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Let’s Play What’s Wrong with This Picture

mkantzmkantz Posts: 10Member
edited December 2017 in Strictly Steam
I have a two-pipe low pressure steam system, recently replaced brand new (Weil McLain). The original return line includes a Y Strainer on the horizontal return and immediately after the Y Strainer is a Y Check Valve. The return line then continues to the boiler. After replacement, the Y Check Valve was clogged and condensate would spit out of the top of the vent as the water backed up in the line. 3 months later, it is happening again. I assume the Y Check Valve (original) needs to be replaced? Is there a better solution? Thank you.
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Comments

  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Posts: 5,335Member
    Do you have a Hartford Loop at the boiler?
    If so you usually don't have a check valve in the return line.
    Do you have a condensate pump for the return?
    Post pictures if you are not sure about these items.
  • mkantzmkantz Posts: 10Member
    I don't have a condensate pump for the return, and I'm not sure there is a true Hartford Loop on the boiler. Here are some photos.





  • mkantzmkantz Posts: 10Member
    PS = House was built in 1922, the return line is original.
  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Posts: 5,335Member
    Your second picture needs to include the piping to the left where the returning water connects to the boiler.
    And some pictures from farther back so all the piping around the boiler can be seen.
  • FredFred Posts: 7,591Member
    edited February 2017
    It's not piped correctly. I don't even see an equalizer on it. Risers out of the boiler should come into the header right next to each other, then riser to the main should come after the boiler risers, then equalizer should come off of the end of the header. The risers out of the boiler should come in on the side of the header to allow swing joints so that there isn't any stress on the boiler sections. Look at the installation diagram in the owner's manual.
  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Posts: 5,335Member
    Fred, I was going to wait for the pictures, then make a longer list.
  • FredFred Posts: 7,591Member
    JUGHNE said:

    Fred, I was going to wait for the pictures, then make a longer list.

    Sorry.
  • KahooliKahooli Posts: 112Member
    What's with that shark bite on the water feed. Cmon... cut to length and solder!
  • FredFred Posts: 7,591Member
    Looks like that drip, in the last picture is tied in above the water line too.
  • AbracadabraAbracadabra Posts: 1,948Member
    Dresser coupling on the header... lol.. and it doesn't look like it's even on straight.. Repipe that poor boiler properly..
  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Posts: 5,335Member
    edited February 2017
    I hope we haven't scared off the homeowner......
    mkantz, please continue with us.
    If you read more on this wall you will realize that most systems are picked apart, most deservingly so.
    Sorry to say but your system has some issues, we would discuss them with you. :)

    We will try to advise you concerning your immediate problem with the check valve but need to see the rest of the piping with that part.
  • mkantzmkantz Posts: 10Member
  • mkantzmkantz Posts: 10Member
    I am not offended by the comments, but definitely disturbed... :) We were not pleased the the work done by the guy here in Indiana, and finding anyone locally who would even install a new boiler was hard to come by. With that said, I am aware there are issues, but prior to the check valve backing up water in the return, the unit was running well at .5 to 1 psi consistently and it was providing great heat. I don't want to reinvent the wheel or spend money that is not needed, however, if there are simple solutions to obvious problems, I'd love to hear about it. Woke up this morning to the return line flooded again so that valve appears to be not working at all now.

    One question - the check valve is meant to keep water from coming back from the boiler? In the case of our setup, should that line be full of water at all times? When I opened the top of the check valve, it was gushing water, as I assume it should be unless the boiler is drained.
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Posts: 9,746Member
    @mkantz -- you do have a variety of problems, of which I am sure you are aware now! On the immediate problem, though, there is a fairly straightforward solution. You will need to find a decent plumber to implement it, though. The solution is to get rid of the check valve and the strainer and put in a Hartford loop -- or something which will act like one -- or a slight rearrangement of the return plumbing so you don't need one. The latter is what I would do, for the time being (it's not a really good solution -- it doesn't give you an equalizer, which you need, but it will work). The line with the check valve and strainer in it can be raised so that it is above the water line in the boiler. Your plumber may have other ideas, but what I would do for the time being is start where it comes into the boiler. Take that 45 and substitute a T with the leg pointing up and put a convenient drain valve on the other end of the run. Go up far enough to be above the water line of the boiler. Then run over behind the boiler (above, below, in back of the stack connection -- whatever works) and turn along the wall above where the check valve and strainer are now and tie into that vertical pipe. Lose the check valve and strainer.

    Then some other time we can worry about the rest of the problems!
    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
  • AbracadabraAbracadabra Posts: 1,948Member
    edited February 2017
    I see no way to skim the boiler, and as such, I doubt it was ever skimmed after installation. That, along with the improper near boiler piping I'm sure is contributing to a lot of wet steam.
  • KahooliKahooli Posts: 112Member
    edited February 2017
    redacted
  • EBEBRATT-EdEBEBRATT-Ed Posts: 4,946Member
    Take the check valve and strainer out and clean them and re install.

    That will get you back in business.

    Your piping could be a lot better. Save up some bucks for a steam pro to repipe it correctly with an equalizer and a Hrtford loop.

    Find the boiler install instructions, they show you how to have it piped. Anyone can pipe it correctly even if they don't know steam as long as they can read and follow instructions (but you would be better off with a steam pro)

    I don't like the header coupling because it shows that the installer didn't have a CLUE.

    The header is crying for swing joints.

    I don't believe in going straight across, even if you can get it together with unions and flanges

    Puts strain on the sections
  • KahooliKahooli Posts: 112Member
    If you're brave and patient, you can collect inexpensive leftovers from ebay and pay a fraction of the normal cost.

    The starts to my drop header I'll install this summer:
  • HVACNUTHVACNUT Posts: 1,817Member
    Also, aside from the need for swing joints, there is a minimum height requirement for the risers and by eye it doesn't look like the requirements are met.
    On a steam system, the manufacturers near boiler piping specs MUST be followed. Did the installer at least use the manual to wipe his mouth with after lunch?
    No Hartford loop, no swing joints, no equalizer.
    The installer needs to come back on his own dime, open the manual and repipe it correctly.
    One more tidbit. No street els on gas piping and it looks like a thread protector and not a black pipe coupling.
  • KahooliKahooli Posts: 112Member
    HVACNUT said:


    and it looks like a thread protector and not a black pipe coupling.

    Is that not a merchant coupling?
  • mkantzmkantz Posts: 10Member

    Take the check valve and strainer out and clean them and re install.

    That will get you back in business.

    I will need to drain the boiler in order to access the check valve without water spewing out, correct?

    Thank you all for your recommendations. I've got a new boiler guy coming on Tuesday.
  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Posts: 5,335Member
    edited February 2017
    The strainer should be protecting that check valve from returning debris. The plug part of the strainer pointing towards the floor is meant to be removable for cleaning of the screen inside, (if it is still there). Some of those plugs have a smaller pipe sized plug that a short nipple and ball valve could be installed. The ball valve could then be opened with the boiler full of water to "blow down" the strainer screen into a drain pan of sorts. This would be a simple solution until you get rid of the check valve.

    Of all the things mentioned above, I believe one of the most important is to get swing 90's on the boiler risers. Just looking at that "dresser coupling" on the horizontal "header" between the risers you can see the strain and binding on the boiler outlet fittings. When the boiler is fired up and that cast iron is exposed to 300 degree plus flue gas, it expands and is trying to grow. The solid piping between risers is trying to hold the cast iron in place. Swing joint 90's will allow for that expansion and contraction of boiler sections.
    With the risers being as short as they are there is limited flex of piping compounded by the lack of 90's. This has caused cracking of one or more boiler sections.........major money.

    Locate the book online if you don't find it in the basement. It won't be surprising if it is still in the unopened bag. Piping instructions are inside. A drop header is always recommended but may not be shown in the book.
  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Posts: 5,335Member
    Wondering how the repair tech turned out at the house?
  • mkantzmkantz Posts: 10Member
    Well... the repairman wouldn't work on the boiler since he didn't install it. He recommended we eliminate the Y check valve because the return line is below the water line, replace the first Y valve with a knob to drain the return line if needed, as well as repipe the header to include a line back into the return line (equalizer I assume?). So now I need to find someone else to do the work. Thanks for the advice.
  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Posts: 5,335Member
    If you find your boiler install manual in the basement or on line you can see how it should be piped.
  • mkantzmkantz Posts: 10Member
    Back again.. let’s play what is wrong with this picture now... I won’t tell you the issues we are having now, just looking for feedback.





  • SteamheadSteamhead Posts: 12,649Member
    Can that guy even read? The improper header piping is still there...............
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/all-steamed-up-inc
  • KC_JonesKC_Jones Posts: 3,996Member
    Equalizer is on the wrong side. The equalizer is reduced in the horizontal which is a big no no. There still isn't a swing joint on the header. The boiler risers should have a 90 at the top then into the header, this creates the swing joint. see if others find anything else.

    There is a picture in the manual that shows exactly how to do it. Make it exactly like the picture without interpretation and everything will be fine. Literacy must be a problem for your installer. I hope you did not pay for that work as it still needs redone.
    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
  • mkantzmkantz Posts: 10Member
    Why does it matter about the equalizer being on the wrong side or reduced?

    This is a NEW crew that came in to do the work on the equalizer. They could not get the left header pipe coming from the boiler off the new boiler even with two guys, thus they put the coupler back on...

    The boiler is now flooding itself every time it runs, the pressure only gets above .5 psi after 45 min and the water hammer is tremendous.
  • The new crew must have only started in the profession a few days ago, if they were unable to take the pipes apart!
    I don’t know what your instructions were to them, but if you asked them to correct the piping, they should have followed the piping diagram so thoughtfully supplied by the manufacturer.
    Find the manual, on the website, and print up a couple of copies, one of which you can draw their current piping on. Show it to the top dog at the company, and request a correction.
    As it is now, the steam is blowing in too much water up into the mains. I wonder if they also raised the pressure on the pressuretrol, ‘just for good measure’.—NBC
  • KC_JonesKC_Jones Posts: 3,996Member
    The reduction means the header will hold water, the function of the header is to separate the steam from the water. If it's holding water that is tough.

    The way it's arranged now the steam needs to go one way and the water another. It's not smart enough to do this so it will throw the water up into the system. Basically it sucks the water out of the boiler. This will activate the feeder and when all the water returns it's flooded. Oh and all that water in the system will hammer like crazy. Looking longer term all that water will rust out the pipes prematurely. Flooding boiler with make up water will rot that new boiler out as well.

    The details are important. of the details aren't correct you won't be able to get it running properly.
    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
  • KahooliKahooli Posts: 112Member
    The one return also doesnt look to join below the water line
  • KahooliKahooli Posts: 112Member
    mkantz said:

    Why does it matter about the equalizer being on the wrong side or reduced?

    This is a NEW crew that came in to do the work on the equalizer. They could not get the left header pipe coming from the boiler off the new boiler even with two guys, thus they put the coupler back on...

    The boiler is now flooding itself every time it runs, the pressure only gets above .5 psi after 45 min and the water hammer is tremendous.

    were they using an 18" wrench? lol
  • BrewbeerBrewbeer Posts: 547Member
    What model weil Mclain is this?
    Hydronics inspired homeowner with self-designed high efficiency low temperature baseboard system and professionally installed mod-con boiler with indirect DHW. My system design thread: http://forum.heatinghelp.com/discussion/154385
    System Photo: https://us.v-cdn.net/5021738/uploads/FileUpload/79/451e1f19a1e5b345e0951fbe1ff6ca.jpg
  • unclejohnunclejohn Posts: 1,353Member
    Why is the swing check upside down?
  • FredFred Posts: 7,591Member
    You asked the question, you got your answer. The near boiler piping is still a mess and won't work right.
    - Is the Header at least 24" above the normal water line (if you had a normal water line)? It looks like it may be but with that much head room, going higher would make for dryer steam.
    - There are no swing joints between the risers and the header, which means with expansion/contraction, those risers will push against the boiler sections and crack one or more sections, given time, shortening the life of that boiler
    - As has been said, the equalizer is on the wrong end of the header. The header does look like it is pitched back towards the equalizer but with that reduction on the horizontal, any returning water will flow down the riser rather than the equalizer. That will cause hammer.
    - I'm not sure why that clamp is there, in the middle of the header. That will likely be a source of problems/leaks if it is actually pulling the two halves together.
    - On a boiler that size, I'm sure the instructions say the header should be at least one size larger than the risers.
    - There definitely looks like one of the returns is tied into another, above the water line. Another source for hammer.
    - Anyone who says "We couldn't get that pipe off so we left it incorrect should be shown the door and someone brought in with the right equipment and tenacity to get the job done.
  • clammyclammy Posts: 2,118Member
    Even though your headers a mess ,if they where to remove the last elbow on your system riser and install a tee and effectively drip that riser and form your equalizer that pipe would then drop and have a tee forming your hartford loop and then tie back into your boiler ,on what looks like your left side of your boiler the smaller pipe which ties into that vertical drop should be remove and tied in at floor level and well below the boilers water line with the other drop run to your hartford loop .That attemp at a equilizer using a heel outlet tee is very imagative and completely useless .Also insulate your near boiler piping on the supply ay least use 1 inch wall fiberglass pipe insulation less wall thickness does nothing .Peace and good luck clammy
  • delta Tdelta T Posts: 717Member
    At least they added a hartford loop, but, it looks it me to be too high, another possible source of hammer. Can't tell 100 percent, but you can check, there is a mark somewhere on the boiler indicating normal water level. The top of the hartford loop should connect 2" below this level.

    The dresser coupling in the header should be replaced with a union or a flange, and as long as we are going down this road, did they do a radiation survey when they initially installed this? That looks like a pretty large boiler for the average house. If it is oversized enough it can cause all sorts of problems. What is the square footage of the house? Check the boiler for a rating tag and look for a btu/hr input rating and let us know what it is. If they don't have 36" and 48" pipe wrenches, they will not get the risers out, and should not be attempting to work on steam systems IMHO

  • mkantzmkantz Posts: 10Member
    Thank you, everyone. I appreciate your feedback. I do believe this group will come back and fix it with these recommendations. I do have the manual and will review with them as well. Does anyone have a recent photo of a boiler of similar makeup and the piping from that system? If so, could you post? I'd like to share and review that with them as well. Thank you!
  • EBEBRATT-EdEBEBRATT-Ed Posts: 4,946Member
    @mkantz why do you need a "recent photo of a boiler......" You have the manual.

    Question: do you want this thing to ever work right??

    Here's what you and your crew need to do. Remove all the piping and start from scratch. ITS ALL WRONG. You don't need a picture, you have the boiler manual.

    All you need is an installer who can read and isn't lazy. Don't try and twist and turn about which pipe to save. Measure, fit, install and make it look like the picture you have ....in the manual
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