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Symptoms of a Clogged Wet Steam Return

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Rem77
Rem77 Member Posts: 25
Hi,

I have a question for any of the experienced Steam Professionals. I have a 9 family 100 year old building. We have been making improvements on the heating system for the last 3 years. New boiler with old piping. Can anyone tell me what the symptoms of a clogged wet return would be? I keep adding 2 to 3 inches of water to the sight glass and within 3 days it is right back down to the lowest possible spot in the sight glass. Also on very cold days when the heat would be running cycles all day, the water in the wet return close to the boiler is always cold. we use a Heat-Timer Clock to control the system. Any advice is appreciated.

Thanks,
Bob :)

Comments

  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,544
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    If your adding new water all the time you have a leak. It could be a water leak. It could be a steam leak.

    Since the boiler is new I am assuming it's not the boiler.

    The first place to look is to see if you have any wet returns under the basement floor. If you do they are likely leaking. Plugged returns slow the water return to the boiler but you would have horrific banging if it was 100% plugged. Need to find and fix all the leaks

    You need to have this fixed because all the new water will damage the new boiler. Bring in new water brings in oxygen which will rot the boiler
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,326
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    To add to @EBEBRATT-Ed 's excellent comment, the symptom of a partly clogged wet return is that the water level will drop -- sometimes enough for the autofeeder to kick in, or the boiler shut off -- but will then come back up slowly to where it started. A completely clogged wet return would be exceedingly rare -- but as he says would bang like crazy if it heated at all.

    You have a leak.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • Rem77
    Rem77 Member Posts: 25
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    I am more banking on a partially clogged wet return. i have gone crazy trying to find any leaks with no success. The tenants are getting heat but I can tell by the main vents that it is not the same as it was.
    All returns are above the floor and none are leaking. If there were risers or supply pipes leaking, I think That I would get complaints or see water leaking somewhere. A friend recommended to add a inexpensive water meter on the feed line to monitor fresh water.
    Thanks for the feedback.

    Bob
  • Rem77
    Rem77 Member Posts: 25
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    Hi,

    Should the water in the wet return be hot? after running cycles all day?

    Thanks,
    Bob
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,544
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    It shouldn't be cold probably between 110-150 while heating in cold weather