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Too much water? Not enough? helpp

grye
grye Member Posts: 88
Hi there, thanks for taking the time.

Yesterday my kitchen radiator valve sprung a leak. Turns out the nut on the handle was loose and needed to be repacked. No big deal, tightened it and the leak stop. Then, this morning, I woke up to my boiler off and a leak in the garage. Trace it back to the bathroom radiator this time, similar issue. Tighten the nut and its fixed.

So I go to the boiler, and now the gauge is filled with water. How could that be? I lost water all night (not a lot, two drips per second lets say), and the gauge full. Completely to the top. Odd.

We started draining water but several buckets later, the gauge didn't budge. BUT, the boiler did kick on. So things were good.... until some air vents started spewing out water. Some radiators are knocking like crazy now also.

So now things are not good. I don't think it was a coincidence, this all had to of arose from the leak. So what would cause the boiler gauge to increase? And why would not my vents be spitting water? Has to be related. Any ideas?

Comments

  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,723
    What happened was the boiler got too full and tripped the pressure control. Draining water reduced the pressure and allowed the boiler to start.

    It's possible the water feeder didn't close tightly and that's what overfilled the boiler.

    Shut the boiler down, then keep draining until the water is about halfway up the glass. Then restart the boiler and it should run OK. If the boiler overfills again, might be time for a new water feeder.

    Where are you located?
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
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    mgdesrochers
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,021
    Your system could have been subjected to being completely filled by house pressure because of a leaking auto fill valve. Be sure the auto fill cold water valve is off and not allowing ghost/phantom filling. Then I would drain it down to the correct level and fire up.

    Some radiators may have minimal slope towards the valve and may be full of water. Same for steam piping, it could have pools of standing water. Partially plugged wet return piping could be slow to drain this excess water also.

    You MUST have a working low water cut off (LWCO) safety device if you leave the water off. Do you know how often water must be added to the system?
  • grye
    grye Member Posts: 88
    edited April 2017
    I should have mentioned, I dont have an auto fill valve. I manually add water when needed (maybe once a month or so).

    I do have a LWCO, which is what i was expecting to find tripped. But instead I found the gauge full, even after losing all the water from the leak.

    So we lost water, gauge level increased, drained some, boiler went on but when they got hot water spewed from the airvents. Took out about 10 buckets of water and the gauge didn't budge.
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,021
    Do you have an insert coil heat exchanger for your household hot water? If so that may have a pinhole leak inside the boiler causing this.
    Otherwise the manual valve you fill with may not be closing completely.
  • nicholas bonham-carter
    nicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,576
    edited April 2017
    Maybe the fill valve is leaking, and overfilling the boiler.
    Possibly the pressure has risen as a result of a clogged pigtail. Or pressuretrol, and caused much of the water to hide in the returns. The fact that more than one valve began to leak would indicate a rise in pressure.--NBC
  • grye
    grye Member Posts: 88
    edited April 2017
    I see. So too much water going into the boiler could have caused the pressure to rise, which caused water to leak from the loose nut packing on the valves, and thus, as i drained bucket after bucket i released the pressure just enough to get the boiler to start, but theres still so much pressure it over pressurizes the radiaors, causing water to come out of the relief valves?

    My boiler and water heater are not connected.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 22,916
    I hate to say this, but... as the folks have said, drain the boiler down to where it belongs -- and wait. Overnight if possible. Then drain it down again, if it needs it. And wait again. If it didn't need it, then the fill valve isn't leaking, which is a good thing. If it did, it might either be a leaking fill valve or water slowly making its way back. That's why the second wait. It should be steady.

    Now... it is unlikely, but possible, that the overpressure damaged the pressuretrol. Fire it up, though, and the pressuretrol should shut it off as soon as all the radiators are hot. Maybe even sooner -- but not later. If it does, that part is good. Makes sure it is set correctly.

    If the vents still spit badly (here's the bad news) the over pressure may have damaged them.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,021
    How about some pictures of your boiler and piping from all angles? There could be something we are not seeing that could contribute to this.
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
    In all probability you caught the flooded system just before it filled to a point that water would have started to come out of the radiator and main vents. That much water doesn't come from slow returns, especially when you have a manual feed valve. That excess water is coming from a faulty water valve. Drain the boiler down to its normal water level (1/2 to 2/3's up the sight glass) and repair or replace the manual water valve.
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,021
    That much water backing up into the wet returns may have dislodged and relocated sludge and sediment which may now give you slow returns.
    Pictures might help.
  • grye
    grye Member Posts: 88
    What would I take pictures of to help?

    I drained the water (a lot of water) to get to an acceptable level. I'll leave it and see if the water level stays or increases.

    Not sure how the pressuretrol works or how to check that (if I even need to). If it's just the water feeder valve that would be a home run!
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,021
    Return piping around the boiler that goes into the bottom of the boiler and where it comes from.......Water feed valve and its connection to the boiler. Pressure control & gauge.
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
    grye said:

    What would I take pictures of to help?



    I drained the water (a lot of water) to get to an acceptable level. I'll leave it and see if the water level stays or increases.



    Not sure how the pressuretrol works or how to check that (if I even need to). If it's just the water feeder valve that would be a home run!

    That manual feed valve is the only way water can get into the system so it has to be the culprit. I wouldn't worry too much about the Pressuretrol or the radiator vents at this point. If the Pressuretrol wasn't working, it would not have shut the boiler down and that by itself most likely saved the vents from any damage. Of course there is always the possibility that much water could have washed some dirt into the vents and maybe even the Pressuretrol. If, when you get the valve problem corrected and fire the boiler back up, some vents don't seem to work correctly, take them off and wash them out. You may want to clean the pigtail (looped pipe) under the Pressuretrol as well. When you do that, check to make sure the tiny orifice inside the hex nut that screws onto the pigtail is also clean.
  • newagedawn
    newagedawn Member Posts: 586
    if you have a water feeder,every time the water went low the feeder kicked on, sounds like someone set it for a long fill time,keep draining buckets till you see water in the site glass, but you still have the problem on why the auto feeder went for so long, hopefully its as simple as a setting if not those things are expensive
    "The bitter taste of a poor install lasts far longer than the JOY of the lowest price"
  • grye
    grye Member Posts: 88
    No auto water fill, whenever it needs water I fill it manually. Thanks though
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,021
    If your manual fill valve is not a newer type ball valve then it is probably a gate or globe valve. Gate valves with a little age are notorious for not giving 100% shut off. Globe valves are more reliable but if some debris got under the rubber washer it could also pass water when it appears to be off.
    You can hear water slipping by better with a short piece of broomstick or such stuck on the pipe and the other end in your ear. Pipe down stream would feel cold also.