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how much water loss is "normal"

I have a one pipe steam system in my old house (now a rental), manual water fill. When I lived there, I would drain off a gallon and refill every couple weeks, so never really got a sense of how much water I was using. Now it's a rental, I only check in once or twice a season. Despite not being all that cold yet, the water level was almost to the bottom of the sight glass (about 3" low) Haven't heard any complaints, so I'm not suspecting any leaking or water logged radiators. I put a chimney liner in this summer... not sure that is relevant though.

Comments

  • acwagner
    acwagner Member Posts: 505
    One pipe is open to the atmosphere, so there will be some loss. The more often it runs the more loss.

    But, that sounds like a lot. Plus, what happens when the water gets so low the LWCO triggers and shuts the boiler down? Do your tenants know to check the boiler and add water? With a manual feed setup someone needs to check it routinely.
    Burnham IN5PVNI Boiler, Single Pipe with 290 EDR
    18 Ounce per Square Inch Gauge
    Time Delay Relay in Series with Thermostat
    Operating Pressure 0.3-0.5 Ounce per Square Inch

  • steamnoob
    steamnoob Member Posts: 39
    yeah, they know about the low water cut off and how to refill. I guess next step is to see if steam is coming out chimney.
  • CantabHeat
    CantabHeat Member Posts: 33
    Not sure if it’s “normal” or not but my boiler probably loses about around 1/8 to 1/4 inch in the sight glass per week. Usually once a week I wonder downstairs to give the LWCO a quick flush (probably about 1/4 gallon into the bucket below) and then quickly top things back off to the line I have drawn on the sight glass.

    Don’t have an automatic water fill on my system just a manual valve but I’d have to let it run for ages until it actually got low so for me would probably cause more trouble than it’s worth.
  • acwagner
    acwagner Member Posts: 505
    It likely isn't a boiler leak. I'd say it's probably several very small leaks, such as at vents or the radiator valve packing. Or even a union. The unions seemed to be culprits on my system.
    Burnham IN5PVNI Boiler, Single Pipe with 290 EDR
    18 Ounce per Square Inch Gauge
    Time Delay Relay in Series with Thermostat
    Operating Pressure 0.3-0.5 Ounce per Square Inch

  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,518
    Let the boiler cool down and Over fill it, up to the risers and see if any water leaks onto the floor or in the burner compartment. If the water actually drops to the bottom of the sight glass, I'd say you need to make sure the LWCO actually works too. It should shut the boiler down before it gets that low.