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Water coming out of radiator

alanm
alanm Member Posts: 40
I have a one pipe steam boiler. Recently it cracked and manufacturer replaced. unit seemed to work like pre loss. heating company came out and did skimming (2 weeks later). some radiators were not getting hot and one radiator had water come out like a faucet when system was running. they came out and skimmed again. those radiators now heat but getting a lot of "spitting" of water out of radiator vents and one radiator on 3rd floor is gurgling and water comes out of that when running like a faucet. Pressue set at the lowest (.5?) but when radiator was running I checked it and it went slightly past 2 on the gauge. any thoughts of what the problem could be? thanks Alan

Comments

  • kcopp
    kcopp Member Posts: 3,823
    Could be a number of things... bad piping... or still has oil in the system.
    Got pictures?
  • Abracadabra
    Abracadabra Member Posts: 1,948
    Exactly how was the boiler "skimmed" does the boiler have a true skim port (not a drain). Pics of said skim port and near boiler piping?
  • HVACNUT
    HVACNUT Member Posts: 4,205
    New boiler block with existing controls? Check for blocked anti siphon loop to the pressurtrol. Cut in at 1/2 psi is good. Set to 1 psi diff.
    Is there a lot of banging in the pipes.
    Oil or gas fired? If oil, maybe over fired.
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,518
    Are the radiators pitched back towards the supply pipe? Are the mains and radiator run-outs in the basement pitched the right way? As has been said, check that the pigtail isn't clogged and that the white wheel inside the Pressuretrol (if it is the gray box with just the Cut-In scale on the front) is set to "1", facing the front of the unit. Pictures of the boiler, piping around/above the boiler and a representative radiator as well as the skim port are needed.
    Did the first boiler actually crack or did it rust through? How old was it?
    Did the installer put any chemicals in the boiler to clean it out? If so, turn the boiler off and drain it. Fill it with fresh water and no chemicals.
  • alanm
    alanm Member Posts: 40
    thanks for responses- here is addtl info requested. the boiler cracked/defective - about 9 years old. installer used a detergent. they checked pigtail- no blockage, totally clean. oil fired boiler. see photos (pressure control and pipe they "turned down" when they skimmed. as noted, i had real problems after they skimmed the first time , then they came back and did more skimming (no detergent but would add water when they skimmed some water out,) and then still some problems not as bad, and they came back and skimmed again (no adding of water- just removing the top film- they told me).
  • kcopp
    kcopp Member Posts: 3,823
    those are not helpful. Need to back away and show us the overall piping set up.
  • nicholas bonham-carter
    nicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,510
    edited February 2017
    You cannot skim without adding water slowly to cause the overflow, of surface oils out through the skim port. Total time needed about 8 hours. Have them show you the technique, and do the rest yourself, as there is no chemical substitution for this.--NBC
    Abracadabra
  • Abracadabra
    Abracadabra Member Posts: 1,948

    You cannot skim without adding adding water slowly to cause the overflow, of surface oils out through the skim port. Total time needed about 8 hours. Have them show you the technique, and do the rest yourself, as there is no chemical substitution for this.--NBC

    This... I doubt the boiler has been skimmed properly.
  • alanm
    alanm Member Posts: 40
    so is the problem with wet steam and water coming out of the radiator due to oils and detergent still in the boiler?
  • Gary Smith
    Gary Smith Member Posts: 367
    That's one leading cause of wet steam, another is improper piping size and layout in and around the boiler.
  • kcopp
    kcopp Member Posts: 3,823
    So again..... a good set of pictures from the boiler would help. We need to be able to see all the piping.
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,518
    It is difficult for steam bubbles to break through the surface of the water if there is a layer of oil there. That, and many chemicals will cause a lot of turbulence in the boiler water, throwing water up into the header, causing it to back into the wet returns, cause pressure to sometimes build, etc. It must be properly skimmed and except for maybe one or two Steamaster tablets, chemicals should not be added to the boiler.
  • alanm
    alanm Member Posts: 40
    they want to come back out and drain, flush system and refil with fresh water--- is this ok to try?
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 4,840
    Draining doesn't remove the oils. Skimming is the only way. Skimming is a standard practice for any steam boiler installation, if they don't understand that I would be worried.

    Still waiting on overall pictures of the install that will tell the rest of the tail.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • alanm
    alanm Member Posts: 40
    see attached photos of boiler. water is abotu slighly more than half way on glass. so, should they not drain/flush/refill? and tell them just to keep skimming? one pipe steam system and the two pipes leading out from header--- one pipe goes and feeds only 3 radiators. the other pipe runs around perimeter of basement and comes back to boiler (and the main is located on that pipe at the end). thanks
  • Abracadabra
    Abracadabra Member Posts: 1,948
    What model boiler? What size iron pipe do those copper pipes connect to? Looks like 2" copper off the header and 1.25 or 1.5" equalizer. Drain/Flush/Refill is not skimming. It is completely different.
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,518
    What do you mean by: "(and the main is located on that pipe at the end)." ? Both of those copper pipes that come off of the header are "mains".
    If they are skimming, the sight glass is completely filled, during that process. Where it is now is a normal water level. If, when the boiler is running, the water in that sight glass bounces around a lot, jumping up near the top of the glass and/or dropping down to nearly the bottom of the glass, it still needs to be skimmed, not drained/refilled.
    Also, it looks like those copper mains are pitched down towards the boiler. Is that the case? If so, that will cause the condensate to run back into the header, making for wet steam.
  • alanm
    alanm Member Posts: 40
    Crown boier is KSZ200 BOP ZZP50. the iron pipe is 3" (11 inch circum). i placed level on the copper mains and the one is about 1/4 pitched down and the other is about 1/8 pitched down. although it has not been very cold here, when heat does come on, water not bouncing that much in site glass and seems to be hanging around 1/2 way. should i have them just re-skim (what is the xact process) or drain/flush/refill as they want to do. Thanks
  • MilanD
    MilanD Member Posts: 1,159
    edited March 2017
    Here's a video of what it looked like when I skimmed my boiler. This is what skimming is - water added at the bottom of the boiler and let slooooowly drip out the top - skimming oils that accumulate on top of the water. This takes time - hours - like 4-5 or more hours. You won't really know what's enough as it will depend on amount of oil in the boiler. Best would be for you to do it yourself as you can take time to do it slowly, which is the key. If your water is not surging in the water level glass after you are done, then it's done.

    https://www.amazon.com/photos/share/opyNdP0H27f89CSMBCKL6LgK7iwCmhF4sfuuGAR5jyK

    One of the manufacturers also uses the following process to clean boilers from oils after the installation. I also did it too with lye after one of our failed sections was replaced, and after 2 skimmings of about 10 gallons. This cooking finally cleared all the oils. Most of these chemicals are cheap and won't harm boilers. One is TSP, one is soda ash, and one is lye. I used lye as it's less harmful to the environment than the TSP, but you have to be super-careful when mixing it - full chemical protection to hands, eyes, long clothes covering everything, and a mask. Mixing of it should be preferably done outdoors.

    ===
    Use one (1) pound of trisodium phosphate for every fifty (50) gallons of water content in the boiler.

    ♦ Alternative #1: Use one (1) pound of sodium carbonate for every thirty (30) gallons of water content in the boiler.
    ♦ Alternative #2: Use one (1) pound of sodium hydroxide (lye) for every fifty (50) gallons of water content in the boiler.

    Heat the boiler to 180* F. Maintain 180* F for two (2) hours. Do not allow the boiler to make steam.

    After two (2) hours, drain the boiler and refill with fresh makeup water.

    Check the pH level of the boiler water after cleaning. It should be between 7.0 and 8.5. A small amount of cleaner may be added to adjust the pH up to the proper range.

    NOTE: Before using any water treatment chemicals, be sure to thoroughly review their manufacturer’s instructions, contents, and warnings. Foaming agents present in water treatment chemicals can interfere with proper steaming action.

    ===

    As far as water coming out of radiators, this may be due to many factors: your op pressure may be too high, main riser pipes may be too narrow (yours are copper and seem quite skinny, but it may be the photo - is it 2", and does it comply with manufacturer's specs?) and could be carrying more water with the steam (wet steam), your radiators may not be pitched correctly towards the rad valve and water is picked-up and carried to the vent, your valves may be only partially open and are arresting water, your vents may have gone bad, etc...

    You should first check the op. pressure and that it is not above 1.5 psi max cut-out. If so, ptrol needs to be recalibrated or replaced (after making sure your pigtail is fine). IN general, all these systems can run on less than 1 psi, with proper venting. Your ptrol won't allow it be less than 1.5 psi. So, 1.5 psi it is.

    You should next check rad pitch, one at the time, and lift it to pitch towards the valve. You can use a fulcrum of some sorts (4x4 or a stack of old phone books) and a 2x4 or a breaker bar under the rad (with a helper), and add some metal washers or a quarter or two under the rad's back legs.

    Then, make sure valves are all open 100%.

    For a spitting vent, swap it with the one not spitting and see if the problem follows the vent. Then replace bad vents.

    Good luck!