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Need advice on recent work done by boiler service company

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Hey everyone, I could use some advice on what to do about some recent repairs to my boiler. My home, located in the metropolitan New York area, has oil heat and we are under contract with a local company. For the past four years I've owned the home I haven't had any trouble with my burner/boiler but in the past three weeks I've had it fail to turn on twice. The first time the company sent a tech out who said the failure was with my electronic damper which he removed from the system stating that I didn't need it and it was just getting in the way. Two weeks after that the boiler wouldn't turn on again, another technician came out and managed to get it turned on but didn't give us any information on what he actually did and walked out the door without even saying goodbye.

Now my boiler has had a very slow drip for a while and I've neglected it in the past since the water would never puddle. It just left a hard water stain on the unfinished floor and for the most part it has stayed out of sight and out of mind. I've noticed this month that the boiler was leaking significantly more, approximately 2-3 liters per day. Both technicians neglected to do anything about the leak with the first technician failing to mention it and the second one not sticking around long enough for me to inquire about it. I spoke with a neighbor suggested that the leak was coming from a pressure relief valve which he believed was functioning as it should to relieve excess pressure from a failed expansion tank. I contacted the oil company and explained to them about the leak and my concern regarding the pressure relief valve and the expansion tank. They sent another technician over to the home while I was at work. The technician told my wife that the system was OK and he removed the pressure relief valve and capped it off. I came home to find that the spigot located above the valve is now dripping very slowly which had not happened before. At this point I am now concerned that the technician's "fix" could cause a much bigger problem and I am very suspicious of this company. I've already put some calls into local plumbers to see if I can get another opinion but I wanted to see what you guys think.

Here is a photo of the system as a whole: https://imgur.com/5mnPEVh

Here is the expansion tank with some very obvious stains from old leaks. The latest technician said this tank was fine: https://imgur.com/ySmyWPg

I didn't take any photos of the old pressure relief valve but I did record it dripping. Here is a video of the leak in action, prior to the technician replacing the valve: https://youtu.be/fkKLosOcF4o

Here is a photo of the technician's replacement of my valve. The spigot above the plug is now wet and I believe it is actually dripping down onto the plug: https://imgur.com/fM1Lx52

Here is my latest service ticket: https://imgur.com/e0zXN2b

If the issue is with the expansion tank as I suspect then it looks like the repair is very simple, at least according to this youtube video. I don't feel comfortable knowing that a pressure relief valve was plugged since I imagine it was there for a reason. I'm also not too sure about the electronic damper they removed from the system and whether or not that had a legitimate purpose as well. So is this company jerking me around or am I crazy?

Comments

  • Ironman
    Ironman Member Posts: 7,379
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    That idiot has just created a potential bomb!

    Get someone competent out there immediately to fix it.

    I can't tell from your pic if the relief valve is on the boiler or the domestic tankless coil that's inserted into the boiler. If it's on the line to the tankless coil, then it has no relation to the boiler's expansion tank. They are two separate systems.

    Either way, it needs immediate attention!
    Bob Boan
    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
    DZoroIntplm.SuperTech
  • Leon82
    Leon82 Member Posts: 684
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    Tap on the tank with your knuckle. It shod sound hollow on the side with the shrader valve
  • HVACNUT
    HVACNUT Member Posts: 5,863
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    Looks like a Levitt home. Boiler/laundry room behind the garage?
    That's a Watts 530C domestic relief valve. It should not have been removed, but replaced. The valves can be pressure adjusted. Is domestic water part of your service agreement?
    Separate from the heating water, it has no effect on the boiler expansion tank, which is stained from the leaking air eliminator above it.
    The dripping valve needs the packing nut tightened.
    STEVEusaPA
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,433
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    Permit me to be a little more forceful than either @DZoro or @Ironman -- both of whom I respect greatly.

    1. Turn whichever appliance -- domestic hot water or heating boiler -- is served by that pressure relief valve which was removed and plugged off. If you can't figure out which it is, shut them both off.
    2. And leave it off until you can get someone competent out there to diagnose, repair and service the system correctly. Your present company is not that someone.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    SuperTech
  • notsponsible
    notsponsible Member Posts: 5
    edited January 2020
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    Thanks for the input guys. Upon further inspection I found the pressure relief valve for the boiler. You can't see it in the first photo I posted since it is hidden behind some pipes. I guess that means the relief valve they removed was for the domestic hot water system. I lack a fundamental understanding of how the two systems interact so I'm not sure how to turn off the domestic hot water without also shutting off the boiler. I will do some digging to learn more about my specific system.

    HVACNUT, I am quite impressed that you were able to discern that I live in a Levitt home. Since you have some knowledge on the subject is there anything I should know as the owner of a Levitt home? Are there any corners that they were known to have cut when it came to the heating system? I'm considering switching from oil to natural gas since I have a below ground tank that has been there since the house was built in 1963. I imagine it can't last forever and I would rather not have to lose patio space to install an above ground tank.
  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 6,505
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    Leon82 said:

    Tap on the tank with your knuckle. It shod sound hollow on the side with the shrader valve

    Don't be a tank tapper. It tells you nothing.

    I'd follow the advice about needing immediate attention, especially while the weather is still mild.

    The sticker on the Riello cover says it all.

    I'd get on the oil company. Tell them do they want to send out their best boiler tech, someone who really knows about hydronics and their components, or do they want you to find another oil company?

    The ancient technology that's the air scoop with the even worse vent should all be changed out to modern components when the weather gets warmer.

    There was an error rendering this rich post.

    SuperTech
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,889
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    @notsponsible , these guys are right. Whoever removed that safety valve should not be in the business.

    If you go to the Find a Contractor page of this site, you'll find some real good service companies in the NYC area.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • HVACNUT
    HVACNUT Member Posts: 5,863
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    > @notsponsible said:
    > Since you have some knowledge on the subject is there anything I should know as the owner of a Levitt home? Are there any corners that they were known to have cut when it came to the heating system? I'm considering switching from oil to natural gas since I have a below ground tank that has been there since the house was built in 1963. I imagine it can't last forever and I would rather not have to lose patio space to install an above ground tank.

    A lot of Levitt homes in Suffolk county on Long Island originally came with a York Shipley 55 gallon drum style vertical tube steel boiler.
    The Levitt home was built for affordability, so yeah, corners were cut. What's between the sheetrock walls and the outside sheathing? How about nothing. At the time anyway.

    Slab leaks are not uncommon. Heating or domestic.
    If you convert or upgrade, an indirect can be installed right behind the wall in the garage.
    Lint and burners, boilers dont play nice together at all. The burner should have outside combustion air directly to the burner being it's also the laundry room.
    And insulate insulate insulate, if not already done.
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,741
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    I would be inclined to report the plugging of the relief valve to whatever licensing agency issued the license that the tech that plugged it was working under.