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New oil introduced to system, I think...

demameydemamey Member Posts: 21
Hello,

I have a fairly new crown BSI boiler.
Soon after the install it was very noisy, and the contractor came and skimmed it. Then it was working fine for a while.
Recently I had done a little bit of work in the system, and it seems that new oil is introduced.
1) I took out a radiator and re-connected it.
2) I tightened a couple of valves (thank you for the help with this issue!)
3) installed some new vents
4) there was a leak in the gas line and one union was tightened and another was replaced.

Could any of these introduce oil to the system?

The system has become very noisy so I went to check the water and I can see a layer of oil on top, and more brown color in the water than before.

I changed a bunch of the water and it worked temporarily, but I know it is not the solution and not very recommended. Also, the noises did come back, and I can still see the oil.

Short of getting the plumber back here to skim again...

what can I do?

And, what do you think caused it? (so I can try to avoid this in the future)

Thank you!
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Comments

  • KC_JonesKC_Jones Member Posts: 3,256
    Sounds like it needs skimmed again. Depending on how much piping was replaced on the install the skimming can take multiple sessions of several hours each. Did the installer leave the pipe in the skim tapping? If so skimming is a very DIY friendly operation if you wanted to do it yourself. Post some pictures of your install and we should be able to help you with instruction for the skimming operation.
    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
  • nicholas bonham-carternicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 6,579
    When the boiler was installed, was a dedicated skimming port put in?
    If so, then you can skim the boiler yourself, which involves many hours of trickling the surface water, (with oils, floating on top), into a bucket or floor drain.
    There are some videos and discussions here on the subject, if you search.--NBC
  • demameydemamey Member Posts: 21
    Thank you Nicholas and KC for the quick response. No skim port was installed, and I was not present for the skimming. However, following the skimming there was no more oil in the sight glass, and it has not returned until recently, which is after the work mentioned above was done. The boiler is about 2 months old.

    I did drain out sediments once in a while, which meant I had to remove part of the water until the water ran fairly clear, and refill that amount once the boiler has cooled down, and then run it immediately..

    Some pictures will follow soon.
  • KC_JonesKC_Jones Member Posts: 3,256
    Out of curiosity do you know how long they were there doing the skimming?
    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
  • demameydemamey Member Posts: 21
    KC, I am sorry, I don't know. It was not the whole day, but some hours.
    At first he said it was not necessary. But then I showed him the instructions in the installation manual, he went and did his research, and he apologized and went ahead with the skimming.

    Before doing the skimming he came one time to put in a chemical that did not really help.

    pictures in a sec :)

    thanks
  • KC_JonesKC_Jones Member Posts: 3,256
    Well it's obvious he didn't read the manual since the piping is wrong. The Hartford loop is supposed to have a close nipple not that longer nipple (20170117_125855). The header has things in the wrong order. It's supposed to be riser(s), system takeoff(s) and equalizer at the end. You have System takeoff, riser, equalizer. The header won't work correctly the way it's piped, this is clear in the manual (page 14).

    Looks like those get skimmed through the safety valve connection according to the manual. That said it looks like there is another connection just behind the safety valve that has a pipe in it. Can you confirm (same picture as above)? If so that might be a better choice.
    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
  • FredFred Member Posts: 5,525
    edited January 17
    That short pipe that has the cap on it, next to your Pressure relief valve is your skim port. With the boiler powered off, take that cap off and fill the boiler with water until water starts to trickle out of that pipe (you may want to buy a coupling and a 4" nipple to extend that pipe a little ) put a bucket under it and let the water trickle very slowly, until you fill 4 or 5 five gallon buckets. (stream should not be any more than the diameter of a pencil). When that's done, lower the water level back to normal.
    With a new boiler, only two months old, multiple skims are typical. It takes time for oils in and new piping to wash back to the boiler. New vents and tightening fittings won't add oils. A new union may add a very small amount but most of what you are seeing is just normal new boiler oils.
  • demameydemamey Member Posts: 21
    Thank you guys. Do you think I can take off that cap by myself? Do I just use a big wrench? Do I need to buy another tool for this?

    and - how badly wrong is this wrong piping? will this destroy my boiler? cause less efficient running conditions?

    Thank you very much.
  • happydavehappydave Member Posts: 70
    Unfortunately it's always going to be a issue as the boiler isn't piping correctly you need to have it repiped
  • EBEBRATT-EdEBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 2,681
    Looks like the installer did a decent enough job.......too bad he piped it wrong. We have all seen worse but he should have followed the installation manual.

    It may not get you anywhere but I would at least call him and bring it to his attention.

    With only one riser it's not a ton of work to make it right
  • KC_JonesKC_Jones Member Posts: 3,256
    Second one of these boilers in the past few weeks on here and what kind of makes me laugh is the manufacturer makes a prefab piping kit for this boiler that should take all the guess work out. I guess some installers think they know better, they clearly don't.

    I didn't read the whole manual, but I know some manufacturers use language that if the instructions aren't followed they will void the warranty. That's a would be the case with you. This is only an issue if you need a warranty, but do you want to take the chance?

    The way it's piped it definitely won't perform the best it can. Was "piping to manufacturers spec" in your contract? If not you may be dead in the water, but I would still contact them back to see if they want to make it correct.
    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
  • demameydemamey Member Posts: 21
    Thank you all for your input.

    The guy who did the installation for me really saved me a lot of money. He worked really hard and didn't charge a lot, especially considering that he used black pipe, which 75% of the contractors I called were not willing to deal with. I am not sure if he will come and fix this if I ask him. He will probably not like hearing it, not from anyone but definitely not from a women who says she read it in a forum or saw it in the manual. The reason he kind of agreed to listen to me about the skimming is that his way obviously didn't work, the system was still very very loud, and then I showed him in the manual and he still didn't accept it, but then he went and read his big book of steam ... And he said he will do it. So...
    I had no contract with him. But he has come multiple times to check into the problems we had in the beginning without complaining...

    The previous system was installed 8 years ago and piped WAY wrong and failed prematurely. He pointed out all the wrong and I really really thought he did it the right way this time.

    So, it's a complex thing! I wonder what kind of issue this wrong installation could cause. Also - was the picture clear enough and you guys are sure that it is wrong? Perhaps it is the picture? (Yes, sure...)

    OK...

    Thank you!
  • KC_JonesKC_Jones Member Posts: 3,256
    Out of curiosity where are you located?

    Skimming is a straight forward operation and anyone that knows steam even a little should know about it.

    As for the piping even without the manual again anyone that knows steam knows the correct order for the header. The way it's piped will cause wet steam which can cause noise, hammering and poor performance of the system.

    For reference a steam system should basically be silent, anyone that says otherwise doesn't know steam.

    You say the previous boiler failed prematurely? Was the cause determined? Do you use excessive water? If the cause wasn't determined and fixed, you could be headed down that road with the 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
  • BrianT1077BrianT1077 Member Posts: 100
    edited January 18
    @demamey, here are some pictures of my skim port I installed on my Crown BSI103.




    Crown Boiler Bermuda Series model: BSI103, BTU output: 85,000, single pipe steam system
  • EBEBRATT-EdEBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 2,681
    If he saved you "a lot of money" then make a copy of the piping diagram and give it to him and have him give you a price to pipe it right. It will be worth it. Maybe he will do it for cost just to get it over with but in any case you want it done right...no short cuts

    Not that big a deal to change it in my opinion. We can't talk price here but a days work to re-pipe and re skim.

    Not many $$$ in material.

    If he's not interested someone else will do it.

  • demameydemamey Member Posts: 21
    Hi KC I am in NJ. In the other system the near boiler piping was done in copper, and it was pitches towards the boiler. So, if I understood correctly, the return water or some of it would go back the way it came out or at least that is what some people told me. At some point we had a leaking radiator, but I don't think it was a major loss. When we changes water every year we took all the old water out after boiling, and then we immediately refilled and not necessarily did we turn the system back on. And, perhaps water around here is not boiler friendly as well. So, it was, I think, all or AE if these things that made our boiler fail.
    The guy who installed was going to replace just the near boiler piping, but some of the other little further black Piper did not scrrw off so he ended up cutting them up and putting in new pipe. The old way from what I understoos was not good anyway, so I wasn't surprised that the new way looked totally different.
    Well... Thank you so much for all the time and thought you are putting into this...
  • KC_JonesKC_Jones Member Posts: 3,256
    Not sure how much this helps now, but a couple of great steam guys work in NJ and are wallies. @EzzyT @Dave0176 These guys are tops with steam and perhaps it's worth a call to them to get a first hand look at your system.

    I am kind of curious how you didn't come across them when you were looking for a contractor the first time?
    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
  • EzzyTEzzyT Member Posts: 673
    @demamey private message me
  • demameydemamey Member Posts: 21
    Hi everyone and thanks for your help so far.

    Over the end of the winter into the beginning of the summer we had some work done on the heating system.

    We originally had it installed by a person who charged us a very low fee, and I thought did a great job, but it ended up he got a lot of the piping totally wrong. (Look up at the previous photos to see).

    The new work done was through a program we we qualified for. The contractor has changed some piping and also added a skim port.

    The winter has now arrived and the system is yet again quite loud. I checked and there was lots of "dirt" in the water, so I have been taking some out of the bottom, and also some out of the skim port (slowly, but not yet a few hours worth of my time). The sight glass was so dirty after a few days of use that there it got blocked by "mud" on both ends.

    The system is now cleaner, and somewhat more quiet, but still does not seem quite right.

    Did the contractor do the correct thing? Below are some pictures.

    What do you recommend I do next? I can't afford to hire someone unless absolutely necessary. However, if there is something totally incorrect etc. I do have some guarantee from the contractor.

    Thank you!
  • FredFred Member Posts: 5,525
    Better pictures would be helpful but I think I am seeing one of your risers to a Main in between the two risers out of the boiler and it also looks like the equalizer is on the wrong end of the header. The configuration should be: boiler riser into Header, Boiler Riser into Header, Riser to Main, Riser to Main, Equalizer after that. Seems like the boiler should have been turned 180 degrees to facilitate the proper configuration. If that riser to the main is in between the two risers out of the boiler, you will have steam feeding it from two directions. Not a good thing.
  • SeanBeansSeanBeans Member Posts: 128
    people just can't get it right.
  • demameydemamey Member Posts: 21
    Thank you so much for your input Fred. I will take some better pictures soon and post.
  • Looks like a swing and a miss...


    Serving Rhode Island & Eastern Massachusetts
    Old Houses & Steam Heat Our Specialty
    newenglandsteamworks.com
  • KC_JonesKC_Jones Member Posts: 3,256
    I'm going to be blunt here. If you would have taken the recommendation given to you at the beginning of the year you most likely would just be here to tell us how awesome your steam system is now, instead of telling us how another contractor took your money and it still isn't working correctly.

    As has been said already it still isn't piped correctly.
    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
  • demameydemamey Member Posts: 21
    edited November 11
    I understand your point.

    I am not at a position to hire a contractor, and I didn't. I am in a bad financial situation.

    This contractor was hired by a company that helped me get my house insulated and my heating fixed because of that.

    So I didn't choose the contractor.

    I told them what need to be done according to the advice given here, and I thought this was what they did.

    So,

    I did not pay this contactor, but someone did. I hope I can get them to come back and fix it, but I am quite unsure they will. I can't tell them I checked with experts on a heating forum, as they consider themselves experts... :(

    Well well....

    If you have an idea of what I should do next, please tell me. I know there experts here that are in Jersey, but I know I cannot pay them what they are worth.

    Thank you
  • KC_JonesKC_Jones Member Posts: 3,256
    If those contractors downplay the value of this forum, they aren't experts. The founder of this forum has literally written the industry standard book on steam. Basically this website is the definitive expert.

    Not sure what else to tell you. If I was the person helping you I would be very interested in knowing I was being shafted.

    The manual for the boiler is clear, the expert can't argue with that. Don't take our word for it, it's in black and white in the manual with the boiler, they don't follow it they are wrong. Can't really argue with that.
    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
  • FredFred Member Posts: 5,525
    The best thing for you to do is go back to the company that helped you get your insulation and who paid for the boiler repairs and let them know the boiler was not properly corrected. If you have your owners manual, show them the diagram and also, run the boiler and show them that it does not heat like it was designed to, without a lot of noise. Prepare yourself to show them the errors in the work that was done and use this feedback when discussing it with them. Let them use their leverage to get the contractor to fix it right or risk losing the business they get from them. I know they aren't interested in paying to fix things that don't get fixed.
  • demameydemamey Member Posts: 21
    Okay, thank you all for your help and advice, and also for not judging me for my financial situation.

    I will take some better pictures tomorrow, to make sure I can understand everything that is wrong with the installation, and perhaps with your help I will be able to point everything out to the company who paid the contractor.

    Many thanks.
  • FredFred Member Posts: 5,525
    @demamey , we have all had our rough patches on our journey through this life. It wouldn't be "life" otherwise. No judgements here. Let us know how we can help.
  • demameydemamey Member Posts: 21
    edited November 12
    Thank you :smile:
  • demameydemamey Member Posts: 21
    And I realize I have a leak as well ...
  • KC_JonesKC_Jones Member Posts: 3,256
    You have a colliding header. The horizontal pipe directly above the boiler is the header. The header has a very specific order to it, so it works correctly.

    Here is the order.
    Pipe up from boiler (supply)
    Pipe up from boiler (supply)
    Pipe up to system
    Pipe up to system
    Pipe down to bottom of boiler (equalizer)

    This order must be followed without fail. What you have is this

    Pipe up to system
    Pipe up from boiler (supply)
    Pipe up to system
    Pipe up from boiler (supply)
    Pipe down to bottom of boiler (equalizer)

    There is water/steam mixture in that header. The steam needs to go up to the system, the water returns back to bottom of boiler. The reason for the order is so everything can flow through the header and the steam can easily separate from the water. In your header there is no direction. The water needs to flow towards the equalizer, but the steam is trying to go the opposite direction towards the supply.

    There are no road signs inside the header so the header has to be built in such a way to allow the steam and water to do what it wants to do naturally, but also encourage separation.

    Without understanding these concepts a contractor can not install a boiler correctly, especially when they don't read the manual as yours obviously did not.
    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
  • demameydemamey Member Posts: 21
    Thanks KC, I think that I do understand this now.

    I just called the contractor, and left a message with the secretary.

    When they come here I will discuss this with them. If they give me any trouble about repairing the installation, I will get the company that paid them involved.

    will keep you all posted.

    Thank you!
  • FredFred Member Posts: 5,525
    Please do keep us posted. You have a nice boiler there and, when properly piped and maintained, it will give you many years of good service.
  • demameydemamey Member Posts: 21
    edited November 14
    Not much of an update but I spoke to the contractor and he agreed to come ( to send someone in) for the leak. He didn't have much patience for me when I said that some of the near boiler piping was incorrect and that the system was loud and waking us up at night. He said not to worry about it too much but they will take a look when they come... They will call me and let me know when.

    Thanks.
  • GrallertGrallert Member Posts: 140
    Please be sure to hand the tech who shows up a copy of the boiler piping diagram. These are a minimum requirement piping arrangement for that boiler. Make a bunch of copies. We're rooting for ya.
  • FredFred Member Posts: 5,525
    If I were you, I would document the issue and send the company that helped you pay for the repairs a copy, as soon as possible. You can let them know that the contractor has indicated he will come out and take a look but you want to go on record acknowledging that your situation is no better than it was before he did his work. That way, if he doesn't show up or if he refuses to correct the problems, you can follow up with the company that paid him. They probably have a lot more leverage.
  • EBEBRATT-EdEBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 2,681
    @Fred is right. What's the old saying "follow the money" the company that paid them has the leverage, They will exert it ....or not
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