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New steam boiler installed and now there is water hammer and water coming from radiator vents.

jdp1219
jdp1219 Member Posts: 30
I just got a new steam boiler installed and now I am having some serious issues.  After turning the heat on, I get a bad water hammer.  It seems as if I have two mains coming from the header  (not a boiler expert but this seems to be the case).  One main delivers steam to the radiators on one side of the house and the second main gets the other side of the house.  About 10 or 15 minutes after the water hammer starts, the last radiator on each main has a terrible leak from the radiator vent.  Water shoots out of the radiator vent as if it were a faucet.  It seems as if the water has no where to go so it shoots out of the radiator vents.  I also have two main vents that also leak a little bit of water.

My plumber is going to trouble shoot but he suspects a clogged wet return.  There are two wet returns that come together before they enter into the h-loop.  The issue is that all the piping is behind drywall.  Before he cuts the drywall open, does anyone else have any ideas of what may be going on.  We capped the vent on the furthest radiator thinking this may help the issue but that just makes the second furthest radiator leak from it's vent.

Another thing that is odd is that this none of these issues occurred with the previous boiler.  Towards the end of the previous boilers life, I did use the Hercules crack sealer.  Is it possible some of this sealer has clogged the lines?  

Also, my plumber also told me that he accidentally flooded the new boiler right after installing it.  He started to fill the boiler and left it unattended for too long.  Long enough to actually run water up to the radiators.  He said that shouldn't be an issue because no matter how much water entered into the pipes, it still has to return back to the boiler.  Is it possible that when he flooded the pipes, he pushed sediment together which is now causing a clog?  Another thing I may point out is that since it is weird that both returns got clogged at the same time.  Could there be a clog in the return closer to the boiler after the two returns meet?

Lastly, how does one go about clearing the clog in the returns?  Do you shoot water or air into the returns?  Is there a machine that can do this?  

Thanks in advance to anyone who takes the time to read this post.
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Comments

  • jdp1219
    jdp1219 Member Posts: 30
    Here is a video of the issue.  I actually made the video to send to someome so disregard the commentary at the end.


  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 4,622
    How did he pipe the new boiler? (Pictures are good)
    Did he properly size the new boiler?  This requires measuring all the radiators in the house.
    What pressure is the boiler set to cut out at?
    Has the new boiler been skimmed?  This takes hours of feeding water very slowly and water to come out of the skim tapping.  This is especially important on new boilers to get the oils out.  Oil can cause surging and shoot water into the mains causing the problems you suggest.

    It’s easy to see if the returns are clogged.  Run the boiler for a day, maybe 2.  If the water in the gauge glass stays fairly steady then the water is returning to the boiler.  If I drops significantly and you are positive there aren’t any leaks (steam or water) then you could have a return problem.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10202744301871904.1073741828.1330391881&type=1&l=c34ad6ee78
    bucksnort
  • jdp1219
    jdp1219 Member Posts: 30
    KC_Jones said:
    How did he pipe the new boiler? (Pictures are good)
    Did he properly size the new boiler?  This requires measuring all the radiators in the house.
    What pressure is the boiler set to cut out at?
    Has the new boiler been skimmed?  This takes hours of feeding water very slowly and water to come out of the skim tapping.  This is especially important on new boilers to get the oils out.  Oil can cause surging and shoot water into the mains causing the problems you suggest.

    It’s easy to see if the returns are clogged.  Run the boiler for a day, maybe 2.  If the water in the gauge glass stays fairly steady then the water is returning to the boiler.  If I drops significantly and you are positive there aren’t any leaks (steam or water) then you could have a return problem.
    I actually just uploaded a video of the system (better than pics).  He did size the boiler properly.  It is almost identical in BTU to the old boiler.  The pressure trol is set to cut out at 2psi.  I was there for the entire installation process and the boiler was not skimmed.  Is it too late?  Can it be skimmed now?  Interesting that you mentioned surging because the water in the new boiler surges a lot more than I noticed in the previous boiler.  The water line in the new sight glass surges up to 6 inches sometimes it seems as if the sightglass is empty but after a few minutes the water returns to half of the sight glass and then the process repeats (when the boiler is firing).  The water line on the old boiler used to only surge about 2 inches.  I have run the boiler for 3 days now and it has not lost much water at all.  I have the VXT auto feeder and the amount of water is recorded.  I can also visually see in the sight glass that the water line has changed much.
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 2,652
    A new boiler usually needs to be skimmed a few times over a couple days to weeks to get rid of all the oil from the new piping and boiler.
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 4,622
    You are surging for sure.  Honestly bouncing 2 inches on the old boiler was excessive, if the piping is correct.  I pulled up the manual for that boiler and it appears they have a different cleaning procedure, but it is well detailed.

    https://www.velocityboilerworks.com/documents/BSI_Installation_Manual-Dec-2020.pdf

    page 27 item 23

    On a side note it annoys me that a professional needs to be told this and is currently recommending ripping your walls out.

    Have the proper procedure performed until the boiler stops surging and in all likelihood you will be in good shape, if not come back and we can help.

    It will be interesting the reaction you get from the contractor.  This should have been in the original price, but he also isn’t suggesting doing it so...
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10202744301871904.1073741828.1330391881&type=1&l=c34ad6ee78
    ethicalpaul
  • jdp1219
    jdp1219 Member Posts: 30
    KC_Jones said:
    You are surging for sure.  Honestly bouncing 2 inches on the old boiler was excessive, if the piping is correct.  I pulled up the manual for that boiler and it appears they have a different cleaning procedure, but it is well detailed.

    https://www.velocityboilerworks.com/documents/BSI_Installation_Manual-Dec-2020.pdf

    page 27 item 23

    On a side note it annoys me that a professional needs to be told this and is currently recommending ripping your walls out.

    Have the proper procedure performed until the boiler stops surging and in all likelihood you will be in good shape, if not come back and we can help.

    It will be interesting the reaction you get from the contractor.  This should have been in the original price, but he also isn’t suggesting doing it so...
    I maybe wrong and the old boiler may have only been surging about an inch.  Anyhow, thank you so much!  I'm hoping the cleaning instructions will remedy the issue. I do smell something sometimes when the radiators get hot and it seems like it may be the oils you are speaking of.  Also, could you reccomend any boil-out compounds?  Also...

    The directions are a bit confusing:

    1.  Do I leave an inch of water in the sight glass and then remove additional 5 gallons of water for mixing solution?  Or does there have to be an inch of water after I have removed the 5 gallons.

    2.  By safety valve I assume they are referring to the pressure relief valve, correct?  

    3.  Since there is no pressure relief valve, does this mean there pressure will escspe through the hose that I am to add at the pressure relief valve?  If not, how do I boil the water without creating steam pressure?

    4.  Do I leave the water feed open for the entire process (couple hours)?

    Thanks and sorry for having so much questions.
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 2,652
    It could also be piped wrong, in fact likely is reading your post more carefully just because it seems whoever installed it doesn't know what they are doing. compare it to the diagram in the manual before you pay them. Surging will cause a much bigger problem if the near boiler piping isn't correct because the water won't be able to return to the boiler in the header but will be forced out in to the system.
    ethicalpaul
  • SteamCrazy
    SteamCrazy Member Posts: 75
    Hello, yes I agree with incorrect near boiler piping. Not to mention the lack of insulation on pipes. Note the newer boilers have bluid steam in a  much smaller cavity then their older counter parts. This pushes water up those pipes and into system. There is many good examples of proper drop header near boiler piping design on this site. Check them out. Good luck
  • jdp1219
    jdp1219 Member Posts: 30
    mattmia2 said:
    It could also be piped wrong, in fact likely is reading your post more carefully just because it seems whoever installed it doesn't know what they are doing. compare it to the diagram in the manual before you pay them. Surging will cause a much bigger problem if the near boiler piping isn't correct because the water won't be able to return to the boiler in the header but will be forced out in to the mattmia2 said:
    It could also be piped wrong, in fact likely is reading your post more carefully just because it seems whoever installed it doesn't know what they are doing. compare it to the diagram in the manual before you pay them. Surging will cause a much bigger problem if the near boiler piping isn't correct because the water won't be able to return to the boiler in the header but will be forced out in to the system.

    I checked the manual and the near boiler piping was installed to the recommended specifications.
    mattmia2
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 4,622
    They want you to drain out the water into a bucket, mix in the cleaning solution, then pour that back into the boiler. After that you fire the boiler intermittently, to keep it hot, but NOT steaming. Then you run the water continuously to allow it to flow out of the safety valve connection. This flow should be extremely slow, think hours and hours to complete the process and "change" the boiler water once.

    Personally I think you could skip the cleaning solution and just do the skim portion. I think the draining mixing and returning is adding unnecessary complexity to the job. One point to note, when doing the skim portion you will want to remove the elbow that's between the safety valve and the boiler. To skim you want a straight pipe coming out the side of the boiler.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10202744301871904.1073741828.1330391881&type=1&l=c34ad6ee78
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 8,151
    The air vent behind the little door.....is that installed on the return drop inside the wall?
    Is it piped to drain, as it will collect water and become ineffective.
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 8,519
    We would need to see pictures of the boiler and the piping. If your plumber didn't skim the boiler he may not have followed the piping directions.

    Find the install manual and find the piping diagram in it. Compare it to what you have


    Sad. We see this every day
    ethicalpaul
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 2,756
    > He did size the boiler properly. It is almost identical in BTU to the old boiler.

    These two statements are unrelated. The "old boiler" is very often grossly oversized.
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
    mattmia2
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 4,622

    > He did size the boiler properly. It is almost identical in BTU to the old boiler.

    These two statements are unrelated. The "old boiler" is very often grossly oversized.

    I agree with Paul. Sizing is important as it can amplify the problems you are having. I watched your video again and I see you point out 5 radiators in the house, is that the total? One of them I can see is ~24 EDR ( I estimated height and depth), the other one is bigger, but I couldn't count the sections effectively. Let's say the average radiator is 30 EDR and you have 5 radiators, you should have gotten the smallest boiler available as your system would be 150 EDR which is tiny. I'd need a bit more information on the rads to get the exact EDR for the system. I'd be happy to calculate for you. Need height, depth, number of sections and picture of end of one (if they are all same design). If the height and depth are same for all I just need that once.

    What boiler model is installed?
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10202744301871904.1073741828.1330391881&type=1&l=c34ad6ee78
  • jdp1219
    jdp1219 Member Posts: 30
    KC_Jones said:
    > He did size the boiler properly. It is almost identical in BTU to the old boiler. These two statements are unrelated. The "old boiler" is very often grossly oversized.
    I agree with Paul. Sizing is important as it can amplify the problems you are having. I watched your video again and I see you point out 5 radiators in the house, is that the total? One of them I can see is ~24 EDR ( I estimated height and depth), the other one is bigger, but I couldn't count the sections effectively. Let's say the average radiator is 30 EDR and you have 5 radiators, you should have gotten the smallest boiler available as your system would be 150 EDR which is tiny. I'd need a bit more information on the rads to get the exact EDR for the system. I'd be happy to calculate for you. Need height, depth, number of sections and picture of end of one (if they are all same design). If the height and depth are same for all I just need that once. What boiler model is installed?
    The boiler is the Crown BSI 138.  I have a total of 9 radiators.  2 are on the second floor of the house and 7 on the ground floor.  One on each floor is very large and the rest are medium sized.  I also have a hot water loop for the basement with a circulator pump  (i don't know if this matters).
  • jdp1219
    jdp1219 Member Posts: 30
    JUGHNE said:
    The air vent behind the little door.....is that installed on the return drop inside the wall? Is it piped to drain, as it will collect water and become ineffective.
    Yes I believe that it is installed on the return drop.
  • jdp1219
    jdp1219 Member Posts: 30
    KC_Jones said:
    They want you to drain out the water into a bucket, mix in the cleaning solution, then pour that back into the boiler. After that you fire the boiler intermittently, to keep it hot, but NOT steaming. Then you run the water continuously to allow it to flow out of the safety valve connection. This flow should be extremely slow, think hours and hours to complete the process and "change" the boiler water once. Personally I think you could skip the cleaning solution and just do the skim portion. I think the draining mixing and returning is adding unnecessary complexity to the job. One point to note, when doing the skim portion you will want to remove the elbow that's between the safety valve and the boiler. To skim you want a straight pipe coming out the side of the boiler.
    I'm headed to the store now to find a fitting to connect a hose to the pipe on the relief valve.  Any particular reason why the water has to be removed from the pressure relief valve pipe and not the valve at the bottom that is used to flush the boiler?  Does the oil travel to the top of the water line when heated or something?  Just trying to get a reasoning behind what I'm about to do.  Thanks.
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 4,622
    Oil and water don't mix, oil is less dense than water so it floats on top. So you are trying to skim the oil off the top, but like Italian salad dressing if you mix things up the oil can temporarily mix in. So everything needs to be done very slowly and no boiling. Warm boiler, very very slow feed. The water coming out should almost be at a drip.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10202744301871904.1073741828.1330391881&type=1&l=c34ad6ee78
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 2,652
    edited February 10
    the copper isn't helping either, although it probably will be ok if it is pitched properly. being insulated would also help, but the main problem appears to be the boiler surging and throwing more water in to the system than the returns are designed to handle.

    Figure out the edr and how well the boiler is matched if it is making more steam than the radiators can condense that will exacerbate the other problems. it could possibly be downfired if it is oversized for the edr of the radiators.
  • jdp1219
    jdp1219 Member Posts: 30
    KC_Jones said:
    > He did size the boiler properly. It is almost identical in BTU to the old boiler. These two statements are unrelated. The "old boiler" is very often grossly oversized.
    I agree with Paul. Sizing is important as it can amplify the problems you are having. I watched your video again and I see you point out 5 radiators in the house, is that the total? One of them I can see is ~24 EDR ( I estimated height and depth), the other one is bigger, but I couldn't count the sections effectively. Let's say the average radiator is 30 EDR and you have 5 radiators, you should have gotten the smallest boiler available as your system would be 150 EDR which is tiny. I'd need a bit more information on the rads to get the exact EDR for the system. I'd be happy to calculate for you. Need height, depth, number of sections and picture of end of one (if they are all same design). If the height and depth are same for all I just need that once. What boiler model is installed?
    All of the radiators are about 2 feet high and 3inches deep.  What varies is the width which is as follow:

    2 radiators - 4ft
    3 radiators - 1.5ft
    4 radiators - 2ft

    total 9 radiators.

    here is a pic of one of the 2ft ones


  • jdp1219
    jdp1219 Member Posts: 30
    mattmia2 said:
    the copper isn't helping either, although it probably will be ok if it is pitched properly. being insulated would also help, but the main problem appears to be the boiler surging and throwing more water in to the system than the returns are designed to handle. Figure out the edr and how well the boiler is matched if it is making more steam than the radiators can condense that will exacerbate the other problems. it could possibly be downfired if it is oversized for the edr of the radiators.
    If it is necessary, how do I down fire?
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 8,519
    @jdp

    You put chemicals in the boiler 1 lb of TSP for every 50 gallons of boiler water. (some skip the TSP but I think it works better) Mix the tsp and warm water in a bucket and pour it in through the relief valve opening. Replace the relief valve. Fire the boiler until the steam supply pipe gets hot where the boiler just starts to steam (don't let it continue to steam) and shut the burner off.

    Open the skim port and let the water trickle out in a stream the size of a lead pencil by adding water through the water make up valve. Skim for a couple of hours .

    Let the boiler cool, drain the boiler, refill and drain again then refill and put into operation
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 4,622
    Can't find those exact dimensions in the reference I have, but found some very close (slightly larger) coming in about 1.5-1.75 per section. I estimate you have 145 sections (I estimated by your measurement scaled from the section count in the picture you provided) which would give 218-253 EDR. Those measurements would indicate you could have done the next size down.

    The hot water loop shouldn't factor in as that load can come out of the pickup factor that's in the ratings.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10202744301871904.1073741828.1330391881&type=1&l=c34ad6ee78
  • jdp1219
    jdp1219 Member Posts: 30
    @jdp You put chemicals in the boiler 1 lb of TSP for every 50 gallons of boiler water. (some skip the TSP but I think it works better) Mix the tsp and warm water in a bucket and pour it in through the relief valve opening. Replace the relief valve. Fire the boiler until the steam supply pipe gets hot where the boiler just starts to steam (don't let it continue to steam) and shut the burner off. Open the skim port and let the water trickle out in a stream the size of a lead pencil by adding water through the water make up valve. Skim for a couple of hours . Let the boiler cool, drain the boiler, refill and drain again then refill and put into operation
    Which one is the skim port?
  • jdp1219
    jdp1219 Member Posts: 30
    KC_Jones said:
    Can't find those exact dimensions in the reference I have, but found some very close (slightly larger) coming in about 1.5-1.75 per section. I estimate you have 145 sections (I estimated by your measurement scaled from the section count in the picture you provided) which would give 218-253 EDR. Those measurements would indicate you could have done the next size down. The hot water loop shouldn't factor in as that load can come out of the pickup factor that's in the ratings.
    As some else mentioned, is it possible to down fire the boiler, if so, how?
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 4,622
    jdp1219 said:


    KC_Jones said:

    Can't find those exact dimensions in the reference I have, but found some very close (slightly larger) coming in about 1.5-1.75 per section. I estimate you have 145 sections (I estimated by your measurement scaled from the section count in the picture you provided) which would give 218-253 EDR. Those measurements would indicate you could have done the next size down.

    The hot water loop shouldn't factor in as that load can come out of the pickup factor that's in the ratings.

    As some else mentioned, is it possible to down fire the boiler, if so, how?

    Maybe, but you need someone that knows combustion and it has to be approved by the manufacturer or you risk your warranty.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10202744301871904.1073741828.1330391881&type=1&l=c34ad6ee78
    mattmia2
  • jdp1219
    jdp1219 Member Posts: 30
    Is the capped black port on the left used for skimming or should I use take off the relief valve and use that?
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 4,622
    You should go for which ever one is highest. That gives you the best chance of oil removal from the boiler.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10202744301871904.1073741828.1330391881&type=1&l=c34ad6ee78
    jdp1219
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 2,652
    If that is the relief valve off of the right edge of the picture then they look like they are the same tapping on opposite ends of the heat exchanger so it doesn't matter which you use.

    You will probably have to do it several times letting the system run for a day to a couple days in between since both the surging and the flooding while installing it will have brought the oil up in to the system and the steam will bring more oil back to the boiler from the system as the system runs.
    jdp1219
  • STEAM DOCTOR
    STEAM DOCTOR Member Posts: 1,310
    The capped port on the left is the skim port. 1.25" if I remember correctly. 
    jdp1219
  • SteamCrazy
    SteamCrazy Member Posts: 75
    Suggest you use skim port. It's the crown "top" of the water line. If you raise water to high as in highest point or your pressure relief valve port. The oil that sits on water will stick to the top inside of you boiler. Defeating the purpose. Good luck
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 4,622
    I'm curious if the OP was able to skim and if so what the results were.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10202744301871904.1073741828.1330391881&type=1&l=c34ad6ee78
  • jdp1219
    jdp1219 Member Posts: 30
    Haven't skimmed yet.  Will be doing do so in the next couple days as I was out of town this past week.
  • jdp1219
    jdp1219 Member Posts: 30
    Suggest you use skim port. It's the crown "top" of the water line. If you raise water to high as in highest point or your pressure relief valve port. The oil that sits on water will stick to the top inside of you boiler. Defeating the purpose. Good luck
    Is the thing I circled the skim port?  The part to the right is the pressure relief valve.  I'm confused because you say the skim port is better to use but the instructions say to use the pressure relief valve opening to skim.
  • jdp1219
    jdp1219 Member Posts: 30
    Here are the instructions for skimming.  Doesn't mention the skim port.  Also says to boil the water for several hours without generating steam pressure.  Do they want me to run the boiler with the pressure relief valve off so the pressure escapes through the opening at the pressure relief valve opening?  I'm thinking that is the only way to boil the water without building steam pressure.
  • neilc
    neilc Member Posts: 1,205
    there is a possibility the other port is not aligned with passages thru all the sections,

    follow your directions,
    and congratulations for reading the manual.
  • neilc
    neilc Member Posts: 1,205
    as far as those boiling instructions,
    if you going to use a cleaner, boiling, before building pressure, will throw some cleaner up onto the sections above the skim level, and help wash them down,

    you're going to babysit the power switch,
    if you're seeing a push of steam from the skim nipple, shut er down,
    and as she cools a bit, start up again,

    search these forums and you will find other same skimming instructions,
    with or without cleaners,
    and with or without hot or boiling
    you do not want to build pressure, just keep it simmering hot.
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 2,756
    I'm not a big fan of those instructions. That port might be good for skimming. Is it above the normal water line? If so I think it'd be fine. I wouldn't boil during skimming.

    Look at the installation manuals of some other brands like Peerless and Weil-McClain to see how they say to do it.
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
  • Bronxtech
    Bronxtech Member Posts: 0
    First of all, a Boilerman should be doing the skimming, you can get hurt and damage your equipment . Insulation is required on your pipes, what height is your tee set at on the Hartford Loop. All radiator valves need to be fully open or they will trap water, and they need to be pitched / higher on vent side.
    Also, try shutting off the auto feeder until it's skimmed and flush/drain return lines.
    They may have walled in the return drains when they finished basement.Check and make available for use.All vents should be new, on main lines.
    Skimming is second to do after you drain returns and boiler, then skim, check ops and leave in chemical when done.
    Recheck ops often over a few days.
    This we always do on old steam jobs.
    Boilerman are a little different than plumbers, unless they are heavy into boiler work. Just Sayin. 
    Hartford Loop tee is important, as is all that was mentioned by the brotherhood.
    Let us know, John
  • jdp1219
    jdp1219 Member Posts: 30
    These are the measurements of the H Loop.
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