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Auto feeders ,boilers and the good they do for the replacement business.

clammy
clammy Member Posts: 3,110
As time goes on it seems things always are suppose to get better .lol . I personally dislike auto feeder and have always will even decent one w digital readout . There the Bain of extreme laziness and those who possible will need a new boiler . The thing I do like is they let me know that your gonna need a new boiler especially when it flashes ,it’s good for my business cause you need a new boiler . It s amazing the extent people will go to avoid calling a contractor to repair or fix or to go down there basements and check there water level or have a clue . The other side is the stupidity of some installers and what people will accept blindly and put up with for 10 years or so before it pukes . When people ask for auto feeders and the boiler I’m replacin* has one that flashing after only 10 years always makes me say ,I think you need a new system that requires no maintance on the home owners half like hot water being you want everything automatic ,steam is not automatic it’s has to be checked weekly or bi weekly and maintained yearly unless it’s a maintenance deferred, knee jerk break and react reaction which I personally am not a fan of .
So to all the HO who dislike bills and repairs and or checking your water level or water use please by all means install a water feeder and after a couple of silent years your boiler calls to say your system is not drinking but the boiler holds no more ,kudos your back in the market for a new boiler.
I know the boiler manafactures love you ,you help keep them going cause there kids need to go to college to and if all things where right your boiler would last 20 to 30 years and your kids go to college and the boiler manafactures kids get one of those shovel ready jobs we all have heard so much about ,oh yeah who wants calluses better off stayin* home and receiving some free money while u hear your auto feeders and empty your home made steam vent water collection system cause I don’t want to replace my vents there to costly but my plumber said it a great idea .
Gotta love there inventiveness to pick up a penny and step over a 100 dollar bill .
Peace and good luck clammy
R.A. Calmbacher L.L.C. HVAC
NJ Master HVAC Lic.
Mahwah, NJ
Specializing in steam and hydronic heating
fxrgruntLarry WeingartenethicalpaulBobC

Comments

  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,512
    @clammy

    Back in the old days when coal was used the women took care of the boiler because the guys were at work.

    When I was 9 or 10 we had steam. When my mom used to go downstairs in the winter to use the washing machine (horrors, we didn't have a dryer, just a clothesline) she always walked around the corner to the boiler and checked the water level in the boiler and added water if needed and took a glance at the oil tank gauge. We were never on automatic fill.

    People are spoiled now
    fxrgruntdelcrossv
  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 6,506
    Maybe Nest will figure out a way to let the H/O know every time the feed activates, and show them a a nice pretty pie chart of their water usage.
    Then they can show that to the tech when the boiler rots out.
    steve
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,512
    Maybe Nest should make water feeders.
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,736
    @ChrisJ has a solution so people know when their boiler is low on water, don't you Chris?
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • JakeCK
    JakeCK Member Posts: 1,356
    Sounds like someone pee'd in your cheerios this morning. Do you want to talk about it?
    ChrisJRomanGK_26986764589
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,658
    edited November 2021
    KC_Jones said:

    @ChrisJ has a solution so people know when their boiler is low on water, don't you Chris?


    Maybe. But I don't use an autofeeder.

    https://forum.heatinghelp.com/discussion/168311/can-your-thermostat-do-this#latest


    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
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,272

    Maybe Nest should make water feeders.

    Heaven help us...
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • clammy
    clammy Member Posts: 3,110
    No pee pee in Cheerios ,just again totally amazed at the lack of honest contractors doing the right job and standing be hind there work not staying he s no longer w us or well that’s the way steam is bull . What even further amazes me is to have the guts to put a sticker on it saying you or your company did isuch garbage work ,Who does boilers in Dwv fittings ,piped w a antler and not changing vents which are shot and pissing steam upon there visit for boiler replacement ? Who the hacks that’s who and u can image that after a while of seeing these garbage installs and flashing water feeders well you say uncle like a school yard boy being bullied . And now w everything being either not available or on back order there liable to be a lot of cold home owners . And there will be little that can be done when the boilers are not available that’s unless you would like any of the abundant side outlet boilers which there’s plenty of them other wise the choices are slim . As usually most proposal only have a 30 day grace period being your boiler may be available now does not mean in 3 days it might be gone or that another price increase is in line from the supply house so I feel by all means please take as long as s you need to decide and when you do you may be waiting in turn for a boiler to be in stock or just get another 1/4 contractor to install yet a another mis piped auto feed install 10 year life span boiler especially a light weighing side outlet w the lightest of weight and the thinnest of cast . Kudos for helping the economy re bound . There’s my rant
    The sweetest of a cheaper price is soon forgotten after the bitterness of poor quality .
    Peace and good luck clammy
    R.A. Calmbacher L.L.C. HVAC
    NJ Master HVAC Lic.
    Mahwah, NJ
    Specializing in steam and hydronic heating
    delcrossv
  • The Steam Whisperer
    The Steam Whisperer Member Posts: 1,215
    I've taken a bit different view of the situation that Clammy is describing....these hack contractors are destroying the steam industry. People will eventually get fed up with the 7 to 10 year boiler replacements and just tear out the system. I've finally called it quits on being polite about some big installers in big buildings in my area that refuse to follow basic installation instructions....even after being warned by the manufacturer's reps! All welded piping on multiple riser boilers, no headers, inadequate boiler riser height, header drips on the wrong end of headers, controls installed on the wrong end of boilers, Hartford loops installed too low, inadequate rise off of draft hoods (I see this on almost every WM LGB install I see)....you all know the usual items. Then these hacks have the nerve to tell building owners that the normal life for a commercial boiler is 14 years. That is definitely true for how they install them, but not if installed ( and maintained) correctly! In the last few years it has been refreshing to see some of the smaller outfits here in Chicago doing pretty nice installs on residential..... some are even now measuring the radiators and installing the proper size! Oh course some of the low ball companies have started measuring radiators and putting in smaller boilers ( they can make more money installing a smaller boiler), however, they size them to hot water system parameters and now the system heats even more unevenly.

    Sometimes it's just no longer a good thing being polite about the quality of installations.
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
    KC_Jonesethicalpauldelcrossv
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,658
    The hacks are hurting everyone, not just their customers.

    They bid low on jobs.
    They cause people not to trust anyone. This may be the biggest issue honestly.
    They often create dangerous situations and they most certainly are causing steam systems to disappear.

    I'd also blame the never ending increase in forced air usage on them as well.
    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
    ethicalpaulPC7060RomanGK_26986764589delcrossv
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,736

    I've taken a bit different view of the situation that Clammy is describing....these hack contractors are destroying the steam industry. People will eventually get fed up with the 7 to 10 year boiler replacements and just tear out the system. I've finally called it quits on being polite about some big installers in big buildings in my area that refuse to follow basic installation instructions....even after being warned by the manufacturer's reps! All welded piping on multiple riser boilers, no headers, inadequate boiler riser height, header drips on the wrong end of headers, controls installed on the wrong end of boilers, Hartford loops installed too low, inadequate rise off of draft hoods (I see this on almost every WM LGB install I see)....you all know the usual items. Then these hacks have the nerve to tell building owners that the normal life for a commercial boiler is 14 years. That is definitely true for how they install them, but not if installed ( and maintained) correctly! In the last few years it has been refreshing to see some of the smaller outfits here in Chicago doing pretty nice installs on residential..... some are even now measuring the radiators and installing the proper size! Oh course some of the low ball companies have started measuring radiators and putting in smaller boilers ( they can make more money installing a smaller boiler), however, they size them to hot water system parameters and now the system heats even more unevenly.

    Sometimes it's just no longer a good thing being polite about the quality of installations.

    I love this and as a homeowner wish more contractors would do this.

    I work for an OEM manufacturer and can not understand any manufacturer supporting crap installs of their product. We regularly call out contractors on our equipment, ours is industrial and we regularly have contractors coming to us saying "your equipment doesn't work", yeah we spent 10's of millions building labs, testing, retesting, redesigning, but you found the flaw. No sir, your work sucks and needs to be torn out and redone, yes it's done, and yes the contractor pays dearly. This is how it should be.

    If the contractor stops buying from us, but is treated exactly the same by all manufacturers, at some point they will be forced to do the work properly, there really shouldn't be options on these points.

    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
    PC7060
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,658
    KC_Jones said:

    I've taken a bit different view of the situation that Clammy is describing....these hack contractors are destroying the steam industry. People will eventually get fed up with the 7 to 10 year boiler replacements and just tear out the system. I've finally called it quits on being polite about some big installers in big buildings in my area that refuse to follow basic installation instructions....even after being warned by the manufacturer's reps! All welded piping on multiple riser boilers, no headers, inadequate boiler riser height, header drips on the wrong end of headers, controls installed on the wrong end of boilers, Hartford loops installed too low, inadequate rise off of draft hoods (I see this on almost every WM LGB install I see)....you all know the usual items. Then these hacks have the nerve to tell building owners that the normal life for a commercial boiler is 14 years. That is definitely true for how they install them, but not if installed ( and maintained) correctly! In the last few years it has been refreshing to see some of the smaller outfits here in Chicago doing pretty nice installs on residential..... some are even now measuring the radiators and installing the proper size! Oh course some of the low ball companies have started measuring radiators and putting in smaller boilers ( they can make more money installing a smaller boiler), however, they size them to hot water system parameters and now the system heats even more unevenly.

    Sometimes it's just no longer a good thing being polite about the quality of installations.

    I love this and as a homeowner wish more contractors would do this.

    I work for an OEM manufacturer and can not understand any manufacturer supporting crap installs of their product. We regularly call out contractors on our equipment, ours is industrial and we regularly have contractors coming to us saying "your equipment doesn't work", yeah we spent 10's of millions building labs, testing, retesting, redesigning, but you found the flaw. No sir, your work sucks and needs to be torn out and redone, yes it's done, and yes the contractor pays dearly. This is how it should be.

    If the contractor stops buying from us, but is treated exactly the same by all manufacturers, at some point they will be forced to do the work properly, there really shouldn't be options on these points.

    It's been my experience that things in the industrial world are very different than things in the consumer world.

    Very, very different.
    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
  • JakeCK
    JakeCK Member Posts: 1,356
    So you're talking about hack contractors and not lazy homeowners?

    In which case I 100% agree. That is why I DIY everything unless it is really unsafe for me to do it. Mainly things to do with heights because I don't do heights.

    But calling a homeowner lazy because they have an auto fill valve and don't know or don't have the time to check a boiler every week just seems misguided. A lot of homeowners are simply stretched thin. Between kids, work, making ends meet. Its easy to not pay attention to a sight glass. 
    ethicalpaulCanuckerRomanGK_26986764589
  • retiredguy
    retiredguy Member Posts: 901
    Many years ago I went to a 2 pipe steam job with a 100 HP boiler (about 4,000,000BTU input) and asked the maintenance man where the fresh water feed valve was in case the boiler needed a little make up water. His response was "it is right there". They had 2- 5 Gallon bottles of distilled water sitting next to the boiler; that was it. I asked how much make-up water the boiler uses in a whole winter season. His reply was "NONE". That boiler was about 10 years old and has most of the original water still in it. In Pennsylvania steam boilers needed to be inspected yearly so I asked how it could still be using the original water from 10 years ago. It seems that every year they pumped the water out of the boiler into sealed containers and re-installed that same water + a gallon or 2 for water loss. So,their water loss was about 2 gallons per year. Talk about a tight system.
    ratioCLamb
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,658

    Many years ago I went to a 2 pipe steam job with a 100 HP boiler (about 4,000,000BTU input) and asked the maintenance man where the fresh water feed valve was in case the boiler needed a little make up water. His response was "it is right there". They had 2- 5 Gallon bottles of distilled water sitting next to the boiler; that was it. I asked how much make-up water the boiler uses in a whole winter season. His reply was "NONE". That boiler was about 10 years old and has most of the original water still in it. In Pennsylvania steam boilers needed to be inspected yearly so I asked how it could still be using the original water from 10 years ago. It seems that every year they pumped the water out of the boiler into sealed containers and re-installed that same water + a gallon or 2 for water loss. So,their water loss was about 2 gallons per year. Talk about a tight system.

    I have zero experience with two pipe systems, but that's not possible on a single pipe system.

    Every time the system pulls in dry air and exhales damp air it's losing water. So on a single pipe it's never going to be none.

    It's just the way it goes.

    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
  • delcrossv
    delcrossv Member Posts: 742
    It's nice to see honest people in the trade speaking up.

    My mother in law, immigrant and in her late 70's has been easy pickings for tradesmen around here. I can count on 1 finger the number of HVAC guys who used to come around for annual maintenance who DIDN'T try to sell her on a new boiler. They mostly tried to scare the bejeezus out of her with some horror story that I'd have to subsequently debunk- all while NOT doing the actual maintenance. But charging her nonetheless. :/

    So now I'm doing it. Kinda fun to learn a new trade in my late 50's.
    Trying to squeeze the best out of a Weil-McLain JB-5 running a 1912 1 pipe system.
    ethicalpaul
  • jumper
    jumper Member Posts: 2,245
    Don't like autofeed.
    Make a schedule, instead. Check. Date. Check off.
    Then you can kick yourself when you destroy boiler.

    Same goes for lubricating pump & motor.
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,477
    Ignoring mechanical systems leads to a large pain in the wallet, if your not willing to pay attention to a car, maybe you shouldn't own a car. The excuse they don't have time is just an excuse.

    In most older homes the washing machine is in the basement, all you have to do is check the sight glass whenever you go down to do laundry, You will soon learn how far the sight glass falls every week and you will recognize any rapid loss of water.

    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
    JakeCK
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,658
    BobC said:

    Ignoring mechanical systems leads to a large pain in the wallet, if your not willing to pay attention to a car, maybe you shouldn't own a car. The excuse they don't have time is just an excuse.

    In most older homes the washing machine is in the basement, all you have to do is check the sight glass whenever you go down to do laundry, You will soon learn how far the sight glass falls every week and you will recognize any rapid loss of water.

    Bob

    Many own a newer car so they don't have to pay attention to it, and if they end up needing to they go to a different brand that doesn't require attention.

    My older home doesn't have the washer and drier in the basement so I'm going to assume many do not. I do go down and check my water when I feel it's necessary, but I'm not most people.


    I don't know what situation others are in and I'm not going to try and guess. Everyone has things they're dealing with and their own way of dealing with them.
    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
    JakeCK
  • HVACNUT
    HVACNUT Member Posts: 5,828
    edited November 2021
    @ChrisJ, what's connected to the boiler (alarm contacts?) to show at the thermostat. Is it wired through an EIM?
    Pretty cool. 
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,736
    ChrisJ said:

    KC_Jones said:

    @ChrisJ has a solution so people know when their boiler is low on water, don't you Chris?


    Maybe. But I don't use an autofeeder.

    https://forum.heatinghelp.com/discussion/168311/can-your-thermostat-do-this#latest


    I have absolutely no need to a thermostat like that, but after seeing what @ChrisJ did, it made me want one.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
    ChrisJ
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,658
    HVACNUT said:

    @ChrisJ, what's connected to the boiler (alarm contacts?) to show at the thermostat. Is it wired through an EIM?
    Pretty cool. 

    Relay connected between LWCO and EIM.
    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
    delcrossvHVACNUTPC7060
  • Don_175
    Don_175 Member Posts: 125
    Along these lines, we have a new 174,000 btu boiler with an auto feed. We have one pipe steam. The tag on the boiler auto feed says if we use more than 30 gallons of water in a year, we have an issue. But that seems high to me. We have 17 radiators. What would be a more appropriate maximum amount of water usage per season in our situation? Thanks
  • delcrossv
    delcrossv Member Posts: 742
    30 gallons? That's like a complete boiler water replacement. :open_mouth:
    Trying to squeeze the best out of a Weil-McLain JB-5 running a 1912 1 pipe system.
  • motoguy128
    motoguy128 Member Posts: 393
    My auto feeder is about 30 year old and seems to leak by and flood the boiler so I have it shut off. Has a new float type LWCO (had to use the electronic port for an aquastat for HW loop), plus I like to blow it down and test regularly. I flood the boiler to the top of the sight glass in late Spring and then drain those 2 gallon out in the Fall. I have that gallon of purple water (8 way in it) waiting to add. 3 weeks into the heating season haven’t added any yet, but its not running much. Water level dropped about 1” initially as the pipes and radiators were “re-wetted” after sitting all summer and partially drying out. Will be interesting to see how long it takes to use all of that.

    Most of my loss is probably my two big mouth main vents. You get a visible puff just before they heat up and close. How much water is used per cycle is a interesting question. How much moisture to raise the RH of maybe 15 cubic feet from 30 to 100% RH @ 70F