide that thing is making?
    For installations, troubleshooting, and private consulting services, find John "JohnNY" Cataneo here at :
    "72°F Mechanical, LLC"
    Or email John at [email protected]
    John is the Boilers and Hydronic Heating Systems Course Instructor at NYC's Mechanics Institute, a professional Master Plumber, licensed by The Department of Buildings of The City of New York, and works extensively in NYC while consulting for clients in and out of state.
    John also oversees mechanical installations and maintenance for metro-area clients with his family's company, Gateway Plumbing and Heating along with his brother/business partner.
  • EBEBRATT-EdEBEBRATT-Ed Posts: 6,026Member
    JohnNY is right. It maybe be time for something new.

    Also, bushings and galvanized with gas is usually a no no.
  • VDBLUVDBLU Posts: 39Member
    Thanks Rufus. All good points. I've done a boiler replacement in the past and installed an air handler. I sized and reran all of the gas line in the house. So I'm not an expert by any means but I've built up some skills. Even better, I have a brother who is a HVAC tech who I can lean on when needed. I like doing the work and have had trouble finding anyone local that seems to know boilers. I appreciate the feedback.
  • VDBLUVDBLU Posts: 39Member
    JohnNy, I'm considering replacing the gas train but know that I need more info on selecting the parts. The boiler is original to the 1928 house so I would like to replace it fairly soon. I've had to prioritize other house expenditures though. I'm also out of time this season.

    Can you help me figure out an appropriate replacement combination valve? The boiler is a 1928 Bryant gravity hot water. My home inspector thought it was 700,000 btu, but I can't find a boiler plate. I'll put up pics of what I found. The White Rodgers valve (26A02-208) that is on there has a modern replacement that has a capacity of 300,000 btu. It looks like it's maybe a 1970's part. Not that I need even the 300,000 but I want it to burn right. Maybe it's not a concern? I haven't looked for a co test, but have been told it's tough to find someone in the area that can do it.

    I do have a White Rodgers 36c76 combination valve and igniter controls from my previous boiler if by chance it would work.

    EBEBRAT, I knew about the galvanized pipe but not the bushing. I'll have to do some research on that one.


    Thanks for all the time you all have taken to respond.
  • Tim McElwainTim McElwain Posts: 4,278Member
    I need to definitely know what the firing rate of the boiler is and then I can give you a gas valve that will handle the load. A combination gas valve eliminates pretty much all the controls and gas shut offs. Then all you would need is a shut off within six feet of the unit. The pilot-on-off shut off on the modern combination valve will cover everything else. You will also still be able to use a thermocouple for a pilot safety system.
  • VDBLUVDBLU Posts: 39Member
    The firing rate is I suppose the big question. It's been running a long time on one whose replacement is rated for a max of 300,000. However it seems much larger than the 300,000 I had at a previous house. I suspect the original valve was a 1" because of the piping on both sides. Should I clock the meter? Or would it just give me the 300,000?
  • Tim McElwainTim McElwain Posts: 4,278Member
    Yes clock the meter so we can know what vlave to recommend based on actual input. Some of the old boilers are very large but that does not mean they are that high in input.
  • VDBLUVDBLU Posts: 39Member
    I clocked the meter at 257,000 btu (28 secs for each revolution of the 2 foot dial). So it looks like I can use the WR36C76 that I already have because it is rated to 280,000 btu in this document:

    http://www.emersonclimate.com/Documents/White-Rodgers/instruction_sheets/0037-6516.pdf

    What do you think?
  • Tim McElwainTim McElwain Posts: 4,278Member
    That valve can't be used on your system as it is designed for Direct Spark Ignition or Hot Surface Ignition. What you need is a Honeywell VR8300A 4565 3/4" x 3/4" capacity from 30 CFH to 300 CFH. The kit also includes a Q340 thermocouple.
  • VDBLUVDBLU Posts: 39Member
    Tim, I have the igniter box and pilot assembly for that valve also to convert the boiler to direct spark.
  • Tim McElwainTim McElwain Posts: 4,278Member
    So you are not converting to Direct Spark if you have a pilot. You are converting to Intermittent Pilot. Code does not allow converting from a pilot system over to Direct Spark or Hot Surface Ignition.

    What is the Make and Module number and send a picture of it and the pilot and I will let you know if it can be done.

    It is important to get the names right so we can assist you here.
  • VDBLUVDBLU Posts: 39Member
    edited October 2016
    Anyone know what this is doing in the gas line union? Seems to be lead with holes punched in it. Was it a regulator or maybe a filter?
  • VDBLUVDBLU Posts: 39Member
    Thanks for the correction on the direct spark Tim. I've attached a photo of the intermittent pilot control and of the pilot assembly that I have test fitted.
  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Posts: 5,998Member
    Are there orifices installed for each burner? The only time I saw anything like that was in a power burner which had an orifice in the union before the burner.
    Your burners look like they have individual gas adjustment for each burner, maybe there is no orifice and that disc is used for some flow regulation.

    That is a Tim question for sure!
  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Posts: 5,998Member
    Also, is there only one pilot flame for these burners?
  • VDBLUVDBLU Posts: 39Member
    One pilot for all 7 burners. There is a valve for each and an air control butterfly.
  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Posts: 5,998Member
    edited October 2016
    IIWMe, as a contractor, I would get the new gas stop, probability a new pilot gas stop valve for the 1/8" port as they tend to leak also. Just use the gas valve in place, test the safety switch that it shuts down the gas when the T-couple loses flame.
    When you get a new boiler you can reuse that gas stop, just reverse it so you have an 1/8" port to check gas pressure.

    This is what I would recommend from the standpoint of being a contractor with a target on my back for lawyers to see. FWIW

    PS: the pilot will keep the boiler warm, that heat is not all wasted. You can shut it down off season.
  • rlaggrenrlaggren Posts: 159Member
    I read here somewhere that old boilers w/standing pilots look in much better shape after the years than newer ones w/electric or intermittant pilots. Would seem that keeping the machinery warm at all times keeps it dry in moist basements and reduces corrosion.

    Rufus
    disclaimer - I'm a plumber, not a heating pro.
  • Tim McElwainTim McElwain Posts: 4,278Member
    You can't use that UT module as it is non-100% shut off. I suggest an Honeywell S8610U-3009 to be safe.

    Those are 7 individual burners with the ability to isolate each burner with a shut off. The butterfly setup is for air adjustment for each burner.

    Once this retrofit is complete a combustion analysis should be done.

    The real problem here is what you are using is not actually a Universal Replacement Retrofit Kit like a Y8610U from Honeywell which gives you liability protection with the Exhibit "A" and Exhibit "B" papers at the end of the instructions for installing the retrofit.

    You the installer now have full liability if anything happens as you are not using approved and tested controls.

    Folks you just can't do your own thing I do not care how smart you are. Hire a pro with a license is the best bet and then make sure he or she knows what they are doing.

    This gas stuff blows up and also can create a deadly gas undetectable by human senses that kills it is called Carbon Monoxide.
  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Posts: 5,998Member
    Tim, how about that restrictor/multi holed orifice in the gas train? Was that to act as a pressure dropping device of sorts?
    Seeing how each burner has a manual adjustment perhaps with no orifice for each burner.
  • Tim McElwainTim McElwain Posts: 4,278Member
    I need a better picture of the front of the burner area. Most burners I know about always had orifices to control the flow of gas. Keep in mind the regulator controls gas pressure to a set amount usually 3.5" W.C. The orifices control flow and example a four burner system burning 100,000 BTU's input would have a 42 drill size orifice at each burner giving 25,000 BTU's per burner. The other part of burners is a primary air shutter to control the air mixing with the gas in the mixer head of the burner.
  • VDBLUVDBLU Posts: 39Member
    The union with the lead piece is upstream of the gas train. Before the gas cock slightly off camera to the right in the attached picture. I'm out of town for the weekend. When I return I will take some more pictures.
  • VDBLUVDBLU Posts: 39Member
    I have attached pictures of both sides of the burner. There is an orifice at each burner. The orifice is close to a 5/32 drill. Any opinion on what to do with that hunk of lead?

    I have a vr8300a valve on the way that I will install on Wend. I have a technician coming to do a combustion analysis and adjustment hopefully Friday. I haven't been able to find any manufacturer literature on this boiler. What results should I expect him to come up with?

    Thanks again for all of the help! It's great to be able to tap into some of the most knowledgeable and interested folks in the business.
  • Tim McElwainTim McElwain Posts: 4,278Member
    If the orifice is 5/32 then at 3.5" W.C. with a specific gravity of .6 and a BTU content of 1050 each burner would be 75,000 BTU's for a total of 525,000 BTU's input. You clocked it however at 257,000 so at 3.5" W.C. the orifice size per burner should be 7/64 or a number 35 drill.

    Also if you are going with an intermittent pilot then the VR8300A is a 24 volt standing pilot with a thermocouple gas valve and will not work with spark ignition..

    With the system you have about all you can expect is 7% O2 with about a 7% CO2 (50 percent excess air) with a net stack temperature of around 450 your efficiency will be around 75% combustion efficiency. The higher the stack temp the lower the efficiency.

    I am wondering if someone didn't block off some burners?

    I am for some reason not seeing this lead you are talking about?
  • VDBLUVDBLU Posts: 39Member
    Tim, I'm going to set it up with a standing pilot as you first suggested. My goal wasn't to set up the intermittent pilot really, I just thought I would see if it was appropriate since I already had the valve and the ignitor box. Looks like they shouldn't have been used on the previous boiler either. The VR8300A is inexpensive and simpler to install than the intermittent pilot set ups.

    All of the burners have been on since I have owned the house. They were all firing when I clocked the meter.

    I will double check the drill size of the burner orifice's this evening when I get home. Is it possible that the lead disk/basket thing in the union is acting to limit the volume of gas before it even gets to the regulator and burner orifices? I'll post the pictures of the lead piece again.
  • FredFred Posts: 8,043Member
    Looks like some kind of restrictor. Do you think they might have sold the same boiler with a range of restrictors that down sized the input and consequently the output of the boiler?
  • VDBLUVDBLU Posts: 39Member
    I just measured the orifices at 7/64". I must have had the bit in the wrong slot of the drill index. Sorry for the confusion.

    The lead plate has 9 holes at 7/64" and 3 at 1/8". Being upstream of the regulator it should be at a higher pressure. That combined with having more holes than the boiler has orifices I suspect it doesn't have any impact on the boiler's final flow.

    The old pressure regulator is a Maxitrol RV 53 3/4" X 3/4" labeled 5.5"-12" in case that makes any difference.



  • ChrisJChrisJ Posts: 10,116Member
    edited November 2016
    Shame you didn't measure the manifold pressure it had before it was taken apart.

    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
  • VDBLUVDBLU Posts: 39Member
    ChrisJ, it's easy enough to put back if I need to. Of course I'd then need to locate a gauge....

    BTW, I enjoyed reading about your EcoSteam setup.
  • ChrisJChrisJ Posts: 10,116Member
    VDBLU said:

    ChrisJ, it's easy enough to put back if I need to. Of course I'd then need to locate a gauge....

    BTW, I enjoyed reading about your EcoSteam setup.

    A Dwyer slacktube manometer and some distilled water would work. They're on ebay new fairly cheap usually.

    But it is another expense, regardless. But you'll have it forever and it'll always be dead accurate.
    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
  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Posts: 5,998Member
    Was there an 1/8" pipe plug in the burner manifold after the gas valve? This is where you could check the actual pressure applied to the orifices of the burners.
    Is the lead restrictor after the regulator?
    Your regulator looks to be only capable of being set down to 5.5" WC.
    I'm wondering if the lead restrictor dropped the manifold pressure lower than that.
    Your new standing pilot gas valve would have it's own regulator you could adjust.
    Do you know the pressure of your piping system in the house?
    Possibly 7", or is it higher?
  • VDBLUVDBLU Posts: 39Member
    The lead piece is before the regulator. There is not a 1/8" plug anywhere in the old gas train. I don't know the pressure in the house, but don't have any reason to think it is outside the standard.

    The 5.5" on the low end of the regulator sticker is why I mentioned it. At this point I think the conversation about the lead plate and the old gas train is academic. Tim says that the orifices I have running at 3.5" wc will produce the same firing rate as I clocked the system at before. Not to say I'm not interested in what that lead thing was for. But from what I understand the new combination valve will eliminate needing to know.
  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Posts: 5,998Member
    My theory of unknown items is that I can not throw them away until I know what they were and their function in life was.
    My office and shop attest to that theory.
    I have to live long enough to be able to dispose of a lot of "stuff".
    Then when it is gone, I suddenly have a use for it.......I suppose that I am in the minority on that fact. ;)
  • FredFred Posts: 8,043Member
    JUGHNE said:

    My theory of unknown items is that I can not throw them away until I know what they were and their function in life was.
    My office and shop attest to that theory.
    I have to live long enough to be able to dispose of a lot of "stuff".
    Then when it is gone, I suddenly have a use for it.......I suppose that I am in the minority on that fact. ;)

    You're not alone. I have a lot of parts that I have on a shelf waiting to see if I will need them or, if, by chance the replacemnt part fails and I can make another good one out of some of the old components. After a couple years, the "easy to get ones" get thrown away, the "hard to find ones" stay on the shelf.
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