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Repairing a 40 year old circulator pump

genericnj
genericnj Member Posts: 61
edited September 2021 in THE MAIN WALL
A bit of background - I have a 1981 Burnham boiler with 2 zone (upstairs and downstairs) hot water radiator heat with a single Taco 007-F3 circulator pump that originally came with the boiler (black paint model).

The house has no basement, so the boiler is installed in a small utility closet adjacent to the living room. The boiler is installed with three walls around it and only access being from the top.

Last season the circulator pump seized and stopped pumping water. The pump would get very hot but water would not flow, eventually the water would boil inside the bump making loud banging sounds. Using temp probe showed temps in the 250F range.

In order to replace the pump, a couple of plumbers that looked recommended cutting the wall into the living room to access the pump from that side as it is not easily accessible from the top.

I really did not want to go through the mess of ruining the living room wall so I had the idea of replacing the pump cartidge instead of replacing the entire pump. Then I came across an old unused stock 1983 Taco 007-f3 pump just like the one I have on the boiler on ebay and I snatched it up.

I plan to do the cartidge replacement next week, but had a few questions for the pros.

1. Should I replace the cartridge and the entire electrical box with the magnets/copper windings and electrical connection or just the cartridge itself. I'm not sure if the other portions of the pump are worth the trouble of replacing.

2. My boiler has valves above the circulator pump - where water comes in from both zones on its way back to boiler and has two valves post expansion tank on the pipes leaving to go to both zones. I have attached a schematic of the setup. Should I shut off all four of these valves and then drain the boiler using the drain spigot before disassembling the pump? or is there something else I need to do to ensure I do not end up having water shooting out of the pump once disassembled?

3. Once the pump is repaired, do I need to do anything special in terms of bleeding air out of it before starting the system?

Thank you all in advance!


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Comments

  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 5,720
    Your boiler isn't piped using the best practices. I guess without seeing a picture I wonder why the only way to access the circulator is by cutting a hole. If you can replace the cartridge, you should be able to replace the circulator.
    Are you sure it's the circulator and not what is powering the circulator? Or even the capacitor?
    What happens if it's the impeller, which is also 40 years old?
    I think you replace the circulator.
    Or cut it out, fix the pipe, and put the circulator in the right spot.
    steve
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 5,705


    Or cut it out, fix the pipe, and put the circulator in the right spot.

    You could take a short piece of pipe and 2 flanges and make a section that will bolt in place of the circulator if access to make up pipe fittings is an issue.
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 12,123
    I guess I don't understand the no access problem. Operating equipment like that will always be an issue. Enlarge the closet, put in a door......something
  • genericnj
    genericnj Member Posts: 61
    here are a couple pictures to explain the access issue and why the closet cannot be enlarged, etc. I appreciate the suggestions, but would really also appreciate if someone could explain to me the best way to drain to do the repair procedure leveraging the valves that i described in my schematic.

    Here is a pic from the living room showing the closet where the boiler is housed:


    Here is where you can see all the key components (like circ pump) are hidden in he corner of the closet:


    Here you can see where the circ pump is -- it is in that small hole which is not accessible any other way:


    And here is a overall pic:

  • SteveSan
    SteveSan Member Posts: 122
    Then I came across an old unused stock 1983 Taco 007-f3 pump just like the one I have on the boiler on ebay and I snatched it up.

    I would be very careful with using a circ. pump that has been sitting close to 40 years. The bearings in the cartridge could have rust in them already from sitting that long. You can ohm the windings to see if the motor is still working Y-R 37-46, Y-B 96-117, and R-B 133-136 for our 007 series. The replacement cartridge is 007-042RP and to replace the circ. will be 007-F5. You would have to isolated the circ. from the system to work on it if not isolated valves or shutoff flanges.
  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 5,720
    mattmia2 said:


    Or cut it out, fix the pipe, and put the circulator in the right spot.

    You could take a short piece of pipe and 2 flanges and make a section that will bolt in place of the circulator if access to make up pipe fittings is an issue.
    If you're doing all of that you can replace the circulator.
    steve
  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 5,720
    I'd cut an access panel in the living room, behind the furniture, paint it the same color as the wall if needed.
    But a PIA, yes, but that's not that hard to fix. I'd remove the circ and put it after the flow check on the supply, fixing all your problems at once.
    And while you have the system drained, put one of these on the expansion tank as that will be the next thing to go and this will make your life much easier.

    steve
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 12,123
    I see the two yellow handel ball valves on the return. I don't see a valve on the supply. If there is no valve on the supply your going to have to drain the entire system.

    If no valve on the supply, shut the two ball valves on the returns (yellow handle) shut off the water make up put a hose on the boiler drain and drain it down. Your going to have to let air in the boiler to let air in. Start draining and once the pressure comes down remove the air vent on top of the expansion tank to let air in and the system will drain.

    Once you have made the repairs, shut the drain valve off on the boiler and re install (I would replace) the air vent on the expansion tank. and open the make up water. Put a hose on one of the drain valves above the yellow handle valves, put a hose on it and run it outside or into a drain and the open the valve you put the hose on let it run 5-10 min until you have all water and no air. Shut that valve and repeat for the other valve on the other zone.

    The boiler should have 12-15 psi on it and then start it up
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 5,705

    mattmia2 said:


    Or cut it out, fix the pipe, and put the circulator in the right spot.

    You could take a short piece of pipe and 2 flanges and make a section that will bolt in place of the circulator if access to make up pipe fittings is an issue.
    If you're doing all of that you can replace the circulator.
    But if you move the circulator someplace easier to access then you won't have this problem next time.
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 5,705
    You will have to close all the isolation valves to the system and drain the boiler below the level of the circulator. A shallow pan like a cake pan or a dish pan under the ciruclator or even a small bucket is a good idea in case there is some water that does not drain out the boiler drain.

    It looks painful but doable to remove the circulator. Start by removing the door, there are usually spring loaded pins or rollers on the top that you push in to the door to release it from the track. Then you can reach in with open end/box wrenches and a socket set and undo the flange bolts. You then can lift the circulator on top of the boiler and open the junction box and remove the wiring. I would take a pair of flanges, some copper pipe, and a pair of adapters and make a pair of flanges the length of the ciruculator and install that in place of the cirulator, then cut new flanges in the supply after the flow check somewhere and install the ciruclator there. Be sure to support that piping so the new ciruclator location is supported.

    A long socket extension, a u joint, and a helper might make undoing the flange bolts easier. This will be a you can see it or you can reach it but not both at the same time situation, you will have to do it by feel like working under a dashboard.

    Unless I'm missing something, that flow check isn't necessary.
    genericnj
  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 5,720
    mattmia2 said:

    mattmia2 said:


    Or cut it out, fix the pipe, and put the circulator in the right spot.

    You could take a short piece of pipe and 2 flanges and make a section that will bolt in place of the circulator if access to make up pipe fittings is an issue.
    If you're doing all of that you can replace the circulator.
    But if you move the circulator someplace easier to access then you won't have this problem next time.
    Yeah I said that in my first post
    steve
    genericnj
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 5,705
    I suppose you could just abandon it instead of removing it, it would be some additional restriction but it would probably still be enough flow.
    genericnj
  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 5,720
    mattmia2 said:

    I suppose you could just abandon it instead of removing it, it would be some additional restriction but it would probably still be enough flow.

    That’s not what I said and would be a horrible idea, especially if the reason for no flow is the impeller.

    steve
  • genericnj
    genericnj Member Posts: 61

    I see the two yellow handel ball valves on the return. I don't see a valve on the supply. If there is no valve on the supply your going to have to drain the entire system.

    If no valve on the supply, shut the two ball valves on the returns (yellow handle) shut off the water make up put a hose on the boiler drain and drain it down. Your going to have to let air in the boiler to let air in. Start draining and once the pressure comes down remove the air vent on top of the expansion tank to let air in and the system will drain.

    Once you have made the repairs, shut the drain valve off on the boiler and re install (I would replace) the air vent on the expansion tank. and open the make up water. Put a hose on one of the drain valves above the yellow handle valves, put a hose on it and run it outside or into a drain and the open the valve you put the hose on let it run 5-10 min until you have all water and no air. Shut that valve and repeat for the other valve on the other zone.

    The boiler should have 12-15 psi on it and then start it up

    Thx there are two valves on the supply too - attached a pic and labeled them.



    So I should turn all of these off essentially keeping all water in the pipes. Then use the boiler drain to let the water out of the boiler, and you said i will need to open the vent on the expansion tank to let air in so that boiler water can leave right? Should I then leave the boiler drain open when I disassemble the circ pump? or that does not matter? Once the circ pump is reassembled, how do I refill the boiler properly as it will be full of air at that time - do I just turn on the water feed? does the vent on the expansion tank have to be open while i do that? will the water stop feeding when it is filled? Apologies for all newbie questions, but I have never worked with a closed water system, only steam in the past...
  • genericnj
    genericnj Member Posts: 61

    I'd cut an access panel in the living room, behind the furniture, paint it the same color as the wall if needed.
    But a PIA, yes, but that's not that hard to fix. I'd remove the circ and put it after the flow check on the supply, fixing all your problems at once.
    And while you have the system drained, put one of these on the expansion tank as that will be the next thing to go and this will make your life much easier.

    yeah I would rather not cut into that wall, it is literally the center wall in the living room and having any panels there really would look odd. Honestly I'd love to just get rid of this entire boiler and get something newer and smaller, it is a 1300 sq ft home and probably can be serviced with a smaller newer unit that would be more accessible... but for now i'm just trying to keep this one alive as long as I can for as little trouble as I can manage...
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 5,705

    mattmia2 said:

    mattmia2 said:


    Or cut it out, fix the pipe, and put the circulator in the right spot.

    You could take a short piece of pipe and 2 flanges and make a section that will bolt in place of the circulator if access to make up pipe fittings is an issue.
    If you're doing all of that you can replace the circulator.
    But if you move the circulator someplace easier to access then you won't have this problem next time.
    Yeah I said that in my first post
    i don't know what happened here. i was just suggesting a way to do that which would be easier than trying to put new fittings in place of the circulator. I meant to put like @STEVEusaPA said in one of them somewhere but forgot while i was trying to describe how to do it.
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 5,705
    Actually, thinking about this some more, you could unbolt the bottom flange bolts then cut the pipe up where it is accessible and pull the section of pipe and circulator all up as one piece then put a flange on a piece of pipe and bolt it to the bottom flange with a new gasket, connect that to the cut piece and install a new circulator on the supply side of the boiler.
    Zman
  • genericnj
    genericnj Member Posts: 61
    mattmia2 said:

    Actually, thinking about this some more, you could unbolt the bottom flange bolts then cut the pipe up where it is accessible and pull the section of pipe and circulator all up as one piece then put a flange on a piece of pipe and bolt it to the bottom flange with a new gasket, connect that to the cut piece and install a new circulator on the supply side of the boiler.

    It's ok - way too much work to cut the pipes - honestly I would probably cause more problems in the end or end up with no heat this winter :smile: I'll just replace the cartridge and the casing of the pump (minus the flange side) and call it a day. I'm just still a bit unclear on the proper draining, refilling process of a sealed system...
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 12,123
    @genericnj

    Yes.
    Kill the power to the boiler/circulator
    Shut all 4 valves off
    Shut off the make up water
    Put a hose on the boiler & start draining.
    When the boiler pressure drops near zero, remove the air vent from the expansion tank and continue draining. Weather you empty the entire boiler or just below the circulator doesn't matter

    Do the repair

    Shut the drain valve & remove the hose
    Open the water feed and leave it barely on.

    When you get water coming out where the air vent was shut the water off, install a new air vent and turn the water back on.

    open the 4 valves.

    The auto air vent should remove any remaining air in the system (May take an hour or two with the pump running)


    If not bleed each zone as I mentioned above
    genericnj
  • genericnj
    genericnj Member Posts: 61
    edited September 2021

    @genericnj

    Yes.
    Kill the power to the boiler/circulator
    Shut all 4 valves off
    Shut off the make up water
    Put a hose on the boiler & start draining.
    When the boiler pressure drops near zero, remove the air vent from the expansion tank and continue draining. Weather you empty the entire boiler or just below the circulator doesn't matter

    Do the repair

    Shut the drain valve & remove the hose
    Open the water feed and leave it barely on.

    When you get water coming out where the air vent was shut the water off, install a new air vent and turn the water back on.

    open the 4 valves.

    The auto air vent should remove any remaining air in the system (May take an hour or two with the pump running)


    If not bleed each zone as I mentioned above

    Thank you for the step by step instruction, exactly what I needed :smile:
    Just to confirm, the air vent you are referring to is this one in pic below atop the expansion tank right?
    Also, would you have any recommendations for which one to buy as replacement? I was thinking this one as it seems to be same mfr and also a 700: https://www.amazon.com/Amtrol-700-C-Automatic-Air-Vent/dp/B00FEOR2E4#customerReviews

    Thank you!


  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 12,123
    That's fine that will work. You can get them at a big box or some hardware stores. Brand doesn't really matter. 1/8" pipe thread on the end
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 5,705
    Some have a top that unscrews. That somewhat improves your chances of cleaning out whatever is making it leak when they leak.
  • Joe Mattiello
    Joe Mattiello Member Posts: 632
    Looks like you received a lot of great information. Don’t you love this forum! I would go easy peasy and replace the cartridge with 007-042rp and call it a day! 
    Joe Mattiello
    N. E. Regional Manger, Commercial Products
    Taco Comfort Solutions
  • genericnj
    genericnj Member Posts: 61

    Looks like you received a lot of great information. Don’t you love this forum! I would go easy peasy and replace the cartridge with 007-042rp and call it a day! 

    Yes indeed - this forum is amazing and a wealth of knowledge! Joe do you recommend I also replace the outside casing of the pump too (the side with electrical connection) since I already have it or should I just reuse the old installed one? I'm definitely not going to tackle taking off the flange side.

    thx!

  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 5,705
    edited September 2021
    I think removing the flange bolts and removing the whole circulator will be easier than trying to rebuild the pump in-situ. Flanges are kind of designed to deal with awkward locations and slight misalignment.

    I think you could find a contractor that could replace it with a piece of pipe and put the circulator someplace more accessible, you just had the wrong contractor. Worst case there are 2 systems connections, a gas line, a vent, and an electrical connection to the boiler. You break the union on the gas, remove the vent, disconnect the electrical, put unions in both the system connecitons, and move the boiler out where you can replace the circulator with a section of pipe (and by you I mean a more skilled contractor than the one that said cut a hole in the wall).

    If you end up the slide it over route, might as well pull the jacket and give it a good cleaning and combustion test/adjustment too.
  • genericnj
    genericnj Member Posts: 61
    Follow-up on my progress and a roadblock I encountered. I had to put the project aside as some family items came up. Now that it is getting cold, I started to tackle it.

    1. I turned off power at breaker to the boiler.
    2. I shut off the 2 zone valves on both outlet and return.
    3. I drained the boiler
    4. Removed the vent on the expansion tank and more water drained
    5. I removed the pump casing and replaced it with the new old stock pump I got (the old pump did not seem jammed, so i hope something else was wrong with it)

    (here is a pic of the mix new pump on old flange)


    7. I turned off the drain valve and I turned on the feed.. and here is where the roadblock came up..

    Nothing happened ... no water started feeding into the boiler. I tried turning the valve on and off a few times, but could not hear any water feeding the boiler. When the valve is on, i see a few drops of water start to come out of the backflow preventer drain pipe... Could the backflow preventer be jammed?

    The backflow preventer is in the worst spot, the furthest wall in the corner behind all other pipes. A couple questions:

    1. If I have to remove the backflow preventer and replace it, could I use sharkbite connectors and pex pipe into the existing copper? I can't really get in there to do much else. I'm just not sure if it is ok to use pex that close to the boiler.

    (note the location is all way in the back with the skinny 1/2in pipe behind all other pipes)


    (here is a picture behind the boiler to show where it is better)


    3. Is the boiler ok left without any water in it while I get the necessary supplies for a few days? especially given that the pilot light is still burning?

    Additionally, when replacing the pump housing, I could not remove the old o-ring to replace with new one, the thing was kinda rusted in there so I left it and just added some silicone lube on it, hopefully it will not leak.




    thank you all for the help, this site is really a blessing and everyone here has been amazing!!
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 5,705
    edited October 2021
    Where is the actual pressure reducing valve? Most have a handle on the top that you lift in some way that makes them fill faster but doesn't regulate pressure.

    It looks like that backflow check valve has unions on it so you could remove it if you had to but I don't think it is your problem.

    I assume you know that ball valve with the yellow handle in the feed to the check valve is currently turned off.
    mjstraw
  • genericnj
    genericnj Member Posts: 61
    Yes I turned it off because when the water fill is on, some water drops onto floor from the vent on the backflow preventer.

    I think the pressure reducing valve must be this valve below the pump housing? (this is a pic with pump removed that shows it best). Should i lift that and then turn on the water?




    Thank you Matt!
    mattmia2 said:

    Where is the actual pressure reducing valve? Most have a handle on the top that you lift in some way that makes them fill faster but doesn't regulate pressure.

    It looks like that backflow check valve has unions on it so you could remove it if you had to but I don't think it is your problem.

    I assume you know that ball valve with the yellow handle in the feed to the check valve is currently turned off.

  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 5,705
    yes.
  • genericnj
    genericnj Member Posts: 61
    You are awesome man!!! thank you - i lifted the flap on it and then turned on the water and it filled up the boiler :) I then put on a new vent on the expansion tank and turned the water on for a second or two more and then turned it off and flipped the valve back to closed.

    I started up the boiler and heat is back in both zones! :) at first the new pump was making grinding sounds, but within a minute it cleared up, the vent made some noises as the air got purged and everything seems to work normal!

    But I have a question. It seems the gauge on the side of the boiler is completely shot - the temp always shows 70F and the pressure always shows 10 psi even when the boiler was empty and same when it was running.

    So my question is that I'm not sure how much water to actually feed it - when i turn the water feed I still hear water going into it so Im not sure if I am potentially overfilling, especially with the pressure reducing valve open? It all works, but I want to make sure I'm not doing something wrong... Thank you SOOOO much again, it is so awesome to feel heat coming out of the baseboards. I was jumping for joy!
    mattmia2 said:

    yes.

  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 5,705
    the pressure on the gauge is how you tell it is full. It may be sitting in an air pocket or something so it isn't seeing boiler temp or might be bad, but you need a working gauge to know what is gong on, especially to make sure the air is purging correctly, the pressure reducing valve is holding, and the expansion tank is working correctly. you can get a gauge that screws on hose thread and screw it on one of the drains temporarily to verify your gauge. was it working before?

    12psi is a good place to start. it will rise as it heats, make sure it doesn't go over about 20-25 when the system is hot. it is going to work the dissolved air from that fresh water out for a while so keep an eye on it to make sure the prv is keeping the pressure up and it doesn't creep up over time with the system off.

    Pull on the lever on the relief valve and make sure water comes out, if it is clogged don't run the system until you replace it.

    the grinding noise was probably aerated water moving through the circulator
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 5,705
    Did you replace that automatic air vent that clearly is bad?
  • genericnj
    genericnj Member Posts: 61
    mattmia2 said:

    Did you replace that automatic air vent that clearly is bad?

    Yes I replaced the one on the expansion tank, it is working well because i heard it right away letting air out when i started the boiler. There is another air vent on top of the boiler that I did not touch (pictured below).



    Thank you for the suggestion on the pressure gauge to mount on the drain - I will order one now since I know the original one is dead - it has always been at 10 psi - I remember wheneever I checked and the temp is also always at 70 (lowest number).

    When you mention pressure relief valve is that the valve on top of the boiler just past the air vent in above picture? Thank you again!!
    mattmia2 said:

    the pressure on the gauge is how you tell it is full. It may be sitting in an air pocket or something so it isn't seeing boiler temp or might be bad, but you need a working gauge to know what is gong on, especially to make sure the air is purging correctly, the pressure reducing valve is holding, and the expansion tank is working correctly. you can get a gauge that screws on hose thread and screw it on one of the drains temporarily to verify your gauge. was it working before?

    12psi is a good place to start. it will rise as it heats, make sure it doesn't go over about 20-25 when the system is hot. it is going to work the dissolved air from that fresh water out for a while so keep an eye on it to make sure the prv is keeping the pressure up and it doesn't creep up over time with the system off.

    Pull on the lever on the relief valve and make sure water comes out, if it is clogged don't run the system until you replace it.

    the grinding noise was probably aerated water moving through the circulator

  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 5,705
    yes, the relief valve is next to the vent on the boiler. you might get air there until you purge the boiler. is the cap open on that auto vent on the boiler so it can let air out of the boiler?
  • genericnj
    genericnj Member Posts: 61
    edited October 2021
    mattmia2 said:

    yes, the relief valve is next to the vent on the boiler. you might get air there until you purge the boiler. is the cap open on that auto vent on the boiler so it can let air out of the boiler?

    Thanks - the auto vent is the one in the last picture above? I did not touch that one - i only replaced the one that is mounted above the pressure tank (they look like the same type vent) - that one i left in partial open position and heard it venting. This one that is on top of the boiler did not make any sounds when i ran the boiler briefly. Should I replace this one as well?
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 5,705
    You should at least loosen the cap on the auto vent. It won't vent if the cap is tight. it might leak water if it is worn out but you need to vent the air out of the boiler.

    You also need to test the pressure relief valve next to the auto vent on the boiler. Pull up on the lever, water should come out. Air may come out if there is still air in the boiler. If air comes out, hold it open until water comes out. You may need to feed more water depending on how much air there is and how well the prv is working. Since you don't have a working pressure gauge it is critical for safety that the relief valve is working since you don't know what pressure is in the boiler. do not run it if you can't get water to flow out of the relief valve.
  • genericnj
    genericnj Member Posts: 61
    thanks I will try the pressure relief valve and see also if the cap on the vent on the boiler can be loosened - if not I will order another one. I wont run the boiler until the drain pressure gauge arrives and i connect that to test the pressure. It is coming on thursday so only a day wait.
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 12,123
    @genericnj

    If your going to work on stuff like that yo have to get creative. Seems to me if you removed the smoke pipe you could climb on the boiler and get back in there. That's how they put it together
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 5,705
    I assumed they built it up to the top of the boiler then slid it back in the closet but I'm better at seeing where stuff is going to end up before it gets there than most so maybe they did it the hard way.

    If you managed to disassemble the circulator you could have removed and replaced the 4 flange bolts and swapped the circulator.