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Lots of water exiting through main line vents

What is going on!! Both main line vents have water running out of them. It's a single pipe system with main line vent located at the end of the return lines. We are having the chimney cleaned and it just started pouring out while he was vacuuming the chimney. The boiler had just start running we he arrived and we shut it off by throwing the shut off switch, maybe that cause it. But the oil company always shuts it off that way when they come to clean the burner without ever having an issue.

Any ideas?

Comments

  • KC_JonesKC_Jones Posts: 4,129Member
    If it isn't running and water is pouring out I would start with turning off the water feed to the boiler. If you have a tankless coil for DHW I would shut that off as well. You could have a valve leaking through, a stuck automatic water feeder or a hole in the coil for the tankless (if you have one).
    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
  • FredFred Posts: 7,910Member
    ^ What @KC_Jones said. either a stuck/open auto water feed to the boiler or a leaking hot water coil, if the boiler is equipped with one.
  • Steve_in_NHSteve_in_NH Posts: 60Member
    The water is coming out about half the speed what original, without me doing anything. I've closed every valve, and even went over and shut off the water to the whole house. Then went up stairs and turned the faucet on to drain the line. Water is still coming out.
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Posts: 10,657Member
    You'd be surprised how much water can be stored in a thoroughly overfilled steam system...

    Use the boiler drain or LWCO blowoff to bring the water level down to where it belongs in the gauge glass. Do NOT attempt to operate the boiler in a seriously overfilled condition -- all sorts of evil things can happen.

    When you get the water level down to where it belongs, close whatever drain you were using and observe the level for at least 15 minutes. It shouldn't change (don't open any of the other valves you shut off). If it's stable, you can attempt to start the boiler. However, be aware that the overfill condition may have damaged the pressure gauge and the pressure control -- pressuretrol or vapourstat, so do not leave the boiler unattended until you verity that the water level is holding properly and that the pressuretrol does in fact turn the boiler off after a reasonable interval.

    If everything seems to be operating properly then you can start opening the other valves you closed. Keep an eye on the water level in the boiler when you do -- it if it starts to go up, you've found a problem...
    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
  • EBEBRATT-EdEBEBRATT-Ed Posts: 5,914Member
    Something overfilled your boiler

    Leaking tankless water heater (if you have one)
    leaking manual water feed shutoff to the boiler
    Leaking automatic water feeder (if you have one)
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Posts: 10,657Member
    I'll add to my previous comment, after looking at the picture: that looks like a Gorton. Gortons do not pass water unless they are ill. That Gorton, I'm sorry to say, is very ill. In fact, probably toast... Why? They are not rated to take the pressure which your overfill put on them.

    Bottom line -- sorry, but it looks like you are in line for a new set of vents...
    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
  • Steve_in_NHSteve_in_NH Posts: 60Member
    We are lacking valves to drain the boiler. Was just removed the water spout from the one on the cast iron pipe and no water is coming out. We are fishing a metal wire to free of debris. Update we were able to drain it from the site glass. Boiler is back up and running. Auto fill doesn’t seem to shut off but can’t run it too long before it filled the site glass.
  • Steve_in_NHSteve_in_NH Posts: 60Member
    So that was a lot of excitement today. Things have quite down now and I had my dinner finally. I just wanted to make sure I thanked all that responded, and for the quick response time. We had water streaming out for about 3hrs it was a lot of clean up. My brother in law came to the rescue and helped me figure out a way to drain the boiler. When the drain valve didn’t work I had no idea what to do. He attempted a few things (including completely removing the drain valve) but finally decided on the site glass and it worked. Though we do now have a slow drip from the valve of the site glass. The boiler is running and seems to be heating the house just as fast and evenly as before.
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Posts: 10,657Member
    I'm very glad you got it running again. That sort of thing can get very exciting! If it cheers you up any, the autofill on Cedric is also acting up in somewhat the same way. Just keep an eye on the water level in the glass and fill manually.
    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
  • Steve_in_NHSteve_in_NH Posts: 60Member
    Questions:
    What do you think caused this to happen?
    The chimney sweep guy said he might have hit something when he was trying to remove the vent pipe to inspect the chimney. Is there anything he could have hit that would make this happen.

    The auto low water feed did read 8HH than LOC and now the #’s are jittery but looks like 864. And like I said early it doesn’t appear to be working right and just keeps filling up. It did get soaked though so did it get damaged because of the water or did it cause the water???
  • FredFred Posts: 7,910Member
    Something is still over filling that boiler and if you let it continue, it will fill past those main vents and into the house. Figure out where the water is coming from and why.
    Also, if you removed the boiler drain valve and it wouldn't drain, it is well past time to clean the sediment out of that boiler and probably the wet returns as well. I wouldn't leave the house without getting this figured out and fixed.
  • Fred said:


    Also, if you removed the boiler drain valve and it wouldn't drain, it is well past time to clean the sediment out of that boiler and probably the wet returns as well. I wouldn't leave the house without getting this figured out and fixed.

    Agree!

    No substitute for annual maintenance...


    New England SteamWorks
    Service, Installation, & Restoration of Steam Heating Systems
    newenglandsteamworks.com
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Posts: 10,657Member
    I presume you have shutoff valves on the autofeeder? And a manual bypass? I hope? If so, close the shutoff valves on the autofeeder and leave them closed until you can get it replaced or fixed. More likely replaced. Whether it died and cause the flood or whether it got soaked and died, it's gone if it got wet.

    Use the manual feed to maintain the water level at about halfway up the sight glass in the boiler. Tedious, but it's the only way.
    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
  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Posts: 763Member
    > The chimney sweep guy said he might have hit something when he was trying to remove the vent pipe to inspect the chimney.

    I respect his honesty! But you can be sure if he said he might have hit something, then he DEFINITELY hit something :lol:

    I don't know about yours, but my autofill is directly in front of my flue so he might have whacked it. I'm still impressed he said anything!
    1 pipe Utica 112 in Cedar Grove, NJ, 1913 coal > oil > NG
  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Posts: 5,779Member
    How about a picture of your boiler fill piping, including any valves around it.

    I'm guessing the sweep might have opened a bypass ball valve.
    (disadvantage of those, should remove the handle and hang it near the valve)

    You have a 3/4" pipe with an increaser to about 2" and a pipe going straight up....where to? It looks like an air chamber to avoid water hammer in the domestic system, just haven't seen one that tall before.
  • Steve_in_NHSteve_in_NH Posts: 60Member
    "I respect his honesty! But you can be sure if he said he might have hit something, then he DEFINITELY hit something :lol: "

    I was thinking the same thing. But i was wondering how long it would have to be on for to fill the system like it did. Even if he did hit it, it couldn't have been on for more than 5-10 mins max. Water was coming out of the air vent for 3 hrs before i could figure out how to drain the system.

    Interestingly enough, everything seems to be working as it should now. The auto feeder stops when its supposed to, the numbers are a solid 466 and staying there (it did go back to LOC before going to the 466). I don't know about the air vents? How do you check those? The one in the picture is smaller than the other, the one not in the picture is the really big one that was $85 dollars. Both are Gorton. We do have another big one at the end of the line that has to small vent on, but that one was not effected.
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Posts: 10,657Member
    If he hit the bypass and opened it, that could easily have been running at 5 gallons per minute -- which adds up to a lot of water.

    The way to check the vents is a little not obvious, but consider what they are supposed to do: they should be open until steam -- or, since they are Gortons -- water gets there, and then they should close. So... next time to boiler fires up, go over to them and see that there is air coming out (you may have to use a tissue paper -- it's not a really big breeze) until the pipe leading to them gets good and hot. Then they should close. If they are doing that properly, I'd stop worrying about them...
    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
  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Posts: 763Member
    This is a great way to learn about how one's steam system works. I like to "follow" the heat (steam) all along the length of my main when it's starting up from a rest period to understand how the steam moves through my system.
    1 pipe Utica 112 in Cedar Grove, NJ, 1913 coal > oil > NG
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