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Is it our fault the boiler cracked?

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jwolfe
jwolfe Member Posts: 4
My partner and i moved into this old apartment with one of those converted to gas old steam boilers and were instructed on how to fill the sight glass to maintain it. For the first couple of months everything was fine, and then suddenly it wasn't working and we had to have them call a plumber, who cleaned the sight glass and did i don't know what else. Since then it has required us to refill it almost once a day, sometimes multiple times a day. It would automatically shut off and we would have to go refill it to kick the heat on. The landlord didn't want to hear it, and all of a sudden we filled it as per usual because the heat was off and after about half an hour the whole room filled with steam and set off the fire alarm in the basement.

The plumber came and let us know that it was cracked, and now the landlord is accusing us of doing something wrong. She says we put cold water into a hot boiler, but i don't see how that is possible when we only ever filled it using the lever on the valve when the boiler was already off to kick it back on.

I am not a plumber. But i also don't like being accused of doing something we didn't do. This unit is beyond old. Would it really crack due to user error like she is claiming? Or was it just old?
BillyOSuperTech

Comments

  • STEAM DOCTOR
    STEAM DOCTOR Member Posts: 2,040
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    If you were filling it once a day, then it was already leaking.
  • STEAM DOCTOR
    STEAM DOCTOR Member Posts: 2,040
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    Boiler won't crack unless it was dry firing. Not your fault at all. Did they tell you not to fill if it was dry firing and did they give you instructions on how to determine if it was dry firing.
    CBRob
  • Ironman
    Ironman Member Posts: 7,397
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    If you were having to add water daily, there's a large leak somewhere in the system or boiler. By constantly adding fresh water, fresh oxegyn and minerals are being added. That's what has caused the boiler to fail.
    The leak(s) need to found and fixed or a new boiler won't last long.
    If they're no obvious, visible leaks, then any buried or hidden wet returns are usually the culprit.
    Bob Boan
    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
  • jwolfe
    jwolfe Member Posts: 4
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    > @STEAM DOCTOR said:
    > Boiler won't crack unless it was dry firing. Not your fault at all. Did they tell you not to fill if it was dry firing and did they give you instructions on how to determine if it was dry firing.

    They gave us no such instructions. Just that if the heat isn't on, to use the lever on the valve to fill the sight glass like 3/4 or so and it should kick back on.
  • jwolfe
    jwolfe Member Posts: 4
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    @Ironman said:
    > If you were having to add water daily, there's a large leak somewhere in the system or boiler. By constantly adding fresh water, fresh oxegyn and minerals are being added. That's what has caused the boiler to fail.
    > The leak(s) need to found and fixed or a new boiler won't last long.
    > If they're no obvious, visible leaks, then any buried or hidden wet returns are usually the culprit.

    Yeah, my landlord is disgustingly cheap, we've been telling her there was an issue for a while and she would not have it.

    More detail on the plumbing visit, the fire alarm going off was the 3rd time in 2 days. After the 2nd time we realized what the issue was and had her call the plumber. While he was here he had to clean scale off and relight the pilot, and then he hung around looking for leaks for a good 30 mins and didn't find any. The smoke alarm went off from the steam about 10 mins after he left and i called him and had him come back. We actually managed to catch video of it this time, as the last 2 times, the steam was gone by the time we realized what was happening. Once i showed him the video he realized immediately that the boiler was done.

    Id love to show the video but im not sure how to post it if i even can.
  • jwolfe
    jwolfe Member Posts: 4
    edited February 2020
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    Let's see if the video posts...

    Looks like it didn't work. Oh well
  • SlamDunk
    SlamDunk Member Posts: 1,600
    edited February 2020
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    It was leaking. Probably steam going up the chimney.

    I can go a couple years without adding any water.

    Besides, the landlord's ignorance put you in danger. What if the low water cutoff stopped working? Does it have a workIng pressure relief valve?

    It is her boiler, her problem.

    Post some pictures of the boiler and near piping
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 4,949
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    Call the city and complain you have no heat!
  • Alan Welch
    Alan Welch Member Posts: 270
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    Was it converted from oil or coal to gas? Maybe covered in asbestos? I have a feeling your boiler was long overdue for replacement. If you post a few pictures it would help give an idea how old it is. I'm sure a new boiler will be significantly more efficient if sized and installed properly.
  • Erin Holohan Haskell
    Erin Holohan Haskell Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 2,344
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    jwolfe said:

    Let's see if the video posts...



    Looks like it didn't work. Oh well

    @jwolfe, this site can't post videos due to file size, but you can embed them here from a third-party video sharing site like YouTube or Vimeo.

    President
    HeatingHelp.com