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Bringing boiler back up

Jim HolmJim Holm Posts: 6Member
I live in a 100 year old apartment building. We have a single-pipe steam heating system. This weekend, we had a pretty large leak from a cracked elbow for one of the steam lines. Steam would spray out when the boiler was on, and water would spray out when the condensate returned.

The plumber who came out to fix the problem shut down our boiler, turned off the water supply, and drained the system completely. He switched out the elbow in the line. Then, he turned on the water supply and the boiler simultaneously.

Here's my question: should he have waited for the tank to fill before turning on the boiler? He left after 10 minutes, and I turned the boiler back off, waited for the tank to fill, then restarted the boiler.

Is there any chance the boiler was damaged by this?

Jim Holm


  • EBEBRATT_3EBEBRATT_3 Posts: 3Member

    I am assuming you are talking about the condensate return tank. Yup, he shoud have filled the system, started the boiler and watched it run a cycle before leaving--I am sure he was busy with the cold wether and all. When you leave in a hurry you never know--if all the controls work perfectly (low water cutoff, pump conttrol etc)then the system should come back into sync. and no harm to the boiler-- I am assuming the boiler had a normal water level while it was firing It would have been better to wait--but time is money
  • oil-2-4-6-gasoil-2-4-6-gas Posts: 641Member

    this was a plumber --he replaced a bad 90 it's not really his job to have sat there for an hour to run it and check --the boiler controls he's not a boiler service tech. he might not even own a meter completely different fields we are talking commercial here
  • Jim HolmJim Holm Posts: 6Member

    Thanks for the feedback. I understand this was a plumber, not a boiler tech, but this is a big plumbing company in our area and they claim to do plumbing and heating. My first lesson is probably to call the boiler company when we have problems with the heating system.

    To clarify, when the plumber drained the system, he turned off the water feed to the boiler, then opened a valve on the boiler itself. The water level in watch glass fell to empty.

    When he was done, he turned on the water line to the boiler (the water meter started spinning like crazy) then immediately relit the boiler. The watch glass was still empty.

    After he left and I turned off the boiler, it took about 5 to 10 minutes for the water to get to the set level in the watch glass. I then started the boiler again. Seems to be working fine.

    Is there any chance the boiler was damaged? Should the control system have prevented the boiler from lighting without water in it?

  • blackoakbobblackoakbob Posts: 240Member
    If the burner started .....

    before you saw water in the gauge glass you should have someone check this immediately!
    I would expect he thought you were taking care of the operation of the boiler and burner and left it in your capable hands. I never try to tell the boiler operators how to bring their boilers back on line, they do it everyday and know the little things that need to be attended to on a startup.
    Best Regards.
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