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Leaking Drain Valve

cashadlecashadle Member Posts: 5
Hey everyone - noticed that my drain valve below my LWCO appears to be dripping. It seems relatively slow (the bucket below is basically just "wet" where it drips).

It appears to just be the valve that's leaking but the LWCO is presumably old (at the very least ~2 years since we bought the house). Relative novice with steam heat / plumbing so not sure how much I want to venture in completely replacing the valve myself. Would it be difficult? Presumably would have to drain the boiler first.

Would putting in a plug like this https://www.supplyhouse.com/Bluefin-BRSP075-3-4-Brass-Sq-Head-Plug-Lead-Free be sufficient for the "summer" until we get it serviced normally and can have it replaced?

Pictures included.



Comments

  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Member Posts: 12,724
    That's the blowdown valve on that old (yes it is) McDonnell Miller. You can try opening it -- you should be once a week or twice a month anyway, bot blowdown the control -- and closing it again. Some crud may have gotten caught somehow.

    On the other hand... one often hears that those controls have a working life of something on the order of ten years, so perhaps it is time to just replace the whole LWCO.
    Br. Jamie, osb

    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.

    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-Mclain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
    cashadle
  • cashadlecashadle Member Posts: 5
    > @Jamie Hall said:
    > That's the blowdown valve on that old (yes it is) McDonnell Miller. You can try opening it -- you should be once a week or twice a month anyway, bot blowdown the control -- and closing it again. Some crud may have gotten caught somehow.
    >
    > On the other hand... one often hears that those controls have a working life of something on the order of ten years, so perhaps it is time to just replace the whole LWCO.

    Yup, I actually have been doing that since we bought the house! Typically every two weeks or so until the water coming out is clear.

    I thought it might be the case to just replace the whole thing. Would using the plug for now be an okay idea? Was hoping to just handle it with the annual maintenance.
  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Member Posts: 1,577
    What would the plug do? Keep your bucket slightly dryer? I'd just let it drip.
    1 pipe Utica 112 in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
  • cashadlecashadle Member Posts: 5
    > @ethicalpaul said:
    > What would the plug do? Keep your bucket slightly dryer? I'd just let it drip.

    Pretty much lol

    Just didn't know if it would be worth it to stop.
    ethicalpaul
  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Member Posts: 1,577
    PS: I was glad to read you've been doing the blowdowns. When you first asked about plugging it I was afraid you hadn't been for the two years you've owned it.

    If I were you, I'd replace it with a probe type if feasible.
    1 pipe Utica 112 in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
    cashadle
  • cashadlecashadle Member Posts: 5
    Fortunately my brother had a similar system in his house so we knew to do it from the start. Our plumber also walked us through the system when we had him here for an issue shortly after moving in and he made a point to explain letting water out of the system. It's pretty old (1970s~ or so) but has been pretty reliable to this point.

    For the probe type, what's the advantage? I've heard of them before but haven't done much research yet.
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Member Posts: 12,724
    A lot of people like the probe types. In theory, they require less maintenance -- like, they don't need the blowdown.

    However...

    They are electronic gadgets, rather than mechanical, and there is a great deal to be said either positively or negatively about either one. In your situation, I'd just replace the one you have with a new one to match. Much easier to do. But then... I have both on Cedric. They both do require maintenance, just different, and they can both fail, just differently.
    Br. Jamie, osb

    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.

    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-Mclain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
    cashadle
  • cashadlecashadle Member Posts: 5
    Ah gotcha, would it need power at the boiler at all? Or would it just work with the millivolt setup?

    I think if we were to replace it we'd likely stick with the same type for now then if/when we need to replace the boiler possibly change it up for the new one.
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Member Posts: 12,724
    The new McDonnell Miller would just wire and pipe right in where that one is. It's just switches -- it needs no power itself.
    Br. Jamie, osb

    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.

    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-Mclain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
    cashadle
  • EBEBRATT-EdEBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 6,947
    @cashadle

    Just go to a hardware store or big box and buy a new valve and a short nipple and some pipe dope. Put the new valve under the old valve for now it will keep it from leaking.

    Next time you have the boiler serviced your technician should take the LWCO apart and clean it. Then he can take the old valve off and put the new valve in it's place
    cashadleHap_Hazzard
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