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New main pipe valve leaking steam - Faulty valve? Pressure is too high?

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Hi guys,

I previously posted this on reddit and they recommended me to seek help here with you guys.

A couple of months ago I bought a 1910 house with steam heating. Now that it is getting cold, I am learning everything about old valves hissing and a lot more things about this system.

I recently found that I had a leak, and I realized it was a badly cracked valve in the main pipe (the body had two large cracks).

Yesterday I replaced it with a Gorton no1 eliminator, and soon after I realized it was leaking steam.

However, this morning I got legit scared of the cloud that I had in the basement and the amount of steam that the valve was leaking.

Could it be that the pressure is too high in the system? I am attaching two pictures of the water feeder and the Pressuretrol. Also the internal syphon pressure gauge is measuring 27 psi, which I understand is too high, what could that be? The picture was taken about 2 hours after I turned the boiler off, if that makes any difference. Thank you so much!!









Comments

  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,635
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    Well... that pressure gauge is most likely lying to you if the system has been off for any length of time. They do...

    On the other hand, the pressuretrol is set too high. Try adjusting the right hand scale down to a shade below the 2 mark, and the left hand scale down to about 0.5. The adjusting screws are on the top of the case.

    And the third consideration is whether the pigtail -- that curved pipe -- connecting the pressuretrol to the boiler is plugged. It could well be. Not really all that hard to check, though you'll likely have to disconnect the wires to the pressuretrol (mark which goes where!!!) (with the boiler turned off!) to detach the pressuretrol. Then you can try pouring water into the pigtail; it should flow freely. If it doesn't, you'll need to also unscrew the pigtail and see if you can blow it clear -- and then check the opening into the boiler as well.

    One warning: it is remotely possible, though very unlikely, that the pressure gauge is not lying and that there is pressure in the system. Therefore... before you do anything else, try lifting the pressure relief valve control lever very cautiously. Nothing should come out.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    bburd
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,829
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    what @Jamie Hall said
  • 109A_5
    109A_5 Member Posts: 1,388
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    Hello @supereloyo,
    The gauge or the gauge tapping may be plugged up too. If your gauge is found to be accurate, your pressure relief valve is either wrong or defective and the Pressuretrol is not working too (see above comments).
    How long was the boiler off for in this picture, the gauge reading looks more normal ?


    National - U.S. Gas Boiler 45+ Years Old
    Steam 300 SQ. FT. - EDR 347
    One Pipe System
  • supereloyo
    supereloyo Member Posts: 3
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    @109A_5 The picture with the blurry background was with the boiler on, and the vent leaking like a steam boat. The picture that shows an increased pressure is with everything off for 3 hours. I then lifted the pressure relief lever and nothing happened, so I adjusted the pressuretrol according to the indications provided by @Jamie Hall (thank you so much!). Then, before I started screwing around with more complicated stuff, I turned the boiler on again, and this time around, although the valve was still leaking, it was a lot better, less hissing and less leaking. My guess is, I was unlucky and got a faulty Gorton 1? Did it get messed up by a pressure that was too high to begin with?

    Now, I just took a picture of the pressure gauge (see attached below), the boiler has been off for maybe 20 minutes, and the pressure is different, so the gauge IS in fact moving, but the zeroing seems to be way off. However, the difference between its baseline and what it marks with a hot boiler, is a distance more or less equivalent to 10 psi. Would that be anywhere close to what it should be or should I be worried?

     
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,635
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    Your comment that the gauge appears to be way off is a marvelous understatement... I wonder what it is doing? I wouldn't even trust the difference between what it says with the system off and the system on. But that's not all that unusual for those built in gauges.

    Yes, excess pressure can damage a vent, but it takes a good bit to do it. You might try simply tapping it when the system is off -- say with the handle of a screwdriver of something like that, not a hammer! -- to see if it simply got stuck open, because that does happen with even mild excess pressure (even as little as three or four pounds sometimes).
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • supereloyo
    supereloyo Member Posts: 3
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    I will definitely try that. Your advice on the pressuretrol was amazing and it definitely improved things. This is a picture of the previous vent, it completely split! There is actually another tear on the other side of it as well, so it probably just kind of exploded at some point a long time ago.



    Next stop, getting a C-wire on my thermostat... :s
  • 109A_5
    109A_5 Member Posts: 1,388
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    Hello @supereloyo,
    It seems like you have two items that may have been damaged by excessive pressure. I think I would get that situation under control and better understood before I entered more variables into the situation.

    I would clean out the Pressuretrol pipes all the way back to the boiler and replace the gauge. If the pressure actually was over 15 PSI the pressure relief should have vented !!! There may be issues there too.

    For example my 0-30 PSI gauge never moves (and it works OK). My system runs way less than 1 PSI, usually less than 1 inch Water Column.
    National - U.S. Gas Boiler 45+ Years Old
    Steam 300 SQ. FT. - EDR 347
    One Pipe System