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steam leaking from near boiler piping

tangs524
tangs524 Member Posts: 3
edited November 2020 in THE MAIN WALL
Hi all - thanks in advance for any help. I've owned a home for 4 years now with a 16 year old steam system that ended up getting a hole in the cast iron and steam was coming out so it needed replacing. I hired a contractor to replace it and after a few weeks there is steam coming out of the piping near the boiler. I'm now having trouble reaching back out to the contractor as he is giving me the run around about when he can come back to fix it. Anyways I digress, now I am just looking to you fine folks for your expertise on what could be causing the steam to leak. Below is a picture of the system (it is pretty cramped in there) I can take better pics as requested:

https://imgur.com/a/rw1KQz8

Here is a video of the steam coming out of the pipes. There are two spots:

https://imgur.com/a/EYK9chB

To be totally honest I only had a general idea about how steam works as I had to flush the water from my old system and replace the vents on the rads when I first moved in. Since reading around the forum, I think my system is way oversized. The new boiler is 110k BTU (the old one was even bigger) and I live in a 1200 sqft house with 6 rads. I roughly calculated the EDR and its about 200-250 I think. I also read the operating pressure should be under 1psi but I noticed they set the pressuretrol to 5psi. So I'm thinking maybe the pressure was too great and caused the piping to blow out. I need to find someone to fix this but if anyone can give some advice that would be very appreciated so I know what needs to be fixed.

SAM

Comments

  • STEAM DOCTOR
    STEAM DOCTOR Member Posts: 1,368
    Hard to tell. Seems like union is leaking. Might just need to be tightened. The leak from the union might be dripping down on to piping below. Hard to tell from pic but that piping doesn't seem right. Can't really see a header. 
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 4,814
    That's a union leak and honestly should be no big deal to fix.

    On the sizing, yes that boiler would be massively oversized. If you are at 250 on the EDR you are ~57% oversized, they should have put a boiler in that is 2 sizes smaller than that one. In addition it isn't piped completely right. It appears they reduced down to 2" on the outlet and the minimum for that size boiler is 2 1/2". Sort of funny, but if they had put the proper size boiler in the 2" piping would have been acceptable. Also the system takeoff is supposed to come off the top of the header not the side. This is to ensure that you get only steam into the main feed, as it stands the water has a direct path. Also considering the reduction it's most likely pulling a fair amount of water up into that header.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 17,023
    I would say that either or both of those unions just weren't made up right. Are you sure you want him back? There isn't much correct about that near boiler piping..
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • tangs524
    tangs524 Member Posts: 3
    thank you for the comments all

    @KC_Jones, what part is the takeoff? can this be fixed with 2.5" piping? I doubt the guy is going to swap out the boiler if he comes back.

    What should I set the pressuretrol at? Should the cutoff be 5psi especially since this is so oversized. I would think the pressure would build quick and cutoff before the house heats and the thermostat turns it off.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 17,023
    Cutoff should be no higher than two (2) psi, preferably a bit lower. Setting it higher won't help a bit -- and setting it at anything over 3 psi will may damage the vents; their rated working pressure is 3 psi. If the pressure rises too fast, you need more main venting -- not more pressure.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • tangs524
    tangs524 Member Posts: 3
    Thanks @Jamie Hall, I've dialed it down to 2 psi

    The guy came back to look at it and it is just the union in the back that is leaking. Its bubbling pretty good and he tried to loosen it to no avail. Its very old piping and not a lot of room to work in. He wanted to try a bigger wrench but needed to remove some electrical and pipes before he would have enough room. He said he would look for some tape (?) to wrap it temporarily and come back later to try to loosen or he would have to cut it.

    Here's some more pics of the piping and the leaky union:

    https://imgur.com/a/FVmZupk

    https://imgur.com/a/pfhJfnu

    My guess is he will have to tear it all out since it didnt seem like the union was budging at all. What I understand from the replies so far is that it needs 2.5" and also the takeoff (if i got it right) shouldnt turn right then do that weird loop back up to the mains?
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 17,023
    If the union nut is on so tight that it requires a gorilla to get it off, I wouldn't be at all surprised if the union sealing faces were shot -- and a new union needed.

    If he does have to tear it all out, it would nice if you could persuade him to do the rest of it better... the riser should be full size -- 2 1/2 inch -- up, and then turn horizontal -- still 2 1/2 inch -- then go over and turn down to the equalizer, and reduce on the vertical to the equalizer. Now. How to get the mains to attach. Not so simple, which is probably why he did it the way he did. Ideally they would come vertically up from the header -- and reduce and tie into the existing main piping... somewhere.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England