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Water level regulation

HI! Looking for some advice on regulating the water level in our Burnham gas boiler. Our house was built in 1889 and i'm sure steam was the latest and greatest then....We've worked through a lot of kinks with water hammer, etc. but we've recently started having issues with the water level. It doesn't seem to know when to stop filling, so we're having to regulate it by hand, which is an issue when we get home from work because no one has been there all day and its chilly :)
When it runs low on water, it turns off as anticipated.
Any ideas??

Comments

  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 20,500
    Ah... you may have a leak. On top of the water feeder not working properly. A boiler shouldn't use more than a gallon a week -- indeed, some folks manage on a lot less than that.

    At least it turns itself off properly -- be glad of that.

    What model Burnham is this? and how old?
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 10,322
    Does it ever end up with too much water in it?
  • brudnicki230
    brudnicki230 Member Posts: 7
    the hubs says he knows and Is familiar with the leak....
    It's the overfilling that he's trying to fix. I'd say the boiler is probably 30 years old?
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,381
    The seat on the auto water feeder is probably letting water slip by because it';s not sealing properly. Some can be taken apart and cleaned, others just have to be replaced.

    That water leak is going to destroy the boiler, because fresh water brings in oxygen and that will rot out the boiler. Where is the leak, if it's in a pipe it has to be fixed - if it's a hole in the boiler then that probably has to be replaced.

    Post pictures of the leak.

    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
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 20,500
    If this has been going on for some time, it is likely that the valve on the autofeeder is shot. They aren't meant for that type of service.

    It is also likely that the boiler either is, or is about to be, shot.

    Sorry about that.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • brudnicki230
    brudnicki230 Member Posts: 7
    The leak is in a steam pipe (we've been fixing them one by one it seems). Will post pics when i get home :)
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,540
    No need for me to add another comment about fixing the leak. To answer your question, keep the water level at about 2/3's the way up the sight glass.
  • brudnicki230
    brudnicki230 Member Posts: 7
    I guess I'm not surprised that the old girl might be on her last legs...everyone has been so helpful!! Thank you!!!
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 10,322
    So you do have a boiler overfill problem when it is off?
  • brudnicki230
    brudnicki230 Member Posts: 7
    Nope. When the water is low and fills, it overfills.
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,540
    Do you know where the leak is? Is it in a pipe? radiator? valve? or in the boiler? I too have a Burnham boiler. It's 34 years old and still going strong. Maybe the "old girl" still has her legs, just needs a little help from a friend. :)
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 20,500
    Two possibilities -- one is that you might have a problem with slow condensate return. This you would see if the boiler overfilled, but stopped at a certain level. On the other hand, if the boiler overfills and keeps on going, the valve in the autofeeder could be hanging up.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    JUGHNE
  • brudnicki230
    brudnicki230 Member Posts: 7
    The leak is in one of the steam pipes in the basement. We've fixed pipes in line before it...
    Is there a way to tell the autofeeder which works to fill, to stop at a certain point??
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 20,500

    ...

    Is there a way to tell the autofeeder which works to fill, to stop at a certain point??

    That depends on the make and model of the feeder. Some do -- Honeywell VXT's, for example. Older ones or other makes/models might not. Do you have the manual for yours? Or the make and model?

    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • brudnicki230
    brudnicki230 Member Posts: 7
    Sorry I'm not sure of the make and model...is it inside the unit??? Here's the unit and the pipe leak if it helps?
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,540
    There should be a spec plate mounted on the opposite side of that boiler, on the outside. It looks like the model is a 4_ _ A or B. They are solid old boilers but they need to be maintained and adding a lot of water to any steam boiler is never a good thing.