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OLD NRC BOILER

BRR
BRR Member Posts: 24
HELP PLEEEZE. LIVE IN CHICAGO. BOILER FINE LAST YR. THIS YR, BOILER RUNS, IS LIT, RESPONDS TO THERMASTAT. PUMP, PUMPING, CONFIRMED ITS GOOD. EXPANSION TANK NOT LEAKING, ONLY AIR. PRESSURE GOOD AT 12. NOTHING GETTING TO RADS. HELP!
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Comments

  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 10,294
    Pictures at boiler, back up to show all floor to ceiling.

    What pressure is showing on the boiler?
  • BRR
    BRR Member Posts: 24
    HELLO, THANK YOU, PRESSURE WAS 12. WILL DO PICS ASAP. BUT CAN TELL YOU CEILING TANK IS EMPTY AND NOT CONNECTED. BE BACK SHORTLY WITH PICS. THANK YOU, PLEASE DON'T GO AWAY.

    BRR
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 10,294
    All CAPS are not EASY on the EYES. B)
    mattmia2SuperTechreggi
  • BRR
    BRR Member Posts: 24
    APOLOGY FOR DELAY, NOT WORKING FROM MY PHONE, TRYING TO GET FRIEND TO FORWARD.
  • BRR
    BRR Member Posts: 24
    IT IS AN EXACT MATCH TO "OLD NRC BOILER SUDDENLY LEAKING.."
    BRR
  • BRR
    BRR Member Posts: 24
    APOLOGY, CHEAP PHONE, FORWARDED TO FRIEND TO FORWARD TO MY EMAIL, SO I CAN FORWARD TO YOU. CAN'T ASK YOU TO STAND BY ANY LONGER, THANK YOU. WILL SEND AS SOON AS I HEAR BACK FROM FRIEND. BRR
  • BRR
    BRR Member Posts: 24
    BUT SEEMS LIKE IT WON'T OPEN.

    BRR
  • BRR
    BRR Member Posts: 24
    How to bleed old NRC boiler.

    BRR
  • BRR
    BRR Member Posts: 24
    Hi Jughne, hoping you can see boiler pics?

    BRR
  • WMno57
    WMno57 Member Posts: 663
    edited November 2022
    I see your pictures. It's a circa 1950 cast iron boiler with a Thrush air over water steel compression tank in the ceiling. There is also a new style bladder expansion tank pictured. B&G red circulator on back of boiler, probably not pumping away.
    Did your problems start shortly after you put the new style expansion tank into the system?
  • WMno57
    WMno57 Member Posts: 663
    @BRR I have a system very similar to yours. My Thrush tank sprung a leak. I bought an identical replacement tank in Clinton, Wisconsin.
    https://qualitytanksinc.com/
    (608) 676-2281
    Quality is the manufacturer, but they occasionally sell to the public if you ask nicely. An exact replacement for your Thrush tank is impossible to find locally. Changing to a bladder tank will require piping rework. This may be why you are having problems.
  • BRR
    BRR Member Posts: 24
    Thank you for your comments. expansion tank old, no problems; no leaking, releases air only. Since last nigth pressure has droppred to zero. Seems I need to add water, can't find any place to do so, HELP.
  • BRR
    BRR Member Posts: 24
    Water seems to be connected to expansion tank, valve is open; overhead tank is empty, not connected. Auto feeder level when lifted does nothing. All other water valves found are open, but can't turn either way, HELP. Found method to add water via hose, suggested to use boiler drain, but how would water go in a place where water drains out?

    HELP, DESPERATE, IN CHICAGO. THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH.

    BRR
  • WMno57
    WMno57 Member Posts: 663
    Ok, I think you are trying to add water to your heating system to raise the pressure from zero to 12. Is that correct? There should be a water line coming from your city water system to the boiler. There may be a valve in this line that is closed. If you open that valve, you will add water to the boiler.
    VERY IMPORTANT!!!!!!! Do not add water to a hot boiler. Let the boiler cool off before you add water.
  • bburd
    bburd Member Posts: 581
    edited November 2022
    There is a good chance that the small bladder expansion tank recently added is too small for the amount of water in the system, especially if the house has cast-iron radiators. Those tanks must be sized for the water content in the system, which is typically much greater in older systems than in modern ones of the same heating capacity.

    Bburd
  • WMno57
    WMno57 Member Posts: 663
    BRR said:

    Found method to add water via hose, suggested to use boiler drain, but how would water go in a place where water drains out?

    That will work. The water from the city is at a higher pressure than the water in the boiler. As the water from the city enters the boiler, the air in the bladder tank is compressed, making room for the new water from the city.
    Let's take a step back. These old boilers should be looked over by a professional every year. I think your boiler may be due for that. Is the person who installed the bladder tank still available? If not, @The Steam Whisperer is a local contractor who is also a member of this forum. His business is focused on steam, you have a hot water system, but he may know someone who can help you. His name is David Bunnell and his phone is (877) 567-7070.
    Where in Chicago are you located?
  • BRR
    BRR Member Posts: 24
    Water seems to be connected to expansion tank, valve is open; overhead tank is empty, not connected. Auto feeder level when lifted does nothing. All other water valves found are open, but can't turn either way, HELP. Found method to add water via hose, suggested to use boiler drain, but how would water go in a place where water drains out?

    HELP, DESPERATE, IN CHICAGO. THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH.

    BRR
  • BRR
    BRR Member Posts: 24
    HAPPY THANKSGIVINGS EVERYONE, or as I like to say: HAPPY TURKEY DAY!

    Especially to EdtheHeatMan & WMno57, who took time and patience to help a terrified Chicago sister out. Blessings to you and yours, for a happy, healthy and wealthy turkey day.

    Take care you two & everyone on the site.

    Sincerely,

    BRR
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 13,127
    Forget about the overhead tank it is disconnected from the boiler and no longer used.

    Does the boiler have 12 psi of water in it? If not add water to 12 psi. If the make-up water valve does not work add water with a garden hose. Hook it to a drain valve with a female-female connector or a washing machine hose. If you have water in the boiler bleed all the radiators and maintain the 12 psi in the boiler while bleeding. Is the circulator running? does the burner fire
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 4,954
    Good News. A collaboration of efforts = BRR has heat. @The Steam Whisperer was able to drop by and get water into the boiler. When that happened there was a leak at the circulator. (Old Armstrong 3 piece). @BRR had a friend help her drain the boiler and remove the pump to replace the gasket. (How often is that gasket the problem compared to the pump seal?). She took the Bearing assembly and motor the the local supply house and I told there to get a new bearing assembly. I talked to the counter man for her to make sure she got the correct one.. Her helper was there today and was able to install the new bearing assembly on the motor and put the pump back together. Filled the system with water and she now has heat.

    @BRR is now going to watch the gauge every 1/2 hour to see if that little Extrol tank is enough. If the gauge goes above 20 she will let out some water to get the pressure back to 12 psi

    @WMno57 suggested that The Steam Whisperer take a look. He was the perfect man for the job. Did not tell @BRR that the Antique 90° angle Draft Hood was a hazard. It is perfectly safe because it is equipped with a spill switch from the factory.

    Thanks to everyone that helped this gal fro Chicago solve the problem of getting water in the radiators.

    Edward Young Retired HVAC Contractor & HYDRONICIAN Services first oil burner at age 16 P/T trainer for EH-CC.org
    GGross
  • BRR
    BRR Member Posts: 24
    YES INDEED!!!, THANK YOU ALL, ESPECIALLY EdTheHeaterMan! THANKS TO THIS SITE. Now my friend and I not only know how to help ourselves, we can help family and friends by simply directing them to this site. And assure them that the professionals on this site will assist to the end, AND/OR, help find local professional help if need be. I'm so grateful words can't express, AGAIN THANK YOU ALL,

    SINCERELY,

    BRR

    PS: Went ahead and let pressure drop to 10 to allow for expansion as Ed advised, approximately 1hr ago, current pressure at 10. I'd forgotten to bleed 1 rad on 1st floor; will keep an eye on pressure as Ed advised. Platonic smooches on all your cheeks.
    EdTheHeaterMan
  • BRR
    BRR Member Posts: 24
    OK, boiler lost pressure, down to 10, NO LEAKS anywhere. Upstairs rads initially released air/water at bleed, got good and warm behind filling system with water. Overnight upstairs rads not as warm, bleed releases ONLY AIR. Initially extrol expansion tank, (only tank connected to boiler), released only air, NOW RELEASING WATER. HELP.

    BRR
  • WMno57
    WMno57 Member Posts: 663
    edited November 2022
    You may continue to get air for weeks. You have what is know as a high volume system. It holds lots of water. You had to drain it to change the circulator gasket. The new water has lots of air in it. As you heat it, the air comes out of the water, just like a can of pop on a warm day.
    Your pictures show an old Thrush ceiling mounted air over water compression tank. I have a Thrush tank also. The Extrol tanks are different, and require different air management accessories. Your system originally had an Air Scoop to direct air into the thrush tank. Extrol tanks require an air bleeder to be added to the system to remove the air instead of sending it to the Thrush tank.
    We can help you better if you post more pictures to this thread. Would like to see how the extrol tank is connected to the system, and if there is a newer air bleeder. And more of us can help, if you reply to this thread instead of PMs.
    Thanks
  • WMno57
    WMno57 Member Posts: 663
    Is water coming out of the Extrol tank? You don't need to bleed the Extrol tank, just the radiators. How old is the Extrol tank?
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 4,954
    edited November 2022
    BRR said:

    OK, boiler lost pressure, down to 10, NO LEAKS anywhere. Upstairs rads initially released air/water at bleed, got good and warm behind filling system with water. Overnight upstairs rads not as warm, bleed releases ONLY AIR. Initially extrol expansion tank, (only tank connected to boiler), released only air, NOW RELEASING WATER. HELP.

    BRR

    How is the extrol tank releasing air? and RELEASING WATER NOW. ?

    If you let all the air out of the tank, will not work. If the tank is releasing water from the Schrader valve (tire valve) then the Extrol tank is no longer any good. Needs to be replaced.

    NEVER TEST A EXTROL TANK BY LETTING AIR OUT OF THE Schrader VALVE.
    Edward Young Retired HVAC Contractor & HYDRONICIAN Services first oil burner at age 16 P/T trainer for EH-CC.org
  • WMno57
    WMno57 Member Posts: 663
    edited November 2022
    This thread is hard to follow as there have been a lot of PMs which leave the rest of The Wall in the dark. I will attempt to bring everyone up to date.
    BRR has a failed Extrol bladder tank. We know this because water comes out the Schrader valve. Going forward I believe BRR has three options.
    1. Use top half of 2nd floor radiators as compression tank
    2. Replace Extrol with correctly sized Extrol and correctly piped air management
    3. Return to air over water compression tank which can be purchased from Quality Tanks in Clinton, WI
    I believe that 20 psi is higher than necessary. I would let some water out (at the boiler drain) to get the pressure down around 12 psi.
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 7,171
    2 is really the only practical option unless you want to curate a museum. Make sure the tank is sized to the volume of the system. There is more volume in a system with cast iron radiators and i suspect piping that was sized for gravity circulation.
  • WMno57
    WMno57 Member Posts: 663
    @mattmia2 I replaced my air over water compression tank with like for like several years ago. Doing this saved me a lot of piping rework and I did not have to purchase any additional components beyond the tank. Works great, I drain it once a year in the early fall.
    I'm not curating a museum. I'm operating a 75 year old boiler and heating system that works well.
    The reason contractors replace these tanks with bladder tanks is because most supply houses don't stock air over water tanks. Unfortunately some contractors don't understand tank sizing and the different air management strategies of air scoops and air bleeders.
    Someone put an undersized Extrol tank in @brr system. The Extrol is now worn out. Diaphragm and bladder tanks do not last as long as air over water tanks.

  • WMno57
    WMno57 Member Posts: 663
    edited November 2022
    ...
  • BRR
    BRR Member Posts: 24
    Thank you so much W, think I haven't explained well. Tank in ceiling is NOT connected to boiler, but extrol tank is, now releasing water when push little button on bottom. I recall it should only release air when in good working order. Added more water to system a few minutes ago, to pressure of 20, bled upstairs rads before and after, water in all upstairs rads, boiler currently holding pressure at 18psi. Warm in Chicago today, got therm on 80 to get it to function. Will keep eye on pressure, I can't put pictures on computer from phone, only phone to phone, EdtheHeaterMan has pics of pretty much everything, but don't want to bother, jus out of hospital.
    THANK YOU, .
  • BRR
    BRR Member Posts: 24
    PLEASE READ IN ENTIRETY, THANKS.

    I'm off to buy new expansion tank, but have become confused as to which. I'd like one that doesn't require pressurizing, approximately the same size. Know someone on the site stated what I had was too small, but it functioned properly for at least 5yrs, more likely more.

    Plus must follow same hazardous position for easiest install, I'm 5'2 and bump my head on it many times over the yrs and recently. Friend who assisted with pump is 5'11, had to keep reminding him watch head; but he still bumped. Anything bigger would create a problem for future maintenance.

    Youtube videos show professionals that pressurize and others that don't, ON pre-pressurized units. I do have tire inflator.

    ED suggested don't need, but prefer to have so don't feel compelled to constantly watch pressure, add/drain water. I did indeed have to drain boiler a bit, after I finally got upstairs rads properly bled, sufficiently warm.

    Plus pressure did get too high as noticed boiler auto-drainer had drained some, BEFORE I drained. Was considering purchasing pre-pressurized from Home Depot.

    Plus, prior to extrol installation ceiling tank was attached, don't think Ed knew this, perhaps professionally, but I'd never stated.

    Cold boiler pressure since last night, and current this morning: not an entire hash-line under 10.

    Advisement urgently needed, cold here today, boiler off/cool, for best working conditions, worried about pipe/rad freeze, so need to turn heat back on ASAP.
    THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU.

    BRR
  • WMno57
    WMno57 Member Posts: 663
    @BRR My advice is to have @The Steam Whisperer back out to your home, and have his company replace your failed Extrol tank. He could easily do any re-piping needed to get the tank in less of a head banging position. He could also verify that you have an air bleeder that is compatible with a bladder or diaphragm tank. The air scoop that directed air into your old Thrush tank is not correct for a new style tank.
  • BRR
    BRR Member Posts: 24
    THANKS TO ALL,
    BRR
  • WMno57
    WMno57 Member Posts: 663
    I am a homeowner, not a professional. Any advice I give is just my opinion. I take no responsibility for any of the suggestions I give or my explanations of how these systems work. @BRR this is your home and your responsibility. Again, I think you should have @The Steam Whisperer install your new tank. I will attempt to answer some of your questions in my next post. By no means am I suggesting you DIY this.
  • WMno57
    WMno57 Member Posts: 663
    BRR said:

    I'm off to buy new expansion tank, but have become confused as to which. I'd like one that doesn't require pressurizing, approximately the same size. Know someone on the site stated what I had was too small, but it functioned properly for at least 5yrs.

    It needs to be the correct size tank for your High Volume system. Amtrol has a sizing tool on their website.
    BRR said:

    Youtube videos show professionals that pressurize and others that don't, ON pre-pressurized units.
    prefer to have so don't feel compelled to constantly watch pressure, add/drain water. I did indeed have to drain boiler a bit, after I finally got upstairs rads properly bled, sufficiently warm.
    Plus pressure did get too high as noticed boiler auto-drainer had drained some, BEFORE I drained. Was considering purchasing pre-pressurized from Home Depot.

    This is EXACTLY why you need a larger tank. With the correctly sized tank, pressure will not vary much between warm and cold. They all come pre pressurized, BUT you still need to check the pressure with a tire gauge and set it to the correct pressure with a tire pump before you install it into your system. Once in the system do not let any air out of the Schrader valve.
    bburd
  • WMno57
    WMno57 Member Posts: 663
    BRR said:

    Plus pressure did get too high as noticed boiler auto-drainer had drained some, BEFORE I drained.

    Yes, this is the Safety valve or Pressure Relief Valve (PRV). Most of them open at 30psi. You want just enough pressure in the system to get heat on the top floor of the home (about 12psi). As the water warms it expands. This expansion is accommodated by the expansion tank. Too small of a tank means greater pressure swings as seen on the pressure gauge.

  • WMno57
    WMno57 Member Posts: 663
    @EdTheHeaterMan advice of leaving some air space in the top floor radiators will work and is a possible short term solution for you.
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 4,954
    edited November 2022
    You can use an upstairs radiator as an air cushion, like the old expansion tank.

    1. Keep the heat on so the boiler water is hot
    2. Put 25 PSI water pressure on the gauge
    3. let air out of the radiator until water comes out.
    4. If air stops coming out but you get no water, then close air valve.
    5. Put more water pressure up to 25 PSI
    6. Repeat steps 3, 4, and 5 until the last radiator.
    7. On the last radiator, only fill it with enough water to get bottom half of the radiator has heat.
    8. The top half of the radiator is the air cushion.

    you can work it this way until the spring, when you can have it professionally repaired.

    Ask @The Steam Whisperer if his company can replace the auto feed valve when his company replaces the expansion tank. This way you won't need to use the garden hose to fill your boiler system.

    Mr. Ed
    Edward Young Retired HVAC Contractor & HYDRONICIAN Services first oil burner at age 16 P/T trainer for EH-CC.org
    WMno57
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 10,294
    If you do replace that waterlogged tank yourself, remember it is a lot heavier than you think.

    Almost a 2 person job.

    A new tank may claim to be pre-charged to 12 PSI of air, but many are not.

    You check/change the charge before connecting it........right out of the box.

    Once you have water in the system, testing the air pressure is not going to be an accurate indicator.
    mattmia2