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Presssuretrol does not turn off boiler fire at 4-5 psi

The pressuretrol is subtractive cut in 1 psi cut off 1.5 psi so running system pressure 0.5 psi
Why doesn't pressuretrol turn off boiler at 4-5 psi. Should it be replaced?
I have a burnham independence boiler on one pipe steam system.
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Comments

  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,227
    Have you made sure the pigtail between the boiler and pressuretrol is clear? They become clogged over time and should be removed and cleaned every year when the boiler is cleaned.

    Also are you sure the gauge is working right?

    Bob
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
    rrwitherspoon
  • rrwitherspoon
    rrwitherspoon Member Posts: 104
    I think the pressure gauge is correct because I have developed a steam leak on a supply valve on a large radiator on second floor.
    Never noticed a leak before ...very small.

    I will attempt to clean pigtail. I do not think it has ever been cleaned since installation of boiler 2008.
    Can you describe the process of removing pigtail from pressuretrol? Detail please
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 4,814
    You should post pictures of your set up so you get better comments on how to take it apart. There are a lot of different ways things can be installed. If you have a 0-30 psi gauge it could be wrong. Those gauges are generally considered useless on these low pressure systems. Post some pictures of your pigtail set up and the procedure can be explained.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • rrwitherspoon
    rrwitherspoon Member Posts: 104
    I have a smartphone with camera...I am sorry ..I do not know how to post photo here
  • rrwitherspoon
    rrwitherspoon Member Posts: 104
    OMG it worked!!! Is this good enough?
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 4,814
    You need to unscrew the pressuretrol from the pigtail. You will need to disconnect the wires going to it to unscrew it (turn the power off first!). Then you can unscrew the pigtail and blow through it or run water through it to make sure it is clean and fully open. Then reverse the procedure. Make sure you use a good pipe dope or PTFE (teflon) tape on the pipe joints when you reassemble it.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • rrwitherspoon
    rrwitherspoon Member Posts: 104
    Well it is perfectly open..no guck
    Does that mean new pressuretrol needed.
    Should I reorder same model number
    Max 8 psi
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 4,814
    Maybe, but if you are relying on a 30 psi gauge that could be the problem as well. It's generally a good idea to have a low pressure gauge 0-3 psi no matter what. If it was me I would do that first and that for sure would show what is going on. If you put a better gauge on and it is still doing that then it is the pressuretrol. If you are confident it it definitely the pressuretrol then yes buy a new one.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • rrwitherspoon
    rrwitherspoon Member Posts: 104
    I forgot which wire goes top which one bottom.
    Does it matter?
  • rrwitherspoon
    rrwitherspoon Member Posts: 104
    Never mind. I can see from pic that pink wire goes up top.
    Do I need new presssuretrol L404F 1367?
  • rrwitherspoon
    rrwitherspoon Member Posts: 104
    it looks soo new. Thee 30 psi boiler pressure gauge is connected directly to boiler. Where would I install another lower 0-3 psi gauge on the system?
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 4,814
    You can add a tee on top of the pigtail and mount the gauge to that with a nipple and an elbow then mount the pressuretrol on top of that. If you do it it's a good idea to add a union on top of the pigtail then you can remove the pressuretrol without messing with wiring and it makes maintenance that much easier.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • rrwitherspoon
    rrwitherspoon Member Posts: 104
    I am a woman new to this stuff. My husband not interested.
    Do you have a pic of nipple elbow and union. Will I be able to get
    gauge at home depot? Are there any specifics I need to watch out for when purchasing the lo psi gauge?
  • vaporvac
    vaporvac Member Posts: 1,520
    Hi there, they have what you need at HD and will know what you're talking about. Just have the correct size.I'll try and post a pic of my install so you can see what to do after you have the bits. My gauge is original so maybe someone else will let you know what they've ordered recently. Colleen
    P.S.This steam stuff is more interesting than you could imagine, and if you read some of books or look through the lit here you'll know more than most of those working on your system.
    Two-pipe Trane vaporvacuum system; 1466 edr
    Twinned, staged Slantfin TR50s piped into 4" header with Riello G400 burners; 240K lead, 200K lag Btus. Controlled by Taco Relay and Honeywell RTH6580WF
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 4,814
    There was a thread recently about where to buy a pressure gauge, but I can't find it right now. Here is a link to where I bought mine. This item is more specialized so I don't think HD will have it...well my HD doesn't have it.
    http://www.valworx.com/product/low-pressure-gauge-25-0-3-psi
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • David Nadle
    David Nadle Member Posts: 624
    I like having a low pressure gauge but I wouldn't put a 3 PSI gauge on a boiler that's not shutting off at 4 PSI...

    Before replacing anything I would try raising the cut-off setting to 3 or 4 and see if it starts to work. At least you'll know...

    If you do have to or want to replace it and you want to run at low pressures this is a good opportunity to upgrade to a vaporstat like the L408J1017/U.
  • vaporvac
    vaporvac Member Posts: 1,520
    I meant HD would have the brass fitting, not the gauge itself. good suggestions, david. rr remember that you still need the 0-30 gauge to satisfy most codes, but a Vstat would help keep you at lower pressure. The question is" why is your pressure so high?"
    Two-pipe Trane vaporvacuum system; 1466 edr
    Twinned, staged Slantfin TR50s piped into 4" header with Riello G400 burners; 240K lead, 200K lag Btus. Controlled by Taco Relay and Honeywell RTH6580WF
  • rrwitherspoon
    rrwitherspoon Member Posts: 104
    I thought a vapostat was only to be used on two pipe steam and ran on ounces
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,227
    There is no reason for a steam boiler to operate above 1 to 2 pounds of pressure on the overwhelming majority of residential boilers. If yours is really operating at 4-5 PSI the pressuretrol could be defective or miswired. The other possibility is the the pressure gauge is inaccurate.

    You could try adding a 5PSI gauge if you think the pressure really is high, in any case you need to determine what the pressure really is.

    Bob
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • rrwitherspoon
    rrwitherspoon Member Posts: 104
    can you show or diagram how to connect low pressure gauge to pressuretrol via elbow nipple union etc
  • rrwitherspoon
    rrwitherspoon Member Posts: 104
    What could go wrong with pressuretrol? only TWO WIRES PINK ONE ON TOP

  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,227
    edited November 2014
    The linkage inside a pressuretrol can become decoupled and that will render it inoperative. The wiring to the pressuretrol can be correct but that does no good if the other end is not connected to the control circuit correctly. You can test the operation by removing the front cover and using a screwdriver to operate the lever that goes from the spring over to the microswitch. Examine the mechanism carefully to see if things have become decoupled. Be careful not to touch the switch contacts, they have either 24v or 120v on them.

    If you move that lever while the boiler is operating this will shut the boiler down, proving the wiring and switch are good. This does not prove the proper operation of the pressure diaphram.

    There is also a very small setscrew on that lever that can be used to calibrate the pressure setting

    I tried to upload a picture to show you how a gauge can be added but the site refuses to accept the file. It seems the file was accepted, if you open the picture you will see one method of mounting a second pressure gauge.

    Bob
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • David Nadle
    David Nadle Member Posts: 624

    I thought a vapostat was only to be used on two pipe steam and ran on ounces

    I've never heard that before, and I've been using the 0-16 oz/in^2 vaporstat on my one-pipe system for 7 years with no issues.

    I think BobC is on to something. Maybe when you adjusted the pressuretrol all the way down you went a little too far and disengaged the linkage to the microswitch.

    I also have doubts about the 5 PSI. I would think some of your radiator vents would be complaining loudly at that pressure.
  • rrwitherspoon
    rrwitherspoon Member Posts: 104
    Yes the last radiator vent was hissing
    Most have varivalve They were quiet
  • rrwitherspoon
    rrwitherspoon Member Posts: 104
    How do you re-engage microswitch?
  • rrwitherspoon
    rrwitherspoon Member Posts: 104
    What is main vent device in pic?
  • Abracadabra
    Abracadabra Member Posts: 1,948

    How do you re-engage microswitch?

    Turn the screw so that it threads back into the lever?

    What is main vent device in pic?

    No idea what you are talking about. I don't see a "main vent device"

  • HarryL
    HarryL Member Posts: 59

    What is main vent device in pic?

    The main vent is, as it sounds, the vent that will be at the end of the main. It may look like a heavy duty radiator vent. Sometimes installers put this instead on the dry return, typically near the boiler. Your picture is just of the boiler so it isn't in that picture.
    Home owner, 1927 2-story, single family
    1 pipe Burnham IN4I, Boston area
  • rrwitherspoon
    rrwitherspoon Member Posts: 104
    it is a mouat bullet all cast iron vent
  • Captain Who
    Captain Who Member Posts: 452
    That one is apparently an old obsolete vent that had a venting capacity greater than a Gorton #1 but less than a Gorton #2. It is about 26% of the way up from a #1 to a #2 at 1 oz. pressure and about 30% of the way at 2 oz. pressure. It must be pretty old if it is obsolete. You could test it with a mirror and a thermocouple to see what temp it stops letting water vapor or steam out at. If it never stops no matter how hot it is definitely bad. If you don't have a thermocouple you could just touch it VERY briefly to check how hot it is but you could burn yourself.
  • rrwitherspoon
    rrwitherspoon Member Posts: 104
    It gets hot but i never feel/hear air leaving the two holes up top like I do with the gorton #1 vent on the other main.It has been impossible to remove. I cleaned paint off and put on pb blaster at 3/4 inch joint.I want to replace with antlers gorton #1 I have 2 so far.How can I tell if it is no good?
  • rrwitherspoon
    rrwitherspoon Member Posts: 104
    Can I antler it in with other gorton #1's if found to be functional.
  • Captain Who
    Captain Who Member Posts: 452
    Like I said just above, you can use a mirror........you know like you do to see if someone has stopped breathing. Any amount of water vapor will show up as a fog on the mirror. It is normal as long as it isn't fogging the mirror when the vent is HOT.
  • Captain Who
    Captain Who Member Posts: 452
    PS: A good time to test for marginally bad vents is when the pressure is up near the cut-out pressure on the pressuretrol because that is the highest pressure your system will ordinarily experience.
    rrwitherspoon
  • Captain Who
    Captain Who Member Posts: 452
    Sometimes vents can be successfully cleaned in a pot of hot vinegar (do it under the range hood with the exhaust fan on). Don't have the vinegar boiling because that will just seat the valve. You want it around 140F to 150 F. Let it soak for a while, maybe 15m to 30m to maybe even an hour. The problem is, that if the vent is really old and the seats in the valve portion are corroded, the vinegar may just open up those pits and make it leak even worse. That's why it is important to try to keep the pH of your boiler water on the slightly alkaline side around 8.5 and to also minimize feeding too much fresh water into your boiler because that contains more oxygen until it has been boiled. I believe that will reduce the corrosion in general in your whole system. I'm going to look into adding some anhydrous soda ash (sodium carbonate = washing soda) into my water to adjust my pH.
    rrwitherspoon
  • rrwitherspoon
    rrwitherspoon Member Posts: 104
    Thank you very much
  • Captain Who
    Captain Who Member Posts: 452
    Yes, you want to have enough main venting so that the steam fills the main in around 2 to 3 mins I'd say. If you do the antler try to make sure that it is pitched downward away from the vents so that the condensate will run back down into the main, or dry returns if that is where your vents are (like in my system). To do that, you may want it to be a one-sided antler rather than a large Tee arrangement, if you know what I mean.

    What is the length and diameter of all your piping (inside diameters) up to the vent locations? 2" ID main would measure about 2-3/8" OD (3/16" wall thickness).
  • rrwitherspoon
    rrwitherspoon Member Posts: 104
    How does one distinguish dry vs wet returns. I have one pipe steam.
    Confused about one sided antler vs tee arrangement also. The plan was
    to increase venting wherever i found nonfunctional or underventing
  • Captain Who
    Captain Who Member Posts: 452
    The end of the main elbows down into a return. If it is a dry return it elbows again usually in the opposite direction of the main steam flow and makes it back at a slight downward pitch along the main to the boiler where it elbows down into the boiler. If it went straight down to the floor or below the floor from the end of the main that is called a wet return because it is entirely full of liquid condensate all the time.