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Leaks in One-Pipe Steam System

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marbs711
marbs711 Member Posts: 4
edited October 2022 in THE MAIN WALL
Hello all,

Appreciate any advice that comes my way, thank you!

I moved into a house built in 1842. Had a new steam boiler replaced last year. The
copper around the boiler is brand new but the piping after that I believe is old black iron.

Recently found a bunch of rusty-color water in one corner of the basement. Ran the boiler today and discovered a pin-hole leak in one pipe, however, not a significant enough leak to the amount of water I discovered. I did notice the air valve (the upside down, half-liter of pop) did start to spray water. I have at least two air valves that probably need replacing as they are copper and very corroded. Could a faulty air valve spew several gallons of water onto a floor?

Thank you for the help!

Comments

  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,567
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    And on the pinhole leak. First, it's surprising how much water a pinhole can leak out in a day. Quite astonishing. Second, if there's one leak, there are more, or will be soon. The leaking section of pipe or fitting of both should be replaced.

    You mention copper around the boiler. Probably not good, but a picture or two to confirm suspicions?

    Also I'd be willing to bet your pressure settings are too high.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • random12345
    random12345 Member Posts: 469
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    I'm not a pro, but could you post some more pictures of the vents in question as well as the piping near the boiler? Not sure what you mean by copper piping near the boiler. There's a lot of rust in that picture. On new pipes, buying and installing main air vents is easy. Not sure if it will be in your case. Have you read this? It might be helpful.

    https://heatinghelp.com/assets/documents/Balancing-Steam-Systems-Using-a-Vent-Capacity-Chart-1.pdf



  • marbs711
    marbs711 Member Posts: 4
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    Good evening,

    Please see attached pictures. I ran the boiler and water started spewing out of the copper (now green) air valve. Is this something a guy with little handy man skills can replace.

  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,567
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    Oh my word. Well, in answer to the direct question, yes that is something which can be replaced. That's the main air vent.

    There's no point on wasting time or money on it, however.

    Do I see a section of rubber hose in that piping? `That has to go, for starters. The boiler doesn't seem to have finished being installed -- which is a good thing, as every single bit of that copper piping is wrong. Stam is very forgiving, but not that forgiving. You will never get anything like dry steam out of that.

    Get the boiler manual. Look at the installation diagram. Pipe it according to the diagram with threaded iron pipe.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    bburd
  • random12345
    random12345 Member Posts: 469
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    What is the boiler brand and model?
  • neilc
    neilc Member Posts: 2,712
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    that's never gonna work,
    not enough words,
    complete stop, sawzall, do over,
    hope you didn't pay anything or one,

    1st step,
    lose the contractor,
    next,
    find the manual and read the piping page(s)

    where are you located?
    known to beat dead horses
  • jhewings
    jhewings Member Posts: 139
    edited October 2022
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    The first picture looks like it was taken during installation. Can you post more pictures of the boiler as it is right now? From different angles standing back to show the boiler and the near boiler piping.

    EDIT: Ok nevermind. I agree with the posters above.
  • pedmec
    pedmec Member Posts: 994
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    WOW. I bet that boiler never got inspect. Any town inspector, although where i'm from they can't fail an inspection on the boiler piping, would obviously said something about the copper and piping arrangement. you should call the installer and ask him to fix what he did and follow the manufacturers spec's. And if they don't do it in cast iron and steel ask for your money back
  • 109A_5
    109A_5 Member Posts: 1,388
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    Hello @marbs711,

    If that rubber hose is actually heavy duty reinforced silicone rubber hose like what is found in almost every Heavy Truck and Transit Bus in the country I would worry about the Near Boiler Piping first.

    If you replace the Main Vent first you will probably ruin the new one.


    National - U.S. Gas Boiler 45+ Years Old
    Steam 300 SQ. FT. - EDR 347
    One Pipe System
  • marbs711
    marbs711 Member Posts: 4
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    Apologies, the boiler has already been installed by a contractor and the copper piping was connected to the existing pipes in the basement. @pedmec I would be interested to know your thoughts once you see them.

    It is a Dunkirk Boiler, model# PSB-70

    I will get some more pictures of the now installed boiler.

    I am located 30 min west of Batavia, near Churchville Chili in Western NY.

    My main concerns are three leaks, two older air valves and old insulation that probably contains asbestos.

    Again, apologies for any confusion and thanks for the help!
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,850
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    Is that piping finished? I can't see where that would get to correct piping even if it isn't finished, but if that is the finished piping, it leaves the water with no option but to leave the boiler as a liquid and spray out that vent.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,567
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    I'm waiting to see a picture of the finished piping, but I agree with @mattmia2 -- I can see no way, starting with what is in that picture, that you are going to get to a satisfactory job.

    Did anyone actually read the installation manual for that boiler?
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • pedmec
    pedmec Member Posts: 994
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    i think we are all in agreement that this boiler needs to be repiped. nothing worse than a new steam boiler installed incorrectly. the installer does not know steam or he would have ripped all the copper out.
    marbs711
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 4,916
    edited October 2022
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    Agreed with starting over now, what about the (appears to be) Asbestos that's still exposed and not encapsulated?
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,746
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    What people are trying to say here is the problem, from what we see is not the vent, it's the piping causing all that water to get to that point. The boiler piping, while creative, is completely wrong from what I see. The picture you posted is of the piping in progress, so hard to say how wrong it is now that it's done.

    For me, all the copper needs removed, and start over with the proper black pipe and proper routing of the pipes. After that, then you will be in a position to address the function of things. As said there is a real possibility of ruining a brand new vent if you replace it. Vents aren't exactly cheap, and unless you have a tiny system, you need more than what you showed.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
    marbs711
  • marbs711
    marbs711 Member Posts: 4
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    Please see photos attached of installed boiler and near boiler piping.
  • 109A_5
    109A_5 Member Posts: 1,388
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    Hello @marbs711,

    From a Dunkirk Boiler, model# PSB-7D manual. Found here.
    https://dunkirk.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/14683003-Dunkirk-PSB-IOM-REV-O.pdf
    Also a 'Drop Header' may be a good investment in this situation.


    National - U.S. Gas Boiler 45+ Years Old
    Steam 300 SQ. FT. - EDR 347
    One Pipe System
    marbs711
  • random12345
    random12345 Member Posts: 469
    edited October 2022
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    Misfortune is a fact of life. In my totally non-professional amateur heating enthusiast opinion, that's what this piping is. It's completely unsalvageable. The good news is now you know.

    First thing I would like to know...This boiler is enormous. It's rated for 571 sq ft. Did you calculate the EDR of your radiators prior to installation? The connected EDR must closely match the boiler rating, or you will have problems.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,567
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    I regret to say that that installation is a catastrophe. I will admit to ingenuity and creativity... but those aren't particularly helpful in boiler installation.

    You really have only one choice at this point to get satisfactory heat out of that boiler -- rip all the copper out (you can get good money for salvage) and start over again. Start by reading the installation manual. Follow up by using the recommended piping in threaded black iron. Yes, I know it says "recommended" -- what that means is that that diagram is the minimum which can be expected to function even moderately well. A larger header -- or better a drop header -- would be much better.

    Then maybe we can begin to worry about controlling it properly -- That is one big boiler, and it would be interesting to see how well it matches the rest of the system -- and trying to minimise wet steam. Which, of course, is what you came here about first...
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,850
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    marbs711