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Water Feeder issue?

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Sd134
Sd134 Member Posts: 6
A while ago, I came home to a flooded main floor and the source of the water seemed to be the baseboard radiator in the kitchen.

Initially I thought the radiator was the issue, and was able to shut water off to that radiator, only to realize, after seeing water come out of a different radiator, that the water sought it's first point of exit and it had nothing to do with the radiators.

After a bit of deduction I finally realized that although my water Feeder was not actively calling for water, as long as the supply was available, water would flow slowly through the feeder even when it wasn't on.

Admittedly I've been lazy....the easiest fix has been to shut off water supply to boiler, keeping an eye on sight glass, and only opening the water supply when the low water level light comes on.

It has worked for longer than I care to admit, but I know it's something I need to address.  Having just Googled a replacement feeder I just wondered if there is some internal maintenance I could do rather than paying $250 for the feeder or if replacement is a sensible part of maintenance. (I've lived here 12 years, no idea how long the feeder has been here)

The fact that it lets water pass through very slowly might indicate there's a washer or seal that could be replaced instead of a full replacement.

I'd appreciate anyone's thoughts on this, or any input I hadn't considered.

I have a hydrotherm vga175 and a uni match ITT universal water feeder

Comments

  • Gordo
    Gordo Member Posts: 857
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    Here is a video on working on a UniMatch.
    I understand if you don't want to replace the whole feeder, but that's what I'd recommend.
    But I would not re-install a UniMatch.
    I would install a Hydrolevel VXT feeder instead.
    Both feeders use the same brass valve,
    but the VXT is a much more useful feeder.



    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zI86Hap-Nh8
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/all-steamed-up-inc
    Sd134
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 5,702
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    A lot of people (me included) don't have autofeeders. They are by no means necessary. Here's a recent thread about that:

    https://forum.heatinghelp.com/discussion/comment/1677575
    NJ Steam Homeowner. See my sight glass boiler videos: https://bit.ly/3sZW1el
  • Sd134
    Sd134 Member Posts: 6
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    Gordo, that's a great video, thank you.  My pipes are all threaded, with a union not far away, so I always figured I'd just take the whole thing off and replace, rather than replacing the "guts" of the feeder.

  • Gordo
    Gordo Member Posts: 857
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    @Sd134 : Thank you for your comments!
    Looking at your picture (very helpful, btw), it might not be a bad idea to replace any galvanized (and esp black!) pipe and fittings upstream at least as far as the union, and also replace the black 90 downstream from the UniMatch with something that won't rust. Copper is often the material of choice.
    Flakes of rust might interfere with the proper functioning of the feeder.
    There is a strainer on the feeder valve, of course, but best not to tempt fate.
    And having gone that far, it might be a good time to add a manual by-pass around the feeder.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/all-steamed-up-inc
    ethicalpaulHap_Hazzard
  • Bodycount
    Bodycount Member Posts: 39
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    I’m new to this forum and recently had the same issue. 

    As a “mechanic” I wanted to repair rather than replace. I tracked down the replacement solenoid valve for about $40.00. Swapped it out and still had problems. 

    Apparently the VXT-24 had electronic issues as wall as some sediment in the valve. 

    I replaced it, set it up and it’s working properly (mostly). 
  • Sd134
    Sd134 Member Posts: 6
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    @bodycount, I'm certainly in favor of saving some money but I also think that I've neglected it for long enough and that the cost of a full replacement isn't that much, considering how long it's been.  I guess my next move is to look up general preventative maintenance so that I can maybe service it each year