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Normal water level & using automatic feeder

jim_14 Member Posts: 268
So I got myself a new boiler and for the first time I have automatic water feeder instead of doing it manually.
So what it the school of thought on this. My boilers normal water level per manufacture is 28.5” from the floor on the sight glass. Ok I got that.

Now the auto feed is set at default at low water cutoff (probe type) but that doesn’t bring it to 28.5”, it brings it lower.

Now is this really a big deal? Everyone says fresh water is the worst thing for a boiler, so should I just start the heating season at 28.5” and then when auto feeder kicks in let it fill at default Setting and not adjust it so that it adds more gallons to bring it back up to normal water level?

Or Should I allow the boiler to always let the auto feed add water so that the boilers “new” water line is always a few inches over the minimum water level Warning tag attached near the bottom of the sight glass? Wouldn’t this method keep the fresh water to a minimum? This would be always running the boiler a few inches below the normal water level suggested by the manufacturer but at the same time it would be above the minimum water level


  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,410
    This won't be the answer you are looking for, but...
    You should still be adding the water so you are keeping an eye on the boiler. You should also be monitoring the amount of water usage, this will be much easier if you (hopefully) got the VXT with water meter, if not I strongly suggest you get a meter. IMHO a water feeder is an excellent diagnostic tool in maintaining a steam boiler.

    You shouldn't have to add water more than maybe once per month and it shouldn't really be hitting low water in that time frame. If you are then you have leaks and you want to get that corrected. Not sure how big your system is, but my system uses about 4 gallons per year right now and I am constantly looking for where that is going to try and improve.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,541
    Adjust the auto feeder to add enough water to bring it as close to the manufacturer's guideline. the frequent addition of Fresh water is not good but not having enough water for the boiler to produce enough steam and allow for the time it takes for the condensate to return is not a good idea either. In most cases, the auto feeder will run during a cycle which means it will boil that water anyway and eliminate any excess oxygen in that water. If you have a meter on that feeder, keep tabs on it to ensure there aren't leaks in the system.
  • jim_14
    jim_14 Member Posts: 268
    Yes I have the water meter. Boiler is only 2 weeks old. I always added by hand before this so this is a learning curve. It’s a small system , independence 4.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 21,117
    One minor addendum to the above -- set the feeder so that after it has fed and all the condensate has returned the level is more or less at the mark on the boiler. Otherwise there is a definite risk of over feeding, which is worse.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • dopey27177
    dopey27177 Member Posts: 885
    As long as you have a safe water level to operate at don't worry about your operating water level.

    The low water cut off will keep the boiler from frying. Typically when the boiler fires up the first time water turn to steam and leaves the boiler, at that point some water is injected into the boiler. When all the condensate returns the water level is slightly higher.

    If you don't reach the happy water level you may bee losing water from undetected leaks, like steam leaking from packing nuts on shut off valves or steam leaking out of vent valves.

    If you want to have the manufacturers recommended water level you need to pipe in McDonnle Miller # 67 low,water cutoff with a 101 feeder.

    The probe can be left as a redundant cutoff or remove it.

  • abcreech
    abcreech Member Posts: 2
    Just installed Peerless boiler, added #67 LWCO and 101A, and series wired in through Probe LWCO CG 450 , level below waterline on boiler, working fine ,feeding ok, piped in #67 with sight glass tees and tubing as required , water level is determined by #67 location !
    Is there any way to adjust level to match manufacturer’s water level line ?
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,541
    edited January 2020
    In theory, the #67 will shut the boiler down when the water level falls below the very top line cast into the sidewalls of the unit itself. I always fill my boiler manually to the boiler manufacturer's spec and let the #67 do its job of shutting the boiler down if the water level drops below that cast line (never happens). I think the 101A has some adjustment for how much water it will add, when there is a call for water but I never liked my 101A. They must be serviced at least every couple years and the filter replaced or the valve will allow water to leak past and overfill the boiler. I took my 101A off and opted to manually add water since the #67 needs to be blown down weekly during the heating season, you are going to be infront of it and have to add 1 or 2 quarts of water to replace what you blew out anyway.
  • abcreech
    abcreech Member Posts: 2
    Thanks Fred ! Will inform my customer, as it is always good to eye a steam boiler frequently during heating season!

    A B Creech
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 13,460

    Water feeders are a back up in case the low water cutoff doesn't work. They are not an excuse for not checking the boiler and the water level.

    It's ok to rely on the water feeder when your away or on vacation but most of the time you should check the boiler and add water if needed at that time
  • Hap_Hazzard
    Hap_Hazzard Member Posts: 2,826
    Actually, they rely on the LWCO to trigger them.
    Just another DIYer | King of Prussia, PA
    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S | 3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
  • Precaud
    Precaud Member Posts: 369

    Actually, they rely on the LWCO to trigger them.

    Same actuator, yes, but separate mechanisms and set points. At least on the 47-2 that is the case.
    1950's Bryant boiler in a 1-pipe steam system at 7,000 ft in northern NM, where basements are rare.