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What is the Flood Potential Of A Water Auto Feeder

I recently had a Burnham IN5 installed . It came with a McDonnell & Miller Universal Water Feeder (WFE-24) and a McDonnell & Miller LWCO (PSE-802-24). I have read some of the old posts on the subject, but have a couple of additional concerns. The Water Feeder is set with a Dwell/Feed setting of:
Initial Dwell 60 sec.
Initial Feed 60 sec.
5 Dwell/Feed Cycles
2 GPM Flow Rate
My understanding of this is that when the LWCO calls for water (which has its own time delays), it will wait one minute, then add water for one minute (rate of 2 gallons per minute), then repeat this cycle up to 5 times as long as the LWCO wants water. After the 5 cycles, the water feed will not allow any more water to be added to the system. As long as the Auto feed is operating properly, the maximum amount of water supplied by the Feeder should be only 10 gallons.

Is this safety feature as good as or the same as the Hydrolevel VXT (I know this model has a digital read out of gallons used, but if defective and flooding, who cares).

I am trying to decide if I should change out my brand new Auto Feeder (the contractor never said anything about the features of different brands) with the Hydrolevel VXT. Or, if the safety of both models is equal (and the digital read out is the only extra feature), is it possible to add an "in line water meter" on the feed line? Is such a thing available?

Appreciate any help.


  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
    That water feeder is as good as any of the others. The issue with them (all of them) is usually not the display. It is the fact that at some point in time, the solenoid that feeds/stops water flow will fail or the valve will not completely seat, allowing water to flow. That's when the risk of flooding occurs. You will usually get several years of use out of them before the problem occurs I personally took mine off because I think it is better to manually check the system once or twice a week and know when water is added but there are thousands of the auto feeders in use and some (a relatively small number) do fail after a few years of use. The choice, at least for me, is not which brand to use but rather if it makes sense to even use one.
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,742
    I can't comment on your specific unit because I have the Hydrolevel unit.

    I can say this, my old boiler had a hydolevel that was 32 years old and still working perfectly without issue. It was also fed off of an old galvanized water pipe which didn't seem to bother it.

    This is no guarantee of success, but it does show they can hold up just fine.

    I do agree with Fred, you should be checking your boiler regularly. The new VXT I put on the the boiler was mainly for the meter. I do all the feeding with the VXT and the meter tracks the usage, which should be done to verify you aren't using excess water.

    Yes, there are add on water meters that can be used and I would suggest you add one. Without, for the most part you are guessing on water usage. IMHO
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • geoprell
    geoprell Member Posts: 19
    Is their anyway to isolate the Auto Feed so you have the choice of using it or not using it?
    I am guessing because the Auto Feed and LWCO are wired together, you can not.
    If the Auto Feed is eventually removed, do I then need a different LWCO (McDonnell & Miller PSE-802-24) because the two were designed to work in tandem?
  • mikeg2015
    mikeg2015 Member Posts: 1,194
    Feeder is normally a separate unit that uses the 2nd set of contacts on the LWCO. You can just install a switch to disable it. At least you can on mine.

    However, personally I’d want 2 LWCO devices if I didn’t have an auto fill. That just me.
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,635
    You can pipe a manual valve in the water line to bypass the feeder to add water manually. You can also ad a switch to kill power to the feeder if you don't want to use it.

    As @Fred mrntioned steam s a hands on system, should be checked every few days and water can be added at that time.

    If you add a manual bypass and a switch (it's a good compromise) then you could use the feeder if the house is unattended...vacation...long weekend etc. Reduces the risk of flooding, but exersizes the feeder when your away, keeps it operational and protects the boiler from low water while your away