Welcome! Here are the website rules, as well as some tips for using this forum.
Need to contact us? Visit https://heatinghelp.com/contact-us/.
Click here to Find a Contractor in your area.

Help, steam shooting out valve

crunne
crunne Member Posts: 9
Hi, I'm renting out a room in which the landlord keeps trying to fix the oil heater himself. This is the second time he's claim that the pressure valve was faulty, because after running the heat for about an hour what sounds like a gun shot goes off and the basement is FULL of steam, and steam is rocketing out of said valve. I unfortunately don't have the money to have a professional come in and I'm affraid if he keeps turning the heat on its going to cause an explosion. Can anyone tell me what is possibly the cause of this, so that I may bring it up to the landlord. The system is Very old, but to the best of my knowledge, it's semi clean, the water in the cylinder is full, and it's flushed out every week or so. I know this is a difficult question because I'm probably the Least knowledgeable person on this sort of thing, but it's 20 degrees right now and going to be 15 tomorrow, so any help will be greatly appreciated!! Thanks everyone!

Comments

  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,529
    Is this a steam system or a hot water system? We need pictures of the "Valve" that is blowing steam. Is it the Pressure Relief valve on the boiler in the basement or on a radiator in one of the rooms. In either case, that is a dangerous situation and the system should not be used until it is properly fixed. It sounds like your Landlord is not the one to fix it.
  • crunne
    crunne Member Posts: 9
    Um I'm not 100% sure, I know that we need to order oil to get it to work, and he calls it "the oil heater". And it's the main system in the basement, not the radiators in the rooms. The first picture is where the steam comes pouring out from, yesterday was so bad I thought there was a fire, couldnt see an inch in front of my face. The second picture is the system itself from the front.
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,529
    That's the pressure relief valve on the STEAM boiler. That is a dangerous situation. Steam can scald/burn you upon contact and it can also suffocate you. You either need to tell the Landlord to get someone in to fix it or you need to find a safer place to live, until it is fixed. There is a story on another thread where two children died from a steam valve blowing off, just last week.
    crunne
  • crunne
    crunne Member Posts: 9
    Is there maybe a list of things that may be causing this problem? Something I can show him? I don't have the funds to relocate, so it's either help this guy attempt to fix this or suffer through the frigid temp until winter is over, I just hope the pipes in my house dont freeze and burst from it being cold.
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,529
    It could be a bad Pressure relief valve, a bad Pressuretrol (Gray box on the front of the Boiler, a clogged pigtail (looped pipe) that the Pressuretrol is mounted on, an oil burner that's over firing. It could be any number of things and professional with some experience needs to be there and go over that boiler.
    You can't afford to relocate. Really? Can you afford to risk your life?
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 13,524
    edited December 2016
    Fred said:

    It could be a bad Pressure relief valve, a bad Pressuretrol (Gray box on the front of the Boiler, a clogged pigtail (looped pipe) that the Pressuretrol is mounted on, an oil burner that's over firing. It could be any number of things and professional with some experience needs to be there and go over that boiler.
    You can't afford to relocate. Really? Can you afford to risk your life?

    That's not fair @Fred . Many people are in that situation and they literally cannot afford to move.

    I'd check the pigtail to make sure it's clear first and next the Pressuretrol. An overfired burner shouldn't do it regardless is the Pressuretrol should shut it down before it exceeds 2 PSI.

    That pressure relief needs a pipe on it going down to a few inches of the floor ASAP. That's a major code violation and downright dangerous.

    The Pressuretrol should be set as low as it can go. If that doesn't heat the house you need faster vents, not more pressure. 2 PSI is enough to heat huge commercial buildings, a fraction of a pound is needed to heat any house.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
    crunne
  • crunne
    crunne Member Posts: 9
    Boy, man ok ill talk to the landlord and bring up these points to see if we can come to some sort of agreement to get a professional in here. And yeah money is extremely tight, I'm already on workers comp due to an injury with a possible major surgery coming up, and I just don't have any breathing room funds. Thanks guys I really do appreciate the help.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 13,524
    edited December 2016
    crunne said:

    Boy, man ok ill talk to the landlord and bring up these points to see if we can come to some sort of agreement to get a professional in here. And yeah money is extremely tight, I'm already on workers comp due to an injury with a possible major surgery coming up, and I just don't have any breathing room funds. Thanks guys I really do appreciate the help.

    If you take pictures of the radiators and their vents, assuming it's a single pipe system, and the piping in the basement we can try and help more.

    There's no reason that system shouldn't hear the house completely safe, and even silently.


    Fred get's emotional sometimes. :)
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
    crunne
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,529
    edited December 2016
    @ChrisJ it may not be fair but its truth. When this occurs every time the boiler runs, it needs to be addressed and a tenant can't afford to live and/or die because of a Landlord who isn't or won't fix the problem. You recognize it is "Dangerous" is it fair to say put a pipe on it and the Pressuretrol shouldn't allow the boiler to do that. If the Pressuretrol was working, at all, the Pressure Relief valve wouldn't be blowing off with each heating cycle. And from what I can see, it doesn't even have an auto water feeder on it to replenish the boiler water, with those bursts of steam from that valve.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 13,524
    edited December 2016
    Fred said:

    @ChrisJ it may not be fair but its truth. When this occurs every time the boiler runs, it needs to be addressed and a tenant can't afford to live and/or die because of a Landlord who isn't or won't fix the problem. You recognize it is "Dangerous" is it fair to say put a pipe on it and the Pressuretrol shouldn't allow the boiler to do that. If the Pressuretrol was working, at all, the Pressure Relief valve wouldn't be blowing off with each heating cycle. And from what I can see, it doesn't even have an auto water feeder on it to replenish the boiler water, with those bursts of steam from that valve.

    What you said is true, however questioning the OP's ability to move wasn't fair in my opinion. Some people are literally stuck in a bad spot. Let's do our best to help them and make their system safe. No, they cannot afford to risk their life, so let's make it so they don't have to.

    @crunne Something else that must be tested is the LWCO. That black thing hanging on the side that either you, or the landlord dumps water from once a week to clean it. It should be dumped with the burner on to ensure it shuts the burner off. If it does not, that needs to be rectified as well.

    That shuts the boiler down if it runs low on water. The grey box on the looped pipe, the Pressuretrol shuts the boiler down if the pressure is too high.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • crunne
    crunne Member Posts: 9
    The radiators that come into the rooms? Ok, they all look the same like the 1st picture, and i tried to get the pipes coming out of the steam boiler. If you need others let me know and I'll try to get them.
  • Abracadabra
    Abracadabra Member Posts: 1,948
    copper header? is there an equalizer? I don't see one..
    wet steam galore?
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,529
    @ChrisJ, I wasn't questioning the Op's ability to move, I was questioning their willingness to put their life at risk by not moving, even if with a friend or family member, until, this is resolved. The priority here must be personal safety.
    For example, I wouldn't suggest that the OP check the LWCO on a system that is likely to blow steam out of the PRV, that has no pipe on it. It has already been said the boiler blows steam out of that valve when the boiler runs.
  • Abracadabra
    Abracadabra Member Posts: 1,948
    what boiler is that? take a pic of the rating plate?
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,335
    Something is very wrong with that system, if the landlord ever gets it into his mind to block the pressure relief valve the boiler could explode. The suggestions above should be followed but they have to be done by someone who understands what he is doing.

    If he doesn't get help in there to fix it I would call the town fire department and the building inspector. This is serious and someone could get killed.

    i don't want to read about a boiler explosion.

    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
    ChrisJcrunneCLambRomanGK_26986764589
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 19,880
    Folks are right -- that's an extremely dangerous situation. Folks are also right -- the likely culprit is either the pressuretrol or the pigtail going to it. It's set to high -- the pressuretol is. That's not what's causing the relief valve to operate, but it does need to be corrected. It should be dialed down so the scale marker is just above the .5 mark.

    It is not hard to check the pigtail: turn the boiler off, disconnect the wires to the pressuretrol, unscrew the pressuretrol from the pigtail (you'll need some plumber's teflon tape when you go to put it back on) and simply pour water into it. It shouldn't fill up -- just keep going. If it fills, it's clogged. You may be able to clear it with a flexible (but not too flexible!) wire. Then tape the threads and put the pressuretrol back on and wire it up again. And fire the boiler. Keep an eye on the pressure gauge; it shouldn't go over 3 psi if you've adjusted the pressuretrol as i suggested.

    If it does, find a pro. (where are you located? We may know one -- or check the find a contractor tab on this site) and get them to fix it. On your landlord's dime; it's his responsibility.

    About the money -- may I just comment that until one has been broke, or nearly so, one has no idea just how difficult things can be. Been there. Have no desire to return.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    ChrisJRomanGK_26986764589
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 13,524
    Fred said:

    @ChrisJ, I wasn't questioning the Op's ability to move, I was questioning their willingness to put their life at risk by not moving, even if with a friend or family member, until, this is resolved. The priority here must be personal safety.
    For example, I wouldn't suggest that the OP check the LWCO on a system that is likely to blow steam out of the PRV, that has no pipe on it. It has already been said the boiler blows steam out of that valve when the boiler runs.

    I agree Fred.
    I said the LWCO is something else that needs to be tested. Obviously the Pressuretrol and pigtail are top priority, but once those are fixed the LWCO must be tested as well.

    I wouldn't sleep in the house until I knew both LWCO and Pressuretrol were operating correctly.

    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • crunne
    crunne Member Posts: 9
    Wow a lot to digest. Ok well I'll try my best to go over this with the landlord, for now I suppose we will just keep it off. As for all the other questions people are asking i have no clue what any of you are asking i know Nothing about this stuff or the lingo. I wish I had the ability to stay with friends or family but I moved out of state and have neither around. Also don't get into a skirmish over my account, I was simply looking for a little information. For now I'll see if i can save up some extra cash and try to get a professional in to look at the system. I just hope it isn't Too expensive.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 13,524
    crunne said:

    Wow a lot to digest. Ok well I'll try my best to go over this with the landlord, for now I suppose we will just keep it off. As for all the other questions people are asking i have no clue what any of you are asking i know Nothing about this stuff or the lingo. I wish I had the ability to stay with friends or family but I moved out of state and have neither around. Also don't get into a skirmish over my account, I was simply looking for a little information. For now I'll see if i can save up some extra cash and try to get a professional in to look at the system. I just hope it isn't Too expensive.

    Don't worry.
    We get into a skirmish over everything. Even cookies.

    It's how we roll.

    :)
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
    crunneCanuckerGrallertRomanGK_26986764589
  • crunne
    crunne Member Posts: 9
    Thanks all, I live in northern New Jersey, near NYC BTW. And i have the entire system shut off with the emergency switch. I won't risk having it put back on until I can save up a few bucks to have a pro come in. Once again thanks everyone for helping out! I really appreciate it.
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,529
    Show your Landlord this thread and ask him to get the boiler looked at. Offer to make the call for him, if need be. tell us where you are located, maybe we can recommend someone who we know will do right by you.
    crunneChrisJ
  • crunne
    crunne Member Posts: 9
    Thanks!! I will show him tomorow! And I live in Fairview NJ.
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,237
    I am a bit confused, why do you need to save money for this? If it's a rental and you are renting the landlord has a legal responsibility to provide safe heat to you. If he can not it is their legal responsibility to pay for alternate housing until such time as they can provide you with safe heat. This is the law and it's pretty clear. I believe the minimum temperature is 65 if memory serves.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
    crunne
  • crunne
    crunne Member Posts: 9
    All things I did not know, the landlord is very old and a stroke survivor, so he does what he can, then tells us to do the rest. Maybe I can try and work something out where if i get the heater fixed i can get the price taken off the rent.
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,529
    There are a lot of great Pros on here that service various parts of NJ. @EzzyT , @JohnNY , @Dave0176 , any of you guys service Fairview?
  • EzzyT
    EzzyT Member Posts: 1,219
  • adambnyc
    adambnyc Member Posts: 260
    I'm sure ezzy and Dave do.

    Hey Neighbor, Teaneck here. Anyway. I didn't see anyone suggest you taking a look at the pressure. That safety that keeps blowing steam is designed to let go at 15 pounds of pressure or PSI. The boiler should never really get higher than 1 or 2 PSI.

    Now that the boiler is cold. You might want to take a look at the pressure gauge. It's the white gauge. Have you ever seen that gauge move? Does it work? If the gauge works you can keep an eye on the pressure in the system. If that gauge gets over 4 PSI and the boiler doesn't shut down, then turn off the boiler.

    Barring really getting into fixing this yourself, some of your legal rights here.

    1. You can withhold rent until it's fixed
    2. You can call in a pro and have it fixed and reduce that cost from your rent.
    3. Threaten both options and have the landlord get someone.

    You have options, but freezing your @zz off in the middle of winter isn't one of em.
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,237
    Most of the time the gauge is on the same pigtail as the pressuretrol, if the pigtail is the problem the gauge is essentially useless.

    These are the types of things that news headlines are made of. This should be treated as an emergency. IMHO
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • EzzyT
    EzzyT Member Posts: 1,219
    @crunne send me a private message
    ChrisJ
  • Grallert
    Grallert Member Posts: 533
    @crunne Finding this sight was/is a great first step. A little computer time on the rest of this sight and you'll know your way around that boiler (oil heater) There is tons of easy to swallow information here and a gang of the most knowledgeable experts one could ever hope to find. If I lived closer I'd pay a visit. I can say drawing from a few decades of residential service and the few pictures you posted,that boiler thought not correct is not that bad off. A little love and attention and will get through this.
    Please keep us in the loop would you?
    Peace
    M
  • adambnyc
    adambnyc Member Posts: 260
    KC_Jones said:

    Most of the time the gauge is on the same pigtail as the pressuretrol, if the pigtail is the problem the gauge is essentially useless.



    These are the types of things that news headlines are made of. This should be treated as an emergency. IMHO


    Yep, another clear sign that it's clogged. If that boiler is cold and you turn it on for 5 to 10 min and the gauge doesn't move, it's all clogged and that's the problem.

    It is a dangerous situation. Don't want you to stare at the gauge only for the pressure valve to blow while your standing next to the boiler.


  • j2nice112
    j2nice112 Member Posts: 5
    HEY guys how are ya, I'm having an issue with steam from my heater as well, can I ask it here or can someone tell me how to make a new post

    Thanks
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,529
    edited January 2017
    j2nice112 said:

    HEY guys how are ya, I'm having an issue with steam from my heater as well, can I ask it here or can someone tell me how to make a new post



    Thanks

    In the upper right hand corner, under your name there is a button to " New Discussion" click on that and fill in the blanks.
  • RomanGK_26986764589
    RomanGK_26986764589 Member Posts: 229
    Just wondering, was the situation with boiler pressure resolved?
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,529

    Just wondering, was the situation with boiler pressure resolved?

    Never heard back.
  • neilc
    neilc Member Posts: 1,985
    is it the picture,
    or is that breaching vent sloped down hill also ??
    known to beat dead horses
    JUGHNE
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 15,635
    neilc said:

    is it the picture,
    or is that breaching vent sloped down hill also ??

    You're right, it's sloping down instead of up like it should. Whoever has been taking care of that boiler shouldn't be in the business.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting