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Leaking valve

Ozmat
Ozmat Member Posts: 15
This valve appears to be one of three low point drains for the boiler. It has a drip about once a minute. The bottom of the valve is open and you can see the valve opening and closing up inside, however, no water will come out. The valve also has pipe thread on the bottom of it. I would like to know if I should try to fix the valve to be operational or screw a plug in the bottom of it and forget about it. I am not sure if this is some sort of safety device or just a drain valve. Thanks.

Comments

  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 19,426
    Whatever you do with, don't leave it open. Someday the gunk inside which is keeping it from flowing will get tired, if you do, and give way and drain your boiler for you very quickly. Probably at oh dark hundred Christmas morning in a blizzrd.

    What you do is if you can poke through it when it's open, do so. You may be able to dislodge the gunk enough so it will flush out -- which is what the valve is for. Let it run until it's at least vaguely clear, and then close the valve and refill the boiler. If it still drips, put a cap on it.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • Ozmat
    Ozmat Member Posts: 15
    Thanks. I guess then the only function for this valve is to drain the system? I was thinking about draining the system removing the valve and rebuilding it. However, it’s not really that broke so I should probably not fix it. I would like to know that the pipe it is connected to is open and not clogged. Thoughts.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 19,426
    I doubt very much that the problem is a broken valve. Much more likely that the pipe going to it is clogged with gunk. If you can't poke through the valve when it's open with a wire, you're going to have to take the valve off to open up the pipe. Drain the boiler somewhere else, though, so that when the gunk does give way you don't get swamped.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 5,999
    Does the handle stop at an open and closed position? That looks like a gate valve, it isn't uncommon for the screw inside to break off and the handle spin freely without moving the gate.
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 9,908
    If that valve is plugged then there is a chance that the pipe is partially plugged.

    I would drain the boiler then poke up to open the valve port.

    I would have a plug standing by just in case.

    Is this steam or hot water?
  • Ozmat
    Ozmat Member Posts: 15
    Using a mirror I can look up inside the valve and see it split apart as I turn the valve counter clockwise. A few drips will come out. There seems to be a lot of blue corrosion inside.

    This is a steam system
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 9,908
    Have you ever drained and flushed the bottom of the boiler?

    IIWM, I would open all the drains possible.
    Then unplug the dripping valve.

    Then replace that valve with a full port ball valve with hose adaptor & cap.

    If your other drains are OEM they are probably too small to pass out much sludge.
    I usually replace them with ball valves also.

    If you have sludge in the bottom of the boiler and wet return piping, you are trying to heat the water thru the sludge.
    Also if the return piping is partially plugged you may have slow returning condensate water.
    Activating an auto feeder if you have one and overfilling the boiler.

    Have you ever cleaned the pigtail loop under the pressure control?
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 3,641
    edited September 15
    Be very careful... that insulation around the elbow is most likely Asbestos. Is this in a public building? Is this your residence?

    On a steam boiler, that has not had annual flushing of the wet returns and the boiler mud legs, there is probably a large amount of sludge in there and that should be addressed. This might turn into a major project so you want to get to it before the end of the bikini watching season. :p That ends in October where I'm from, Late August for other areas. Where are you located?
    Edward Young
    Retired HVAC Contractor from So. Jersey.
    Services first oil burner at age 16
    P/T trainer for EH-CC.org

  • Ozmat
    Ozmat Member Posts: 15
    This is in my house. I have drained the boiler at the low point on the boiler itself and about a quarter cup of brown water came out then the rest of the water was clear. I also opened the wet return low point drain and it ran clear. I have decided to remove the valve in question and have instructed my wife to possibly dress really warm in the coming months.

    I am in North Carolina. No one within 100 miles works on boilers, which is why I am doing this myself.

    The system works well, the house heats up fairly quickly I just want all the components to work properly as it will only deteriorate if nothing gets fixed.

    Which leads me to the next question. I need to re-insulate the inside of the boiler. What is the preferred method to do this. It appears to be fiberglass insulation attached with a glue. Suggestion’s?
    EdTheHeaterMan
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 3,641
    edited September 16
    Regular pink or yellow fiberglass is just fine. I used Duct Wrap because it comes in 1-1/2" thickness and I could keep about a 4'x4' sheet tightly folded up in a plastic trash bag on my service truck for little repair jobs. But if you have some attic insulation rolls laying around from a former project, then by all means use that. Fiberglass is fiberglass.

    Since you have drained the wet return and the boiler successfully, then removing that old blocked valve will not make a big flood. But it may make some mess. That is why God invented the mop and bucket. Thru the great inventors George MOPP and Harvey BUCKETT

    Now adding the replacement valve with a full port ball valve and a hose x pipe thread adaptor will make servicing next year easier. Good luck with your project. The LOL above was for your instructions to your beloved wife.

    I'm in Charleston SC. and travel to NJ from time to time. What part of NC are you located?

    EDIT. I noticed the flue covers are missing in your picture. I'm assuming that you removed then for inspection and are going to put them back on. If you don"t know what I'm talking about... then we need to talk!!! before you light that burner for the winter.

    I use this to seal the flue covers. https://www.homedepot.com/p/DAP-10-1-oz-Black-High-Heat-Mortar-Sealant-12-Pack-7079818854/205030320 I used it by the case, You only need one tube.
    Edward Young
    Retired HVAC Contractor from So. Jersey.
    Services first oil burner at age 16
    P/T trainer for EH-CC.org

  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 3,641
    edited September 16
    In the process of researching the inventor of the mop and bucket, I actually found that Thomas W. Stewart, an African American inventor from Kalamazoo, Michigan, patented a new type of mop (U.S. patent #499,402) on June 11, 1893. Thanks to his invention of a clamping device that could wring water out of the mop by using a lever, floor cleaning was not nearly the chore it once was.

    I know that @109A_5 and @ChrisJ might come across the above post, I want to be as accurate as I can. Even though the inventors names above were intended to be a lame attempt at humor, Accuracy is important.

    The open top container to transport water was in use before recorded history so I can't be absolutely sure of the inventors name. It may have actually been Harvey, from the Greek HARVITICUS meaning inventor of harvesting stuff and the Latin BUCKUTUM meaning, to carry water in an open top container... or a loose translation of that name. But I can't be sure!
    Edward Young
    Retired HVAC Contractor from So. Jersey.
    Services first oil burner at age 16
    P/T trainer for EH-CC.org

  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 5,999
    Note that there are likely some asbestos gaskets and furnace cements and maybe insulating materials involved in putting the pieces of that boiler together.
  • Ozmat
    Ozmat Member Posts: 15
    Thanks for the info. I only removed the front, top and back covering. Everything inside the boiler is the way it is. This room is really hot when it is running which is why I want to re-insulate the unit. I am not sure about a flue cover. There is a cover cemented in place at an angle going to the exhaust duct. Any idea the age of the system? The house was built in 1929, has a two pipe steam system the was originally coal. Not sure when this was put in. I live in Charlotte.