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2 gallons per month make up water is that realistic?

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jim_14
jim_14 Member Posts: 271
I have a small 1 pipe steamer. Burnham independence that was replaced last year. I think it’s the IN4 or 5.  So far I have added 8 gallons to her. I use an automatic filler that in my opinion is set to low at the gauge glass so I have manually added at times to bring the water level up to the halfway mark as of recently because of heavy demand due to cold nyc weather. Other then that I leave it alone.

I have no visible leaks, no hissing vents, no water on the floor near the radiators that I know of. Nothing that indicates any leak. My returns are above ground lever and most of the return pipe is visible except for about 10 feet which is behind some Sheetrock.  I reset the counter to zero in the middle of October and as of yesterday it’s sit at 8 gallons. Being realistic is this what to expect as the average real world usage for residential boiler? I have 7 radiators total. At this rate I expect to add about 2 gallons a month. Any thoughts? 

Comments

  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,303
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    It's OK, but on the high end of what I would regard as the normal range. You might look around and see if any of the valve stems packing nuts are a little looser than need be and that the vents really are closing as soon as steam gets to them.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,737
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    I think there are a lot of opinions on this subject. I have a system similar in size to what you are describing, maybe a bit smaller, and I use about 4 gallons per year. I've spent some time making sure my valve packings aren't leaking, and my vents are working properly. For me yours seems to be using a bit too much water, but not an amount I would get overly worried about. I would suggest it doesn't hurt to make sure valve packings aren't leaking, pressure is nice and low, and vents are all working properly (closing when steam hits them).
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
    ethicalpaul
  • jim_14
    jim_14 Member Posts: 271
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    Well I just added water to bring it up to halfway yesterday. I guess I could have waited a few more weeks... I think I have it cut out at 3 ounces cut in at 1. I’ll check the valve packings. 2 of the bedrooms aren’t even used anymore so maybe it’s possible they are slow leakers and I don’t know it. 
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,303
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    Cut out at 3 ounces? You have a vapourstat? That's very very low, even for a vapour system in excellent condition. Or do you mean 3 pounds -- on a pressuretrol. If it's 3 pounds, that's a pound too high.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • jim_14
    jim_14 Member Posts: 271
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    No I’m sorry it’s pounds not ounces.
  • Dan_NJ
    Dan_NJ Member Posts: 247
    edited February 2021
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    I have a somewhat larger Peerless 63-04 147k BTU output that's a bit oversized for my EDR (should have been a Peerless 63-04L but that's another story) and I'm using just under 1.5 gal/month average - 8.5 gallons per season from operating loss, down from 9.x gallons a few years back. On track for about the same this season. I've got all the bonnets sealed up and rad vents are good AFAIK, but I probably have a few steaming supply valve connections that should be addressed by re-seating. The last 10 days my operating loss is up a bit. I was hoping it was a side effect of the very low temps some cycling on pressure that I have below about 25 deg F. Could be yet another bad vent somewhere not yet found. We'll find out soon enough.
  • Big Ed_4
    Big Ed_4 Member Posts: 2,785
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    To find the small leaks use a mirror ...
    I have enough experience to know , that I dont know it all
  • kflory
    kflory Member Posts: 36
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    I have a larger Burnham boiler, the literature states that 0.8 gallons per month is considered "Excessive" make-up water and that service is required to find the leak, stickers on the boiler indicate that excessive make-up water can significantly impact the life of the boiler.
  • gerry gill
    gerry gill Member Posts: 3,078
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    When the vents are hot, they should be off. Do what big Ed said and hold an inspection mirror over and around the vent, if it fogs up,, the vent isn’t holding closed. Not completely anyways. Then hover the mirror around the handle stems and do the same check. If any fog shows on the mirror, repack or replace inlet valves.
    gwgillplumbingandheating.com
    Serving Cleveland's eastern suburbs from Cleveland Heights down to Cuyahoga Falls.

  • jim_14
    jim_14 Member Posts: 271
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    Hmmm. I do have a hot water loop in the basement. A small portion of it is underground. Perhaps a very small leak is possible there too. I’ll have to do the mirror test this weekend. 
  • jim_14
    jim_14 Member Posts: 271
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    Well I did find a leak. In my bathroom radiator, dripping from the valve stem. Pretty consistent drip- I can see why the drips add up. The valve is in a bad spot facing away from me so for the moment I was able to reach in and shut the valve off. Will deal with it in the spring or summer. Thanks for the suggestions
    MaxMercybucksnort
  • nicholas bonham-carter
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    Try to tighten the valve packing nut-a quarter turn may do it, or less.--NBC
  • Dan_NJ
    Dan_NJ Member Posts: 247
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    I would be curious to know how much impact that leak has on your water usage. Seems like a leaking vent can add up to a pint per day on my system. I know I have another leaker or two but haven't found them all yet.
  • jim_14
    jim_14 Member Posts: 271
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    Yes it will be interesting to see. I just discovered it a couple of days ago and I will see what happens with the water level over the next few weeks.

    for now I am leaving the valve off since it’s in a bad spot and will figure it out when heating season is done.


  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,061
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    Jim, a basin wrench as used on sink connections might tighten up that packing nut.
  • jim_14
    jim_14 Member Posts: 271
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    thanks. I will try that