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Solenoid Valve

Dave_6 Member Posts: 1
I have an old (50+ yrs) steam furnace that just had the waterfeeder valve go (McDonnel Miller 101-A general purpose valve). All it does is open and close. There is only wiring for power, nothing else. Buying a new McDonnell Miller Uni-Match feeder is possible but I wanted to know if I could just put in a regular solenoid valve to save some money. Do I need to be concerend with the flowrate or anything? Will I damage anything? Thanks for the help.


  • We used a simple solenoid valve just once

    on a steam boiler . Every time the valve would shut , it would bang the pipes something fierce . We use the Unimatch all the time - real good feeder , very quiet and has a built in delay for slow condensate return .
  • Big Ed
    Big Ed Member Posts: 1,117
    Boiler Feed

    Well yes ........... A feeder is a solenoid valve. Flow rate ? A #101 's has a high flow rate while a Uni-Match rate half of a 101. The Uni-Macth also feeds in spirts allowing more time for slow condensate returns .... I would use the Uni-Match unless you have a pair of Huge boilers heating the your indoor tennis courts.... Would I use a make shift unit ??? No , Not worth the damage if it fails. If the return spring is too weak to shut the unit off , it would flood the system and your radiator's would become a fountain. The heavy water could sag the main steam pipes and cause havoc later on ......

    Why don't you just shut the feeder off and fill it by hand ? As a matter of fact I would recommend it..... People use auto feeders for the wrong reasons.There purpose is a saftey device and not a conveiance item.... Most people install them so they don't have to go down stairs to add water to the system. With this intent it is very dangerous and could be costly. Best off getting in the habit of checking the system ,flushing the low water cut off to clean them and to make sure it works. Because if the l.w.c.o fails, then the feeder fails anyway, then if the boiler runs dry, then .............Bye Bye boiler and maybe the house and God forbid anything worse.... It's also good to see how much water you add anyway. With a auto you never know unless you hear it slam shut all the time . Now if your adding water on a regular basic , then you have leaks. Fix the leaks for too much make up water first off will ruin the system... And the leaks will cost you more on fuel . A steam boiler needs someone to maintain it..It's not a walk away and forget system.... Best of luck!

    P.S. Below is a boiler that had alittle too much fresh water ..... Photo was posted by a fellow Wallie
  • Better to hand feed

    the boiler. I agree with Big Ed. I would hate to tell you how many times I have found boilers over filled due to water feeder sticking. It also breeds customer apathy toward the boiler. The boiler needs to see you at least once a week.
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