Welcome! Here are the website rules, as well as some tips for using this forum.
Need to contact us? Visit https://heatinghelp.com/contact-us/.
Click here to Find a Contractor in your area.

Auto water feeder bypass

Trav
Trav Member Posts: 8
My home steam system boiler has a Hydrolevel VXT-24 automatic water feeder installed. The water feeder's bypass button is electric, so if the circuit breaker is off or if the house temporarily loses electricity, the bypass won't feed water into the boiler if I press the unit's bypass button. Should I be reasonably concerned about this?

I ask because I'm in the process of selling my house, and at the prospective buyer's inspector's suggestion, the buyer is claiming that this is a safety hazard and needs to be remedied by me, the seller. I'm guessing they want a non-electric bypass to bypass the auto-feeder's bypass (if that makes sense).

Does anyone know New Jersey's state code on this? The auto feeder was installed by Joe Starosielec and his crew back when he was with Metuchen, NJ's Thatcher/ecuacool. It's my understanding that he has a stellar reputation here on the forum for diagnosing and treating steam heat systems. Since he went above and beyond in replacing my near-boiler copper piping with steel, and upgrading my whole system, I assume he'd be by-the-book as far as what's proper or legal for the auto water feeder.

Any info would be greatly appreciated!

-Travis

Comments

  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 22,914
    I'd say it isn't a problem -- I might point out that if the power is off, the boiler isn't going to fire anyway.

    However.

    I'm not your local code enforcement officer, and she or he is the one to call the shots on this one. What they say is it!

    I might also add, though, that installing a manual bypass shouldn't be a big deal -- and if that's what the buyer is concerned about and you want the sale, maybe just do it...
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,312
    What @Jamie Hall said is correct. No power...no water feed. no power....boiler doesn't run anyhow.

    I would tell the inspector (who always want everything) to pound sand.
  • Trav
    Trav Member Posts: 8
    Thanks for the input, @Jamie Hall and @EBEBRATT-Ed. This is kind of what I thought.

    This is the same inspector who said, "I'm not going to test the sprinkler valve since it's winter, but it looks rusty, so it needs to be replaced." I'm already making a large concession on the chimney, so I'm loathe to do any more for a seller whose low-ball house price I already accepted. Sheesh!

    I guess it would behoove me to look into the local code here, but I'm assuming I'm on safe ground.
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,697
    An auto feed is a convenience item not a safety device. If the inspector doesn't understand this I would question his boiler knowledge.

    If it's a real problem, offer to completely remove the auto feed and just have a manual valve. As far as I know auto feeds aren't code at all, just the LWCO.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
    Does your installation look like this? If so, that center valve is the manual bypass.
  • Leon82
    Leon82 Member Posts: 684
    > @KC_Jones said:
    > An auto feed is a convenience item not a safety device. If the inspector doesn't understand this I would question his boiler knowledge.
    >
    > If it's a real problem, offer to completely remove the auto feed and just have a manual valve. As far as I know auto feeds aren't code at all, just the LWCO.

    I like this idea
    Then tell them be careful what you wish for
  • Trav
    Trav Member Posts: 8
    @Fred, your image isn't viewable on my screen for some reason, but I've attached an photo of my auto water feeder here.


  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,697
    Here's another thought. Since the concern is the power going out, ask the inspector how the boiler fired while the power is out?!

    The inspector is honestly making crap up or is completely clueless.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
    I'm actually surprised he plumbed it without the manual bypass. @KC_Jones The Hydrolevel VXT-24 I&O manual does say the "Manual Bypass MUST be installed". I think the issue goes well beyond a power failure, like maybe the auto valve sticks closed and the LWCO has failed or whatever.
  • He's right for the wrong reasons. You should have a manual way to add water to the boiler. What if the feeder crapped out? The original guy who installed it screwed up. It should be fixed.
    New England SteamWorks
    Service, Installation, & Restoration of Steam Heating Systems
    newenglandsteamworks.com