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Can Anyone tell me a reason this Steam Boiler failed prematurely?

Joseph_4
Joseph_4 Member Posts: 223
I am not the original installer of this weil Mclein eg50 boiler but it has a single riser and swing fittings.. It is only 7 years old. Curious if anyone thinks its because of a bad install. when I fill up boiler the leak is around the height of the water line
Thanks
Joseph Hardoon
HHI Services LLC












Comments

  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 9,176
    I am wondering flue gas condensation from too much how water load returning low temp water. looks like an indirect + another zone maybe. Flue pipe looks like some corrosion. Or failed low water cut off. Just guessing
  • EzzyT
    EzzyT Member Posts: 1,154
    Poor installation, lack of maintenance, flue gas condensate, to much make up water due to leak or leaks in the system that’s what I’m guessing.
    Creative Solutions Plumbing & Heating LLC
    Lic #12683
    Co-Owners: Fred Drescher, Jr & Eliezer "Ezzy" Travis
    201.499.0223
    ethicalpaulmattmia2Rich_49
  • RayWohlfarth
    RayWohlfarth Member Posts: 901
    There are several common causes for a hydronic boiler failure.

    Excessive makeup water if the system is leaking water and has to add new water, it could destroy the boiler in a relatively short time. I like using a water meter on the makeup water line to track lost water. Look around for leaks

    Thermal shock. Most cast iron boilers are designed for a 20-30 degree F temperature rise. When cool water in an idle zone returns to a warm boiler, it could cause thermal shock. Thermal shock is rapid expansion and contraction of the piping.

    Low water temperature This boiler is designed to operate above 140 degrees F water temperature. Operating the boiler below that could allow the flue gases to condense and the acids to destroy the boiler.

    Insufficient flow Verify there is enough flow when only one zone is firing

    Good luck


    Ray Wohlfarth
    Boiler Lessons
  • RayWohlfarth
    RayWohlfarth Member Posts: 901
    Ooops its a steam boiler Saw the circulators and thought it was hydronic. Excessive makeup water is a boiler killer. I would guess there is a leak or two in the system
    Ray Wohlfarth
    Boiler Lessons
    mattmia2
  • STEAM DOCTOR
    STEAM DOCTOR Member Posts: 1,336
    I would tend to doubt that that cold returning water is causing flue condensation. There are literally thousands of similar configurations out there without boilers leaking. Why, Peerless even has 1" tappings on the 63 series. Specifically for hooking up indirects. If it works for Peerless, then no reason it shouldn't work for Weil McLain. There are numerous oil fired steam boilers that also have tappings for indirects.  I have seen a number of these systems and the return from the indirect is always burning hot within a few minutes(obviously, this is not scientific data). The indirect coil has relatively small water content and does not return cold for any significant time. Ditto for the coil being used for heating. Coils have been used DHW for ages. The incoming DHW is always cold and does not have any history of causing flue condensation issues (as far as I know). There are also thousands of Brooklyn specials (I.e. steam boilers heating basement hot water loops) put there. Professor Dan even references these systems in his heating Bibles. 
  • STEAM DOCTOR
    STEAM DOCTOR Member Posts: 1,336
    Don't really see anything that bad with the installation. Boiler riser and header are undersized but not significantly. Unlikely that would cause a leak. Steam boiler installers would be making a lot of money if every under piped boiler leaked in 7 years. The EG-50 requires 2.5"  
  • STEAM DOCTOR
    STEAM DOCTOR Member Posts: 1,336
    I actually examined this boiler myself. @Joseph_4and I, are colleagues. Just one correction on what Joseph said above. The leak is not at the waterline. The leak is approximately same height as the top of the gauge glass. Unlikely that makeup water would cause a leak so far above the water line. For the record, I am not the original installer.
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 3,038
    Thanks, @STEAM DOCTOR -- But why wouldn't a high volume of makeup water cause a leak above the water line? It is going to introduce oxygen into all areas of the boiler interior (as the oxygen is forced from the heated water, it must go into the open space areas, right?).

    That, combined with the probable high heat of the above water line area (due to no water being there to cool it) seems like a very probable cause of a leak in that area.
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
  • STEAM DOCTOR
    STEAM DOCTOR Member Posts: 1,336
    @ethicalpaul. I am under the impression that the fresh oxygen sits on the top of the water and eats away at the cast iron. I think that I read that in one of @DanHolohan's books. I would think that the oxygen would stay in the water and below the top of the boiler until the boiler starts steaming. Once the boiler is steaming,  the fresh O2  boils away and is not an issue. The "above the water" line part of the boiler will always be exposed to fresh oxygen. Whenever the boiler is steaming, the steam push the air and O2 out of the system. Once the steam condenses,  fresh air and O2 from the atmosphere come in to replace the expelled air and O2. For some reason,  that O2 is not problematic. There us something about fresh O2 and water. I could be totally off base. Physics is not exactly my field of expertise. 
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,564
    Definitely too much makeup water. You have bad vents or loose valve packing somewhere, or maybe a leaking underground return line if the system has one.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    ethicalpaul
  • STEAM DOCTOR
    STEAM DOCTOR Member Posts: 1,336
    Page 87. "We Got Steam Heat". O2 will rot the metal at or slightly above the water line. Same thing page 76 "Greening Steam".
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 3,038
    Tell this boiler that! :lol:
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 3,256

    @ethicalpaul. I am under the impression that the fresh oxygen sits on the top of the water and eats away at the cast iron. I think that I read that in one of @DanHolohan's books. I would think that the oxygen would stay in the water and below the top of the boiler until the boiler starts steaming. Once the boiler is steaming,  the fresh O2  boils away and is not an issue. The "above the water" line part of the boiler will always be exposed to fresh oxygen. Whenever the boiler is steaming, the steam push the air and O2 out of the system. Once the steam condenses,  fresh air and O2 from the atmosphere come in to replace the expelled air and O2. For some reason,  that O2 is not problematic. There us something about fresh O2 and water. I could be totally off base. Physics is not exactly my field of expertise. 

    What is that iffy header arrangement is causing water to be thrown up in to the header and mains and wetting the upper surfaces of the hx more than usual combined with fresh water?
  • STEAM DOCTOR
    STEAM DOCTOR Member Posts: 1,336
    Hard to imagine. There are thousands of boilers, piped worse, that do not fail in seven years. The riser and header are 2",  when they should be 2.5". For what it's worth, Burnham and Crown make a similarly sized boiler and they allow for a single 2" riser and 2" header. I personally would have piped it in  3". Besides For being undersized, I don't see anything functionality wrong with the header. 
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 3,256
    I mean combined with fresh water with a lot of oxygen and possibly minerals. In a leak free system I wouldn't see it as a corrosion problem.

    It is also possible there was a defect in the casting from the factory.
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 9,176
    I see more than one circulator there so I still think low temp return water is a possibility.
  • STEAM DOCTOR
    STEAM DOCTOR Member Posts: 1,336
    One circulator comes off coil and feeds 2 small FHW zones. Other circulator feeds indirect and comes off return. There is no priority setup. So all zones could be running at same time. I guess measuring flue Temps will give us a clue. 
  • clammy
    clammy Member Posts: 2,657
    Don’t discount the hardiness of the make up water even w a small bit above normal water use from small leaks can only help the process . This why I m never a fan of auto water feeder w or with out water meters it makes people completely forget about check there steam boiler and the amount of make up water it’s taking . If you don’t look then you don’t know and if you don’t know then don’t be surprised I doubt one would be so careless w there car ? As other have said lack of maintenance always plays a big part
    Peace and good luck clammy
    R.A. Calmbacher L.L.C. HVAC
    NJ Master HVAC Lic.
    Mahwah, NJ
    Specializing in steam and hydronic heating
    ethicalpaul
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,676
    I can only add my own experience on this.

    I bought my house with a Burnham V83 in it which was on it's second rotted block in 8 years according to the records I got with the house. There were plenty of leaks and an autofeeder.

    I installed a WM EG-45 which I later downsized to a 40 back in 2011.
    I fixed the leaks and have been using Steamaster water treatment. As far as I know, my block is almost like new on the inside after 10 years on the same water supply that killed two V8's in 8 years.

    In my case, I think it was a combination of leaks, and water that disagrees with a cast iron boiler's diet. Although, our neighbor and friend had a Redflash boiler that was probably 80 years old using tons of the same water and it didn't seem to care.

    I'd recommended tightening up the system, making sure it uses as little makeup water as possible and run a decent water treatment after all oil is out of the system.





    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
    ethicalpaul
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