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Natural gas boiler system with an interrupted water supply

My well pump died some time yesterday. I have a baseboard heat, natural gas powered boiler system. How imminent is the issue of a "low water" problem if I am unable to repair or replace the pump immediately? Does the water recycle within the heating system, or is it vital that there is a constant incoming supply? My furnace is new, installed in early December 2018, and there are indicator lights that will indicate if there is a low water issue. At this point, the furnace is working fine, and no warning lights have been activated. The pump went out sometime in the last 20 hours. I left home at 8 in the morning, and everything was fine with the pump. I didn't discover the problem until after midnight when I came home. I live in northeast Michigan, and the temps have been in the single-digits and lower teens, so even though I keep the thermostat between 63-63 degrees, it's running pretty steady.


  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,631
    edited January 2022
    Check the pressure on the boiler. As long as it stays above around 10 psi or so it should be fine. You only need added water if the system has a leak.

    I assume this is hot water and not steam from the baseboards.
  • Cindylynn
    Cindylynn Member Posts: 4
    Thanks for replying. Correct, on the hot water system. I wasn't sure which category to post this in. So, the water, for the most part, recycles within the system? With this being the weekend, and having everything in this area closed on weekends, it will be an "emergency after-hours" call with finding someone to even assess the well pump situation. Then it dawned on me that the heating system needed water to work too. Money is a big issue, and it kind of freaked me out that it could present additional problems. I had to replace my water heater that same spring, 2018, and that well pump was put in that summer. Still paying on the loan from the furnace.
  • Cindylynn
    Cindylynn Member Posts: 4
    Just checked the pressure on the boiler. It is at 0 psi. The Low Water warning light is not on.
  • ratio
    ratio Member Posts: 3,624
    Doesn't look good. The system is supposed to hold pressure but if the gauge is correct it's not. Did the gauge show anything before? It's still possible that the gauge is bad.
    HVACNUT Member Posts: 5,829
    Cindylynn said:
    Just checked the pressure on the boiler. It is at 0 psi. The Low Water warning light is not on.
    Are you sure it wasn't reading 0 before the pump failed?

    With the system being installed in 2018 it should definitely have a Back Flow Preventer so unless there's a leak somewhere, it might be a faulty gauge. Any heat pipes in a slab or anywhere it could leak without evidence?
    I wouldn't worry unless you lose heat.
    Check the gauge once the well pump is repaired. 

    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,517

    If you can find the make up water for the boiler I would shut that off. There will be a shut off valve a backflow preventer and a pressure reducing valve mounted on the same pipe. This will ensure water cannot leave the system.

    Also if you have a gas or electric hot water heater I would shut the gas or electrical power off to that as well.

    If you do have a hot water tank that water could be used to replenish the boiler if someone had a pump and some hoses
  • neilc
    neilc Member Posts: 2,703
    any pictures ?
    one good shot of the boiler showing all the pipes around it,
    known to beat dead horses
  • Cindylynn
    Cindylynn Member Posts: 4
    Thanks all. Problem is solved. My pump is in a room under an outside concrete stairwell surrounded by concrete blocks, on a concrete floor...cold and damp. I hadn't noticed it, but something was blocking the heat source that I had for the area. It wasn't an obvious situation, so I missed it in the beginning. Then something on the pump froze and prevented it from running. Once it thawed, everything straightened out. I also discovered that the gauge measuring the psi that I looked at actually measures the pressure of the water coming from the pump to the furnace. So that was, naturally, with the pump not working, zero. Multiple lessons learned. Thanks again.
  • ratio
    ratio Member Posts: 3,624
    Thanks for the follow-up, glad it was easily resolved.