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Steam Boiler Water Fill Valve

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Is there such a thing as a Steam Boiler Water Fill Valve?

The reason I ask is that so far we have been unable to occupy our old (1938) house in Meeker, Colorado, regularly. We had to return to St. Elmo, Colorado last spring to run our bed & breakfast there and didn't get back to Meeker until early January. We're trying to remodel the Meeker house so that when old age and old man winter kick us off the mountain (10,000 feet) we'll have Plan B all lined up.

But when we did get back to Meeker the house was froze up! Fortunately I'd turned off the water in the basement so the place wasn't flooded but there we were, tearing brand new sheet rock off the walls to fix burst pipes because that pesky boiler had gone off on low water.

So how does that work? In the old days a "Stationary Engineer" stood watch over such things. That was then and this is now, and he's long gone.

I assume that if there is such a thing as a feed valve for a steam boiler it would have to be shaking hands with the low water cut-off or something. I need your input.

Chuck

Comments

  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,061
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    Pictures of the LWCO and your boiler piping?
    delcrossv
  • delcrossv
    delcrossv Member Posts: 742
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    Steam systems do require make-up water. If you're not in the house in Meeker to keep an eye on it, you should consider an automatic feeder like a Hydrolevel VXT. See JUGNHE's post above, pictures will help.
    Trying to squeeze the best out of a Weil-McLain JB-5 running a 1912 1 pipe system.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,303
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    As @delcrossv said, there certainly are such things as automatic feeders, and I would highly recommend the Hydrolevel VXT. It connects to whatever low water cutoff you have and, if all is working as it should, uses that to sense when the water is low and add water. It even tells you how often it has had to add water -- which is very useful information. It is not at all difficult to add -- and for a place which is unoccupied and unattended, I would regard it as mandatory.

    I have no wish to be difficult, however may I also recommend that you find someone reliable and local -- it shouldn't be all that hard -- to come and check on the property from time to time? Not, perhaps, daily -- although in cold weather we do, for the properties we care for -- but often enough to see that all is well? And local enough to be able to do something about it if there are problems?
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    delcrossv
  • JeffM
    JeffM Member Posts: 182
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    In addition to the auto-fill, you may also want to consider some type of monitoring. My parents have a second house that is often unoccupied in Maine for a month or two, and for similar reasons they have a system that monitors boiler room temp. They check that regularly, and if it drops to an unusual temp either drive there or call a neighbor to check in.
  • SteamingatMohawk
    SteamingatMohawk Member Posts: 1,007
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    Sorry to disagree @Jamie Hall , but the VXT display is gallons of makeup, not the number of times it filled, except in the case that 1 gallon makeup is selected. There are settings for different amounts of makeup.

    It is not a precise measure because it operates on time, not like a water meter. As far as I can determine, it does not take into account different supply pressures. But that's no big deal.

    If the house has wifi, consider a camera, then you can monitor water level, pressure, anything the camera can see.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,303
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    I agree it's supposed to be gallons, @SteamingatMohawk . I'm not convinced... but at least it gives you an idea of what is being fed, and I doubt that it's that far off.

    A wi-fi camera is not a bad idea -- you can monitor things that way. Whether it is an acceptable substitute for boots on the ground I have my doubts. It won't work if the power is out or the internet in the area is down, unless it's hooked up to a 4G or 5G 'phone and that's working -- which it may not be. And perhaps more to the point, it may be a little hard to get hold of someone who is not on retainer, as it were, at oh dark hundred on New Yesr's Day morning in a blizzard with the power out... but that's just me.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England