Welcome! Here are the website rules, as well as some tips for using this forum.
Need to contact us? Visit https://heatinghelp.com/contact-us/.
Click here to Find a Contractor in your area.

Steam coming out condensate tank vent



  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,125
    What Ed said. I’ve seen this sooo many times. Just follow the directions. Don’t tell the customer it doesn’t matter. Just do it right. 
    Retired and loving it.
  • austinfogt
    austinfogt Member Posts: 10
    What Ed said. I’ve seen this sooo many times. Just follow the directions. Don’t tell the customer it doesn’t matter. Just do it right. 
    So at this point what would you all recommend as steam professionals?

    The tenants claim to have had to refill the boiler 3 times in one day, I'm almost positive they're somehow messing it up, but the company was supposed to return and install the VXT last week, but I have heard nothing from them since before Thanksgiving.

    I could ask they install to manufacturer specs, demand money back, or accept a loss of efficiency and move on.

    But the main reason I had this work done is so I didn't have to hear about this malfunctioning heating system anymore. Here I am many thousands lighter, and STILL hearing about this boiler.

    Another issue is these folks seem to be the only ones in town, I can't simply request money back and hire someone else. 

    JUGHNE Member Posts: 10,051
    No matter how bad piping might be, it is not going to "consume" water from the system. Is the boiler ever overfilled after it cools down that some water needs to be drained out?

    If not, you must have a leak somewhere. It seems obvious that you have no underground pipes? Massive leaks should be obvious either in water or steam spewing out.
    Perhaps it is going up the chimney? Look for white smoke on a cold day.
    Bad thing if so.

    You might flood the boiler up to the header and see if any water shows up on the floor....more bad things if so.

    With this blowing steam out of the tank for however long, that would require a lot of fresh water which could eat thru your cast iron boiler sections.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 19,968
    Tough situation. Marquette is a very nice part of the world, but... a bit short on some types of craftsmen.

    That said.

    First, I'd bite the bullet on the too small piping. It will work, just not as well as it should have, and making a production out of it is unlikely to help. At least the geometry of the thing isn't bad.

    But. There has to be a leak somewhere to use anything like that much water, and it may be in the boiler. This is not good. Look over the rest of the system as best you can to see if there are any signs of a leak, however, before you panic. Also have a look around and see if any of your brilliant tenants has figured out a way to use live steam from the system for something. Tenants are ingenious critters, and it wouldn't be the first time. There are a number of uses for handy live steam -- laundry work, some cooking things, microbreweries come to mind... degreasing machinery...

    Then do try two tests. First, some day when you don't need heat for an hour or two, make sure the boiler is cold and manually raise the water level to about an inch to an inch and a half below the top of the site glass. Mark that level (spring clothespins work just fine -- or a grease pencil) and keep an eye on the level. If the boiler isn't running and hasn't been for 15 minutes or so when you make the mark, the water level should neither rise nor fall for at least an hour or preferably a couple of hours, if you can keep it off that long. A rise would be a nuisance, indicating slow returns, but if it rises and stays up OK. On the other hand any fall at all indicates a leak either in the boiler below the water line or in any of the piping anywhere in the building which happens to be below the boiler water line. This you do not want, and need to find -- and, of course, fix.

    The second test is a little harder and may have to wait for warmer weather. With the boiler cold, rig a length of hose from a drain on the boiler and bring it up to near the overhead, or at least up to the header. Carefully overfill the boiler (turn it off!) until the hose just overflows. Now wait a couple of hours. The water should still be up to the overflow level in the hose (don't move the hose!). If it has dropped you have a leak somewhere above the water line in the boiler -- having done step 1 above to clear the below. Sadly, the most likely place for such a leak is in the boiler...

    Don't count on seeing a puddle on the floor. You might. You might not.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 3,965
    If you do end up with a boiler leak and having to replace it, consider a boiler with a design where the steam supplies come out of the top instead of out of the sides. That would be a Weil-McClain or a Peerless.

    A boiler of that design might not require 2-1/2" supply pipes and as long as your installer agrees to make it look like the pretty pictures in the installation manual it should be good.
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG