This weeks case, The Case of the Missing Glycol
We replaced a snowmelt boiler and connected it to the existing snowmelt system. Prior to the second heating season, we checked the boiler to ensure it was ready for the snow. While checking the boiler, we checked the glycol level and were shocked to see the glycol was gone. Checking the water meter on the makeup water, it showed over 20,000 gallons were used in the past year. Where did it go?
As usual, I will offer no clues or comments until Friday when the video is released. Have fun.
well that is a lot of water. "leak" seems like the low hanging fruit, but that is a whole lot to lose to a leak. We see a lot of parking lots with snowmelt that get altered later and the company doing the job usually cuts right into the snow melt tubing, but if that happened they would definitely know. I had a case where a pump kept failing over and over, and later heat exchangers were leaking, when I went to the jobsite I found a garden hose attached to the suction side drain on the pumps webstone drain-flange . the hose was dragged around the corner where the company workers were using the 180 degree boiler water to clean their painting supplies! In the process they would starve the pump of water and burn it out, the excess make-up water was very hard and would kill the poor triangle tube boilers heating the building.
I am thinking something along those lines happened in your case as well, but there is just a plethora of possiblities on this one1
is the snowmelt connected to a water fill of any so?Bob "hot rod" Rohr
trainer for Caleffi NA
Living the hydronic dream0
I have seen systems with water logged compression tanks, where the relief valve would dribble water.
This caused the water fill valve to continue adding water to dilute the glycol.
These also had the relief valve piped to a floor drain with a 90 pointing down thru the drain cover.
The dribbling was never noticed with this piped this way.
Amazingly the insurance inspector found this and wrote up failing relief valves.2
ethicalpaul Member Posts: 4,668
20,000 gallons over a year comes out to 0.038 GPM I'm bad at math though so maybe that is wrong, that could be a dribble I think0
So maybe a hose down a drain somewhere or a stuck open relief valve piped illegally.0
Since there is no mention of a heat exchanger, I'm going to assume this is a mod/con with an injection loop to get things going, but all system fluid is shared.
So a leaking boiler vessel at 0.38 gpm down the condensate drain would go unnoticed.
20,000 gallons is an awful lot to be washing cars with......Serving Northern Maine HVAC & Controls. I burn wood, it smells good!0
@ethicalpaul had the correct answer first The maintenance person connected the hose to the boiler. He washed the floor of the boiler room weekly. Based on the usage, I would imagine he used it for other areas. When asked about it, he said the nearest other hose bib was in the hall and didnt want people tripping over it. Thanks for the suggestions. Her is the link to the case.2
Wow. So thats where the story ended ?
I dont see any shared fault here. Do they think each and every valve and port should be labelled "Authorized Use Only", and every gauge stem etc should be labelled "Do Not Hang Clothes Here" , every wire should be labelled "Do Not Cut This Wire" , etc etc ??30+ yrs in telecom outside plant.
Currently in building maintenance.1
I hope you're fighting for complete payment, Ray.
Their attorney seems like the same firm that put "CAUTION HOT" on my coffee cup.
You'd think a maintenance person in a high end building would have at least the minimal understanding of... building maintenance.
And, they seem like the type to garnish the maintenance guy's wages to pay for it, which is of course illegal.1
@Dave Carpentier I guess so No one wants to take responsibility for their actions Thanks for the comment
@HVACNUT I just let it go. Found out I wasnt the first or last company to have this done. I got a call a year later and they asked me to come out. I told them I would once they paid me for the back charges and $500 advance for this call. They hung up Thanks4
retiredguy Member Posts: 749
@RayWohlfarth; Way back around 1980 the owner of CS&E sent me to a job about 3 hours away to fix a Sellers boiler . I had a past due bill (5 years old) for about $600.00 in my possession that needed to be paid before I would service his boiler. He said that he would pay for both after I took care of his present problem. I said that I needed the past due amount plus another $900.00 in advance or I would get in my truck and drive away. He handed me a check but I said "cash only" and that I would wait for the cash. He went to the bank and got the money. I counted it then fixed his problem. When I got to the shop the next day, my boss asked for the check and I handed him the envelope with the cash. He was a happy man.3
I am not a fan of connecting any glycol system to makeup water for this reason. I like glycol feeders. Putting very tightly installed caps on all hose connections and removing handles and ziptieing them to the valve also makes sense. With the price of glycol these days, the maintenance guy can cause a 5 figure issue.
I walked into a commercial parking garage a while back and could smell that sweet smell. The guy power washing the floor found a great place to connect his hose 😞."If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
Sounds like someone hooked the garden hose up to the wrong hose bib when washing cars, etc!! LOL0
I assume the system was not labeled as containing Glycol. With an inexpencive sticker you may have got all your money. Nowadays stuff like that should be labeled.National - U.S. Gas Boiler 45+ Years Old
Steam 300 SQ. FT. - EDR 347
One Pipe System0
I had a customer that used a boiler loop purge valve to to connect the washing machine hot pipe. They used Hot boiler water to wash the clothes. After disconnecting the hose 3 years in a row, I changed the valve to a ball valve with a plug in it. I left a note on the valve,
This is a boiler service valve.
This is not potable hot water for laundry.
Esta es una válvula de servicio de caldera.
Esto no es agua caliente potable para lavar la ropa.Edward F Young. Retired HVAC ContractorSpecialized in Residential Oil Burner and Hydronics0
backflow preventer gone wild, was my first guess. Saw the answer now… 💦0
Wow after being in the Trade since 1981 it never stops to amaze me what story's we all have to tell . Thanks for sharing Ray . With the liability laws in the US it might be a tricky case . Here in Germany we would laugh about and collect plus a stupid fee . But if your case would make to court I would throw it back at the manufacturer of the boiler . He should have labeled the hose bib .
Greetings to all ,
@retiredguy They know they will have to pay for any past due amount before I would pick up a screwdriver Like that story
@Zman Youre right about the price of glycol and I never thought the guy would use the hose connection for cleaning the floor.
@Anthony Menafro Yep thats exactly what happened
@109A_5 I just assumed he knew Wont make that mistake anymore
@EdTheHeaterMan Yech would not want the water inside the pipes on my clothes
@Approach2_8wrangler Yes sir. Glad that didnt happen.
@GermanPlumber I like the stupid fee
Wouldn't the first clue be the glycol smell coming out of the hose and that something isn't right. Hot water should not smell like radiator fluid.0
@scott You would have thought so.0
built in soap
known to beat dead horses0
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