Steam Boiler gauge glass over full-won't drain, yet no water in system


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Old 10-29-05, 08:16 PM
J
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Steam Boiler gauge glass over full-won't drain, yet no water in system

My Weil-McLain (EG-45) steam boiler won't turn on. The gauge glass is so full you can't see the waterline, but when we open the petcock and drain water (following manual's instructions with closing lower gauge ****, etc), the waterline in the gauge doesn't drop.

The water valve that drains water from the boiler produces no water when opened (I've used in past to drain dirty water). The water/steam pressure guage read 0 psi originally, but in testing a few things out I added more water to the boiler and the psi rose to ~2psi.

Together the low PSI reading & no water coming out of the water drain valve might mean to me that there isn't enough water in the system, but then how would I explain the gauge glass being complete full?

FWIW, this boiler has never given us troubles before and this was to be the first we have used it this season.

Any ideas on what could be happening would be greatly appreciated.

Other minor notes:
- I checked the power and various voltages in the electrical side with my DMM and everything is AOK. (I am more comfortable with electrical than heating).

TIA,
Josh & Flea
 
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Old 10-30-05, 10:37 AM
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Over full

There should be valves on the sight glass, both top & bottom, make sure they are open. There should also be a blowdown valve on the water feeder & a boiler drain valve at the bottom of the boiler. Sometimes the sight glass valves will get crapped up. You can clean them by removing the sight glass & using a piece of wire to fish thru the valves.
 
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Old 10-30-05, 02:15 PM
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Damn...just wrote a long reply and it got sacrificed to the internet gods.

Basically I had the gaugecocks open (knobs) and opened up the petcock (blowdown valve) and the water flowed freely, we even saw bubbles go up the glass but the water level didn't drop. I emptied a couple buckets of water from the petcock with either one of the knobs open which would lead me to believe they are free & clear.

Still I cannot get any water to come out of the drain valve & the psi reads near zero. The low water alarm on the electrode probe never lit up and I took a look at the circuit and it seems to be functioning correctly.

So I have a few signs that suggest the boiler is full and a few signs that it is emptied. I am confused.

I appreciate your reply. Any ideas what else I could test out?

Josh
 
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Old 10-30-05, 05:38 PM
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Flooded boiler

This may sound stupid but I've done such things: Are you sure the feed water is turned off? Do not trust a control to do it. They have been known to fail & have water pouring out of second floor radiators. Rather than just opening the petcock, open the boiler drain. A steam boiler should show zero pressure until it is making steam.
 
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Old 10-31-05, 12:49 PM
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Thanks Grady for your response.

I am certain that the water feed is off, I know because there is a T joint just after the cut off valve with an unterminated down pipe. When the valve is first turned out with little pressure lots of water comes out the down pipe but when you turn it on full bore nothing comes out the open pipe because of the pressure.

I have had the drain valve open and like I said nothing is coming out. .......this just in..... My wife called our plumber friend and apparently the boiler was way too full but the drain valve pipe was completely blocked. He took it apart and used a screw driver to clear the blockage and drained the boiler to normal level. Voila its fixed.

I guess this is a good reminder to clean your boiler out at least once a week. We usually do about once a month but clearly that isn't enough.
 
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Old 10-31-05, 05:39 PM
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Thumbs up Fixed

I ran in to something similar yesterday on a steamer in a church. The pipe to the blowdown valve was so plugged I too had to open it with a screwdriver. It was an 1 1/4 line.
 
 

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