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old steel expansion tank leaking replacement help

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doctorman
doctorman Member Posts: 117
edited January 2022 in Oil Heating
Need an expansion tank to replace what I have for an oil boiler that provides baseboard heating and hot water for a single family house (leaking on the side)

-current expansion tank bladderless steel tank 12" diameter x30" =15gallon
-Expansion drain valve HU 7-2930 Massaro brothers No.7 ;
-the tank is connected to a red Bell and gosset Airtrol tank fitting size ATF L2 ;

-The oil Boiler by Newyorker model number: CL5-280 ; Max water PSI of 50 ; Heating capacity 241MBH ;
-Burner Beckett AFG 2GPH burn rate, Nozel Hago 1.50 x 45 -B pump pres 175psi
-Burner oil pump Suntec A2VA-3006
-oil filter: General 1A-25B


Based on Amtrol website I need EX-60 bladder expansion tank.

can I just cut off the connection to the old airtrol/expansion and connect the new Amtrol EX60 or do I need to add an air eliminator?

the airtrol has no room to be screwed off pic below , I assume it has to be desoldered or cut off?










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Comments

  • Ironman
    Ironman Member Posts: 7,397
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    Expansion tanks are sized based upon the volume of water in the system and the temperature range to which it’s heated.

    Amtrol has a quick sizing calculator on their site.

    If you switch to a bladder expansion tank, then you’ll need to add some form of air elimination device such as a SpiroVent or the like.

    The B&G Airtrol that you now have is designed to move air from the system into the compression tank to maintain an air cushion. With a bladder expansion tank, you need a device (like a SpiroVent) to remove air FROM the system.
    Bob Boan
    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
    STEVEusaPA
  • doctorman
    doctorman Member Posts: 117
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    Ironman said:

    Expansion tanks are sized based upon the volume of water in the system and the temperature range to which it’s heated.

    Amtrol has a quick sizing calculator on their site.

    If you switch to a bladder expansion tank, then you’ll need to add some form of air elimination device such as a SpiroVent or the like.

    The B&G Airtrol that you now have is designed to move air from the system into the compression tank to maintain an air cushion. With a bladder expansion tank, you need a device (like a SpiroVent) to remove air FROM the system.

    the boiler info does not tell me how many gallons since it is hydronic I think it goes based on the BTU and they have 200K BTU and 250K BTU, EX-60 shows to work for 250K as long as the baseboard is not cast iron... How common are cast iron baseboard? the house is old but the baseboard does not look that fat..

    I would go for the EX-90 but it looks so big. I guess I will do that.

    as for air eliminator , can I add it at the same location as the current thank or should I go inline with cold water? the expansion tank as might be able to see in the pic is not inline, it is drawn out and is easy to work at that end as I can just close the valve and work without needing to bleed the whole system.

    The plumbers keep canceling on us or don't show up , busy time of the year with a bit of remote location. and I am handy and might take this on.

    perhaps get a sharkbite connection and connect to the copper , with fitting for the tanka nd a fitting for air eliminator? I doubt the air eliminator would do a good job or any out of line...

    armtrol EX-90 for around 150$ is a safe option or would the professionals use other tanks for this?
  • doctorman
    doctorman Member Posts: 117
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    there is airscoop in line I believe , I have to go back onsite to check it better

    green device all the way on top of the pic


  • WMno57
    WMno57 Member Posts: 1,408
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    I also had a leaking bladderless tank. I bought a new bladderless tank here:
    http://qualitytanksinc.com/Expansion-Tanks.html
    No air separator, and I'm not pumping away. 1950 Thrush air scoop and tank on the supply, pump on the return.
    You should consider paying an oil pro to do a combustion analysis and maintenance.
    doctorman
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,941
    edited January 2022
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    Looks more like a flow check, but it is hard to tell from your picture.

    What is the radiation that this is connected to, is it standing cast iron radiators? Was this a converted gravity system, are the pipes further away from the boiler much larger? Is that big pipe in pedestals by the wall with the flange connection part of the system?

    Oh, and the oil burner and boiler should be serviced annually by someone who will clean and adjust the burner and will clean the boiler when necessary.
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,829
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    @doctorman

    You can buy a steel replacement tank if you want to go that route
  • doctorman
    doctorman Member Posts: 117
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    mattmia2 said:

    Looks more like a flow check, but it is hard to tell from your picture.

    What is the radiation that this is connected to, is it standing cast iron radiators? Was this a converted gravity system, are the pipes further away from the boiler much larger? Is that big pipe in pedestals by the wall with the flange connection part of the system?

    Oh, and the oil burner and boiler should be serviced annually by someone who will clean and adjust the burner and will clean the boiler when necessary.


    all baseboard not radiator
    that huge thing on the wall on the right of the pic looks to me like the water tank that heats up by the boiler for hot water use in home.
    converted gravity system? no idea
    I can replace the oil filter, pump strainer and the nozzle... and if the electrodes look messed up probably can tell... my flute anaylizer is not calibrated .. and really don't wanna open up more than this to clean up the boiler and flute how much is the average cost for boiler maint..?

    is it worth ordering a new same steel tank?
  • doctorman
    doctorman Member Posts: 117
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    WMno57 said:

    I also had a leaking bladderless tank. I bought a new bladderless tank here:
    http://qualitytanksinc.com/Expansion-Tanks.html
    No air separator, and I'm not pumping away. 1950 Thrush air scoop and tank on the supply, pump on the return.
    You should consider paying an oil pro to do a combustion analysis and maintenance.

    cant imagine shipping that huge thing will be cheap lol and do I want the same mess on hand ?
    I mean if I find a cheap one locally might be worth a bit just to replace but if I am spending few hundred, I might as well switch to inline bladder with air eliminator
  • SuperTech
    SuperTech Member Posts: 2,205
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    You would probably be better off with a bladderless compression tank like you have now. A bladder tank usually lasts 10-15 years at best, that compression tank lasted far longer than that. And you don't have to worry about installing an air eliminator. If you don't install the air eliminator correctly you will have constant issues with air in your baseboard.  Cast iron baseboard systems can be difficult to get the air out of.
  • WMno57
    WMno57 Member Posts: 1,408
    edited January 2022
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    Thread documenting my tank replacement from 15 months ago:
    https://forum.heatinghelp.com/discussion/181774/replacing-ceiling-mounted-thrush-compression-tank/p1
    Your situation is a little different:
    Your oil boiler needs maintenance, and probably a good cleaning.
    You have competent Oil techs in your area.
    You may find it expensive to get a bladderless tank. (Beer run for me to go the factory)
    My opinion is you should hire this out.

    If you decide to DIY a bladderless tank:
    Less repiping and you save buying an air separator.
    You can pipe it in black iron nipples and one sharkbite.

    If you decide to DIY a bladder tank:
    Placement of the air separator is important.
    You are not "Pumping Away", therefore the separator will not work as well.

    We don't talk price here. All parts and pricing (except the bladderless tank) are available on www.supplyhouse.com .
    Bladderless tanks are a Unicorn because there is little demand for them. My friends at www.qualitytanksinc.com told me they get dented in shipping and many supply houses don't want to order a pallet quantity of four. Call Quality Tanks. Unlike most in this industry they were friendly and helpful. Maybe they know of a local supply house, or have new shipping options.
    doctorman
  • bucksnort
    bucksnort Member Posts: 167
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    Sid Harvey lists these tanks.
  • WMno57
    WMno57 Member Posts: 1,408
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    doctorman said:

    how much is the average cost for boiler maint?

    The average cost won't include a proper cleaning. The average tech won't want to do a proper cleaning, and may not know how to do a proper cleaning. As a doctor, you understand the risk of exposure to carcinogens. Fuel oil soot is a carcinogen. How much would you charge to expose yourself to carcinogens for half a day? Good PPE and tools are not cheap. A good tech will not contaminate your house with carcinogens. A combustion analysis and proper tuning will give you maybe 3 years before it needs to be thoroughly cleaned again (will still need annual maintenance). Will also save some oil and extend the life of the boiler.


    doctorman
  • doctorman
    doctorman Member Posts: 117
    edited January 2022
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    bucksnort said:

    Sid Harvey lists these tanks.

    thanks, sid harvey has them in stock 15, 30 and 60. and cheap around 30$ to 100$
    can I keep my airtrol or that has to be changed?

  • doctorman
    doctorman Member Posts: 117
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    WMno57 said:

    doctorman said:

    how much is the average cost for boiler maint?

    The average cost won't include a proper cleaning. The average tech won't want to do a proper cleaning, and may not know how to do a proper cleaning. As a doctor, you understand the risk of exposure to carcinogens. Fuel oil soot is a carcinogen. How much would you charge to expose yourself to carcinogens for half a day? Good PPE and tools are not cheap. A good tech will not contaminate your house with carcinogens. A combustion analysis and proper tuning will give you maybe 3 years before it needs to be thoroughly cleaned again (will still need annual maintenance). Will also save some oil and extend the life of the boiler.


    that is what I expected..
    the ain't item are easy, cleaning that oil boiler is not fun.

  • doctorman
    doctorman Member Posts: 117
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    WMno57 said:

    Thread documenting my tank replacement from 15 months ago:
    https://forum.heatinghelp.com/discussion/181774/replacing-ceiling-mounted-thrush-compression-tank/p1

    Your situation is a little different:
    Your oil boiler needs maintenance, and probably a good cleaning.
    You have competent Oil techs in your area.
    You may find it expensive to get a bladderless tank. (Beer run for me to go the factory)
    My opinion is you should hire this out.

    If you decide to DIY a bladderless tank:
    Less repiping and you save buying an air separator.
    You can pipe it in black iron nipples and one sharkbite.

    If you decide to DIY a bladder tank:
    Placement of the air separator is important.
    You are not "Pumping Away", therefore the separator will not work as well.

    We don't talk price here. All parts and pricing (except the bladderless tank) are available on www.supplyhouse.com .
    Bladderless tanks are a Unicorn because there is little demand for them. My friends at www.qualitytanksinc.com told me they get dented in shipping and many supply houses don't want to order a pallet quantity of four. Call Quality Tanks. Unlike most in this industry they were friendly and helpful. Maybe they know of a local supply house, or have new shipping options.
    qualitytanksinc were very helpful... just need the diameter and length and should be bale to use my valve and airtril , they come with 1/2" fitting for both
    mcmaster carr carries there stuff in NY
  • doctorman
    doctorman Member Posts: 117
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    Just read how some people just put a screw in the hole and epoxy it up to close the seal lol
    if it is just a piece of steel... that might actually work
  • WMno57
    WMno57 Member Posts: 1,408
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    My old tank had a pinhole. I drilled and tapped the hole for a 1/8 pipe plug. More threads per inch than a sheet metal screw. Don't turn it in very tight, not many threads to hold it. Mine weeped, should have used loc-tite. Needs to be dry for the loc-tite. This is a temporary fix, you likely have many other spots soon to become holes.
    You can probably reuse your existing Air-Trol. Worst case Supplyhouse dot com can overnight you a new one.
  • doctorman
    doctorman Member Posts: 117
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    WMno57 said:

    My old tank had a pinhole. I drilled and tapped the hole for a 1/8 pipe plug. More threads per inch than a sheet metal screw. Don't turn it in very tight, not many threads to hold it. Mine weeped, should have used loc-tite. Needs to be dry for the loc-tite. This is a temporary fix, you likely have many other spots soon to become holes.
    You can probably reuse your existing Air-Trol. Worst case Supplyhouse dot com can overnight you a new one.

    thanks...
    2 plumbers canceled on us again today Ahhh

    I will get some JBweld Waterweld and paste it on there with the active leak..
    the leak seams to be from the edge lip so I can not stop it with my finger but hopefully Waterweld would work....
  • doctorman
    doctorman Member Posts: 117
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    what is the procedure to refill these bladder less tanks with airtrol?

    can I just close the supply valve to it, drain it, repair it and open the supply to it or needs charge or pressure somehow?
  • WMno57
    WMno57 Member Posts: 1,408
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    Only bladder tanks get a pre-charge. Bladderless tanks start empty at atmospheric pressure.
  • WMno57
    WMno57 Member Posts: 1,408
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    I don't think the J B weld will work.
  • doctorman
    doctorman Member Posts: 117
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    WMno57 said:

    I don't think the J B weld will work.

    so tried JB weld when it was leaking and it did not hold.
    emptied the tank till there was negative pressure inside and no leak, preped the area, clean and dry, put the JB Waterweld and waited 1 hour and turned it back on and it seems to hold well.. 5$ fix lol
    watched some videos on the JB waterweld... people have permanent results from it
    we will see.. at least I am not in rush for a plumber now
  • doctorman
    doctorman Member Posts: 117
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    WMno57 said:
    this is what I was looking for.. will go through it later.. to tired now.
    for repair I closed the supply to the tank, opened the drain, it emptied few gallons only till the pressure inside became nagtive and it was golloping air. shut iff the drain. did the patch, turned on the supply to the tank and turned on the boiler...

    Do I need to do anything else?
  • doctorman
    doctorman Member Posts: 117
    edited January 2022
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    the leak was back in the morning, contacted JB weld to yell at them a bit
    they gave me instructions that there was no were to be found online or on the box

    1) do not use alcohol, use paint thinner
    2) bare metal contact for real results, so sand down and clean the area well
    3) mix the putty real well till it heats up in your hand.. at least 60 seconds ( I did maybe 15 second and the color looked uniform but that is not enough0)
    4) if the paste is not solid hard in 1 hour, something is wrong, start over
    5) thickness 1/8 to 1/4 is recommended but can no more than 1/2"
    6) no need to apply more than 1/2" beyond the repair area
    this should give the advertised 900psi strength

    there is another company with a silicone patch TDbond I believe that guarantees their product for this usage and they say 50psi usage but it is by online order.

    anyway will try the JB weld again tomorrow the right way with sanding etc as above. they said if done right it should last for many years.

    Man whats up with plumbers.. no one picks up their phone, they promise tomorrow and tomorrow and the day after till no answer on the phone. no one cares to touch old work and the smaller the problem the less chance of getting someone in to fix it... I think I know the issue..
    Anyway.. its a rant... people go after money and less headache.. so I don't blame them.... but we really don't have enough technician, even the dumb handy guys who barely know anything are so busy that don't care for smaller job far from them.
  • doctorman
    doctorman Member Posts: 117
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    WMno57 said:

    Only bladder tanks get a pre-charge. Bladderless tanks start empty at atmospheric pressure.

    so 3 plumbers said just put a new EX60 instead of the current old system and that is it.
    but here I was told once I switch to bladder tank I will need and air eliminator installed with it.
    would you please shed some light on this for me..
    I added more pictures to the first post..

    I have 2 questions now:
    1) can I just cut off the connection to the old airtrol/expansion and connect the new Amtrol EX60 or do I need to add an air eliminator?
    1b) If I need to add air eliminator, can I just add the air eliminator on top of the new expansion tank in the same location as the old expansion tank so I don't have to bleed the system? Just close the valve to the expansion tank and o my work and open it

    2) The airtrol has no room to be screwed off , I assume it has to be desoldered or cut off?

  • doctorman
    doctorman Member Posts: 117
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    SuperTech said:

    You would probably be better off with a bladderless compression tank like you have now. A bladder tank usually lasts 10-15 years at best, that compression tank lasted far longer than that. And you don't have to worry about installing an air eliminator. If you don't install the air eliminator correctly you will have constant issues with air in your baseboard.  Cast iron baseboard systems can be difficult to get the air out of.

    would you please take a look at the airtool connection?

    I can close the valve to the expansion tank and do the repair so I don't have to bleed to the whole system.
    I don't see a way to remove the airtool without cutting off that connection, the air tool is screwed into the tank on top and screwed in the connection of the copper pipe but there is no room to turn those loose enough to disconnect.. am I missing something?
    after replacing the tank just opening the valve to the tank should be enough since it is bladderless, correct?

  • WMno57
    WMno57 Member Posts: 1,408
    edited January 2022
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    I have reviewed your pictures again including the new picture of the Airtrol. Any new Bladder or Bladderless tank will require cutting pipe and bleeding radiators.
    I myself would fix this with a new bladderless tank, black iron nipples, and a new valve. One Sharkbite to transition from black iron to copper. You can reduce the amount of bleeding by immediately plugging the cut pipe with a stopper of some type.
    Parts List (in order from tank to existing copper):
    1 Bladderless tank
    1 close nipple
    reuse Airtrol
    1 nipple
    1 valve
    1 male iron pipe to copper Sharkbite
    Tools and Consumables:
    2 Pipe Wrenches
    Ridgid 150 tubing cutter
    Pipe dope or tape
    Alternatively, you could contact a Hydronics professional, not a Plumber. Have you tried the Find a Contractor tool on this Site?
  • WMno57
    WMno57 Member Posts: 1,408
    edited January 2022
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    doctorman said:

    so 3 plumbers said just put a new EX60 instead of the current old system and that is it. but here I was told once I switch to bladder tank I will need and air eliminator installed with it. would you please shed some light on this for me.

    Correct. Bladder tanks must have an air eliminator in the correct spot in the system. Good luck having a plumber place the air eliminator in the correct spot. This is why you will need the services of a hydronics pro if you go with a bladder tank. There will also be more re-piping if you go with a bladder tank.
  • doctorman
    doctorman Member Posts: 117
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    WMno57 said:

    I have reviewed your pictures again including the new picture of the Airtrol. Any new Bladder or Bladderless tank will require cutting pipe and bleeding radiators.
    I myself would fix this with a new bladderless tank, black iron nipples, and a new valve. One Sharkbite to transition from black iron to copper. You can reduce the amount of bleeding by immediately plugging the cut pipe with a stopper of some type.

    Parts List (in order from tank to existing copper):
    1 Bladderless tank
    1 close nipple
    reuse Airtrol
    1 nipple
    1 valve
    1 male iron pipe to copper Sharkbite
    Tools and Consumables:
    2 Pipe Wrenches
    Ridgid 150 tubing cutter
    Pipe dope or tape
    Alternatively, you could contact a Hydronics professional, not a Plumber. Have you tried the Find a Contractor tool on this Site?
    Thank you so much!
    it is so hard to find a plumber to come in , a hydronic specialist is even harder.. well actually one offered to come in for 700$ and still he said he will just put a bladder tank in and no air eliminator..

    Question: 1) why do I have to bleed the whole system if I can just close the valve that feeds the tank and connects it to the system?

    2) if the system now is working okay with the placement of the airtool as is, why cant I just put a regular bladder tank with air eliminator on top of it in that same location?

    I went to local plumbing store that claimed to have the tank and it seems like they answered me wrong move the phone that they do.
    Sid Harvey probably has it but only sells to plumbers..
    ordering it online is not very cost efficient.

    so I am now more leaning toward a just close the valve, cut the airtool off, sharkbite connection to a bladder tank EX60 with air eliminator on top and just open up the valve after.
    unless there is something too problematic with this plan it sound most doable in the tight budget of this family.

  • doctorman
    doctorman Member Posts: 117
    edited January 2022
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    WMno57 said:


    Correct. Bladder tanks must have an air eliminator in the correct spot in the system.

    I am having a hard time understanding the physics behind it.
    If the system was working fine till now as is... expansion tank with air eliminator right on top of it as a T should give the same result

    Airvent should do in that case, not an air eliminator, right?
  • WMno57
    WMno57 Member Posts: 1,408
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    It is difficult to obtain a bladderless tank. They are uncommon.
    Plan B. (B for Bladder Tank) Remove Airtrol, put tee on end of existing copper. Bladder tank on bottom of tee, air separator on top of tee. Will it work????????? I DON'T KNOW. I'm an old DIYer who has learned from the school of hard knocks to work smarter, not harder. I would cut the close nipple between the tank and Airtrol with a hacksaw. Then unscrew the Airtrol. That way, no cutting and sweating copper, and no sharkbites.
    You will have to support the weight of the new tank with some type of hanger.
    Be honest with yourself. Do you have the tools and skills to do this? What is your time worth? How many trips will you make to the hardware store? A Hydronics Pro who guarantees their work is starting to sound like a better value. I'm not saying you can't do it, just trying to help you get the heat back on.
    Hopefully a real Pro will jump in here and comment on the air separator on top of the tee.
    doctorman
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,635
    edited January 2022
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    The difference is this: you have to keep air out of a bladder tank at all costs. The idea of the Airtrol is to divert air to the compression tank. Puting a bladder tank on an Airtrol is exactly backwards. The bladder tank will fill with air before you can say "oh dear" and you'll be stuck again.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • WMno57
    WMno57 Member Posts: 1,408
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    My limited understanding of air separators is they work best when placed in the hottest part of the system and exposed to full flow. In your system that would be where the supply comes out of the boiler. It won't be hot on top of the tee holding your new bladder tank, and there is little flow there. This is one reason why additional pipe work is required when changing an old system from bladderless to bladder.
    The line to the current bladderless tank comes from a red fitting right above the boiler. Is this a B&G air scoop?
    You will add fresh water to your system when you re-plumb and swap tanks. This fresh water will have dissolved air which will come out of solution when heated, and end up in the highest points of your system. Probably the baseboard.
    The green device in this picture might be a good location for an air separator. Maybe it is an air separator? Maybe it works? Could you post a close up picture of it?
  • PC7060
    PC7060 Member Posts: 1,238
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    WMno57 said:
    I also had a leaking bladderless tank. I bought a new bladderless tank here: http://qualitytanksinc.com/Expansion-Tanks.html No air separator, and I'm not pumping away. 1950 Thrush air scoop and tank on the supply, pump on the return. You should consider paying an oil pro to do a combustion analysis and maintenance.
    Have you looked at the site provided by @WMno57?
  • Daveinscranton
    Daveinscranton Member Posts: 148
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    My humble suggestion is to buy a bladder less tank and install it and be done with it.

    If you have to get by briefly, and I mean briefly, you can slather on your epoxy mix.  If it holds water, good.  I would apply rubber cement to the patched area and to a sheet of rubber.  When ready, put it together.  Maybe a car inner tube if that is all you have to make your patch.  And put a bit of 24 or 26 gauge steel sheet over it.  And tighten it down with some straps.  The more the better.  Should hold until you get a proper replacement.  And a warmer day.  Or at least slow it down until you get to it.  Soon.

    Best wishes 


    doctorman
  • doctorman
    doctorman Member Posts: 117
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    Thank you all for the help.

    Found a nice plumber at the end that came in next day , replaced the tank to EX-60 with a air vent on top. at the same location as the old tank.

    changed the oil filter myself. it was so easy and will be doing myself often. have to order the fuel pump strainer and replace that also , probably is dirty after 3 years or so.

    the fire in an oil furnace supposed to have the orange color or is it supposed to be blue like the gas furnace. I certainly need someone good with oil to check make sure the burner is burning well and no CO.
  • doctorman
    doctorman Member Posts: 117
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    WMno57 said:

    My limited understanding of air separators is they work best when placed in the hottest part of the system and exposed to full flow. In your system that would be where the supply comes out of the boiler. It won't be hot on top of the tee holding your new bladder tank, and there is little flow there. This is one reason why additional pipe work is required when changing an old system from bladderless to bladder.
    The line to the current bladderless tank comes from a red fitting right above the boiler. Is this a B&G air scoop?
    You will add fresh water to your system when you re-plumb and swap tanks. This fresh water will have dissolved air which will come out of solution when heated, and end up in the highest points of your system. Probably the baseboard.
    The green device in this picture might be a good location for an air separator. Maybe it is an air separator? Maybe it works? Could you post a close up picture of it?

    that green thing is Taco Flow check
    the whole under it looks like 1/8 or 1/4, otherwise would be a great place for the bladder tank.

    I don't see an air eliminator on this system, unless somewhere on the baseboards?




  • WMno57
    WMno57 Member Posts: 1,408
    edited January 2022
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    Glad to hear the heat is on. Thank you for posting the picture of the Flow Check. @mattmia2 was right.
    Combustion and flame color should probably be a new thread. Judging flame color is a guess at best. A skilled tech with a working combustion analyzer (their sensors only last a few years) is the only sure way to get it right.
    doctorman
  • doctorman
    doctorman Member Posts: 117
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    so got high pressure in the system now at above 30 with pressure relife valve leaking.
    closed the backup water input valve to rule out the pressure reducer feeder leak...
    lowered the pressure below 20psi while system was hot, came back next day and the system was again above 30psi
    Amtrol site recomended EX60 for this size boiler, unless you have cast iron baseboard...
    I am thinking the huge old cast iron water tank on the wall.. to the right of the picture needs its own calculation and probably needed the eX90 or add another EX-60

    am I missing something or it got to be the small exp tank?