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improper boiler install?

sgull Member Posts: 21
Recently I hired a plumber to install a

new Weil-McLain WGO model boiler in my mother-in-law's residence. It

seems he did not follow the manufacturer's installation instructions

as described in the manual. In connecting the water piping, he

installed the expansion tank on the supply side with the circulator

pumping at it. Another knowledgeable person has informed me this is

improper and is not following the manufacturer's instructions.

Checking the instructions myself, it is indeed apparent the

plumber/installer did indeed deviate from those instructions in

connecting the piping as I mention here. In this photo it can be seen

on the right side front top corner of the boiler where the two

tappings (pipes) exit/enter. <a href="http://i207.photobucket.com/albums/bb153/sgull1/IMG_1930_zps34bc1408.jpg">http://i207.photobucket.com/albums/bb153/sgull1/IMG_1930_zps34bc1408.jpg</a> The capped off short pipe to the left

of where the other pipe is (next to it to the right with the big

brass shutoff valve and circulator), according to the manual should

instead go up directly to the expansion tank. And the circulator

should be installed itself coming out of the right side tapping.

The next two photos are closer views

(taken from different angles) of the piping at the expansion tank,

along there with the installed Spiro-vent.

<a href="http://i207.photobucket.com/albums/bb153/sgull1/IMG_1936_zpsba267c67.jpg">http://i207.photobucket.com/albums/bb153/sgull1/IMG_1936_zpsba267c67.jpg</a> <a href="http://i207.photobucket.com/albums/bb153/sgull1/IMG_1937_zpsa741534c.jpg">http://i207.photobucket.com/albums/bb153/sgull1/IMG_1937_zpsa741534c.jpg</a>

And last photo here is

the piping at the bottom of the boiler.<a href="http://i207.photobucket.com/albums/bb153/sgull1/IMG_1938_zps2dbbc324.jpg">http://i207.photobucket.com/albums/bb153/sgull1/IMG_1938_zps2dbbc324.jpg</a>

Any comments please about this apparent

deviation from installation instructions and what potential issues I

might expect to occur as far as proper operation of the

boiler/system? If more info needed I can try my best to answer.



  • TonyS
    TonyS Member Posts: 849
    Ok heres my evaluation

    First thing first...The relief valve is not piped to the floor, wash machine right next to it...perfect for burning the skin off the face of say a 3 to 6 year old. Turn it off till you fix it.

    Weil Mclain cast a small air scoop into the top of the boiler, this is the perfect place to put your expansion tank piping. Its included in the boiler price and is located at the "widest part of the road" I think thats how Dan said it. Your man chose to buy an expensive air purge and hang it above the boiler. There is nothing wrong with his setup and many boilers are piped this way, it wasnt to long ago that almost all boilers were piped like this. But it is better to pump away from the expansion tank. This site has a book for sale called "PUMPING AWAY" and it goes into all the reasons of why.

    The boiler piping seems to be a simple single loop purge system, so unless your having alot of trouble getting the air out...it is fine.

    Im not sure and some of the oil guys here would know better but I think the barometric check may be to close to the boiler??
  • sgull
    sgull Member Posts: 21
    reply and further disussion

     Yes, first things first.  The relief valve situation there with no piping to the floor has been pointed out to me already by another person who noticed, and it is in my opinon an irresponsible and inexcusable oversight that the installer neglected to put such that piping there as part of the install job.  I've left word at the plumbing/heating business for them to please come promptly and take care of that, but they haven't got back to me or done anything about it yet. 

    If my man chose to buy an expensive air purge and hang it above the boiler insted of using the othewise described Weil Mclain cast small air scoop into the top of the boiler and put the expansion tank piping there instead, is it because perhaps he thinks this is better (and perhaps it is?), or probably because he just doesn't know any better?  I haven't got the bill for the install yet, and although I was hoping to be paying for a good quality properly done job, I certainly am not happy about having to be paying for some expensive air purge business that won't be any better than if the installer had simply followed the manufacturer's installation instructions and been able to avoid the apparently unnecessary expensive method there.

    Any further comment(s) appreciated. 
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    Your job:

    Although I personally wouldn't have done it like your installer did, and I would have definitely run the relief valve to the floor, you got everything that you paid for and more.

    I think that you have a problem with the installing company and have come here to find justification for your gripes. From some of the rotten installs that I have seen, you should consider yourself fortunate to not have one of those installations.

    If I had personally installed that same boiler in your relatives house, you would have lost your mind because in spite of what the manufacturer says in their "suggested" installation manual, I have things that I do and will continue to do on an installation like yours. The circulator would have been on the return at the bottom of the boiler where the water is cooler. The fill would have been feeding into the bottom of the boiler so that when I am purging, I will be feeding cold water into the bottom of the boiler and I will get hot water back on the purge. I would have used an El Cheapo Taco air scoop. Once purged, it would never get air bound. If it did, it would have been the first. If you saw what I did, you would loose your mind.

    The installer did a more than neat job. Some here would have been neater and some of us have seen jobs that make yours look like a BMW.

    You need to take another look at the situation. If it works, the boiler starts when it gets a call and the heat emitters get hot, you got your money's worth. Legally, the contract has been fulfilled if it does that.

    I would guess that the installer has wished you health, happiness and long distance.
  • sgull
    sgull Member Posts: 21
    got moneys worth? then ok.

    Although it could be implied by the "tone" of my ranting type post that I have a problem with the installing company and came here to find justification for gripes, that is not the case.  I came here seeking advice/comments about the situation from pros such as yourself that might help me determine if the job was actually "botched' or not, and whether deviating from manufacturer's instructions is as terrible as I might otherwise have been led to believe.

    Perhaps my seeming so upset about the relief tube not being installed (an oversight, it can happen) was exaggerated by my description.  Although if somebody were scalded because that un-noticed or uncorrected oversight, that obviously would be very bad for all concerned.  I called the company again, and they said they will come take care of in the morning, and would more immediately if they could but happened to have some higher priority "no heat" calls to attend to, they said.  Understandable, and acceptable.

    All in all, I am satisfied with the job as it looks, clean I think, and has been working just  great so far.  It's good for me to hear that although you may have done some things differently this is still a perfectly acceptable installation, that I shouldn't be having any major adverse operational issues the way things are, and that I got my money's worth.   A relief for me to hear that.  Thanks for your input icesailor.

    In the future, if/when air needs to be purged from the system, how do I know it's time to do that?  I claim absolutely no expertise about such.  Maybe just once a year when I have the boiler professionally checked/serviced I have them take care of that, or can/should I be aware of means to do so myself?   Thanks again for comment(s).
  • bill_105
    bill_105 Member Posts: 429
    Just curious

    While the water piping isn't exactly ideal, I was wondering. Now, I don't do oil. But is it okay to have the tee with the draft regulator right off the boiler? And how were the combustion checks?
  • sgull
    sgull Member Posts: 21

    The installer didn't mention doing any combustion checks, although I never especially asked him about that.  Maybe I should have asked him after he finished, just to inquire, but I didn't think of it. 
  • smthtls97
    smthtls97 Member Posts: 4
    Wiel Mclain

    I see a valve at the Expansion Tank that is incorrect as to if johnny home owner turns it off will not allow expansion and the relief valve will vent! Same here all RELIEF valves need to be piped within 6" of the floor! Over all this is a good install, even a tiger loop nice. The D.R. on the smoke pipe I have seen this a lot, I install them horizontally after the elbow.
  • Gordan
    Gordan Member Posts: 891

    It is commonplace to install a valve at the expansion tank, should the tank ever need to be checked for proper charge or replaced. Might want to remove the handle, but this is not a safety hazard.
  • sgull
    sgull Member Posts: 21
    edited October 2012
    relief valve piped now

    Update:  Installer's co-worker returned and piped in relief discharge valve line.

    Thanks for the further comments.
  • sgull
    sgull Member Posts: 21
    edited October 2012
    oh oh, problems...

    Now I noticed two things going on with

    the boiler, one is a drip/leak happening at the outlet fitting for

    the relief valve, and the other is what looks like some

    seepage/leaking has been going on below the burner mounting door on

    the boiler (whitish dried drip lines present there).

    A photo of the relief valve fitting

    drip: http://i207.photobucket.com/albums/bb153/sgull1/IMG_1940_zpsfe03aea4.jpg

    A photo of the leakage indicated below

    the burner door: http://i207.photobucket.com/albums/bb153/sgull1/IMG_1941_zps541b1a8d.jpg

    Also seems to be perhaps leakage from

    another source, as there is slight but definite wetness/dripping

    coming off the inside left bottom front corner of the boiler jacket.

    Tried to show it in a photo here, but the photo just shows the end of

    my dirty finger pointing to the area, if you look closely you can see

    my fingertip:  http://i207.photobucket.com/albums/bb153/sgull1/IMG_1943_zps9fb679f3.jpg

    Any comments regarding the likely the

    causes of these leaks, as well as the fix(es) for them would be

    appreciated. Thanks.
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265

    The first photo if the PRV and what appears to be a leak came from the factory like that. It was a package boiler and that relief valve come pre-installed. It's not the installers fault. The installer did not install that as you see it.

    The second photo shows what appears to be water leaking from inside the boiler. The boiler is probably set up as a cold start boiler and when the boiler is cold and the burner fires, it is making condensation. The water is leaking out from inside the chamber and through the door gasket. A common problem with cold start boilers.

    The final picture shows fittings that appear to have been made up with Teflon tape and Rectorseal #5 pipe dope. It is hard to tell what I am looking at. That is the boiler return and the water being cooler, you usually don't see the white fluffy stuff like you would on the supply side of the boiler.
  • Paul48
    Paul48 Member Posts: 4,469

    Look at the picture of the PRV before they piped it's discharge(from the link at the top of the posting). He loosened the elbow to plumb it.
  • Jason_13
    Jason_13 Member Posts: 304

    First off the installer installed the relief valve, see the I&O instructions which states (copied from manual)

    "Install relief valve vertically in “R1” tapping on front

    of boiler. See Figure 9 or Figure 10 and also refer to tag

    attached to relief valve for manufacturer’s instructions.

    Pipe relief valve discharge line near floor close

    to floor drain to eliminate potential of severe

    burns. Do not pipe to any area where freezing

    could occur. Do not plug, valve or place any

    obstruction in discharge line"

    I would always follow the manufcaturers instructions as they know their products best. They have designed, tested and built it.

    What size boiler wass this? A Weil WGO-?

    of boiler. See Figure 9 or Figure 10 and also refer to tag

    attached to relief valve for manufacturer’s instructions.

    Pipe relief valve discharge line near floor close

    to floor drain to eliminate potential of severe

    burns. Do not pipe to any area where freezing

    could occur. Do not plug, valve or place any

    obstruction in discharge line"

    I would always follow the manufcaturers instructions as they know their products best. They have designed, tested and built it.

    What size boiler wass this? A Weil WGO-?
  • sgull
    sgull Member Posts: 21
    photo followup discussion/inquiries

    Followup about photos:

    • Is it fairly important and/or very

      involved to fix that leak from the factory pre-installed (or

      installer installed, whichever) PRV?

    • The condensation which has

      occurred and leaked out from the door gasket I hope is not something

      that should be happening very frequently. Probably just after the

      first time they got the boiler into operation and it was a colder

      start then than most of the time otherwise in future starts? A

      common problem, as mentioned, but probably (and hopefully) not much

      to worry about, or much that can be done about it anyway?

    • Here's a little better photo of

      the area shown in the final photo.  http://i207.photobucket.com/albums/bb153/sgull1/IMG_1938_zps99a43392.jpg  The other wetness/dripage I

      mentioned can be felt/seen right under the left front bottom sheet

      metal of the yellow boiler jacket there, under the bottom corner an

      inch below that dark philips screw head. I'd like to know where

      that wetness might be coming from too. Minor wetness there, but it

      is there nonetheless.  The wet spot there seen on the concrete in this photo is likely coming from the PRV leak above, but it isn't from where I just mentioned described here in this paragraph.

    • This is a Weil McLain WGO2.
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    Quality Install:

    Although I haven't installed a WGO recently, I remember that the PRV comes installed. But I'm not going on a limb and say that it was. But the installer gets points from me because everything is plumb, level and straight. They used Pro-Press fittings on the copper. They used cast brass fittings on the water lines. I personally don't like orphaned steel fittings between copper and brass, but it is common and acceptable. The fact that every joint I see that I know was field made used Teflon Tape and paste shows me that this was a quality install by someone who gave a rats A$$. After going through all the effort to make all the other joints, I can't see that the installers would not have properly prepared the PRV. The fact that it was pre-installed would lead me to think that it wasn't prepared properly. I always use a black nipple and black 90 degree ell  into the PRV and a piece of 3/4" copper tube with an adapter so I don't have to unsolder anything to replace the PRV. Nothing worse than a leaking PRV and you need a torch to get the drain apart to change the valve,

    If there were Teflon tape on the threads, it wouldn't be leaking. The factory doesn't use it as a rule. I've seen some really awful jobs that met the legal definition of industry acceptable. This installation is way far above that standard. There's something else that no one picked up on but only a Massachusetts inspector would have picked up on it.

    I would be really BS if someone nit picked one of my jobs as nit picky as someone has picked apart this one. Compare this job to the one that Gennady posted under "Halloween Surprise". Who cared about appearance.

    Picky, picky, picky.
  • Robert O'Brien
    Robert O'Brien Member Posts: 3,512

    Your use of black on relief valve discharge piping would fail here. And since we're nitpicking, the BFP needs a discharge pipe also. It's a lackluster install both in workmanship and equipment selection.
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
  • Paul48
    Paul48 Member Posts: 4,469
    The Nitpicker

    I am the nitpicker that pointed out the PRV and the fact that the boiler was not installed to manufacturers specification.I told him that sometimes when boilers are installed this way, there are problems requiring frequent purging. I also told him there are many boilers out there,installed just like this one, that have no problems.I told him the addition of the spirovent would help eliminate any air, and if there were any issues perhaps maintaining the system at a slightly higher pressure of 18-20 psi might eliminate the problem. icesailor.....your description of how you would have installed the boiler, still falls within the manufacturers  guidelines for an alternate circulator position per figure 9 in the I&O manual. I told him to bring the questions to this forum to get some input from the pros here.I told him that installing the boiler to manufacturers specs. protects the installer and the homeowner. A large percentage of the postings on this forum are from homeowners with system problems relating to slight deviations from manufacturers guidelines by installers.The homeowners come here, after the installer abandons the job, and them, wishing them well, from afar.In this case, it would have taken the installer an extra 5 minutes to look at the manual, and do the job to spec. They would have had to open the packet containing the manual, which they didn't. Is it nitpicking? The thousands of postings on this site, suggest it isn't. Is it an unreal expectation that your boiler will be installed according to manufacturers specifications....it shouldn't be.Yell at me, not the original poster.
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    PRV overflow pipe:

    No ASME regulation that I am aware of says that you must use a non-ferrous pipe for an  overflow. On domestic potable water heaters, you need them. You can not use a black steel pipe on the T/PR of a water heater. At least, not in Massachusetts.

    I didn't mention the overflow on the 9D but that is what I was alluding to. That also can not be a steel pipe and must be non ferrous.

    I'm going to replace the PRV overflow on a 2.5 million BTU steam boiler where the installation specifically states to not reduce the size of the overflow. They installed a 2 1/2" X 2" Bl. Bushing and piped it outside with 2" black steel pipe. I was planning to change it to 2 1/2" black steel pipe. Are telling me that I need to do it in 2 1/2" copper tube or brass pipe? I've seen installs by Steamhead that had black steel pipe for PRV overflows. If he can do it, so can I.
  • sgull
    sgull Member Posts: 21
    BFP? 9D?

    What is the "BFP" that apparently needs a discharge, as mentioned Robert O'brien post above?

    Also, what is the "9D" as Ice mentioned, please.

  • SWEI
    SWEI Member Posts: 7,356

    Stands for BackFlow Preventer.  9D is one of those http://www.watts.com/pages/_products_details.asp?pid=886
  • sgull
    sgull Member Posts: 21
    drip from relief outlet

    So my question now is how long until I need to really worry about this getting this leak fixed? http://i207.photobucket.com/albums/bb153/sgull1/IMG_1940_zpsfe03aea4.jpg

    The only obvious thing happening so far is this wet spot on the concrete down below is getting bigger: http://i207.photobucket.com/albums/bb153/sgull1/IMG_1941_zpse1f9816c.jpg

    I notified the installer about it yesterday morning, but they haven't got back to me about it.
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    Leak Repair:

    The leak should be fixed as soon as possible.

    If I had installed the boiler, and you informed me about a leak, I would have been there the next at the latest to fix it. It is an easy fix.
  • sgull
    sgull Member Posts: 21
    they say maybe later in the week

    It's been dripping like that four four days now, since Saturday morning, when they came out and finally installed the piping onto the prv (which they had neglected to do at the time of the installation of the boiler).  I stopped in yesterday and showed them the same pictures as I posted here of the drip, and today again called to ask when/if they can come fix it.  They told me it'll be fine, and that they might be able to get to it later in the week.  Should it really more than likely "be fine" like they say, and I'm

    making a bigger deal out of it than necessary by worrying about it? If for example it continues dripping like that for at least several more days, how bad a situation can it end up being?  
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265

    In the grand scheme of things, it isn't all that important. But it is to you and you have every reason to be upset. Different strokes for different strokes is a line. Some would get wired over it. Others wouldn't. I personally don't differentiate. If someone came and ran the relief line, I would be more annoyed that they didn't notice (but of course they did) and didn't bother to fix it. That's just plain lazy.

    In spite of what someone disagreed with me about, if it is piped like I do, with a 3/4" black nipple of a length that gets it far enough away from the boiler so you can put a bucket under it in case it leaks, a 3/4" black 90 degree ell, and a length of 3/4" copper tube with a male adapter on it so that you don't have to unsolder anything to change the relief valve, you could get PO'ed and give it a turn yourself.

    I excused the other stuff as sheep happen. I don't excuse leaks. Especially one big enough to drip on the floor.

    You don't even have to drain the system. I never do, I replace PRV's like that "on the fly" and loose a cup or two of water. Shameful.
  • sgull
    sgull Member Posts: 21
    so, it'll be fine

    Okay, I can be a little upset but no reason for me to stress.  Good.  It can leak like that until they might get around to fix it later in the week, like they said.  Thanks icesailor.
  • sgull
    sgull Member Posts: 21
    edited November 2012
    finally, probably fixed

    Well they still never got back to me, of course, so I got in contact

    with the owner of this plumbing/hvac business that did the boiler

    install. I explained what was happening and he personally made sure

    someone came out today to fix it, today, no more waiting/wondering. The

    guy he sent said it was leaking not only from the elbow joint but also

    at the internal side of the relief nipple where it screws in. He said it

    was loose at both joints. I watched as he drained the boiler some,

    removed the 90 (and the nipple as well), retaped (and used some thread

    sealant), retightened, refilled, bled the air, etc.  His guess was maybe when

    the installer and his helper were moving/carrying the new boiler into

    place in the house that maybe one of them grabbed onto the relief valve

    and used it as a handle to lift the boiler around, which could have

    loosened those joints like that.
  • Paul48
    Paul48 Member Posts: 4,469

    also explains the leak you were seeing at the bottom corner of the jacket.
  • sgull
    sgull Member Posts: 21

    what I was thinking too.  
This discussion has been closed.