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Adding Probe Type LWCO and Auto Feeder to 40 year old Boiler...Suggestions?

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AdmiralYoda
AdmiralYoda Member Posts: 629
I have a 40 year old Peerless boiler with a float style LWCO. The boiler is in fantastic shape and the LWCO is fully operational. I have to add a couple gallons per month max due to blowdowns to flush the LWCO.

I'd like to add an automatic water feeder but when the float style LWCO kicks in...the water is below the sight glass, but above the minimum water level line. I'd like the auto feeder to kick in more like when the site glass is at about 1/4 full.

I've heard you guys complain with great passion about some of them. Are there any you would recommend for a situation like this?

By the way I'll be keeping the float style LWCO installed just for a backup to shut the boiler down in case things go bad.

Comments

  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 5,704
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    I would never add an automatic water feeder, that's where I'm at.
    NJ Steam Homeowner. See my sight glass boiler videos: https://bit.ly/3sZW1el
    BirchLeaf
  • reggi
    reggi Member Posts: 512
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    I would think elevating the float lwco unitd height by the height it kicks on now to the height you want would work... might take some trial and error with the nipples but the waterline is the waterline and kicking in early means lifting it...AFAIK
    One way to get familiar something you know nothing about is to ask a really smart person a really stupid question
  • reggi
    reggi Member Posts: 512
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    Just another thought.. when you say that

    ".the water is below the sight glass, but above the minimum water level line. I'd like the auto feeder to kick in more like when the site glass is at about 1/4 full."

    are you in the process of flushing your lwco ?..  Reason being flushing is a fast release of water and with my own if I full throttle the  valve the water ( from the lwco.. not the drain on the back) will disappear from the sight glass and kick on the electric feeder because the sight glass gives the least resistance for the volume of of water in it vs the available air ( the sight glass is usually at the most 3/4 filled with water and rest is air)  than the boilers volume (Quanity ) of water /air so it just sucks that initial blast of air through the sight glass and the by the lwco trips off your below the sight glass.. with the electric feeder the water kicks in so that even if you go below the sight glass the water is already started feeding..

    Now it happens so quickly I don't recall ever trying to catch the split second it happens and I don't usually clear out the Lwco that way because it trips and the water starts feeding in..

    My boiler is a mid 60's Burnham 173k and it's had the electric feeder replaced once and the lwco is the 4th I believe..

    Others will have their opinions, that's fine..

    My opinion is based on a half century of experience.. and that's a Fact..

    One way to get familiar something you know nothing about is to ask a really smart person a really stupid question
  • Hap_Hazzard
    Hap_Hazzard Member Posts: 2,846
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    Where are you going to put the probe?
    Just another DIYer | King of Prussia, PA
    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S | 3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
  • AdmiralYoda
    AdmiralYoda Member Posts: 629
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    @reggi Moving the LWCO up might not be a bad idea. My memory deceived me so I had to go down and actually look at it. For some reason in my brain it was sounding more complicated that it actually will be.

    And to answer your other question, when I flush the LWCO it will shut the boiler down as water runs through it as the float gets pulled down. If I lower the water from the boiler drain it will shut down just after the site glass is empty.

    @Hap_Hazzard Same problem with reggi's question. I thought the knockouts for tapping's were lower than I thought. So in other words....there is no place to put the probe.

    That was easy! Here is a pic of what I'm working with.


  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,544
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    Hydrolevel makes a tee you can mount the probe at any height within reason, see attached.

    If you raise the #67 you would have to use two 1/2" brass crosses with a 1/2" brass close nipple in between


    https://d3501hjdis3g5w.cloudfront.net/images/products/zoom/foem-2-3.jpg
  • jhewings
    jhewings Member Posts: 139
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    There is an arrow on the side of the 67 which corresponds to the float height. Maybe you don't need to raise the 67.
  • clammy
    clammy Member Posts: 3,113
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    I believe on your older peerless there is not a tapping at the proper height for a probe type lwco . They where not in existence back then . At 40 years old it’s done it’s time and there’s not much that’s going to up the game . Instead of adding a probe type lwco why not do a bottom flush and water side cleaning of the boiler to remove mud which is definitely sitting on the bottom of the block .remove your sight glass and float lwco and clean , clean your burners and check your flue passes after that let her run until the block fails . Instead of adding a auto feeder why not improve your boiler water quality and add a califee de mineralizing filter to lower your tds to within boiler manafactures specs . That would be a good thing . On most older boilers as your which have been set up to bottom flush and wanding ,I have personally seen in some cases drastic improvement in steam quality and time to fill the mains w steam ,I chaulk it up to the bottom of each section being fill w mud and in a lot of cases where the water runs clear ,well after removing a plug or cap I end up flush out chocolate milk mud and water mix usually quite thick and after wards a quick skim and fill w de mineralized water and some surge master just for the o2 scavengers and corrosion inhibitors with seems to keep mud from accumulating and helps fight corrosion ,plus over time I noticed less mud build up on the steam side of the block but this just my experiences .but please remember none of this will ever improve a poorly mis piped boiler and a system which has not had any attention and has no pipe insulation ,these types of system never got to where they are by any one doing the right thing . Stick w the float and no water feeder . Simpler is always better and usually cheaper . Personally I be removed many a old oversized peerless and installed one 1/2 the size lowered fuel consumption and increased comfort and rid the system of any short cycling which was just a fact of life edr never lie Peace and good luck clammy
    R.A. Calmbacher L.L.C. HVAC
    NJ Master HVAC Lic.
    Mahwah, NJ
    Specializing in steam and hydronic heating
    reggiethicalpaulwmgeorge
  • AdmiralYoda
    AdmiralYoda Member Posts: 629
    edited March 2022
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    After reading through everyone's advice I've decided it isn't worth it. My LWCO is functional and I don't think the effort of raising it or adding a probe type LWCO with an auto-feeder is worth the effort or expense. All I would gain out of it is saving a trip to the basement to check on the boiler a couple times per week. Thank you all for the advice!

    @clammy My boiler is remarkably clean. The site glass stays clean and nothing to speak of when I drain the boiler. I do use about 6oz of Rectorseal 8-way and have good municipal water which I credit to this boilers longevity. For cleaning, flushing, brushing, wanding, etc I have very reputable company from Rhode Island :) come by every fall to make sure everything is in tip-top shape.

    Speaking of which they are coming by to give me an estimate for a near boiler re-pipe, replacing an elbow with a Tee on one main and adding an additional radiator. I'm both nervous and excited about that!
    reggiethicalpaul
  • Hap_Hazzard
    Hap_Hazzard Member Posts: 2,846
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    There is a tapping for a probe type LWCO. You can see the cutout for it just to the left of the LWCO switch. Troule is, it's about an inch lower than the lower gaugecock. It's meant for a secondary LWCO, which means it's at the minimum water level. It would provide an extra margin of safety if the primary fails.
    Just another DIYer | King of Prussia, PA
    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S | 3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
  • leonz
    leonz Member Posts: 1,138
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    I would ask your plumber for an estimate for a double drop header to have dry steam heat as long as you want to add a radiator, adding the double drop header will heat the radiators faster and keep the radiators hotter for a much longer period and give you dry steam.
  • AdmiralYoda
    AdmiralYoda Member Posts: 629
    edited March 2022
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    @leonz That is one of the main parts of having them come by. To install a drop header and equalizer. Right now I have two mains...one connected to each riser out of the boiler! One isn't so bad but the other has been messed with and the pipe is routed like spaghetti.

    I don't know how my system works as well as it does. Probably because the risers are about 3ft above the water line, maybe more.
  • clammy
    clammy Member Posts: 3,113
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    Not to be mean but to be truthful , I would not a touch a 40 year old boiler to repipe unlesss it was a repair and they would be for warned .Not one pipe will thread out unless cut and even though you state it clean you also stated that it is over sized . So why would you think a re pipe will change anything aside from improve the quality of steam, your still over sized and stuck w a 40 year old boiler and after piped correctly the short cycling will get no better it’s still oversized .. Do your self a real favor and get a new properly sized boiler w a new double riser w 3 inch drop header if need be . At 40 years old if it was mine I would not waste money on a repipe and personally at that old there wouldn’t be zero warranty on the block if it cracked while I’d assembling or afterwards or started to leak . All things aside I ve removed old six section peerless like yours installed a 63 03 and the customer was extremely happy ,lower his bills and no banging and even heat and is good now for 20 or 30 years possibly . As I was once told keep that old boiler going but I have a new car new drive way and a new wife plus no one will ever see the boiler and where moving and I like it cold . Just a am rant . Let’s put it this way sooner or later you will need to replace it and possibly by that time the cost to replace will be so costly that instead of replacement you just move and leave it to the next victim home owner. As a professional who knows where and when to do and when to drive away when it does not work ok you fix but to waste the time and money on something 40 years old seems quite frugal at best and as for the roi the boilers all ready for itself 2 or 3 times over mim . Peace and good luck clammy
    Ps listen to the guys who have feild experience who put food on there table and in the pocket by doing this day after day year after year not arm chair tinkering who has a steam system . When he works on his it’s not paying his bills he s just keeping his money in his pocket which is fine it his time and his money and his boiler but when doing for a living most people like to see results from the work performed not that it will require More money and work . It’s great that you do stuff your self but at some point you will be due for replacement and most of your new header which was wrong for 40 years and is now new will be thrash . Just speaking the truth as I see but to each his own . Peace
    R.A. Calmbacher L.L.C. HVAC
    NJ Master HVAC Lic.
    Mahwah, NJ
    Specializing in steam and hydronic heating
    ethicalpaul
  • AdmiralYoda
    AdmiralYoda Member Posts: 629
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    @clammy Thank you for the advice!  I'm on the road so I can't address everything but my thought process is that the Peerless will be replaced at some point.

    I figured if I plan to repipe it now, the new boiler will almost drop in place and will just need a couple new nipples to hook up to the drop header.  I could be way off on that.

    So the thinking was...it won't exactly make my boiler work any more amazing, but it may help and will be a big step towards a boiler replacement.   
  • reggi
    reggi Member Posts: 512
    edited March 2022
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    Sure @AdmiralYoda
    It's like you're driving around with a 454 Quadrajet and single exhaust family car 
    and now the kids are grown and you want
    to see what she's really got without tearing down the motor..You already know it's got a performance cam and pop up pistons from the factory and that posi traction was put in by mistake..
    Bolt up a pair of headers and mate up some high flow muffers find a nice Holley to sit there metering out the fuel and let that baby breathe like it's 1969 !
    Or maybe keep it as it is , replace it.. it's all where you are in life as it's still serving you so you don't have to do anything ( except that LWCO needs a cleaning out especially if you don't remember the last time it was removed and done).. You're in a great position..
    Just some more feedback to mull over or not..
    Enjoy

    Edit: Full disclosure - My boiler is a Mid 60's Burnham.. mated to a mid 20's Richardson Boynton system still running vacuum... FWIW
    One way to get familiar something you know nothing about is to ask a really smart person a really stupid question