Click here to Find a Contractor in your area.
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/.

Can I Leave Boiler Empty for A While

I thought I had posted this but it’s not in my threads. Sorry if this is posted twice.

Burnham Gas Steam 20yrs old?
My drain valve is dripping and I’m going away. Can I drain my boiler to below the valve and leave it like that for two weeks or is that bad?
I don’t think I’ll have time to replace it before I leave.

On replacing it. The valve is attached to a 4 inch nipple and screwed in to the boiler. A plumber said I can just unscrew the whole assembly and replace it. Seems simple enough. Where it screws in to the boiler there is a giant nut. Do I need to secure or loosen this nut? I can’t really reach it to get a wrench around it.

Sorry there are no pics. I’m sure that would be helpful. I’m at work but I’m hopeful someone knows what I’m talking about - but wise. I’ll add pics when I can.

Single pipe steam radiators, if that matters.

Comments

  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Posts: 482Member
    Everything seems simple until you put the wrench on the valve and the valve or nipple breaks off in your hand, then things might get complicated!

    Pictures will be required for anyone to be able to help with opinions.

    When you go away, are you powering down the boiler? If so, I'd just put a bucket under it (or I assume there's already a bucket under it LOL) and let it drip.
    1 pipe Utica 112 in Cedar Grove, NJ. If you see me say something dumb, just think of my poor wife--she has to hear it every day!
  • STEAM DOCTORSTEAM DOCTOR Posts: 821Member
    edited December 2018
    Get a drain valve cap. 10 second installation. Max
  • SteinwaySteinway Posts: 9Member
    I should mention - a cap won’t work because it appears to be leaking out of the stem to the handle, not dripping from the opening. I did put a cap on it and then noticed the stem leak.

    Yes, I will shut down the boiler when I go away if I drain it. I can’t just leave a bucket there because with the amount it is dripping it will fill and over flow while I’m away.
  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Posts: 482Member
    Ahh, well that’s quite a drip! My opinion is that yes, you can lower the water level and shut it down, but I’m just a homeowner, so my opinion is always open to adjustment!
    1 pipe Utica 112 in Cedar Grove, NJ. If you see me say something dumb, just think of my poor wife--she has to hear it every day!
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Posts: 9,746Member
    If it's leaking out of the stem to the handle, have you tried tightening the packing nut? Or even taking the packing nut off and repacking it?

    I agree, sounds simple and can be a bear, but... worth a try.
    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
  • STEVEusaPASTEVEusaPA Posts: 2,546Member
    It's a simple fix to replace the packing or replace the valve. Any plumber or even a handyman can do it.
    You did mention steam and 4", so I'd like to see a picture of it up close, and a picture of the boiler and the piping.
    When you were talking to the plumber, why didn't you just have him do it for you?
    steve
  • SteinwaySteinway Posts: 9Member
    Here are pics of that valve connecting to the unit. Does it look like I can just unscrew the valve? I’m not sure about that nut.
  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Posts: 5,335Member
    That "nut" is a hex reducing bushing. It will probably not move, it is iron screwed into an iron boiler.
    Your drain is a brass fitting screwed into the iron bushing.
    The brass usually unscrews easier than any iron fitting.

    Personally I would replace that leaker with a ball valve that has a hose adaptor screwed into the end, add a cap so if the valve handle gets kicked open the boiler will not drain.
    The full port ball valve lets you drain any sludge out of the boiler rather than plug-up like the present (poor excuse of) boiler drain might.

    It would take a 4" nipple, ball valve, hose adaptor and brass cap.
    I would use a brass or stainless steel nipple going into the boiler.
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Posts: 9,746Member
    But perhaps just for the moment... do see if you can tighten that packing nut a smidge. That just might be all it takes.
    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
  • STEVEusaPASTEVEusaPA Posts: 2,546Member
    I’d drain, repack.
    steve
  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Posts: 482Member
    Let ‘er drip until after your trip 😅
    1 pipe Utica 112 in Cedar Grove, NJ. If you see me say something dumb, just think of my poor wife--she has to hear it every day!
  • Adolfo2Adolfo2 Posts: 27Member
    Why not shut off the boiler feed (no draining) and just let it drip until it finds it's own level?
  • It looks like the packing nut is threaded on crookedly, so I would try to repack the valve first, and properly reinstall the nut.—NBC
  • mark schofieldmark schofield Posts: 142Member
    try turning the valve open a bit, then first loosen the packing nut a bit, then tighten the packing nut down and then turn the valve handle back off off. this often works for me.
  • LeonardLeonard Posts: 626Member
    edited December 2018
    If nut won't unscrew I'ld remove the plastic knob and if shaft isn't plastic I'ld heat the nut with a propane torch to expand it. Then it might come off easily. Then can replace packing.

    I've worked on lot of rust nuts and bolts on cars amazing how much a little heat can help.
  • SteinwaySteinway Posts: 9Member
    Thanks everyone for the great advice. People helping people is what this time of year is all about. Your concern for a total stranger has put me in the holiday spirit.

    I've been solo parenting and super busy with work so I wasn't able to address this until 11pm last night after my son was asleep; after a trip to HD in his pajamas, that is.

    I drained the boiler and repacked the stem (@STEVEusaPA @Jamie Hall). Then I refilled the boiler and cranked up the heat because from what I've gathered from other posts, you always want to run the boiler after you fill it.

    I checked it first thing this morning and again just now and I appear to be leak free.

    I do really want to change out that valve but I'll wait until it's shorts season. I'm pretty handy, I'm just more wood and saws than water and wrenches. I'm sure I can tackle that though.

    Huge thank you @JUGHNE for that very detailed post on replacing the valve including listing the parts I will need. That was extremely cool and kind of you! I will definitely use a full port valve, per your suggestion.

    Merry Christmas to all who celebrate it, Happy Holidays to those who don't and Happy New Year to everyone!
  • mikeg2015mikeg2015 Posts: 563Member
    IT amazing how simple most fixes are. Merry Christmas. Love message boards like this
Sign In or Register to comment.

Welcome

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!