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50% Defective Big Mouths in recent order

I installed 6 B&J big mouths on a recent job. At the time of installation, all seemed to be well on the test fire. However, only 2 weeks later I was called back due to the boiler losing vast quantities of water as well as the homeowner noticing odd sounds. Upon arriving, steam was observed exiting a doorjam above the vents! (Damage to the finish of the door due to the steam)
In total, 3 of the installed 6 vents were still steaming after steam reached them, one severely. https://i.imgur.com/C0tamj0.mp4 Has anyone else seen this with recent batches of the big mouths, or is this a fluke? Also, how should I go about getting replacements? Currently they've been replaced by the $1 main vent (3/4" pipe plug), but I'd obviously like to install new ones ASAP. Thank you all, and a belated Merry Christmas!

Comments

  • LardLard Posts: 44Member
    This is exactly what I had happen with one of three...It worked for about ten cycles and then was just wide-open. The disc lost the alcohol fill and no longer expands.

    I tried calling B&J, but have not had any luck. My working hours make it difficult.
    Others have had good luck getting a new disc sent their way.. Mine is still plugged off.
  • gfrbrooklinegfrbrookline Posts: 563Member
    My experience with one failed vent is they stand behind their products. Email [email protected] , he is in charge of sales and customer support.
  • 1Matthias1Matthias Posts: 148Member
    edited December 2019
    Yeah, I'll be calling B&J tomorrow morning. I'd love to fix them here if possible. I'm just glad that A ) the customer is being polite about the door as it's much worse in person than it is on camera and B ) They actually checked the water level on the boiler and noticed it was decreasing. (They don't have a auto water feeder, which is one of the next things on the list.)
  • mattmia2mattmia2 Posts: 573Member
    i bet if that door was that affected by steam that it is shellac and if you brush it with alcohol and let it dry it will all smooth out.
  • gfrbrooklinegfrbrookline Posts: 563Member
    @mattmia2 , I have used alcohol to correct shellac finishes many times on furniture with good results. Just go easy with it so you don't rub the finish off instead of blending.
  • Dave0176Dave0176 Posts: 1,081Member
    edited December 2019
    I’ve unfortunately have had multiple customers call for the same reason and even replaced a few vents only to have them leak eventually also. I will be unfortunately going back to using multiple Gorton No2s, I’m in business and connot afford many failures.

    Yes Barnes & Jones is a great reputable company and they honor their products, however we’ve had waay too many failures in the recent future causing too many call backs.
    DL Mechanical LLC Heating, Cooling and Plumbing 732-266-5386
    NJ Master HVACR Lic# 4630
    Specializing in Steam Heating, Serving the residents of New Jersey
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/dl-mechanical-llc

    https://m.facebook.com/DL-Mechanical-LLC-315309995326627/?ref=content_filter

    I cannot force people to spend money, I can only suggest how to spend it wisely.......
  • mattmia2mattmia2 Posts: 573Member
    Side note, when they sell denatured alcohol, they use the denaturing as an excuse to replace about half of the alcohol with MEK. This doesn't work so well with shellac. There is an eco version of denatured alcohol where it is mostly ethanol and a lot less denaturant. this works much better with shellac.
  • FredFred Posts: 8,188Member
    @Sailah , I know you're not with B&J anymore but do you have contacts that can address these issues? Seems like a quality control issue with the disc.
  • LardLard Posts: 44Member
    > @gfrbrookline said:
    > My experience with one failed vent is they stand behind their products. Email [email protected] , he is in charge of sales and customer support.

    Thanks for the contact! Hopefully I can get a new disc before this strange warm weather abruptly leaves us. I took advantage of the boiler being off and repacked 40 valves... yay!
  • SailahSailah Posts: 822Member
    @Fred , I will ask. Seems the discs are having the same issue as a few years ago. I thought we had fixed it while I was there.

    I'll report back.

    Peter
    Peter Owens
    SteamIQ
  • LardLard Posts: 44Member
    I have a new disc on the way. Email was the way to go, I had a response in less than ten minutes.
    I really hope this issue is resolved for good. I would hate to see this product pulled due to high failure rate.
  • SailahSailah Posts: 822Member
    When you get the disc, examine closely the weld line of the 2 shells. Or post a pic. Also shake it to your ear, it should be sloshing around in there. I'd estimate "about half full" is right amount of fill.
    Peter Owens
    SteamIQ
  • 1Matthias1Matthias Posts: 148Member
    So, pulled the disks out of the failed vents. All 3 sound completely empty. There's a couple spots along the weld lines of each that looks like there's less penetration, almost like the arc was disrupted for a second. Luckily, it sounds like I'll be able to send the old ones back in for replacements. I may have to start "vetting" any vents I order by sticking them on our system for a couple of days before installation.
  • SailahSailah Posts: 822Member
    I'm convinced this disc issue is the reason for the failures. When we first started making these, we had a bad disc run and I assumed it was corrected. Frustrating to see the issue may be back.

    I'm sorry for those this affected, sounds like Barnes and Jones are being helpful to those who got some bad ones.

    It's fairly random, some have had them installed from the very first batch and they still work fine.
    Peter Owens
    SteamIQ
  • LardLard Posts: 44Member
    > @Sailah said:
    > When you get the disc, examine closely the weld line of the 2 shells. Or post a pic. Also shake it to your ear, it should be sloshing around in there. I'd estimate "about half full" is right amount of fill.

    I will bring the old disc into work when I return to that mess (Jan. 6) and stick it under the microscope, even should be able to provide some microscope photos. It is definitely empty with no sloshing.
  • LardLard Posts: 44Member
    My dead disc (empty, just like my skull) shows an incomplete weld. It is a “miss” on both sides at the area indicated.
  • gfrbrooklinegfrbrookline Posts: 563Member
    You repacked 40 valves, were they all leaking or was this a PM project?
  • LardLard Posts: 44Member
    @gfrbrookline

    They were all leaking. This particular building has lots of deferred repairs to catch up on. The water loss from the small leaks was masked by massive water loss for years—around 60-70,000 gallons last year alone. On the coldest days the system went through over 400 gallons!
    After completely redoing the condensate returns and with the leaky valves, the worst has been three quarts every couple days. Hopefully this repacking nails down the worst of it...
  • gfrbrooklinegfrbrookline Posts: 563Member
    That's a huge and thankless job. What did you use to repack the valves?
  • 1Matthias1Matthias Posts: 148Member
    @Lard The ones I just sent back had spots like that, although much smaller. That's probably the issue if I'm any judge of the matter.
  • LardLard Posts: 44Member
    > @gfrbrookline said:
    > That's a huge and thankless job. What did you use to repack the valves?

    I used the good ‘ol graphite rope on most, but did a few with PTFE to see how it holds up. Most of the valves are original from 1916, but amazingly only one handle screw snapped off and every packing nut spun with ease. The packing I removed looked like it was oakum.

    Back to the topic at hand:
    > @1Matthias said:
    > @Lard The ones I just sent back had spots like that, although much smaller. That's probably the issue if I'm any judge of the matter.

    I am quite certain that it is the issue. Can’t have a hermetic seal with an incomplete weld. The magic juice will seek lower pressure however it can!
  • Hap_HazzardHap_Hazzard Posts: 1,928Member
    Lard said:

    I used the good ‘ol graphite rope on most, but did a few with PTFE to see how it holds up.

    You might find that it's hard to get the packing nut tight without squeezing the PTFE out. It tends to creep through the gap between the stem and the packing nut. PTFE isn't crosslinked, so it can creep through gaps as thin as a single molecule.
    Just another DIYer | King of Prussia, PA

    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S | 3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
  • Leon82Leon82 Posts: 649Member
    That seems like a good application for an electron beam weld
  • 1Matthias1Matthias Posts: 148Member
    @Lard Best place I've found for getting packing rope is Autozone, believe it or not. Was $12 for a massive roll of the stuff. They have it for repacking water pumps and such on antique cars.
  • LardLard Posts: 44Member
    > @1Matthias said:
    > @Lard Best place I've found for getting packing rope is Autozone, believe it or not. Was $12 for a massive roll of the stuff. They have it for repacking water pumps and such on antique cars.

    I will keep that in mind! I am within walking distance of an AutoBone. I never thought about old automotive uses (my oldest in the “fleet” is an ‘89 caprice wagon, long into the era of disposable water pumps).
  • bmmabmma Posts: 16Member
    edited December 2019
    I too have had a problem with the Big Mouth vent not sealing. I bought the vent last December but didn't install it until this summer. When the heating season started I noticed I was losing some water from my boiler. I tracked it down to the Big Mouth vent. It wouldn't seal completely and was letting some steam out during each heating cycle. I reached out to Barnes and Jones and they sent me a new disc very quickly. Unfortunately, that disc was worse and was essentially wide open; it wouldn't seal at all. Steam was just pouring out whenever the boiler was firing. Barnes and Jones asked me to send the vent back for them to test it. In the meantime I installed two Gorton #2 vents and things are working fine, and I'm no longer losing water from the boiler.
  • ShalomShalom Posts: 141Member
    Are these discs exclusive to the Big Mouth, or are there a bunch of other defective traps out in the wild?
  • LardLard Posts: 44Member
    The replacement disc came today. The weld on it appears to be complete. It also actually has juice inside!

    It worked perfectly in a test run. I should know by next week if it is another leaker.
  • TC83TC83 Posts: 18Member
    I just browsed into this post and made me realize i've been seeing more water use after switching to big mouth vents. i am going to have to camp out and monitor them. i'll report back
  • TC83TC83 Posts: 18Member
    Followup - I sat through two heating cycles today (am and pm), my big mouth vents seem to close fully as soon as 0.1# of steam registers on my 0-5psi gage. both of mine are approx. 2-3 months old. Hope this helps someone for reference.
  • TC83TC83 Posts: 18Member
    update, I watched my furthest BM vent and it does indeed leak throughout the beginning of the cycle. I was afraid i had a leak of sorts on my returns, but they are all dry.
    I've been having to top off the water about every 4-5days.

    https://imgur.com/a/NMlmcmS
  • nicholas bonham-carternicholas bonham-carter Posts: 8,031Member
    I had sea sickness from your video, but didn’t see any water spraying out-was there some other problem with it?—NBC
  • Hap_HazzardHap_Hazzard Posts: 1,928Member
    I think I'm seeing some steam escaping.
    Just another DIYer | King of Prussia, PA

    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S | 3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
  • gfrbrooklinegfrbrookline Posts: 563Member
    Does it only chuff steam for a few seconds and then close. If so I don't think that is abnormal, it takes a few seconds for the vent to get hot which triggers the disk to expand and close.
  • Hap_HazzardHap_Hazzard Posts: 1,928Member
    Aren't the alcohol capsule types usually faster than the bimetal strip type vents? I'm not disputing anybody's emprical observations; I'm just surprised that the Big Mouths would be slower than a Gorton #2.
    Just another DIYer | King of Prussia, PA

    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S | 3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Posts: 1,291Member
    My BM is definitely slower than my Gorton #1, not even close. But my BM might be from the "not enough alcohol" batch. It closes very marginally and I have taken it out of service because it was blowing too much steam.
    1 pipe Utica 112 in Cedar Grove, NJ, 1913 coal > oil > NG
  • FredFred Posts: 8,188Member
    I've been using the BM since they were first produced and haven't had a single problem. Not even a puff of steam.
  • JohnNYJohnNY Posts: 2,388Member
    I used them twice and threw them both in the garbage. I have no idea what the attraction is.
    For installations, troubleshooting, and private consulting services, find John "JohnNY" Cataneo here at :
    "72°F Mechanical, LLC"
    Or email John at [email protected]
    John is the Boilers and Hydronic Heating Systems Course Instructor at NYC's Mechanics Institute, a professional Master Plumber, licensed by The Department of Buildings of The City of New York, and works extensively in NYC while consulting for clients in and out of state.
    John also oversees mechanical installations and maintenance for metro-area clients with his family's company, Gateway Plumbing and Heating along with his brother/business partner.
  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Posts: 1,291Member
    > @Fred said:
    > I've been using the BM since they were first produced and haven't had a single problem. Not even a puff of steam.

    Interesting. Mine doesn’t operate anything like that. It would puff and puff and slowly, barely close.
    1 pipe Utica 112 in Cedar Grove, NJ, 1913 coal > oil > NG
  • STEAM DOCTORSTEAM DOCTOR Posts: 970Member
    I have installed quite a few. They vent so fast, it's almost unbelievable. i did have a few leakers in the beginning. Sent back and was replaced for free. Also had one recent leaker. Sent back and was replaced for free. I have also had Gorton #2 leakers. And #2's that were frozen shut, out of the box. Assuming no leaks, the BM is compact and vents super fast. Also, has higher closing temp. That means that will reopen quicker earlier in the heating cycle.
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