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    flooding boiler (17 Posts)

  • JuliaV JuliaV @ 9:45 AM
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    flooding boiler

    Going on a limb and posting what I think may be a stupid question.
    With no auto feed, what would cause the water level in my boiler to rise too high? Over the summer my steam boiler (new 4 years ago) water level would go up, causing me to drain a few buckets worth of water every few wks. What I am thinking is the manual feed may have a small leak and not really be off. I can't think of any other reason why the water level would rise if the system isn't running.
  • nicholas bonham-carter nicholas bonham-carter @ 9:57 AM
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    Rising water level

    Your theory seems correct. I would fix it sooner rather than later, by repairing/replacing the valve. Fresh water introduces too much oxygen into the boiler, and will accelerate any rusting!--NBC
  • Steve Nichols Steve Nichols @ 9:58 AM
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    not a dumb question

    It is very possible that the manual valve used to control the feed water is letting some water past it even though it shows as being closed.  I just went through this when I tried to reuse a valve when I moved my feed water piping.  The heat from the torch must have messed up the teflon(?) lining in the valve, causing a small leak.  All it takes is a small piece of crud to hold a valve open.  I'd start with that.  Best of luck!
    striving for peaceful coexistence with an oversized boiler....

    http://www.heatinghelp.com/article/164/Steam-Piping/2730/Drop-Header-by-Steve-Nichols
  • Rod Rod @ 10:00 AM
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    Internal HW Coil Leaking ?

    Hi - If your boiler has an internal coil to heat domestic hot water,  the internal coil may have developed a pin hole leak which could be another source for the excess water in your boiler besides the one you have already mentioned. Attached is a source for replacement coils. - Rod
  • JuliaV JuliaV @ 10:11 AM
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    internal coil

    Could the internal coil be the source of the problem if the water level is rising even when system is not running? no water is being heated at that time ....
    We are having the boiler serviced on Friday. yearly maintenance and this issue will also be addressed. Hoping it is just the manual feed. Strangely enough I noticed this problem starting around the same time we replaced a radiator in the upstairs bedroom. Anyone think there could be a correlation?
    Another thing came up last night. Temps were planning to drop into the 30's, so I set the thermostat to heat at 67 degrees in case the home got too cold overnight.
    A few hours later went to the basement to do laundry and noticed the green light was off on the boiler. I checked the box to see if we tripped a circuit but they are all fine. pushed the reset button in hopes the green light would come on, but, nothing. Anyone have a clue as to why the boiler wouldn't be getting power? : )
  • Rod Rod @ 10:41 AM
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    Flooding boiler

    Hi Julia- The internal HW coil is connected to the house domestic cold water system so as to supply cold water to be heated by the internal coil/boiler.The water pressure remains constant even if the boiler isn't heating (running).
     Burner not running - Have you checked the master cutoff switches to see if they are on?
    These are the switches that look like a light switch and are usually on a red metal box either mounted on the boiler and/or near the door leading to the basement.
    - Rod
    This post was edited by an admin on September 18, 2013 10:53 AM.
  • JuliaV JuliaV @ 11:35 AM
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    switch is on

    The switch is on, definitely checked that!!
    Intersting about the coil, I will mention that on Friday. Is this common for a boiler only 4 years old? We had this installed new in 2009.
  • Rod Rod @ 1:17 PM
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    Excess Water

    The excess water can only be coming from either the make up water pipe or from a leaking internal hot water coil. The cause of the leak on the makeup water is, as has already been mentioned, probably a leaking make up valve. The cause for the leak on the internal coil is most likely a pin hole leak in the coil which is admitting water into the boiler.
     
    Testing-  Check the piping on both of these water supply lines and see if there are secondary valves which you could shut off the water supply to the coil and water supply to the make up water valve

    If you have a secondary valve (s) - Shut off one of the supply lines and carefully mark the height of the water in the sight glass. If the water doesn’t rise then the fixture (coil or makeup valve) on that shutoff supply  line is causing the leak.   If the water continues to rise in the sight glass then the fixture (coil or makeup valve) on the other line is causing the leak.  If both water supply lines have secondary shutoff valves, close both valves and then open the one you suspect. If the water in the sight glass then rises that will confirm the first test.

    Is it likely that an internal coil would go out after only 4 years?  Hard to say but it does happen.
    Have you tested the PH of your boiler water? 
    - Rod
     
  • JuliaV JuliaV @ 2:26 PM
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    haven't test PH level

    I will mention on Friday. Thanks for your help, hopefully it is an easy fix : )
  • Rod Rod @ 3:11 PM
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    Testing PH

    You can check the PH yourself. While there are paper test strips available especially for testing PH, the most available  /cheapest method  is to use swimming pool test strips (they usually test up to a value of 8.5) They are available at any swimming pool supply store or from Home Depot’s pool section.
                                    
    According to Dan, boiler water should have a PH of between 7 (neutral) and 9.  On the PH scale 8 is 10 times more alkaline than 7 (neutral) and 9 is 10times more alkaline than 8 (meaning that 8 is 100 times more alkaline than 7!)
    Here’s a link to a good article by Dan on the subject:
    http://www.heatinghelp.com/article/183/Plumbing-Mechanical-articles/2522/The-Power-of-Hydrogen-February-2012
    I’ve also attached a PH scale chart. Just drain a little boiler water into a glass and follow the instructions that came with the test strips.
    - Rod
  • JuliaV JuliaV @ 3:52 PM
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    great!

    Thanks!
  • nicholas bonham-carter nicholas bonham-carter @ 7:22 AM
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    Over-filling boiler

    If the boiler has really flooded to a point several feet up into the steam supplies, the pressure of the water will cause the pressuretrol to prevent the burner from operating (cut-out). Can you see the waterline in the sight glass if you drain water out again?
    If this is the case, then the valve has failed in a big way, and is will fill all the pipes, and cause big leaks. Can you see any other upstream valve which could cut off water to the boiler feed? --NBC
  • JuliaV JuliaV @ 8:43 AM
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    more info

    If the boiler has really flooded to a point several feet up into the steam supplies, the pressure of the water will cause the pressuretrol to prevent the burner from operating (cut-out). Can you see the waterline in the sight glass if you drain water out again?
    Yes. If I drain 3 or 4 buckets worth I can see the water line.. bucket isn't big, probably 3 gallons or so.

    If this is the case, then the valve has failed in a big way, and is will fill all the pipes, and cause big leaks. Can you see any other upstream valve which could cut off water to the boiler feed? --NBC
    Glad they are coming tomorrow. Do you mean the manual feed valve? This was a new valve when we replaced boiler in 2009. However, since then we did have a leak in upstairs radiator for a period time which caused me to add water pretty frequently and playing with that valve pretty often. Since then we replaced that radiator and this problem started. I first started to notice the water hammering at the tail end of the spring when the heat would kick on at night due to dropping temps. After careful monitoring I noticed the water level still rising even if the boiler was not running. At first I thought perhaps there was water 'stuck' in a line somewhere and trickling back, but enough time elapsed that that solution didn't seem to make sense.  


    If this is the case, then the valve has failed in a big way, and is will fill all the pipes, and cause big leaks. Can you see any other upstream valve which could cut off water to the boiler feed? --NBC
    Glad they are coming tomorrow. Do you mean the manual feed valve? This was a new valve when we replaced boiler in 2009. However, since then we did have a leak in upstairs radiator for a period time which caused me to add water pretty frequently and playing with that valve pretty often. Since then we replaced that radiator and this problem started. I first started to notice the water hammering at the tail end of the spring when the heat would kick on at night due to dropping temps. After careful monitoring I noticed the water level still rising even if the boiler was not running. At first I thought perhaps there was water 'stuck' in a line somewhere and trickling back, but enough time elapsed that that solution didn't seem to make sense.  
  • nicholas bonham-carter nicholas bonham-carter @ 9:22 AM
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    Biblical flood

    I think Rod has nailed the culprit-the domestic water supply. Best to tell the service co of your suspicions, so they could look for a replacement coil if needed.-NBC
  • JuliaV JuliaV @ 10:47 AM
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    another stupid question

    by domestic water feed do you mean
    manual water feed
    or
    the internal coil
  • BobC BobC @ 11:23 AM
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    The coil

    They mean the coil inside the boiler that heats your hot water. That coil is always at city water pressure that can be anything from 40 to 90 PSI so pinhole can inject a lot of water into a boiler.

    If the auto water feeder were leaking water past the valve seat you would usually find the pipe into the autofeeder cooler than the other piping because the water from the street is usually in the 50's while the cellar is probably 65-70 at this time of year.

    Addressing this quickly is important because if it continues the system will fill with water and all of your radiators will start to leak water. The added water contains oxygen and that oxygen will destroy your boiler if it goes on for a long time.

    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
  • JuliaV JuliaV @ 1:37 PM
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    thanks

    Yea, that's what I thought but I surely am no expert!! Thanks for the insight, I'll be sure to mention that tomorrow to the guys.
    Wish me luck.
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