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Boiler not taking in water automatically

My boiler keeps running out of water and shuts off. This is the good news, it's not dry firing, the low water cut off is working. But it's not taking in water automatically like its supposed to. Feeding it manually it turns on fine but it doesn't take that long to run out of water again. Could this be the signal from the low water cutoff not sending it to the automatic water feeder or is it the water feeder bad. Can the low water cut off partly work? Shutting off the system but not letting the feeder know it needs to bring in more water?

Comments

  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Posts: 10,882Member
    The low water cutoff and the automatic feeder signal are different circuits, and it is quite possible for one to fail without the other failing. It's also possible that the autofeeder isn't responding to the signal. Can't tell without more troubleshooting.

    It can go the other way, too -- the autofeeder can get stuck on, either from the sensor or the feeder -- with interesting (?) results.

    However, that said -- the boiler shouldn't be taking more than a gallon or so a week, at the most. If it's using more than that, you may have a leak somewhere, and it would be wise to find it before excess fresh water causes damage to the boiler...
    Jamie

    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.

    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-Mclain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Posts: 5,859Member
    Where does the water go? Is the boiler ever overfilled after it cools off?
    You could be given a heads up warning that you have a serious leak somewhere. That is more of a concern than the auto fill.
    Your boiler could be on it's to an early death from having fresh water added that often.

    Do you have any pipes under the floor or any obvious leaks?
  • KC_JonesKC_Jones Posts: 4,148Member
    How often are you having to fill it?

    The feeder not working truly is not the primary concern here.

    If often enough you could have a leak or a boiler that has failed. If "just" a leak you need to get that fixed ASAP as it can lead to the boiler failing in short order.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10202744301871904.1073741828.1330391881&type=1&l=c34ad6ee78
  • Merengazo3Merengazo3 Posts: 8Member
    Ok thank you. This is helpful. I didn't even think about a leak. Right now it is taking about a day or two before it needs to get filled. Based on what some of you have said, there seems to be a leak somewhere. There were leaks on the radiators about two winters ago, but those were fixed.
  • KC_JonesKC_Jones Posts: 4,148Member
    My boiler uses 3-4 gallons per year. There is variation on usage depending on system size, but I feel mine is representative of where one would want to be.

    If you are going off on low water I would speculate you are losing a yearly amount after 2 refills. Would need to know boiler water content and how much is being added for sure.

    One thing I can say is filling every couple of days is a massive amount of make up and you should start figuring that out yesterday.

    We are happy to help and can start with they typical things.

    Do you have a coil for hot water in the boiler?
    Do you have any underground return?
    Are you seeing a lot of steam coming out of the chimney when the boiler is running?
    Any damp spots on the basement floor?
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10202744301871904.1073741828.1330391881&type=1&l=c34ad6ee78
  • Merengazo3Merengazo3 Posts: 8Member
    edited November 2018
    I have a McDonnell & Miller water feeder and I just noticed the led is off. After reading the manual it seems this Led should always be signaling something. Flashing green, solid green, (and for error codes) flashing red, solid red. So I think there's definitely something wrong there... Thoughts? I also noticed a small leak in one of the radiators but didn't see any around the boiler. Could there be a leak inside the boiler?
  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Posts: 5,859Member
    edited November 2018
    Pictures of the piping around the boiler to include ceiling to floor and pipes especially coming into the lower part of the boiler would let us give you more advice.

    The feeder is not the main concern right now.....loss of water is.
  • Merengazo3Merengazo3 Posts: 8Member
    Do you have a coil for hot water in the boiler? - I'm not sure. It's the crown jamaica 2 boiler
    Do you have any underground return? - also unsure
    Are you seeing a lot of steam coming out of the chimney when the boiler is running? I'm unable to tell with the vents, but some of the radiators run very high
    Any damp spots on the basement floor? Yes, but it looks like it's below the platform where the boiler is. I didn't see any dampness on the boiler platform. see pic
    I'm attaching other pictures for the piping
  • KC_JonesKC_Jones Posts: 4,148Member


    Are you seeing a lot of steam coming out of the chimney when the boiler is running? I'm unable to tell with the vents, but some of the radiators run very high

    The chimney as in the part that comes out the roof of the house. If the boiler has a hole in it often steam will get into the flue gases and you will see excess water vapor coming out of the chimney.
    I don't see a coil in that boiler so scratch that.

    Another test for a hole in the boiler is to overfill it and see if water comes out anywhere. Turn heat off, let boiler cool for a couple hours then fill until the water is in the pipes above the boiler. If you see water coming out under boiler at any point, the boiler is dead. If you don't then the leak is elsewhere.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10202744301871904.1073741828.1330391881&type=1&l=c34ad6ee78
  • Merengazo3Merengazo3 Posts: 8Member
    I haven't had much luck finding the leak yet but will keep looking. There are some leaking radiators but I don't think they would cause the water usage. How much damage will the fresh water do to the boiler?
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