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system uncertainty

Need your help again. New Burnham Independence Boiler 'block' - replaced 7 yr older crack one last week - uncertain Model IN# - home 1,700 sq ft. Water in glass site gauge usually fills to 1/3... noticed MacDonald Miller low water cut off light turns red, feeds water most periods I put on heat, thus stopping or slowing the process, I think? Correct? Or is that normal? VXT water feeder I set at '0' at new block install, 5 days ago, now reads 7 - I think for gallons of water? should that be? One thing: daughters room radiator leaks - 1 gallon/week which I empty, and figure into this VXT# equation. Barring that, is this normal? Should I set feeder to add a few more gallon of water from LWCO? Shouldn't water level in site glass be at least 1/2 to 2/3 filled, yet really sits at 1/3? Thoughts? I thought with new block (old crack sent steam up chimney, and VXT feeder ate gallons H2O a day) this new block would eat maybe a few gallons a month, sight glass 1/2+, MacDonald cut off wouldn't be needed each request, and system would seem self contained and efficient. Where am I wrong, what should I look to? You guys have helped greatly in the past -as I don't trust company that installed and now reinstalled this system. Happy Thanksgiving!! Thank you
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Comments

  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 8,685
    There should be the install manual for that boiler...it came with the unit. The book would show the desired water level.
    The size would be on the nameplate on the cabinet of the boiler.

    Just start with pictures of the boiler, showing piping from floor to ceiling on all sides if possible. Especially low piping that might come out of the floor.

    Where are you located?
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,209
    You have a leak somewhere and that leak will kill your new boiler early. If you have any boiler piping below the cellar floor I'd look there first. Look for rust stains on the piping, make sure all the valve stems are steam tight and all the radiator valve to radiator connections are tight.

    Bob
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
    kcopp
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 16,606
    As @BobC says, what you are seeing in terms of water use is not normal. Not even close. That leak in your daughter's room may be part of the problem, and should be corrected as soon as possible, but it's not all of it, and you really need to figure out what is happening. That much water use will kill your new block in a hurry -- and is probably what killed the old one.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    kcopp
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 3,089
    What is the nature of the "leak" in your daughter's radiator? Is it dripping? from where?
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 4,698
    If that leak has been there for some time, it could be the reason the old boiler failed.  The amount of water you used should be the amount you use for 1-2 years of operation not 5 days.

    You need to find and fix all leaks ASAP.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
    ethicalpaulkcopp
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 9,700
    @Mark929

    Listen to the above posts. You don't want to replace the boiler again. You need to get your leaks fixed.

    The automatic feeder is not a substitute for checking your water level. Feeders feed to the MINIMUM safe water level. Thats it You should keep it filled to 1/2 a glass or what the mfg recommends

    Post some pictures so we can see how this is installed
  • Mark929
    Mark929 Member Posts: 72
    Boston, Mass
  • Mark929
    Mark929 Member Posts: 72

    What is the nature of the "leak" in your daughter's radiator? Is it dripping? from where?

    What is the nature of the "leak" in your daughter's radiator? Is it dripping? from where?

    seems like small hole at bottom- drips into pan i dump
  • Mark929
    Mark929 Member Posts: 72
    KC_Jones said:

    If that leak has been there for some time, it could be the reason the old boiler failed.  The amount of water you used should be the amount you use for 1-2 years of operation not 5 days.

    You need to find and fix all leaks ASAP.

    I don't see any leaks or water anywhere else...there is no piping under basement.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 16,606
    Well, it's not going into la-la land. You have some work to do -- but it simply has to be done.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • Mark929
    Mark929 Member Posts: 72






  • Mark929
    Mark929 Member Posts: 72
    Any recommendations for technicians in Boston/Dedham area? Don't have much faith in installer and company used.
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 3,089
    Mark929 said:



    seems like small hole at bottom- drips into pan i dump

    OK, that radiator will need to be replaced. Craigslist is a good source of radiators that have been ripped out of houses by foolish people. There are new ones available too.

    But per your description, this is but a fraction of your water usage, so I'm with @Jamie Hall, there are more leaks to find.
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
  • Mark929
    Mark929 Member Posts: 72
    Mark929 said:

    Need your help again. New Burnham Independence Boiler 'block' - replaced 7 yr older crack one last week - uncertain Model IN# - home 1,700 sq ft. Water in glass site gauge usually fills to 1/3... noticed MacDonald Miller low water cut off light turns red, feeds water most periods I put on heat, thus stopping or slowing the process, I think? Correct? Or is that normal? VXT water feeder I set at '0' at new block install, 5 days ago, now reads 7 - I think for gallons of water? should that be? One thing: daughters room radiator leaks - 1 gallon/week which I empty, and figure into this VXT# equation. Barring that, is this normal? Should I set feeder to add a few more gallon of water from LWCO? Shouldn't water level in site glass be at least 1/2 to 2/3 filled, yet really sits at 1/3? Thoughts? I thought with new block (old crack sent steam up chimney, and VXT feeder ate gallons H2O a day) this new block would eat maybe a few gallons a month, sight glass 1/2+, MacDonald cut off wouldn't be needed each request, and system would seem self contained and efficient. Where am I wrong, what should I look to? You guys have helped greatly in the past -as I don't trust company that installed and now reinstalled this system. Happy Thanksgiving!! Thank you

    Also - included pictures. next day noticed no hot water, tech's left h2o handles close- i opened. uncertain if i opened or they closed the wrong ones?? see photos.. TX
  • Mark929
    Mark929 Member Posts: 72

    Mark929 said:



    seems like small hole at bottom- drips into pan i dump

    OK, that radiator will need to be replaced. Craigslist is a good source of radiators that have been ripped out of houses by foolish people. There are new ones available too.

    But per your description, this is but a fraction of your water usage, so I'm with @Jamie Hall, there are more leaks to find.
    i'm with you. been in this house 20 years..cant see any water leaks..no runoff..no stains... Q- the water heater next to the boiler wouldn't be the source of leaks??
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 3,089
    edited November 2020
    OK so that's an indirect hot water tank being heated by a hot water loop off of the boiler, right?

    If that is leaking via the coil in the indirect tank, that would mean that boiler water is getting into your domestic hot water, which would be really bad.

    I would say immediately cease using the hot water for cooking/drinking until this is figured out.

    You could re-close the valve going to the indirect tank and then seeing if the water drop in the boiler dramatically slows, but you'd want to disable the circulation pump so it doesn't destroy itself trying to pump nothing. Also give some pros a chance to read what I am writing here to make sure I'm not steering you wrong. I mostly just want you to be really careful with your hot water possibly being contaminated.

    EDIT: BUT that valve seems to be on the boiler side of your makeup water from the autofeed, so that makes things even more tricky. You'd have to keep a close eye on all this.
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
    Mark929
  • Mark929
    Mark929 Member Posts: 72
    in picture #5 = those 2 handles were facing shut- i opened them.. should they 1 or 2 of them be closed?
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 16,606
    As for technicians -- either Ryan at @New England SteamWorks or Charles at @Charlie from wmass . Both of them are extremely busy, but they may be able to help.

    But it would help a lot if you could find the leak or leaks before they came...
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    Mark929
  • Charlie from wmass
    Charlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,195
    If the coil on an indirect water heater leaks the domestic water pushes into the boiler and floods the boiler. A steam boiler will not get high enough pressure to push into the domestic water. 
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/charles-garrity-plumbing-and-heating
    CanuckerethicalpaulDave T_2
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 4,698
    Steam leaks can be essentially invisible, enough of them and you’d be surprised how much water loss there can be.

    valve packings
    bad vents leaking steam
    your radiator with a hole in it

    a mirror, or a chrome plated wrench can work wonders at finding a steam leak.  
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 3,089

    If the coil on an indirect water heater leaks the domestic water pushes into the boiler and floods the boiler. A steam boiler will not get high enough pressure to push into the domestic water. 

    Of course, I feel rather foolish now but I get jumpy when people run their boiler water through the thing that is hooked to their domestic water :sweat_smile:
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 8,685
    In picture #4 there is 3/4" copper from the boiler to the pump.
    There is also a 1/2" copper going up, with a yellow handle ball valve (open BTW), where does that 1/2" line come from or go to?
    Mark929
  • Mark929
    Mark929 Member Posts: 72


  • Mark929
    Mark929 Member Posts: 72
    JUGHNE said:

    In picture #4 there is 3/4" copper from the boiler to the pump.
    There is also a 1/2" copper going up, with a yellow handle ball valve (open BTW), where does that 1/2" line come from or go to?

    not very technical- but maybe this might help....
  • Mark929
    Mark929 Member Posts: 72

    Well, it's not going into la-la land. You have some work to do -- but it simply has to be done.

    others places to check?
  • Charlie from wmass
    Charlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,195
    @ethicalpaul it is an everyday occurrence for me so I'm very comfortable with the use of indirect water heaters. 
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/charles-garrity-plumbing-and-heating
    STEAM DOCTORethicalpaul
  • Charlie from wmass
    Charlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,195
    If you are loosing water without underground returns it is most likely the block. 
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/charles-garrity-plumbing-and-heating
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 8,685
    To Wallies,,,,,is it possible that when the Grundfos pump runs that it is pulling water thru the water feeder??
    Why is feeder water connected at that point when it looks to be also connected to the wet return??

    If my WAG is correct, (it happens sometimes) then with every run for domestic indirect heating it would pull water thru?

    But if that were the case then the boiler would overfill....so maybe just never mind....just a brain burp/fart.
    Charlie from wmass
  • Mark929
    Mark929 Member Posts: 72

    If you are loosing water without underground returns it is most likely the block. 

    the block? it was just installed last week...
  • Charlie from wmass
    Charlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,195
    Sorry I did not read the whole thread.
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/charles-garrity-plumbing-and-heating
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 8,685
    Did they replace the entire boiler....one piece.....or replace failed sections under warranty ....rebuild??
  • Mark929
    Mark929 Member Posts: 72
    one piece. old one only 7 yrs old had corrosion on the top - and was where the steam exited to chimney i think. was wondering from VXT feeder picture above - are yellow water handles in correct position??
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 16,606
    To the extent that I can figure out what goes where, yes -- but I'm still having difficulty figuring out the piping...
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 8,685
    edited November 2020
    If the feeder went crazy and put in more water than lost you would have an overfilled boiler.....do you ever have to drain water out because of that?

    You could close that 1/2 yellow ball valve above the water heater piping and see if that changes anything.
  • Mark929
    Mark929 Member Posts: 72

    To the extent that I can figure out what goes where, yes -- but I'm still having difficulty figuring out the piping...

    dont have to drain anything
  • Mark929
    Mark929 Member Posts: 72
    it's worthy to note that the old block site glass was always at 1/3..and now with new block site glass is a bit higher than 1/3 - as it should be and read 1/2 to 2/3.
  • Mark929
    Mark929 Member Posts: 72

    To the extent that I can figure out what goes where, yes -- but I'm still having difficulty figuring out the piping...

    did the yellow water handles seem right for flow?
  • Charlie from wmass
    Charlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,195
    Perpendicular to the bypass pipe and parallel with flow through the vxt feeder
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/charles-garrity-plumbing-and-heating
  • Mark929
    Mark929 Member Posts: 72

    As @BobC says, what you are seeing in terms of water use is not normal. Not even close. That leak in your daughter's room may be part of the problem, and should be corrected as soon as possible, but it's not all of it, and you really need to figure out what is happening. That much water use will kill your new block in a hurry -- and is probably what killed the old one.

    if the glass water gauge appears to sit at about the 1/3 mark - even after I manually add to get it to the 1/2 mark - is that indicative of leak?
  • Charlie from wmass
    Charlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,195
    Clogged pipe or valves at sight glass would be firt thing to check. 
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/charles-garrity-plumbing-and-heating