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Y Check Valve Clogged

mkantzmkantz Member Posts: 7
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.

Comments

  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Member Posts: 3,286
    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 Member Posts: 7
    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 Member Posts: 7
    PS = House was built in 1922, the return line is original.
  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Member Posts: 3,286
    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 Member Posts: 5,280
    edited February 17
    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 Member Posts: 3,286
    Fred, I was going to wait for the pictures, then make a longer list.
  • FredFred Member Posts: 5,280
    JUGHNE said:

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

    Sorry.
  • KahooliKahooli Member Posts: 43
    What's with that shark bite on the water feed. Cmon... cut to length and solder!
  • FredFred Member Posts: 5,280
    Looks like that drip, in the last picture is tied in above the water line too.
  • AbracadabraAbracadabra Member Posts: 1,940
    Dresser coupling on the header... lol.. and it doesn't look like it's even on straight.. Repipe that poor boiler properly..
  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Member Posts: 3,286
    edited February 17
    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 Member Posts: 7
  • mkantzmkantz Member Posts: 7
    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 Member Posts: 6,708
    @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-McClain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
  • AbracadabraAbracadabra Member Posts: 1,940
    edited February 17
    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 Member Posts: 43
    edited February 17
    redacted
  • EBEBRATT-EdEBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 2,505
    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 Member Posts: 43
    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 Member Posts: 658
    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 Member Posts: 43
    HVACNUT said:


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

    Is that not a merchant coupling?
  • mkantzmkantz Member Posts: 7

    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 Member Posts: 3,286
    edited February 20
    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 Member Posts: 3,286
    Wondering how the repair tech turned out at the house?
  • mkantzmkantz Member Posts: 7
    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 Member Posts: 3,286
    If you find your boiler install manual in the basement or on line you can see how it should be piped.
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