Failed Temperature-Pressure Gauge


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Old 10-28-06, 06:17 AM
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Failed Temperature-Pressure Gauge

I have a Weil Mclain Gold oil fired hot water boiler. It is in a new home less than 2 years old. The pressure temperature guage on the front has failed twice. By failed, I mean that fluid begins leaking through the face of the guage. The folks that install it do not seem to know the problem, or if they do, they sure haven't addressed it. I usually get some comment about it being Weil Mclain's problem and in the case of the first failure, the guauge was just replaced, and the symptom fixed, but not the problem. Weil Mclain does not seem to support consumer questions and wants you to go through their dealer netwrok for problem resolution, so I am in a bit of a qundry. I am new to the oil fired boiler world, so I thought I would see if I could get a little education and perhaps learn to deal with issues such as this on my own. All help is appreciated.
 
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Old 10-28-06, 06:44 AM
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When you say fluid do you mean that the guage bellows fails and boiler water leaks or is it a guage that uses a damping fluid in it to prevent needle oscilation?

If the bellows leaks then vibration, over pressurizing or rapid needle oscilalation could cause premature failure.

If it uses damping fluid, often glycerine, guage vibration or a mfr defect could cause this.
 
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Old 10-28-06, 07:16 AM
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Boiler water is leaking from the front of the gauge. I am familiar with a fluid filled guage. This unit is not a filled guage. I do have an update though...I have access through some of my engineering forums that got me into some HVAC discussions. From there I was able to get to Weil Mclain service bulletins. There was one issed on that particular model guage made by Honeywell, that had some material brazing issues. I suspect that this the problem. The good thing is that the TSB had a phone number... Who says consumers can't contact technical service... )

I would assume that the make up water would take care of keeping the unit filled, but I know that the system has antifreeze, so I know the mixture will be a little less concentrated... at this point the system has leaked a gallon or so.. is that a correct assumption?

Thanks for your reply
 
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Old 10-28-06, 07:54 AM
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I am only familiar with anti-freeze being used where there is the possibility of freezing with in-floor heat when in a concrete slab.
This is common here when heating a garage this way.
The only thing with our systems is that when they use glycol as a transfer medium there is no make up water connection to fresh water.
They use a small tank with it's own pressure pump and pneumatic tank.

So, maybe someone more familiar with how things are done where you are will chime in.

How do you know you have anti-freeze?
 
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Old 10-28-06, 08:33 AM
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By the feel of the water that has been leaking out of the system. It has that sweet glycol smell, and feels slimy as well. I may be mistaken though. Would there be another water treatment in the boiler water that would make it feel this way?
 
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Old 10-28-06, 04:44 PM
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Glycol

If the water smell sweet & feels slimy, it's almost certain it's glycol. If it has not been checked in a couple of years, I suggest getting that done or better yet, unless there is a freezing potential, flush it out.
Weil-McLain is a real pain when it comes to customer service. They seem to take the attitude of "you bought it, it's your problem now". Their customer service, or lack of it, is why I refuse to sell or install their equipment.
 
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Old 10-28-06, 05:55 PM
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I have experience with inhibited glycol in a hw boiler system that after ten years of operation still retained its original characteristics.
The electric boilers had virtually no corrosion or scale on the direct contact elements and only a couple of tablespoons of sediment in the boilers annually.
The glycol seemed to be an excellent media.
The only trouble was the pump seals didn't seem to last as long.
This system used a tank and pump for make-up.

mizunoman,
Is your make-up from your fresh water supply or a glycol pump and tank?
Do you have in-floor heat or some other reason to have glycol?

If you have fresh water make-up and need freezing protection you need to check the glycol strength annually.
 
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Old 10-28-06, 07:23 PM
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make-up is fresh water. I suspect the only reason that the glycol is in the system is that the unit was in place in the house prior to completion through the winter in New England. Probably there to keep the thing from freezing up during construction. There is no real reason that I can think of other than that. I have a system check scheduled in a couple of weeks, but gauge went south so I went back to the installer since the service folks would not be able to get to it for a while.

I have already experienced the WM lack of service. As a "consumer" I contacted them only to see if I could get some help. I asked for technical service and without a customer number I couldn't get past the switchboard. With the technical sevice bulletin I obtained through the engineering forum, I now have a number... I too can be a real pain if they balk at getting resolution.

I talked with the installer, and he indicated that he has a new guage that arrived last night and would be by to swap it out. He knew nothing of the bulletin, and has had several issues with the same problem on other systems come to find out. He was appreciative, so maybe together we can get it put to rest.

Thanks for all of your help here...
 
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Old 11-01-06, 06:36 PM
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make up water

Small point: A hot water hydronic system shouldn't need make up water--there shouldn't be any losses unless there is a leak.

Pete
 
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Old 11-02-06, 04:20 AM
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Aggreed, since the watter never changes state, such as a steam system. But there is a inlet regulator and a backflow preventor on the city water hookup to the system Does that not take care of the makeup water in a case like this, where ther eis a loeak? Or does someone have to manually perform that process?? The installer still cannot ge the proper gauge for the system, so in the interim he installed a plug to stop the leakage. Should he have done something to insure that there was adequate water in the system. I would assume that any air pockets at all would be damaging to the boiler and piping due to localized superheating, (in/near the boiler)
 
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Old 11-02-06, 12:20 PM
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Make up to a hot-water system will only occur when the system pressure falls below the setting of the make up pressure reducing valve (PRV). This is a rare occurance when operating and the loss of water through your leak may cause more air to be released from the water and in a worst case scenerio cause air binding in some of your heat emitters.

My personal preference is to NOT use antifreeze mixtures but I doubt that is the cause of your gauge problem. Most likely it is simply that the supplied guage (I assume it is a combo press/temp gauge) is of low quality. It costs some bucks but I prefer separate pressure gauges and thermometers of high quality.
 
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Old 11-02-06, 04:55 PM
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the guage was a combination temperature pressure gauge from Honeywell. I did find a tech service bulletin on it that indicated there was a weld/silver solder issue and there was a recall of sorts... I am still wating on the installer of the furnce to return with a replacemetn. Perhaps a better gauge for starters...

I guess to accommodate the seperate guages, a few nipples, tees and elbows would be required to come off of the single 3/8 npt port out of the furnace. Or are there better ways to accomplish this??

Relative to trapped air, how would I know this is an issue, and how would purging the air be accomplished. The boiler services two forced air heat exchangers and a hot water heater..

Thanks for the input!
 
 

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