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Questions with my steam heat boiler

Gibby1986
Gibby1986 Member Posts: 7
Hey all, I'm super new to owning a home and growing up with an old furnace I have a slight idea how to work it. I had the boiler serviced about a month ago and they put the green additive to it. Also while the system is running the green tinted water actually leaves the sight glass. This is a concern to me since my father always said make sure there's always water in the glass. Shouldn't the system shut down or the auto feeder kick on? The system is 1 year old.

Comments

  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 4,999
    The burner should certainly shut down if the water level drops below the minimum water line that should be marked on the boiler jacket somewhere. That line is usually about 1/4 to 1/3 up the sight glass. At about 1/2 way up is the normal operating range. each system is different but the water can boil off as steam to heat the radiators and the level may drop, but the condensation should start to return within a short time (less than 30 minutes) to fill the glass back up some, and then stay there until the call for heat is done. Then all the steam condenses and the water level rises bask to the middle again.

    But each boiler is slightly different because no two houses have the same piping and radiator arrangement, so yours may be different.

    But under no circumstances should the burner operate if the water drops below the minimum water level. If it does, then you may have a defective Low Water Cut Off (LWCO)
    Edward Young Retired HVAC Contractor & HYDRONICIAN Services first oil burner at age 16 P/T trainer for EH-CC.org
    Gibby1986
  • Gibby1986
    Gibby1986 Member Posts: 7



    The low water cut off has only shown the light once showing low water when I cleaned the system out with a tech. Otherwise it does constantly check the water level. It was concerning to me seeing the sight glass empty. When the system shut off about an inch of water came back to the sight glass. Just trying to avoid an issue before it gets bad. I work 12 hours a day sooooo I may come home to no house. Conriplating on switching to a ductless system but im concerned about northern NJ weather.
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 4,999
    edited January 9
    Your LWCO appears to have the probe located at or just below the minimum water line. I wonder if that is a mistake? I would like the see the boiler manual in order to look at the way the boiler tappings are arranged. I have added the probe location ofthe LWCO on the Front View of the boiler. I have also added a Green water line for the normal operating level and the Red water line for the minimum level. It appears that the LWCO probe is lower than the minimum level. The water level must drop at least 1/2" below the minimum and a full 1" below the gauge glass before the burner is cut off.

    Your boiler is made that way and there is nothing you can do about it. There is a #76 LWCO that gets attached to the gauge glass openings, that will make your system a little more user friendly. That is what I would install if that were my boiler.

    https://www.amazon.com/McDonnell-Miller-149500-Water-Cut-Offs/dp/B008FMDLTM
    https://www.supplyhouse.com/Mcdonnell-Miller-149400-67-Float-Type-Low-Water-Cut-off-Steam
    Edward Young Retired HVAC Contractor & HYDRONICIAN Services first oil burner at age 16 P/T trainer for EH-CC.org
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 3,942
    Whats the "green stuff"  ?? Do you have a bottle of it?  Just curious 🤔..mad 🐕 Dog 
  • Gibby1986
    Gibby1986 Member Posts: 7


    No idea, when I had it serviced the tech put it in the system. This is where the system has been operating since he left.

    I purchased the house about 6 months ago, and the previous owner was a real dirtbag about hiding, problems within the home. Unfortunately I paid the price even after the inspection for an as is house. I have heat so I cant complain too much but im uneasy about the operating system. Would you recommend a ductless system?
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 13,170
    I agree with @EdTheHeaterMan that low water cutoff looks too low
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 4,233
    It looks like SurgeX which is not good stuff, IMO.

    My question, why is the water level so low, it should be at that arrow labelled "water level" when the boiler isn't firing.

    Welcome to the Forum, fellow north Jersey resident!
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
  • TonKa
    TonKa Member Posts: 69
    edited January 9
    IMO, it's correct. Even the sticker for the minimum water line is below the site glass. Utica Boilers just have a stupid design.

    When the boiler is off, the water level should be aligned with sticker for the normal water line. When running normally it will drop, but I believe it should still be visible.
    EdTheHeaterMan
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 7,216
    Manually add water with the boiler off to bring it up to the water line and see how far it falls while steaming. There is a strong possibility that the "treatment" is causing priming, the water is foaming and being forced out of the boiler. What is the presduretrol set to? What does the piping near the boiler look like? Improper piping and the water being pushed out the return is a possibility too.
  • Gibby1986
    Gibby1986 Member Posts: 7
    I appreciate all of your ideas and advice, and agree it's stupid to have the minimum water level under the visible sight glass.

    After the service now about a month old the addictive is still floating around. Drained some of it last night night before bed. Filled the water back up to the water level line. Still tinted green. When the system was on it was about where the previous picture was. Thankfully it hasn't been super cold yet so I'm not freaking out. Once I get out of work I'll grab the model number
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 3,574
    Where is this located?
  • AdmiralYoda
    AdmiralYoda Member Posts: 542
    My 42 year old Peerless is like that. The minimum water level sticker is about 2" below the site glass.... so I guess its okay to to run my boiler without any water in the glass??? There is no sticker for "normal" water line either, though I keep it at about 1/2 to 2/3rds up the site glass.
    leonz
  • leonz
    leonz Member Posts: 688
    edited January 9
    You have water in the steam chest above the low water cut off when
    the sight glass is empty.


    If you are worried you need to contact the manufacturer to be really sure
    about your new installation BEFORE you add water back to the boiler.

    Where is your manual water feeder valve?

  • leonz
    leonz Member Posts: 688
    edited January 9
    This is your boiler according to the sheet attached to your boiler.

    SERIES V
    EG112EID

    Did they tell you they were going to use copper pipe instead of cast iron fittings and steel pipe????

    Where did they install the Hartford Loop??
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 4,999
    Gibby1986 said:

    I appreciate all of your ideas and advice, and agree it's stupid to have the minimum water level under the visible sight glass.

    After the service now about a month old the addictive is still floating around. Drained some of it last night night before bed. Filled the water back up to the water level line. Still tinted green. When the system was on it was about where the previous picture was. Thankfully it hasn't been super cold yet so I'm not freaking out. Once I get out of work I'll grab the model number

    It is a utica PEG 112 boiler. https://uticaboilers.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/240009937-Utica-Boilers-PEG-E-IOM-REV-J.pdf.
    I would add the M&M 67 LWCO 149400. I believe that comes with all the additional fittings to connect to the boiler sight glass tappings. 149500 may not have the additional fittings, this one is for replacing existing LWCO where you already have the fittings on the boiler.
    Notice position D on the #67 LWCO is about 1/3 up on the glass.

    Adding a water feed valve wired into the #67 would complete the installation IMO.
    Edward Young Retired HVAC Contractor & HYDRONICIAN Services first oil burner at age 16 P/T trainer for EH-CC.org
  • Gibby1986
    Gibby1986 Member Posts: 7
    The manual feeder as well as auto feed is on the other side. I wasnt the homeowner when this system was installed. So i have no idea of what was done and not when it was installed. When i had the service done i used the company that installed it and they told me i had nothing to really worry about. 
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,359
    So, just to be clear about a couple things.

    You should be maintaining the water level in the boiler, the LWCO is basically "oh crap I wasn't paying attention" and stops the boiler when the water is low. Having an auto feeder should also be an "Oh crap I wasn't paying attention".

    Your comments present as if you expect the feeder to maintain the proper water level, to my knowledge none of them do this. I know my Weil Mclain will not, and if you look at the diagram of any boiler you can easily tell this by the relationship of the LWCO position to the approximate center of the sight glass. I can see the proper water level in your picture, and you are well below that.

    The thing that would be concerning is your original question of the water leaving the sight glass. On a boiler that size I would expect maybe a 1/2-1" drop in water level while running, but no more than that. More than that and I would suspect surging due to oils, or bad water treatment, or bad piping, or a combination of all or some of those.

    Can you post overall pictures of the boiler and it's associated piping so we can see what you have there?
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
    CLambChrisJLong Beach Ed
  • leonz
    leonz Member Posts: 688
    edited January 9
    As a homeowner, I always cringe when I see copper used on a steam boiler.
    You do not have an auto feed valve on this boiler. What you have in the picture is the back flow preventer.
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 4,233
    Gibby1986 said:

    I appreciate all of your ideas and advice, and agree it's stupid to have the minimum water level under the visible sight glass.

    I'm not talking about the "lowest permissible water level"

    I'm asking why is your water level almost at the bottom of the gauge glass instead of where the "Water Level ---->" sticker is?
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
    mattmia2
  • Gibby1986
    Gibby1986 Member Posts: 7
    The picture of dirty brown water is pre-servicing. Since I had the service done. The water level is at the water line. The last picture  with green water is when the system was firing, but it bounces quite close to the bottom of the sight glass when firing. 

    I understand that the auto feeder is in case I forgot to fill and the low cut off I may be being to premature. I freaked out when I saw the water basically out of the sight glass so I shut the system down(pre service) now the water always returns to the top water level line.  I'll be able to post more pictures of the whole system in about 6 hours 
  • TonKa
    TonKa Member Posts: 69
    leonz said:
    You do not have an auto feed valve on this boiler.
    Yes, he does. Look again.

    realliveplumberLong Beach Ed
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 13,911
    edited January 9
    leonz said:

    As a homeowner, I always cringe when I see copper used on a steam boiler.
    You do not have an auto feed valve on this boiler. What you have in the picture is the back flow preventer.

    I used copper on mine for the equalizer and below.
    And I'm about to add even more copper to other sections for condensate returns.

    I'm not sure why you cringe. It's perfectly acceptable in certain ways.
    Copper is often used on hot water boilers, it doesn't magically become toxic from steam or a 32 degree increase. The main issue with it that we see is improper piping, poor soldering skills (especially at the size pipe used) and often they use two risers straight out of a boiler into a header which wouldn't be good even with steel piping.


    There's an autofeeder below the backflow preventer in the picture.

    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
    question
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 4,233
    edited January 10
    Gibby1986 said:

    The picture of dirty brown water is pre-servicing. Since I had the service done. The water level is at the water line. The last picture  with green water is when the system was firing, but it bounces quite close to the bottom of the sight glass when firing. 

    I understand that the auto feeder is in case I forgot to fill and the low cut off I may be being to premature. I freaked out when I saw the water basically out of the sight glass so I shut the system down(pre service) now the water always returns to the top water level line.  I'll be able to post more pictures of the whole system in about 6 hours 

    OK cool. The water is probably getting carried over into your mains due to bad piping or oil in the water or possibly due to too high of operating pressure, but others probably said this already.
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
  • Gibby1986
    Gibby1986 Member Posts: 7
    Sorry for the delayed response here's the lay out. I hope i dont have bad piping.e i again I wanted to thank all of you for your input
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 4,233
    You do have very bad piping, I'm sorry.

    It's a little hard to tell but you seem to have no header, no equalizer, no hartford loop (no great loss there honestly).

    It's a Dunkirk design boiler with the side steam outlets and it should be piped on both sides for best chance of success although on the bright side it looks like a small boiler so it might do OK with just the one side.

    Your water would have to be really clean and the main venting really good, basically everything just right to get that thing working right.

    I have to go back and read the thread to see your symptoms
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 4,233
    edited January 13
    OK I'm back. Your boiler water is getting pushed out of the boiler when it's firing, either out of the top via a bubbling action called "surging" due to that nasty green SurgeX in there, or getting pushed out the bottom due to the pressure in the boiler (and no equalizer), or both.

    If your current steam contractor is the one who installed that, please don't let them in your house anymore. You will have to learn some stuff here on the site and take care of your own boiler, or find a quality steam contractor like @EzzyT ( https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/e-travis-mechanical-llc ) or @JohnNY ( https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/toro-plumbing-and-mechanical )

    PS: here's what SurgeX does in a boiler. You can see the surging that I mentioned above: https://youtu.be/GXy67aziqZI

    There are better additives you can eventually use to slow corrosion (I prefer 8-way), but that is a secondary concern for you. If I were you, I'd let the boiler cool, drain all the water, refill with plain water (probably twice), then refill it and let it fire (refill slowly when you do).

    If it still drops the water level dramatically during boiling, it may need to be skimmed due to oil in the boiler, but one thing at a time, get that green junk out of there.
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
    mattmia2
  • question
    question Member Posts: 29
    I believe the reason that the water is emptying in your site glass is that it is going up into the piping. You have no header / equalizer to have the water return to the boiler while its pushing steam. The whole near boiler piping needs to be replaced with carbon steel piping. Don't ever have anyone use copper pipes on a steam boiler.
    You definitely should add the M&M 67 LWCO . The LWCO you have now is too low. I am amazed what this boiler installer got away with.