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What is going on here? And which forum should I follow up in to talk about this?

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Where is the problem here?  
Pipes? Boiler?  Tank? 
https://imgur.com/a/lztYFzj
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Comments

  • GGross
    GGross Member Posts: 1,105
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    The relief valve is blowing off. Shut down the boiler, check expansion tank, check fill valve, check pumps, replace relief valve. you have at least one pump installed upside down which probably has nothing to do with this problem but should be fixed.

    I am going to go out on a limb here and say this is the type of issue that, if you are asking "what's going on here?", you really need to hire a pro to come fix this
    AirCooledVWEdTheHeaterManSuperTech
  • yellowdog
    yellowdog Member Posts: 159
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    could be a number of things. water feeder stuck open. hole in the indirect coil. bad relief valve. need to start isolating components to figure it out
    STEAM DOCTORAirCooledVW
  • AirCooledVW
    AirCooledVW Member Posts: 32
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    GGross said:

    I am going to go out on a limb here and say this is the type of issue that, if you are asking "what's going on here?", you really need to hire a pro to come fix this

    You are correct. Now get down off that limb before you hurt yourself!

    I’m posting for my brother. This happened, then he shut down the boiler. Luckily we are in North Carolina, not in that big winter storm up north.

    What can a homeowner do to start isolating components to figure out where the problem is?

    Good catch on the upside down pump by the way.
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 17,003
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    GGross said:

    I am going to go out on a limb here and say this is the type of issue that, if you are asking "what's going on here?", you really need to hire a pro to come fix this

    This. @AirCooledVW ,where are you located? We probably know someone who could help you.

    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    AirCooledVW
  • AirCooledVW
    AirCooledVW Member Posts: 32
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    Between Charlotte and Winston-Salem NC
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 8,166
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    Edward Young Retired

    After you make that expensive repair and you still have the same problem, What will you check next?

    GGross
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 22,472
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    Carolina Sales is the Caleffi rep down there. Also the largest Rinnai rep in the US. They would know who the serious hydronic contractors are in that area.

    Several good hydronic savvy wholesalers down there, they would know the hydronic "players" also.
    Slimmer hydronic pickings down that area.
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
    AirCooledVW
  • AirCooledVW
    AirCooledVW Member Posts: 32
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    @EdTheHeaterMan
    just confirming, This is the PRV, and this is the pipe to follow in the direction away from the boiler to get to the valve that is to be turned off. Does this mean, find the valve between the PRV and the boiler?
    I can get more pictures tomorrow if necessary. 

  • psb75
    psb75 Member Posts: 863
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    Follow the 1/2" copper pipe beyond the PRV--AWAY from the boiler to find a valve to shut off the "fill" water coming from the house supply or source.
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 8,166
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    A hand operated valve in either direction of that PRV will shut off water feed to the boiler.

    Edward Young Retired

    After you make that expensive repair and you still have the same problem, What will you check next?

    GGross
  • AirCooledVW
    AirCooledVW Member Posts: 32
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    @EdTheHeaterMan He has shut down the boiler.
    I’m headed over there now to take more pictures. Would greatly appreciate any input for how a homeowner can learn more about this system and how to start isolating components to rule out, and identify the problem(s) mentioned by @GGross and @yellowdog

    - check expansion tank,
    - check fill valve,
    - check pumps,
    - replace relief valve
    - water feeder stuck open
    - hole in the indirect coil
    - bad relief valve
    - and at least one pump installed upside down which probably has nothing to do with this problem but should be fixed.

    </
  • HomerJSmith
    HomerJSmith Member Posts: 2,511
    edited February 2023
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    It appears to me that the pumps are installed incorrectly. The axis of the rotor should be horizontal not vertical. I find it incredulous that a plumber would make kind of mistake. The upper bearing, which is water lubricated, of the rotor can get air bound and run dry in a vertical installation. The expansion tank is not a recommended install.

    Is this a primary/secondary install? I'm sure HTP requires that. Perhaps, this is a new boiler install in an old sys without changes being made?
    AirCooledVW
  • psb75
    psb75 Member Posts: 863
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    The pump rotor axis is horizontal. However I don't know if it's pumping in the right direction.
  • AirCooledVW
    AirCooledVW Member Posts: 32
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    @HomerJSmith and @psb75. Get ready for some real entertainment. I’m preparing to post pics of the system. I believe the same company that has worked on this system is the same one that had serviced my (now dead) boiler for years. This pump issue that you and others have recognized promises to be just the beginning of some real head scratchers. 
  • archibald tuttle
    archibald tuttle Member Posts: 1,090
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    "
    psb75 said:

    The pump rotor axis is horizontal. However I don't know if it's pumping in the right direction.

    I think the pumps referred to are the two high in the video that are vertical axis. One motor down and one motor up. IIRC , many such pumps its is OK to do motor down Vertical axis, but maybe its the other way. I'm a little hazy on that. don't have any horizontal flanges, i.e. vertical axis, installs so i notice those prescriptions in various pump submittal docs but haven't focused on them. I'm assuming this is because they would less tend to purge air well in that orientation. Id on't think it was a bearing play or end bearing issue but I could be wrong.

    Seems like others have steered the discussion on narrowing down the reason for the relief valve being open although i didn't see in quick scan of the video any pressure gauge which is useful tool besides just notice water coming out in trying to monitor what is going on. if there is none, you can get one set up with a female house coupling so you can attach it to one of the hose bibb/ boiler drains that is in the heat side piping, i.e. toward the heating system from the shutoff valve @EdTheHeaterMan has you looking for.
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 8,166
    edited February 2023
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    Still photos from far enough back to have a reference to the other components. Different angles so I can see the pipes that might be blocking the view of other pipes. Take a still picture of the whole system from floor to ceiling. From at least two different vantage points . taking close up like the one on the left is usually not so helpful with no reference point. Asking "what does this valve do?" with only the close up can not be answered with only that photo. There are 2 valves in the picture and I would not know which valve you might be asking about. The photo on the left has more information and would be better to help you solve your problems. You can post photos directly here with the buttons just above the dialogue box

    Edward Young Retired

    After you make that expensive repair and you still have the same problem, What will you check next?

  • HomerJSmith
    HomerJSmith Member Posts: 2,511
    edited February 2023
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    WHAAAT??? A disagree?





    GGross
  • psb75
    psb75 Member Posts: 863
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    Sorry, I didn't see the video. I thought you were referencing the red circ. on the side of the boiler.
  • AirCooledVW
    AirCooledVW Member Posts: 32
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    This hot water system feeds the radiators to heat the home, as well as provide on demand hot water at the taps. The 2 main components are the HTP Heat Exchanger and the SuperStor Contender.



















  • AirCooledVW
    AirCooledVW Member Posts: 32
    edited February 2023
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    I tried to put these photos in order following pipe from the original water input, down, across the bottom, upto the top, then to the left. The last two are “whole system” pictures.

    Edit: the pictures did not load in order :s
  • HomerJSmith
    HomerJSmith Member Posts: 2,511
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    Why do you have an expansion tank on the cold water supply to the water heater when there isn't a spring check valve between the mixing valve take off and the Ex-tank take off?
  • AirCooledVW
    AirCooledVW Member Posts: 32
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    I have no idea. We are trying to learn about this system, and what the individual components are, and do. I honestly don’t even know what to call this system other than a “hot water system to supply water to the radiators to heat the house, and supply on demand hot water to the taps.” What is this combination called?
  • AirCooledVW
    AirCooledVW Member Posts: 32
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    I would be great if someone could direct me to a general diagram of this type of system, labeling the parts, and describing the function.

    Which part is the mixing valve? What does it do?
    Which is the spring check valve?
    - fill valve,
    - relief valve
    - water feeder
    - indirect coil
    - relief valve
    - which pump(s) are installed upside down?
  • AirCooledVW
    AirCooledVW Member Posts: 32
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    I’ll be back to check in probably after 5:00
  • HomerJSmith
    HomerJSmith Member Posts: 2,511
    edited February 2023
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    As my Dad use to say, "Pay attention, I'm only going to say this once.", after I did something I thought was adventurist. Kids are kids, that's what kids do. OK you ask for it.
    A proportional thermostatic mixing valve--Honeywell Am valve, regulates the domestic hot water supply by mixing cold water with the hot water from the tank. Spring check valve Relief valves-there is one on the boiler and one on the Contender. Indirect coil in the Contender. This is a pressure reducing valve. The cold water feed
    shut off valve is some where down the line from this pressure reducing valve.







    SuperTechAirCooledVWLarry Weingarten
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 8,166
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    Edward Young Retired

    After you make that expensive repair and you still have the same problem, What will you check next?

    SuperTech
  • HomerJSmith
    HomerJSmith Member Posts: 2,511
    edited February 2023
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    Ed, don't keep me in suspense, what do you see? I pay attention to what you think.
    Does anyone else notice that the boiler connection to the Contender HX is backwards.
    Boiler-Out is the hot water supply to the HX and Boiler-In is the return to the boiler from the HX??? It's the opposite.

    Is this a "low bid wins" job?
    EdTheHeaterManSuperTechLarry Weingarten
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 8,166
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    From what I can see, this is what the installer tried to do.

    The relief valve that was spilling water in the video, is probably bad (might not be) so I would get one of those. https://www.supplyhouse.com/Apollo-Valves-1040805-3-4-FNPT-RVW10-535000-BTU-Bronze-Relief-Valve-30-psi available locally at home depot or plumbing supply house

    The next thing we need to address is the feed water. That is the reason the relief valve keeps letting water out. because more water keeps going in.

    We also need to know what the pressure in the boiler is. The gauge should be at location 16 in this illustration.

    Edward Young Retired

    After you make that expensive repair and you still have the same problem, What will you check next?

  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 8,166
    edited February 2023
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    If you can't find a gauge on the boiler or the boiler gauge is not accurate then you need to add this to the list of parts to purchase. This is a gauge that will screw on to the boiler drain and sample the pressure will https://www.supplyhouse.com/Bluefin-GEPD2-60-BM-2-Dual-Scale-Economy-Pressure-Gauge-Bottom-Mount-0-60-PSI, https://www.supplyhouse.com/Bluefin-GHSC025-075-1-4-Male-Pipe-x-3-4-Female-Hose-Brass-Garden-Hose-Swivel-Adapter, https://www.supplyhouse.com/Bluefin-BRC025-1-4-FIP-Brass-Coupling-Lead-Free

    Edward Young Retired

    After you make that expensive repair and you still have the same problem, What will you check next?

    STEAM DOCTOR
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 8,166
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    Once we can tell the water pressure in the boiler then we can figure out where the problem is.

    Edward Young Retired

    After you make that expensive repair and you still have the same problem, What will you check next?

  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 8,166
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    Ed, don't keep me in suspense, what do you see? I pay attention to what you think.
    Does anyone else notice that the boiler connection to the Contender HX is backwards.
    Boiler-Out is the hot water supply to the HX and Boiler-In is the return to the boiler from the HX??? It's the opposite.

    Is this a "low bid wins" job?

    Thanks. I was at a funeral today and just returned. I'm going to look at this stuff in detail now.
    But I think that @AirCooledVW may need a pro to look at this. You know, VW Bugs did not have water pumps and radiators. So, they may not have the skill set to transition from automotive to heating systems.

    Edward Young Retired

    After you make that expensive repair and you still have the same problem, What will you check next?

    AirCooledVWGGross
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 8,166
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    OK @AirCooledVW and everyone else that has been tuned in... This is the diagram of the system as best as I can tell doctored up from the manual diagram previously posted by me.



    The primary loop is the system loop because the expansion tank is on that loop. The system circulator will fail because the pump shaft is vertical with the impeller at the top. This will result in poor lubrication of the wet rotor bearings. How long has it been this way? That may be part of the problem.

    The DHW circulator is on the supply piping from the bottom of the boiler then piped up then back down to the return opening of the indirect tank coil. This will still work, bur shows the incompetence of the original installer. He got that wrong twice. The first time evidence are the capped off pipes

    The DHW circulator pump is also installed incorrectly. The shaft is vertical with the impeller at the bottom.

    Now that I have a better understanding of the system @AirCooledVW, if you want to call me with questions while you are on site we may be able to get your system operating

    Edward Young Retired

    After you make that expensive repair and you still have the same problem, What will you check next?

    Larry Weingarten
  • HomerJSmith
    HomerJSmith Member Posts: 2,511
    edited February 2023
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    My first car was a 1962 VW bug. I loved that car. I know we aren't suppose to discuss price, but it cost me $1,260. That was big money in those days. To show you the value of money, if you ask your Dad for $10, it meant you were getting married and going to start a business on the side with what was left.

    When a person dies, I feel sorry for the people left behind. I know there are people that will miss that person. I don't feel sorry for that person, tho; I look at it as the beginning of a new adventure.
    EdTheHeaterMan
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 22,472
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    Why do you have an expansion tank on the cold water supply to the water heater when there isn't a spring check valve between the mixing valve take off and the Ex-tank take off?

    If there is a backflow device on the main water supply you need a thermal expansion tank.
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 8,166
    edited February 2023
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    hot_rod said:

    Why do you have an expansion tank on the cold water supply to the water heater when there isn't a spring check valve between the mixing valve take off and the Ex-tank take off?

    If there is a backflow device on the main water supply you need a thermal expansion tank.

    I looked at all the pictures provided. The 1/2" copper pipe that feeds to the PRV goes back for more that 5 feet and two 90° elbows with no stop valve, ball valve or gate valve in sight. I wouldn't be surprised if original installer installed this by shutting off the whole house to save the price of a stop valve.

    Nevermind, i just realized that you are speaking of a backflow preventer to the city water supply




    Edward Young Retired

    After you make that expensive repair and you still have the same problem, What will you check next?

  • HomerJSmith
    HomerJSmith Member Posts: 2,511
    edited February 2023
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    Could be, but it needs confirmation. I wonder how many jurisdictions require that on residential applications, except on boilers.
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 22,472
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    Could be, but it needs confirmation. I wonder how many jurisdictions require that on residential applications, except on boilers.

    All the plumbing codes spell out BFD requirements.
    So it depends on what or if you local town adopted for a code, whether they permit or even have inspections.

    I sure would not want to be the user that contaminated my neighbors with boiler water flowing into the system, for the cost of a bfd, fill tank, or PIG?

    The double checks are considered adequate in most areas, some amend the requirement and want a high hazard RPZ style on boilers, fire protection systems.
    Depending on where in New York state you work either a double check, double check with vent, or RPZ are required. It comes down to the hazard level the inspector feels is possible.
    Maybe a dozen different ASSE listings for BFDs.
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 8,166
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    So I talked to homeowner and verified the Indirect tank is passing pressure into the lower pressure system. He has a contractor that can replace the tank. I expressed my concern that the boiler piping was reversed and that should be fixed when the replacement tank is installed. I also let him know that he can shut off the cold water supply to the indirect tank in order to to get the heat back on. He is a happy camper now. A camper with no hot water, but at least the heat works.

    Edward Young Retired

    After you make that expensive repair and you still have the same problem, What will you check next?

    AirCooledVWErin Holohan HaskellOhioMike
  • OhioMike
    OhioMike Member Posts: 3
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    Hi everyone, I'm the homeowner. My sister, AirCooledVW, introduced me to this forum, and so glad she did.
    I just wanted to thank Ed and everyone for your help, provide an update, and ask a troubleshooting question.

    As Ed said, I had a plumber install a new HTP SuperStor Ultra Max 45gal this past Friday. Afterwards, we had hot tap water, but no heat from the radiators, so I youtubed how to get air out of the lines and that worked.
    On Saturday radiators were still working great, but then no heat from DHW taps. (?)

    Using some of the info you all provided above, and me making different boiler system observations throughout the day (at different calls), I think the circulator that is feeding the storage tank may be the issue.

    That circulator is always on (at least it's always vibrating when I check it). Also the pump itself is somewhat hot to the touch. The copper piping directly to the left, and right of it are warm, but if you go beyond 12” in either direction, the copper piping is cold. Even after the boiler fires up.
    Over on the storage tank...
    -The thermostat on the storage tank is set to 140 degrees.
    -The copper piping coming out of the bottom of the storage tank is always cold to the touch.
    -The copper piping going into the storage tank is also cold.
    (All of the above is true, even when the boiler is on)

    Over on the boiler...
    -The copper piping coming out of the top left of the boiler is always hot. (I'm told the top-left supplies heat to the radiators)
    -The copper pipe coming out of the bottom-left of the boiler is always cold. (I'm told the bottom-left supplies heat to the storage tank)
    -The copper pipe coming into the boiler on the bottom right is always warm. (I was told the bottom-right of the boiler is the return for both storage tank and radiators)

    -water pressure seems to remain around 15psi

    Anyway, the circulator in question is also the same one above that someone pointed out is not installed at the correct angle. I'd like to try to troubleshoot it before calling the plumber back out and possibly having to replace. My current question is, is there a suggested way for me to troubleshoot, maybe to see if the pump impeller is stuck? I see there are gate valves on each side of that circulator. Also, I don't have experience working with copper pipe (or materials), so even if it was working, I don't think I can adjust the 45 degrees that was pointed out on a previous post. But I'm just wondering about air in it or maybe the impeller needs to be "helped". (I know this was true when I used to work on pumps in aquariums, but maybe this isn't true with circulators)

    Thanks for any tips/observations!

  • OhioMike
    OhioMike Member Posts: 3
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    Here's the new tank (now, with connections corrected!)