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Reoccurring vent issue

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Hello all, i'm back. 

So here's a quick refresher, after new years my boiler was going through excessive amounts of water, called the tech he replaced the vents, it was worse.  then i repalced then again my self 3 more times and finally settled with varivalves and since then have been adding water every week or more then a week. 
 
i am here today because, i heard my radiator vents making a gurgling noise and saw some water droplets being let out. I'm not an expert, i'm trying to help my parents avoid spending unnecessary money. 

Boiler pictures are attached 

Other information, I have 4 quarters (2 on each side) sloping the radiator, this is what i was advised in a previous thread. i tend to hear this gurgling less when the sight glass is half full. I flush the boiler out every 2 weeks by removing a gallon and adding a new gallon. The pressuretrol is 3 years old (i'm aware a vapor stat is better but couldn't get ahold of one at that time.) The pig tail was cleaned using a straw and blowing through it, after some forceful blowing it cleared it out. Thankfully here in New York the heating season is just about over. 

Lastly the thermostat, i have a honeywell that looks like below: I mention the thermostat because it's set to fire on 4 times a day. Wake, Leave, Return, Sleep. I only notice this for return because i'm home everyday when the boiler clicks on for return at 3:47 pm, at 4:14 Pm the thermostat reaches its set temp BUT it doesn't shut off. the boiler continues to run until 4:30 and then shuts off. so i notice this at around 4:20 when it's at its temperature leading me to believe it's a pressure issue. 

Im lost, really lost 
«1

Comments

  • neilc
    neilc Member Posts: 2,703
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    post one more distant picture of the controls on the boiler, floor to ceiling,

    because we see that mercury bulb in the Ptrol,
    the loop of the pigtail should align with the Ptrol face, front to back,
    the loop could expand and contract on temperature changes, and throw the balance of the bulb off,
    Inside the Ptrol, along the back of the case, there is a little pendulum to set plumb, there's a mark on the case back to align to,

    what pressure do you see when the boiler is hot and running?
    see Ptrol above,

    the water in the sightglass looks murky,
    dirty water, high pressure, will throw wet steam up your system,
    try dumping that water and refiling with clear water,
    a couple times if it stays murky,

    does the water line bounce much when boiling?
    more than an inch, and or violently,
    see wet steam above, and murkey water also
    known to beat dead horses
  • Fmassarotto_9
    Fmassarotto_9 Member Posts: 111
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    neilc said:
    post one more distant picture of the controls on the boiler, floor to ceiling, because we see that mercury bulb in the Ptrol, the loop of the pigtail should align with the Ptrol face, front to back, the loop could expand and contract on temperature changes, and throw the balance of the bulb off, Inside the Ptrol, along the back of the case, there is a little pendulum to set plumb, there's a mark on the case back to align to, what pressure do you see when the boiler is hot and running? see Ptrol above, the water in the sightglass looks murky, dirty water, high pressure, will throw wet steam up your system, try dumping that water and refiling with clear water, a couple times if it stays murky, does the water line bounce much when boiling? more than an inch, and or violently, see wet steam above, and murkey water also

    Pictures are attached, Violent bouncing, less then an inch. The water is like that because it was just on not long ago, now the sediment settleled and it's clearer. pressure gets to just below the first line on the gauge and stays there

  • Fmassarotto_9
    Fmassarotto_9 Member Posts: 111
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    neilc said:
    post one more distant picture of the controls on the boiler, floor to ceiling, because we see that mercury bulb in the Ptrol, the loop of the pigtail should align with the Ptrol face, front to back, the loop could expand and contract on temperature changes, and throw the balance of the bulb off, Inside the Ptrol, along the back of the case, there is a little pendulum to set plumb, there's a mark on the case back to align to, what pressure do you see when the boiler is hot and running? see Ptrol above, the water in the sightglass looks murky, dirty water, high pressure, will throw wet steam up your system, try dumping that water and refiling with clear water, a couple times if it stays murky, does the water line bounce much when boiling? more than an inch, and or violently, see wet steam above, and murkey water also

    Pictures are attached, Violent bouncing, less then an inch. The water is like that because it was just on not long ago, now the sediment settleled and it's clearer. pressure gets to just below the first line on the gauge and stays there

    i forgot to mention, sometimes the pressuretrol will shut off the boiler and you'd hear a loud pop, the mercury travels to the brown side and cause a bang. then when the pressure decreases the mercury travels back to the green side and it falls again 


  • neilc
    neilc Member Posts: 2,703
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    2 more things,

    if you're not ddealing with losing and adding water,
    keep the sightglass at 1/2 full, nothing wrong with that,

    and looking again at the sightglass picture, it looks like wet, carryover, steam above the water line,
    what do you have for a skim port ?
    you're going to need to skim surface impurities from the boiler
    known to beat dead horses
  • Fmassarotto_9
    Fmassarotto_9 Member Posts: 111
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    neilc said:
    2 more things, if you're not ddealing with losing and adding water, keep the sightglass at 1/2 full, nothing wrong with that, and looking again at the sightglass picture, it looks like wet, carryover, steam above the water line, what do you have for a skim port ? you're going to need to skim surface impurities from the boiler

    ive never skimmed this boiler and have no idea what skimming is or how to skim. I moved here in 2007, based on my research this boiler is from 1980 or something around there. so i have no idea how to skim 

  • SteamingatMohawk
    SteamingatMohawk Member Posts: 1,007
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    How many radiators do you have and what is the setting on each Varivalve? There is no scale, just estimate between the minimum and maximum position (1/4, 1/2, 3/4 full is good enough to start.

    Are they at the top of the radiator on part way up?

    Varivalves cannot be shut off completely, the minimum setting is equal to about a #5 and full open is greater than a #1. The way vents are numbered is somewhat confusing. That can be explained later.

    From what I could see it looks like there is only 1 main. What and where are any main vents?
  • Fmassarotto_9
    Fmassarotto_9 Member Posts: 111
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    How many radiators do you have and what is the setting on each Varivalve? There is no scale, just estimate between the minimum and maximum position (1/4, 1/2, 3/4 full is good enough to start. Are they at the top of the radiator on part way up? Varivalves cannot be shut off completely, the minimum setting is equal to about a #5 and full open is greater than a #1. The way vents are numbered is somewhat confusing. That can be explained later. From what I could see it looks like there is only 1 main. What and where are any main vents?

    7 rads, 2 fully open, 1 almost closed completely, the rest a little less then 1/2 and more the  1/4. they are at the bottom, i don't think i have main vents, if i do idk where they are or where to check 

  • Fmassarotto_9
    Fmassarotto_9 Member Posts: 111
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    neilc said:
    2 more things, if you're not ddealing with losing and adding water, keep the sightglass at 1/2 full, nothing wrong with that, and looking again at the sightglass picture, it looks like wet, carryover, steam above the water line, what do you have for a skim port ? you're going to need to skim surface impurities from the boiler

    i forgot to ask, is the trol ok? does it need to be adjusted at all? you mentioned something above about something and just wanted to clarify 

  • SteamingatMohawk
    SteamingatMohawk Member Posts: 1,007
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    Please provide the model number of the boiler. From the pics, I can't see it, but I can see the heating capacity is 120,000BTU/hr. Also, what size is the piping exiting the boiler? If it is 2" pipe, the steam velocity is about 36 ft per second (fps). Modern boilers (according to Lost Art) are in the mid 20s and the recommended maximum is 25fps.

    If the header is 2-1/2" the velocity would be more like 25fps, but my guess is that the piping is 2".

    Higher velocities pull more water with the steam and if there really are no main vents, the radiator vents have to do the venting.

    The two fully open varivalves equal 1 Gorton #2 (these are used as a main vent). It would e helpful to know the distance from the boiler for each of the vents (nearer, farther away).









  • Fmassarotto_9
    Fmassarotto_9 Member Posts: 111
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    Please provide the model number of the boiler. From the pics, I can't see it, but I can see the heating capacity is 120,000BTU/hr. Also, what size is the piping exiting the boiler? If it is 2" pipe, the steam velocity is about 36 ft per second (fps). Modern boilers (according to Lost Art) are in the mid 20s and the recommended maximum is 25fps. If the header is 2-1/2" the velocity would be more like 25fps, but my guess is that the piping is 2". Higher velocities pull more water with the steam and if there really are no main vents, the radiator vents have to do the venting. The two fully open varivalves equal 1 Gorton #2 (these are used as a main vent). It would e helpful to know the distance from the boiler for each of the vents (nearer, farther away).

    model number is EG-40-p1
    -The vents that are fully open are on the second floor, 
    -the vent that is almost completely closed is a tiny tiny radiator that stand a about 1 and 1/2 feet above the floor
    -the one that's half open is in the living room where it's almost always cold
    -the vents thats are less then half but more then a 1/4 are directly above the boiler 
    -the piping is 2 inches 

  • SteamingatMohawk
    SteamingatMohawk Member Posts: 1,007
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    Thanks
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,544
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    @Fmassarotto_9

    Already asked above are you seeing pressure on the boiler pressure gauge? If so (and you should do this anyhow) lower the cut out setting on the pressure control to 1 1/5 lbs.

    Check "find a contractor on this site" and post your location. You using way to much water. You need to get someone in there to fix this up before next winter
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,670
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    I'd look at where the returns and drips connect and main ptch to make sure condensate is a able to get out of the mains and make sure the main venting is adequate and working so there isnt so much velocity at the radiator vents that it is carrying water with it. Do the valves that are at a half or less spit?
  • SteamingatMohawk
    SteamingatMohawk Member Posts: 1,007
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    Can you post a closeup of the boiler label? I'm not able to match the model number with what I thought is the heating capacity.
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,670
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    The main vents will be at the far end of the main(s) where the return connects and drops down to become the wet return.
  • neilc
    neilc Member Posts: 2,703
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    i forgot to ask, is the trol ok? does it need to be adjusted at all? you mentioned something above about something and just wanted to clarify

    "because we see that mercury bulb in the Ptrol,
    the loop of the pigtail should align with the Ptrol face, front to back,
    (the loop could expand and contract on temperature changes, and throw the balance of the bulb off),
    Inside the Ptrol, along the back of the case, there is a little pendulum to set plumb, there's a mark on the case back to align to,"

    I think I see the pendulum not aligned to the plumb mark in your last pictures,
    but, if you're only showing 1 psi on the gage, and the mercury bulb is swapping on and off, then you're not so terribly far off,

    some here say the 0-30 is not to be counted on when reading pressures,
    and adding a lower pressure gage, 0-3, 0-5, would give a better idea of what true pressures you're seeing there

    I am a little concerned that you're hearing a "loud" pop when the Ptrol bulb switches,
    is there a bright flash in the bulb also?
    the POP occuring with the mercury bulb swing(?),
    is it possible you're switching 120v, and not 24v, at the Ptrol?
    that should get checked, you should not have 120v on that light thermostat wire going to the Ptrol,


    Skimming, you can google that here on this site, or Utube,
    basically you fill the boiler slowly and flow water, and top layer skum, thru the skim port,
    your skim port is that square plug between the top of your sightglass, and the Ptrol port,
    get yourself a 6 or 8 inch nipple and cap, or splurge and add a ball valve and reuse the plug as a safety on the valve.
    that plug could be hard coming out, but you may catch a break as I see tape on it,

    post another picture of your header, from the other angle, side shot,
    It looks like it's smaller than the boiler riser, and that would be wrong,
    and show the equalizer end also, is it necking down prior to where it turns down to vertical?
    known to beat dead horses
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,324
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    My apologies. I haven't really ben following this one -- since the two problems mentioned in the initial post do not relate to the title.

    On the thermostat. This is a digital thermostat. It display will show the space temperature to the nearest half degree. That is, if the space temperature is anywhere between -- for example -- 69.5 and 70.5, it will read 70. Now consider what happens if it is set for 70, and it fires up to bring the temperature in the space up. As the temperature rises, it will get to 69.5 -- and the display will read 70. But the temperature isn't 70 yet, it's still just over 69.5 -- so the thermostat will continue calling for heat until the temperature really is 70, which may be some considerable time later. Could this be what is happening?

    The initial post also mentions adding water once a week or more often. Is this in addition to any water being used for a blowdown (there's no need for any blowdown at all on that boiler, except maybe once a year)? If so, you are adding too much water and there are leaks -- probably minor -- here and there. They might be vents not sealing tight -- but they might equally well be around valve stem packing or other places. You need to find them.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • Fmassarotto_9
    Fmassarotto_9 Member Posts: 111
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    @Fmassarotto_9 Already asked above are you seeing pressure on the boiler pressure gauge? If so (and you should do this anyhow) lower the cut out setting on the pressure control to 1 1/5 lbs. Check "find a contractor on this site" and post your location. You using way to much water. You need to get someone in there to fix this up before next winter

     very very little pressure, if i lower the cut out more, the boiler dies and won't restart when the tstat turns on, then i gota turn the screw and then it fires 

  • Fmassarotto_9
    Fmassarotto_9 Member Posts: 111
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    neilc said:
    i forgot to ask, is the trol ok? does it need to be adjusted at all? you mentioned something above about something and just wanted to clarify
    "because we see that mercury bulb in the Ptrol, the loop of the pigtail should align with the Ptrol face, front to back, (the loop could expand and contract on temperature changes, and throw the balance of the bulb off), Inside the Ptrol, along the back of the case, there is a little pendulum to set plumb, there's a mark on the case back to align to," I think I see the pendulum not aligned to the plumb mark in your last pictures, but, if you're only showing 1 psi on the gage, and the mercury bulb is swapping on and off, then you're not so terribly far off, some here say the 0-30 is not to be counted on when reading pressures, and adding a lower pressure gage, 0-3, 0-5, would give a better idea of what true pressures you're seeing there I am a little concerned that you're hearing a "loud" pop when the Ptrol bulb switches, is there a bright flash in the bulb also? the POP occuring with the mercury bulb swing(?), is it possible you're switching 120v, and not 24v, at the Ptrol? that should get checked, you should not have 120v on that light thermostat wire going to the Ptrol, Skimming, you can google that here on this site, or Utube, basically you fill the boiler slowly and flow water, and top layer skum, thru the skim port, your skim port is that square plug between the top of your sightglass, and the Ptrol port, get yourself a 6 or 8 inch nipple and cap, or splurge and add a ball valve and reuse the plug as a safety on the valve. that plug could be hard coming out, but you may catch a break as I see tape on it, post another picture of your header, from the other angle, side shot, It looks like it's smaller than the boiler riser, and that would be wrong, and show the equalizer end also, is it necking down prior to where it turns down to vertical?

    yes there is a small flash 

  • Fmassarotto_9
    Fmassarotto_9 Member Posts: 111
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    mattmia2 said:
    I'd look at where the returns and drips connect and main ptch to make sure condensate is a able to get out of the mains and make sure the main venting is adequate and working so there isnt so much velocity at the radiator vents that it is carrying water with it. Do the valves that are at a half or less spit? 

    yes the valves that are half or less also spit

  • Fmassarotto_9
    Fmassarotto_9 Member Posts: 111
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    My apologies. I haven't really ben following this one -- since the two problems mentioned in the initial post do not relate to the title. On the thermostat. This is a digital thermostat. It display will show the space temperature to the nearest half degree. That is, if the space temperature is anywhere between -- for example -- 69.5 and 70.5, it will read 70. Now consider what happens if it is set for 70, and it fires up to bring the temperature in the space up. As the temperature rises, it will get to 69.5 -- and the display will read 70. But the temperature isn't 70 yet, it's still just over 69.5 -- so the thermostat will continue calling for heat until the temperature really is 70, which may be some considerable time later. Could this be what is happening? The initial post also mentions adding water once a week or more often. Is this in addition to any water being used for a blowdown (there's no need for any blowdown at all on that boiler, except maybe once a year)? If so, you are adding too much water and there are leaks -- probably minor -- here and there. They might be vents not sealing tight -- but they might equally well be around valve stem packing or other places. You need to find them.

    im adding water about every 11 days. 

  • Fmassarotto_9
    Fmassarotto_9 Member Posts: 111
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    Can you post a closeup of the boiler label? I'm not able to match the model number with what I thought is the heating capacity.

    thats the best i can do 

  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,670
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    Looks like the model is FG-40-P1
  • Fmassarotto_9
    Fmassarotto_9 Member Posts: 111
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    mattmia2 said:
    Looks like the model is FG-40-P1

    Its EG

  • Fmassarotto_9
    Fmassarotto_9 Member Posts: 111
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    neilc said:
    i forgot to ask, is the trol ok? does it need to be adjusted at all? you mentioned something above about something and just wanted to clarify
    "because we see that mercury bulb in the Ptrol, the loop of the pigtail should align with the Ptrol face, front to back, (the loop could expand and contract on temperature changes, and throw the balance of the bulb off), Inside the Ptrol, along the back of the case, there is a little pendulum to set plumb, there's a mark on the case back to align to," I think I see the pendulum not aligned to the plumb mark in your last pictures, but, if you're only showing 1 psi on the gage, and the mercury bulb is swapping on and off, then you're not so terribly far off, some here say the 0-30 is not to be counted on when reading pressures, and adding a lower pressure gage, 0-3, 0-5, would give a better idea of what true pressures you're seeing there I am a little concerned that you're hearing a "loud" pop when the Ptrol bulb switches, is there a bright flash in the bulb also? the POP occuring with the mercury bulb swing(?), is it possible you're switching 120v, and not 24v, at the Ptrol? that should get checked, you should not have 120v on that light thermostat wire going to the Ptrol, Skimming, you can google that here on this site, or Utube, basically you fill the boiler slowly and flow water, and top layer skum, thru the skim port, your skim port is that square plug between the top of your sightglass, and the Ptrol port, get yourself a 6 or 8 inch nipple and cap, or splurge and add a ball valve and reuse the plug as a safety on the valve. that plug could be hard coming out, but you may catch a break as I see tape on it, post another picture of your header, from the other angle, side shot, It looks like it's smaller than the boiler riser, and that would be wrong, and show the equalizer end also, is it necking down prior to where it turns down to vertical?

    pop occurs when the switch swings, as well as the flash 

  • Fmassarotto_9
    Fmassarotto_9 Member Posts: 111
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    mattmia2 said:
    The main vents will be at the far end of the main(s) where the return connects and drops down to become the wet return.

    would you be able to mark up the appropriate image and attach it where it should be/where it is? i can't find it for the life of me 

  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,478
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    Pressuretrols and vaporstats with mercury bulbs have to be level when hot. Your pigtail should be oriented so you can't see through the loop when looking head on at the vaporstat/pressuretrol. Your pigtail is to close to the boiler so it may take some doing to get the pigtail orientation right.

    Bob
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • Fmassarotto_9
    Fmassarotto_9 Member Posts: 111
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    BobC said:
    Pressuretrols and vaporstats with mercury bulbs have to be level when hot. Your pigtail should be oriented so you can't see through the loop when looking head on at the vaporstat/pressuretrol. Your pigtail is to close to the boiler so it may take some doing to get the pigtail orientation right. Bob

    so what do i need to do? would doing what you mentioned help resolve the gurgling vents on the radiators right above the boiler? The rads on the second floor don't have this issue. Maybe the pressuretrol is the culprit

  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,324
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    The pressuretrol is not the solution to wither of the problems you mentioned. Pay attention to the problems.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    mattmia2
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,670
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    mattmia2 said:

    The main vents will be at the far end of the main(s) where the return connects and drops down to become the wet return.

    would you be able to mark up the appropriate image and attach it where it should be/where it is? i can't find it for the life of me 



    Find where this pipe goes. The vent should be in the general area where it connects up to the main. It may go below the floor and come back up somewhere.



    Is the smaller iron pipe in this pic gas?
    Https://us.v-cdn.net/5021738/uploads/editor/hb/zvzusaimkqnv.jpeg

    That insulation is probably aircell asbestos on the pipes.

    You really should get the lost art of steam heating or we've got steam heat.

  • Fmassarotto_9
    Fmassarotto_9 Member Posts: 111
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    mattmia2 said:
    mattmia2 said:
    The main vents will be at the far end of the main(s) where the return connects and drops down to become the wet return.

    would you be able to mark up the appropriate image and attach it where it should be/where it is? i can't find it for the life of me 

    Find where this pipe goes. The vent should be in the general area where it connects up to the main. It may go below the floor and come back up somewhere. Is the smaller iron pipe in this pic gas? Https://us.v-cdn.net/5021738/uploads/editor/hb/zvzusaimkqnv.jpeg That insulation is probably aircell asbestos on the pipes. You really should get the lost art of steam heating or we've got steam heat.

    well then there are no main vents, i followed that pipe all the way though and there's no venting anywhere. 

  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,670
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    Show us where it connects to the mains.
  • Fmassarotto_9
    Fmassarotto_9 Member Posts: 111
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    mattmia2 said:
    Show us where it connects to the mains.

    i am unaware if this was mentioned but  starting to think it's a condensate issue. i think the venting or something is off and when the steam hits the cold walls of the radiators it collapses. and then the steam comes and pushes the water through the vent. so i'm thinking it's a slope or maybe the vari vent isn't the best. since this radiator is DIRECTLY above the boiler i think that's the issue 

  • Fmassarotto_9
    Fmassarotto_9 Member Posts: 111
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    mattmia2 said:
    Show us where it connects to the mains.

    but the wet return might be clogged cusse im losing water. not a lot maybe a 1/4 teaspoon a day unless it's just being spit out by the rad

  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,670
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    A steam system isn't sealed like a modern hot water system. You will lose some water to evaporation.

    The return connects to the main up inside that bulkhead somewhere? The main vent should either be on the main or the dry return before it goes below the water line somewhere. Since it looks like some of that piping has been replaced maybe the fitting that had the vent was replaced without putting the venting back.
  • Fmassarotto_9
    Fmassarotto_9 Member Posts: 111
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    mattmia2 said:
    A steam system isn't sealed like a modern hot water system. You will lose some water to evaporation. The return connects to the main up inside that bulkhead somewhere? The main vent should either be on the main or the dry return before it goes below the water line somewhere. Since it looks like some of that piping has been replaced maybe the fitting that had the vent was replaced without putting the venting back.

    that's most likely the issue. i took off the the insulation and it's just a straight pipe no venting 

  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,670
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    I hope the insulation was fiberglass on that section, because most of what is in your pictures looks like asbestos.

    I think a main vent could be added in that corner where the dry return drops down to become a wet return.
  • Fmassarotto_9
    Fmassarotto_9 Member Posts: 111
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    mattmia2 said:
    I hope the insulation was fiberglass on that section, because most of what is in your pictures looks like asbestos. I think a main vent could be added in that corner where the dry return drops down to become a wet return. 

    is asbestos a bad thing? because it's al asbestos, it's a soft like pillow almost 

  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 5,704
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    Please don't do anything to disturb it. The dust will cause lung cancer after a delay of 40 years, google it
    NJ Steam Homeowner. See my sight glass boiler videos: https://bit.ly/3sZW1el
  • Fmassarotto_9
    Fmassarotto_9 Member Posts: 111
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    Please don't do anything to disturb it. The dust will cause lung cancer after a delay of 40 years, google it

    should i invest in having it removed and replaced? or just let it be