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Water Feed Problem - Boiler Low Cutoff preventing heat

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Major7
Major7 Member Posts: 44
Greetings:

Here is an obviously bad installation of a boiler water feeder. Can I get a hint how to re-pipe without all the galvanic corrosion? See pics attached. My boiler is still working (kind of) but cuts off frequently due to low water.






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  • Big Ed_4
    Big Ed_4 Member Posts: 2,785
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    Not much left there ... Top part is original , the rest is what was available from the 5 gallon bucket in the pick up truck ..
    I have enough experience to know , that I dont know it all
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,280
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    A little hard to say where to start... above that pair of elbows and close nipple (do I see a drip there?) I suppose. Put in a ball valve there; I wouldn't trust that existing valve... I'd redo the whole thing in threaded black iron, I think, though it's more work; you could also use copper. You should also have a manual bypass ball valve around the water feeder And replace all the way down to the connection to the wet return.

    Perhaps a more important question though: where's the leak? The boiler shouldn't use more than a gallon a week, if that.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • Major7
    Major7 Member Posts: 44
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    That's the other problem. The boiler is calling for a lot of water. I'm afraid there's a problem with my underground returns.
  • Major7
    Major7 Member Posts: 44
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    My current thinking it to put a section of PEX inline. Once I eliminate the metal to metal galavnic issue, it's just a matter of getting the water from A to B.
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,519
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    If you have returns under the floor replace or repipe. Depending on the route you may just be able to pipe them on top of the floor which is less difficult, That is the most likely cause to your losing water. This should be done to prevent boiler damage.

    Rip the make up water out and replace it with copper. You have some black pipe at the inlet of the backflow preventer which is a no no. Try to install the feeder and backflow preventer in the horizontal position. A 3 valve bypass as @Jamie Hall mentioned is a good idea
  • Major7
    Major7 Member Posts: 44
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    I've found the problem, but not the solution yet. There is a galvanic union up-top, but the backflow preventer and the boiler feeder are copper and brass. So the galvanic union is useless.
    The entire assembly should be copper to the very bottom, and the galvanic should be at the bottom just before it connects to the cast iron return.
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,519
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    Stay away from galvanized and use all copper.
  • nicholas bonham-carter
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    Or use a brass union as the transition from copper to steel. Dielectric unions will always leak, sooner or later.—NBC
  • Major7
    Major7 Member Posts: 44
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    Looks like the prior installer figured he would use steel pipe below the dielectric union, which he did. But the boiler water feeder and the backflow preventer are both copper/brass, so there are multiple direct steel to copper/brass interfaces, which is a big bowl of "not good". My current thinking is to run copper all the way down, then finish off with a brass fitting or a second dielectric union at the bottom before it transitions to the cast iron boiler pipe return. I'm inclined to keep the current union in place up top, even though it has no functional use, but it seems happy where it's at. I also have dielectric unions on my water heater, and I don't see any issues there at all.

    I'm also inclined to skip the feeder bypass valve (it doesn't have one now), as that seems to add a lot of complexity for not that much benefit, IMO.

    Just my thoughts. Looks like a good weekend project.