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    Boiler using too much water (11 Posts)

  • mgmine mgmine @ 6:58 AM
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    Boiler using too much water

    I have a Crown 215,000 BTU oil fired steam boiler. Within the last week or so I have had to add water every day.It uses so much water that it reaches the low limit and shuts it self down. The weather has been warm so it only fires up a few times a day. In the past even in the dead of the winter I only have had to add water every few weeks. There is no visible sign of leakage and the radiators aren't hissing any more than usual. Where can the water be going? It is due for it's annual service next week is there something that I should have tested or inspected? Thanks in advance.
  • BobC BobC @ 7:45 AM
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    Below grade or into the combustion chamber

    If there is no sign of leakage near the boiler the leak could be in a buried return line. Are any of the boiler return lines below the floor?

    The only other place is a leak into the combustion chamber. When the boiler is actively making steam go out and see if you are getting a lot of white some coming out of the chimney. If it is leaking into the combustion chamber you may have to replace the boiler. How old is it?

    Bob
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @76,700 BTU, Single pipe steam


    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in


    3PSI gauge
  • will smith will smith @ 7:48 AM
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    Losing water

    Check the chimney exhaust-if it looks really white you're leaking above the water line and it's going right out of the flue. It's also possible that a wet return is leaking, and if it's a buried wet return, that would explain why you haven't seen it yet. Could also be a plugged return-do you have a condensate tank/pump?
  • mgmine mgmine @ 6:19 PM
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    Boiler using too much water

    Thanks I'll look at the chimney. The boiler is about 10 years old all of the piping  can be seen there is nothing behind any walls. I also noticed the the pressure gauge isn't moving it's reading 0. 
  • BobC BobC @ 7:53 PM
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    Noise?

    Is the system making any unusual noise and has the pressure always stayed at zero?

    Looking for white steam coming out of the chimney is the next step.

    Bob 
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @76,700 BTU, Single pipe steam


    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in


    3PSI gauge
  • mgmine mgmine @ 7:33 AM
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    Boiler using too much water

    I forgot to answer one other question the boiler does not have a condensate tank/pump. As far as noise the only sound I hear is a whistling sound on the return line but it may have always been there. In the past the pressure gauge used to read about two pounds but I this is the first time I've looked at it in a very long time. I looked at the chimney and couldn't really tell if it was white smoke or gray smoke. One other thing I notices that the barometric damper wouldn't move even when I pushed on it. 
  • BobC BobC @ 8:17 AM
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    Clogged return may be all thats left

    No steam coming out of the chimney probably means you don't have a leak into the combustion chamber. The fact the 0-30 gauge no longer reads may just indicate a failed gauge. It could be a clogged return line but by now you would think the system might be flooded but depending on the length of that return it's still a possibility. Does the water in the gauge glass move up and down when the boiler is making steam?

    With the barometric damper not working it's important to get the system serviced, tell the tech about the water use and see if he can find out whats going on. Post some pictures of the boiler showing all sides that have piping on it, and show the return line.

    Bob
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @76,700 BTU, Single pipe steam


    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in


    3PSI gauge
  • mgmine mgmine @ 7:25 AM
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    using too much water

    The service man is coming tomorrow (Tuesday) so I'll hold off on the pictures. I think the leak in the combustion chamber is probably the problem. I'm not sure if the smoke is white or gray but it's not black. The return lines in the basement are 3" so I don't think they are the problem. I'll report back tomorrow and ask what IO should do. Thanks
  • BobC BobC @ 8:35 AM
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    let's hope

    The problem is not a leak into the combustion chamber. A boiler should be good for a lot more than 10 years.

    good luck,

    Bob
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @76,700 BTU, Single pipe steam


    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in


    3PSI gauge
  • Steamhead Steamhead @ 11:01 AM
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    I'm afraid it probably is

    there shouldn't be any smoke at all. Not even from an oil burner if it's set up properly. I think you'll find it's time to replace the boiler.

    Meanwhile, go over the system and look for any leaks. Underground return lines are a prime suspect. Excessive make-up water kills boilers.
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"

    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists

    Oil & Gas Burner Service

    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
  • nicholas bonham-carter nicholas bonham-carter @ 11:30 AM
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    10 year-old steamer probs

    if all the piping is visible, and there are no signs of leaking there, then ask the tech if other boilers in your area have had problems perhaps due to bad local water, with excessive chlorides. look around the area near your boiler and see if there could be some cleaning product with chlorides in it.
    it is also useful to know the cause of an early failure before replacing the boiler, or it's sections [bad piping, graphitic corrosion, thermal shock, etc.]--nbc
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