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Water Overflowing from Steam Boiler, Puzzle?

Hi, I got a question about how the headers and the main boiler is set up.

I accidentally put too much water into my small home boiler. I noticed right away that water started streaming out of the boiler. I don't know where since the boiler frame is in the way.

Is this normal? I thought that everything should be air tight and that even if I overfilled the boiler, water shouldn't be pouring out. What do you guys think?

Comments

  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 4,831
    If you overfilled and water is pouring out you have a failure of some kind, either a bad pipe (which you would most likely see) or a hole in the boiler. Need to repeat that test and find where it is coming from. If it's just a leaky pipe you should get it fixed asap, if it's a hole in the boiler you need to start saving money and planning for the summer replacement.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
    SuperTechSTEAM DOCTOR
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 10,290
    what @KC_Jones said
  • TeachMeSteam
    TeachMeSteam Member Posts: 128
    KC_Jones said:

    If you overfilled and water is pouring out you have a failure of some kind, either a bad pipe (which you would most likely see) or a hole in the boiler. Need to repeat that test and find where it is coming from. If it's just a leaky pipe you should get it fixed asap, if it's a hole in the boiler you need to start saving money and planning for the summer replacement.

    KC, thanks for the help.

    The steam boiler is a Burnham and the leaking hole must be below the header since water isn't pouring out from anything above the header. Unfortunately, I can't see anything below the header due to the boiler's metal sheet frame so I don't know where the hole is. Should I unscrew and take apart the metal sheet frame?

    Is it possible that it's the connection between the header and the boiler? I'm questioning whether it's the actual boiler itself because the boiler is relatively new (5 years).
  • SuperTech
    SuperTech Member Posts: 1,689
    edited February 2019
    Is it a Burnham V8 series? Unfortunately those boilers are known leakers due to factory defects in the casting of the sections. I've seen several have to be replaced before they are ten years old.

    I can pretty much assure you that you don't need to look any further at this point. It's without a doubt the boiler sections leaking.
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 4,831
    Highly unlikely it's the header connection to the boiler.

    Do you know how much make up water the boiler has been taking on for the past 5 years?

    Any idea of your water quality?
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • SuperTech
    SuperTech Member Posts: 1,689
    I even had one Burnham steamer that was 8 years old and the combustion chamber cracked open and leaked it's contents out into the basement through the oil burner.

    Not a pretty site. The owner said screw any warranties, give me something else, we installed a Peerless.
    ethicalpaul
  • TeachMeSteam
    TeachMeSteam Member Posts: 128
    > @SuperTech said:
    > I even had one Burnham steamer that was 8 years old and the combustion chamber cracked open and leaked it's contents out into the basement through the oil burner.
    >
    > Not a pretty site. The owner said screw any warranties, give me something else, we installed a Peerless.

    Hey supertech,

    Thanks for the help.

    You still think it's one of the sections even though it's above the water line?

    I have to make sure when I get home but it's either a V8 or and Independence series.

    It sounds like you are pretty sure which depresses the hell out of me. It's probably going to get pretty legal now which I hate. (I'll have to argue that the boiler is still within its implicit warranty period.) uugh....

    Do you recommend a specific replacement boiler? Or should I go with a Burnham if they offer a discount?
  • TeachMeSteam
    TeachMeSteam Member Posts: 128
    > @KC_Jones said:
    > Highly unlikely it's the header connection to the boiler.
    >
    > Do you know how much make up water the boiler has been taking on for the past 5 years?
    >
    > Any idea of your water quality?

    KC,

    The boiler has steadily been taking in more water over the past few years. First, I'd have to refill it every season. From last year, it would be every few months/weeks. Now, it's every day. Thought it was the vents so I am in the process of replacing all of my main vents and radiator vents. But with the overflow, I guess I now know what it is.

    Crazy thing is that a year ago, I was so puzzled why it was taking water so I checked every single supply/return union and T. Couldn't find a trace of a leak.

    My domestic water is pretty hard. Above 15. I don't know anything else about it.

    Thanks for any help you can provide.
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 10,290
    @TeachMeSteam
    That's unfortunate but at least the heating season will be winding down so I am sure you will have time over the summer to get the right contractor and the right job....that's most important.

    I couldn't in my mind install a Burnham, but if there is any warranty you may as well look into it
    SuperTechSTEAM DOCTOR
  • TeachMeSteam
    TeachMeSteam Member Posts: 128
    > @EBEBRATT-Ed said:
    > @TeachMeSteam
    > That's unfortunate but at least the heating season will be winding down so I am sure you will have time over the summer to get the right contractor and the right job....that's most important.
    >
    > I couldn't in my mind install a Burnham, but if there is any warranty you may as well look into it

    Thanks for support.

    So, the Burnham name that bad? Do you know if they fixed the manufacturing defect with the sections or they still a product to avoid?
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,518
    @TeachMeSteam , Is this a natural gas or oil boiler? If oil, the Burnham MegaSteam is probably the best oil boiler out there. The newer Burnhams and especially the IN series seem very sensitive to water quality and the Burnham owners manual even speak to water quality. I have a 36 year old Burnham that is still going strong but their boilers from the past 10 to 15 years, except for the Megasteam seem to be prone to a shorter than normal life. Having said that, none of the boiler brands are what they use to be.
    TeachMeSteam
  • SuperTech
    SuperTech Member Posts: 1,689
    I think Burnham boilers are good while they last, but the latter part of that statement is the problem. I don't see much steam, but I have heard great things about the megasteam. For steam specific use I can't recommend one manufacturer over the other. I believe Peerless makes a decent boiler, I haven't had any issues with premature failure and I've seen them survive both poor installation and neglect.

    Do some research on your Burnham. I was quite surprised about everything I read while trying to figure out what happened to the one that flooded my customers basement.
    TeachMeSteam
  • TeachMeSteam
    TeachMeSteam Member Posts: 128
    Fred said:

    @TeachMeSteam , Is this a natural gas or oil boiler? If oil, the Burnham MegaSteam is probably the best oil boiler out there. The newer Burnhams and especially the IN series seem very sensitive to water quality and the Burnham owners manual even speak to water quality. I have a 36 year old Burnham that is still going strong but their boilers from the past 10 to 15 years, except for the Megasteam seem to be prone to a shorter than normal life. Having said that, none of the boiler brands are what they use to be.

    Hi, Fred.

    Thanks for the help.

    The unit is natural gas. =(
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 10,290
    @TeachMeSteam

    I do mostly commercial work. In the last 20 years at least in my area Burnham must have had good pricing because many, many schools in the area installed Burnham boiler and these are all public bid .....low price gets the job.

    Don't know what the problems are but almost every school that I walk into the boiler room that has a Burnham they are leaking. They seem to last 10-15-18 years at most

    Doesn't matter if it's hot water or steam they are all failing. And most of this area of the northeast is known for good quality water
    SuperTechTeachMeSteam
  • TeachMeSteam
    TeachMeSteam Member Posts: 128

    @TeachMeSteam
    That's unfortunate but at least the heating season will be winding down so I am sure you will have time over the summer to get the right contractor and the right job....that's most important.

    I couldn't in my mind install a Burnham, but if there is any warranty you may as well look into it

    Ed,

    What natural gas steam boiler would you recommend? I'm hoping that I get some money from Burnham and then I'll install the boiler brand that's proper for my situation.
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 10,290
    Peerless & Weil McLain seem to be holding up better than some of the others.

    As others will point out the installer is most important
    SuperTechTeachMeSteam
  • TeachMeSteam
    TeachMeSteam Member Posts: 128

    Peerless & Weil McLain seem to be holding up better than some of the others.

    As others will point out the installer is most important

    Ed,

    Thanks for the advice. I'll probably pick one or the other. I know that the contractor is the most important but I don't want to encounter another "Burnham" product. It's not really fair that I have to cough up to pay for another boiler only after 6 years. That's a lot of dough.

    What's ironic is that I used a contractor on this site to install the Burnham. I am hoping he didn't know and just didn't install a Burnham to get the lowest bid.
  • neilc
    neilc Member Posts: 1,462
    you will know you have the correct contractor when they don't suggest the Burnham,
    and show you their last dropped header, etc , , ,
    TeachMeSteam
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 10,290
    @TeachMeSteam

    Many on this site think Burnham makes a great product. I don't mean to bash them or Burnham. Water quality can be an issue. Burnham has been making boilers forever and many have good luck with them.

    I mostly do commercial and have seen failed boilers from all brands. Just seems around where I work Burnhams don't fare that well hot water or steam
    TeachMeSteam