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Soft whistling from all vents and one radiator refuses to heat up.

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I'll just summarize the situation for sake of too much explanation.

My boiler was replaced a few weeks ago. Everything worked great for about a week.
One day I woke up to rust colored water spitting out of 2nd and 3rd floor radiators. And crazy water hammering.
I skimmed the boiler twice, and lowered the pressure to 1 on the screw and 1 on the wheel. The hammering stopped immediately.
Now all radiators heat up except 1 on the 2nd floor which worked previously. All the vents are hissing now including the mains vents. I also hear running water in the vertical mains while the system is on.
Additionally I have discovered a pinhole leak on a pipe in the horizontal mains in the basement. This was an additional to the system using copper pipes. Plus some of the valve stems are leaking on the radiators which previously didn't work on the old boiler.

What are your advice on the situation which I have. Cold radiator that worked previously, all vents hissing. I can do the graphite packing on my own and re solder the copper pipe.

I rent and my landlord drags his feet on repairs, he also does repairs the cheapest way.

Only positive thing is that he likes the fact that I do some repairs on my own so he has never raised my rent. I treat the house as if its mine.

Comments

  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,661
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    Are you sure the pressuretrol is reading the boiler pressure? It might be worth taking the pigtail off and making sure it -- and the opening into the boiler -- is clear. It may have gotten clogged.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • helpineed
    helpineed Member Posts: 35
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    Will check on the pigtail tomorrow, don't want to mess with anything and the stores are closed. It might be worth mentioning that the boiler was not new. It was brought used.
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,750
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    helpineed said:

    Will check on the pigtail tomorrow, don't want to mess with anything and the stores are closed. It might be worth mentioning that the boiler was not new. It was brought used.

    Was it properly sized? Since used typically means you are at the mercy of what's available I'm going to guess no.

    Over sizing and running proper pressure IMHO can easily cause rads further from the boiler to not heat properly.

    Another culprit that will amplify the above problem is inadequate main venting. How is yours?
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • helpineed
    helpineed Member Posts: 35
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    The radiator that went cold is on the 2nd floor, relatively close to the boiler. I have 4 floors and all the radiators on the long run heat up quickly and properly although I'm hearing a constant whistle from the vents.

    I previously doubled the main vents by doing a tee with 2 gorton #1s on the long main and the short main has 1 #1 everything worked perfectly when the installation was done for about a week.

    Will water hammering destroy air vents? Asking because they worked previously without a sound.
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,750
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    Unless the mains are about 10’ long that won’t be enough main venting. If rad vents are trying to make up for inadequate main venting then faster ones could be stealing from slower vents regardless of geography.

    Is the boiler sized properly? Whistling indicates inadequate venting or too high pressure which is caused by over sized boiler or not enough venting or both.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,661
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    helpineed said:

    ...
    Will water hammering destroy air vents? Asking because they worked previously without a sound.

    Usually not, unless the vent in question has the misfortune to be in the way of the slug of water.

    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
    edited February 2019
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    In addition to what others have said, take the vent off of the radiator that no longer heats and try to blow into it. It may be stuck closed from excess pressure also try to shake the water out of it.

    As too the hammer, where is it on the system? Is it coming from a main? If so, check to see if the mains pitch towards the return pipe. When the boiler installation was done, someone may have pulled a main down and out of pitch to connect to it.

    The whistling vents do sound like either the main venting is inadequate or the pressure is too high. Make sure the pigtail that the Pressuretrol is mounted on isn't clogged and put more main venting on the mains.

    Copper should not be used on steam piping above the boiler water line. You probably know that now, with that leak. Use black iron, threaded pipe.
    ksd99
  • helpineed
    helpineed Member Posts: 35
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    The hammering stopped immediately after I skimmed the boiler and lowered the pressure.

    I tried removing the vent on the cold radiator, replaced it with a new one. Still not heating up. He pipe is hot up to maybe 6 inches from the radiator.

    I'll try to provide some specs
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,661
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    Pictures of the offending pipe... and it's a silly question, but the valve is open?
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • helpineed
    helpineed Member Posts: 35
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    This is the boiler. Supplies 9 radiators 2 on each of 4 floors and 1 in the entry way
  • helpineed
    helpineed Member Posts: 35
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    I made absolutely sure that the valve is open. It actually had a leak on the stem so I tightened the packing nut on it
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
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    Is that radiator pitched back towards the supply line? It may be holding water in the radiator.

    Picture of the boiler plate doesn't help.
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,750
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    The size of all the radiators in EDR needs to be added up then compared to the ratings plate to see if it’s sized properly.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • helpineed
    helpineed Member Posts: 35
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    All the radiators are pitched properly, I made sure of this as well.
  • mikeg2015
    mikeg2015 Member Posts: 1,194
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    The leaking valve stems will act like vents and cause some issues.

    But I’d start with skimming it really really really well. Like maybe several hours and now that it’s possibly run with a little oil, it may have carried over to the mains, and could take a long time to work it all out.

    I’d then still start with more main venting. Gorton #2 on the short main and Big Mouth vent on the longer main.

    What are the radiator vents? Often you need to go smaller. Ventrites are a nice size. Maid of Mist #4’s for most radiators maybe a #5 on larger ones or upstairs. Slow it all down and see how it does.

    Need to add up EDR, but unless the radiators are really small it should be in the ballpark.

    Easy to assume pressure is high, but consider 1) everything should heat up before it’s even in play. But if you vent too fast, radiators don’t fully heat evenly and the boiler effectively becomes oversized. 2) I can be running at <1oz and still heave vents whistling and spitting due to wet steam on a hot start. It calms down once everything is at least 1/4 heated. My gut says I need to skim again and/or have a lot of fine particulate in there when it’s boiling. I took 20% capacity out and it’s still doing it but not as severe. Does it worse of course when more TRV’s are closed.

    ethicalpaul
  • helpineed
    helpineed Member Posts: 35
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    Haven't gotten around to doing any further work on my system, question........ how important is it that water is put into the pigtail, when installing, why I ask is that I did it when I changed the pigtail on my old boiler. I can't remember seeing the plumber do it, thinking about it, I'm sure he didn't.

    This is just a situation where an incompetent person did work and there was nothing I could do.
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 5,798
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    It's no problem. The pigtail will soon fill with condensate on its own.

    NJ Steam Homeowner.
    Free NJ and remote steam advice: https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/new-jersey-steam-help/
    See my sight glass boiler videos: https://bit.ly/3sZW1el