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Steam Boiler, Rust Around Low Water Probe

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BirchLeaf
BirchLeaf Member Posts: 56
edited March 2022 in Strictly Steam
Where the low water probe enters into the gas steam boiler, there is rust/corrosion around it and below it. Is there a way to remove and replace it? (Liquid Wrench?) The boiler has never leaked, even in the summer when it's full of water.
(I don't have a photo; I wish that I did.)

Comments

  • Hap_Hazzard
    Hap_Hazzard Member Posts: 2,846
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    Have you tried unscrewing it? It's made of brass, so it shouldn't be too hard. The only thing that might make it difficult would be if there's a thread sealant on the threads, and if that's the case, penetrating oil won't help because it can't penetrate the sealant.

    If the probe is working, you should wait until heating season is over before you mess with it, and you probably won't need to replace it. You can just clean it of and put it back. Don't use PTFE tape on the threads, but if you use a sealant with PTFE it should make it easier to remove it the next time. Oatey Great White is what I use.
    Just another DIYer | King of Prussia, PA
    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S | 3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
    BirchLeaf
  • BirchLeaf
    BirchLeaf Member Posts: 56
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    @Hap_Hazzard
    There's so much thick rust/corrosion around it, that it's hard to see it. There are two wires sticking out of it that aren't connected to anything. The low water shut off is lit, preventing the boiler from coming on. (There's plenty of water in the boiler.)
  • neilc
    neilc Member Posts: 2,703
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    BirchLeaf said:

    @Hap_Hazzard
    There's so much thick rust/corrosion around it, that it's hard to see it.

    well you know we want to see pictures of that,
    BirchLeaf said:

    @Hap_Hazzard
    There are two wires sticking out of it that aren't connected to anything. The low water shut off is lit, preventing the boiler from coming on

    and that's a picture we don't want!
    Your safety is disconnected ? this is serious.
    or are those "fill" wires to an auto fill?
    BirchLeaf said:

    @Hap_Hazzard
    preventing the boiler from coming on. (There's plenty of water in the boiler.)

    you sure about the water level?

    if boiler is off,
    sounds like probe may need cleaning now,
    maybe heavy corrosion has isolated probe ground (like tape would)

    pictures
    known to beat dead horses
    BirchLeaf
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,843
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    What model is your low-water cutoff?
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    Hap_HazzardBirchLeaf
  • BirchLeaf
    BirchLeaf Member Posts: 56
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    @Steamhead Safgard, aqua color.
    Please let me know if this steam boiler could have been fixed. Never leaked, even in summer when full of water.
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,843
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    I'd remove the probe first. My guess it wasn't tightened properly and that's why it leaked.

    Hydrolevel makes several probes for different types of boilers. What boiler do you have?
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    BirchLeaf
  • BirchLeaf
    BirchLeaf Member Posts: 56
    edited March 2022
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    @neilc (1) I didn't take pics. (I'll try to draw it and post). (2) Boiler did not have auto-fill. (3) Yes, plenty of water. Boiler was drained, flushed, cleaned at the end of December. (4) Boiler would not come on because low water cutoff was misreading water level.
  • BirchLeaf
    BirchLeaf Member Posts: 56
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    @Steamhead Heating guy wouldn't remove it because of all the rust and said afraid would crack boiler. Said I needed new steam boiler. 
    ethicalpaul
  • SteamingatMohawk
    SteamingatMohawk Member Posts: 1,007
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    What model Safgard? Do you have any information on it?

    Summarizing, lots of rust and corrosion around the probe, no auto feeder, wires not connected, LWCO activated so the boiler won't run.

    How long has this situation existed?

    We really need pics of the device, probe and wiring.
    BirchLeaf
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 4,861
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    BirchLeaf said:
    @Steamhead Heating guy wouldn't remove it because of all the rust and said afraid would crack boiler. Said I needed new steam boiler. 
    If it cracks the boiler that unit is already gone. 
  • BirchLeaf
    BirchLeaf Member Posts: 56
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    @pecmsg It didn't dawn on me to tell him to try. There would have been nothing to lose. 
  • BirchLeaf
    BirchLeaf Member Posts: 56
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    @SteamingatMohawk I know. I was going to get pics, but my phone died. (It was like a nightmare.) I'll post drawing soon.
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,062
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    Do you know anyone who could take pictures of everything around your boiler?
    Floor to ceiling showing all pipes from all sides.
    They are easy to post here from a camera phone.
    BirchLeaf
  • BirchLeaf
    BirchLeaf Member Posts: 56
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    @JUGHNE The boiler is gone. Heating guy said couldn't replace low water probe, that I needed a new boiler.
  • BirchLeaf
    BirchLeaf Member Posts: 56
    edited March 2022
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    @SteamingatMohawk, @neilc Drawing of steam boiler (Dunkirk Radiator Corp). This is what I saw when he took off the front door.
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 4,861
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    BirchLeaf said:
    @JUGHNE The boiler is gone. Heating guy said couldn't replace low water probe, that I needed a new boiler.
    I would get a second opinion!

    screw on fittings can be removed! Sometimes not easy but it can be done. 

    I’ve pulled 2 and 3” plugs that took a lot of pounding to break free and haven’t broken the boiler!
    BirchLeafmattmia2ethicalpaul
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,843
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    BirchLeaf said:

    @JUGHNE The boiler is gone. Heating guy said couldn't replace low water probe, that I needed a new boiler.

    Gone, as in, left the building?
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    BirchLeafmattmia2
  • BirchLeaf
    BirchLeaf Member Posts: 56
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    @pecmsg I wish I had gotten a second opinion. I believed him (yet something seemed off). It was during frigid weather (beginning of Feb.)
  • BirchLeaf
    BirchLeaf Member Posts: 56
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    @Steamhead Yes, the heating guy removed it and installed a new (grossly over-sized) steam boiler.
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,670
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    unless the boiler was rotted out the probe could be removed and replaced by someone that knows what they are doing. Could also probably install a new one at another location.
    BirchLeaf
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 4,861
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    BirchLeaf said:
    @Steamhead Yes, the heating guy removed it and installed a new (grossly over-sized) steam boiler.
    Based on what you’ve said, Sorry to say You got screwed!
    ethicalpaulBirchLeaf
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,062
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    The horses have left the barn....so we have to work with what it there now.

    The pictures of the new install would help.
    BirchLeaf
  • SteamingatMohawk
    SteamingatMohawk Member Posts: 1,007
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    OK, so let's start back at the beginning with reality. You have a new boiler. What are your issues?

    BirchLeafethicalpaul
  • Hap_Hazzard
    Hap_Hazzard Member Posts: 2,846
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    BirchLeaf said:

    @SteamingatMohawk, @neilc Drawing of steam boiler (Dunkirk Radiator Corp). This is what I saw when he took off the front door.

    Based on location, that looks more like a rollout switch than a low water probe. The low water probe is inside the Safgard. I really need to see a photo. Where are you located?
    Just another DIYer | King of Prussia, PA
    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S | 3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
    BirchLeaf
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,062
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    IIRC, those side outlet boilers had the remote probe in the front upper right hand part of the boiler. As shown on the drawing.

    Not real easy to unscrew, one reason they are probably neglected.
    Hap_HazzardBirchLeaf
  • BirchLeaf
    BirchLeaf Member Posts: 56
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    OK, so let's start back at the beginning with reality. You have a new boiler. What are your issues?

    The steam boiler he installed is grossly over-sized.
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,062
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    We need to see what he installed.....pictures as requested above.
    You must have someone around who can put them here.

    And what problems are you having with the new boiler?

    Without seeing what it looks like we can not help much at all.
    BirchLeaf
  • BirchLeaf
    BirchLeaf Member Posts: 56
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    @JUGHNE The boiler is grossly over-sized for my home. The house is like an oven; the radiators are dangerously hot (150 F). I'm sending a letter to him to try to work something out (i.e., remove it and refund some of my money). If he doesn't respond, I'll have to file a complaint with the BBB. (FYI - He's an A+ BBB accredited company, which I know means absolutely nothing.)
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,062
    edited March 2022
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    Most steam systems can turn a house into an oven if not controlled correctly.
    Did you get a new thermostat with this?
    If you turn it down does the unit stop heating?

    Radiators can and should get to 200 degrees, the steam inside is at least 212 degrees.

    Do you have a pressure gauge? What do you see when the boiler has been running for maybe 15 minutes?
    mattmia2BirchLeaf
  • BirchLeaf
    BirchLeaf Member Posts: 56
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    @JUGHNE This new boiler, 321 sf of steam. EDR of home, 204 sf. They did not measure the radiators. (1) No, did not get new thermostat. (2) Yes, when I turn thermostat down, the unit stops heating. (3) (I grew up with steam radiators.) Bought this house 30 years ago. Surface temps of the radiators have never been like this. If a toddler leaned into one of these radiators, they'd be seriously burned. (4) I don't understand the last paragraph about pressure gauge.
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,739
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    The oversizing has absolutely nothing to do with the radiator temperature.  Steam is ~212 degrees, only variation is due to pressure, more pressure, higher temperature.  In the case of residential steam you are talking a degree or two of variation, maybe.

    If that system was always steam, those radiators always got that hot, it’s a fact because the steam is still the same temperature.

    If you want to go after the contractor for the sizing then do that, but trying to say the radiators are hotter is not helping your cause.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
    JUGHNEethicalpaulChrisJ
  • BirchLeaf
    BirchLeaf Member Posts: 56
    edited March 2022
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    @KC_Jones Ok, then I won't bring up the hotter radiators. (They never got that hot; maybe if 0 degrees out.) Heating guy lowered pressure from 3.5 to 2. Still too hot; if I slow the radiator air vent, water drips from radiator valve. He said he'd remove one tube/burner and then he's done, he's not dealing with it anymore. (I haven't called them much.) Do you have any suggestions on what I should do?
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,739
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    If the only thing they are saying is remove a burner tube and then they are done, it sounds like you are stuck to be honest.

    I can’t believe a “professional” is recommending that. It will most likely void the warranty and I’m certain the manufacturer doesn’t approve.

    Unless you want to go the legal route, it sounds like you are dealing with a contractor that doesn’t know what they are doing, and isn’t willing to learn, therefore they won’t acknowledge any wrong doing.

    As mentioned before if it’s installed incorrectly that would give you more ground to complain on, but since you won’t post pictures for us to assess the install we can’t help with that aspect at all.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,706
    edited March 2022
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    I think the OP is misinterpreting what is going on.

    The heated areas of the radiators always got that hot but it sounds like they were so much slower that only a few sections normally got steam and then the heat spread to the rest so overall they seemed much cooler.

    On normal days many of mine only technically heat 3-4 sections out of many but the entire radiator feels warm

    But yeah I wouldn't mention that.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
    BirchLeaf
  • BirchLeaf
    BirchLeaf Member Posts: 56
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    @KC_Jones He assured me it would not void warranty (I knew he was lying). When I told him sq. ft. of my home, he looked up estimate of boiler size on his phone (I also mentioned warranty void if not properly sized), he jumped up from his chair and said, "I'm done with this. I'll have my lawyer call you," and abrubtly left.

    I don't want to deal with lawyers. What about filing a complaint with BBB? Do you think that would be a good idea?

    I'll post pics soon.
  • BirchLeaf
    BirchLeaf Member Posts: 56
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    @ChrisJ Yes! That's exactly right. Thank you!
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 5,704
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    You can’t size a boiler using the sq ft of the home, app or no
    NJ Steam Homeowner. See my sight glass boiler videos: https://bit.ly/3sZW1el
  • Hap_Hazzard
    Hap_Hazzard Member Posts: 2,846
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    Is this a SteamMax STMX125? That's the only 321 ft² boiler I know of. If it is, it can't be downfired by removing a burner tube. The 125 has the same number of sections as the 150, so it could be upfired, but the next smallest SteamMax has one less section. Just removing a burner tube without modifying the burner tray can reduce the efficiency and life of the boiler.
    Just another DIYer | King of Prussia, PA
    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S | 3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
    BirchLeaf
  • BirchLeaf
    BirchLeaf Member Posts: 56
    edited March 2022
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    @Hap_Hazzard It's Williamson GSA-125 steam boiler. (I wrote 321 by mistake. It's 325 sq. ft.)
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,706
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    BirchLeaf said:

    @Hap_Hazzard It's Williamson GSA-125 steam boiler. (I wrote 321 by mistake. It's 325 sq. ft.)


    If I'm remembering correctly, that's the same as a WM EG-40.
    That's what I have now, but I started with an EG-45 which is the same boiler but with an extra burner tube and a different drafthood.

    The bad news is, you can't go smaller, you need to drop down to the next smaller size boiler.

    Personally, I wouldn't want them removing a burner tube. I'm curious to see pictures of how they piped the boiler. Right now, expectations are very low.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
    Hap_HazzardBirchLeafmattmia2pecmsg