My site glass over fills and my pipes bang loud! Help?


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Old 12-17-06, 03:43 PM
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Unhappy My site glass over fills and my pipes bang loud! Help?

I have steam heat with radiators. My pipes in the basement clang and bang so loud you'd think the house is gonna blow. I Heat 3 floors in my home with this system. Everyday though I have to empty about 3 buckets of water out from the furnace to bring the water in my site glass down to halfway. When the glass is full, my pipes bang and clang. Sometimes, if I don't empty it, my system will shut down, and I will have no heat. I'm at a loss at what to do. We opened all the valves on the radiators and left them open, Still no change. Could someone please help???

Angela
 

Last edited by aalmen; 12-17-06 at 03:45 PM. Reason: put radiators, Meant to put pipes
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Old 12-17-06, 04:12 PM
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Banging Pipes

I moved your post here in order that it will be viewed by more people familiar with steam heating systems.

If you have an automatic water feeder on your boiler, it sounds like it is malfunctioning for some reason. The only other cause I can think of is a leaking domestic coil if there is a tankless coil in the boiler for domestic hot water. Some pictures of the boiler would be a help. You can post them on photobucket or similar photo hosting web site & provide a link here.
 
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Old 12-17-06, 04:12 PM
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The first thing you have to do is find out why the system is overfilling. If you have an automatic feed valve, it may be malfunctioning. Turn off the valve in the water line that feeds the boiler. If you aren't sure which one it is, post a picture or give a detailed description of the piping that feeds water to the boiler. Then drop the water level to mid-glass and see what happens for the next day. You really don't want that banging to go on because if it loosens a lot of dirt in the pipes, things will get worse. Even after you fix the water level problem you could still have trouble. Post back and we will work it out from there.

Ken
 
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Old 12-19-06, 05:59 PM
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Photos

Originally Posted by Grady
I moved your post here in order that it will be viewed by more people familiar with steam heating systems.

If you have an automatic water feeder on your boiler, it sounds like it is malfunctioning for some reason. The only other cause I can think of is a leaking domestic coil if there is a tankless coil in the boiler for domestic hot water. Some pictures of the boiler would be a help. You can post them on photobucket or similar photo hosting web site & provide a link here.
http://i134.photobucket.com/albums/q98/aalmen/furnace001.jpg

http://i134.photobucket.com/albums/q98/aalmen/furnace002.jpg


http://i134.photobucket.com/albums/q98/aalmen/furnace003.jpg

http://i134.photobucket.com/albums/q98/aalmen/furnace004.jpg

The above are links to pictures of my furnace.
If you could tell me how to unhook that feeder, that might help. Can the furnace work properly without it? We are leaving on a vacation for about 20 days, I have someone coming regularly to dump the overfilled furnace, I just want to make sure it will be okay.
 
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Old 12-19-06, 06:03 PM
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Photos of my Furnace

http://i134.photobucket.com/albums/q98/aalmen/furnace001.jpg

http://i134.photobucket.com/albums/q98/aalmen/furnace002.jpg

http://i134.photobucket.com/albums/q98/aalmen/furnace003.jpg

http://i134.photobucket.com/albums/q98/aalmen/furnace004.jpg

Here are some photos of my furnace.How do I go about unhooking the feeder?

Angela
 
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Old 12-19-06, 06:20 PM
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before you go on vacation you outta have a service man come and look at it, if you leave it and go on vacation you could end up returning to some much more serious problems. the feed valve will be on the incoming water line from the house, typically connected to a 1/2 or 3/4 copper pipe and typically has somewhat of a coned top with a small nut and screw on the top of it and a metal handle that you can pull up to add water to the boiler. there should be a shutoff valve located on the line before the feed valve
 
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Old 12-19-06, 06:35 PM
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They are yellow rubber coated handles, I have 2 turned off and I have a round one turned off as well. Still the furnace is overfilling. I had a technician service it. The annual service that I get, I told him of the problem, He said he didn't know anything about the manual feeder or why we have the problem with it. I had an electrician look at it, he too was clueless, and so was the plumber. Am I talking to the right people? I would think the technician who services our heating system would know about that.
When the valves are closed, there is this one place between those valves that you can unscrew on the pipe where water flows through, when those handled valves are closed and I unscrew that part, absolutely not one drop of water comes out.
Any clues??
 
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Old 12-19-06, 06:44 PM
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got me beat, if your sure you have the incoming water supply to the boiler shut down it shouldnt be overfilling unless theres another water supply you dont see. i would call a service man, just be sure when you call to ask for someone with good experience in steam applications. if the last tech said he didnt know then be sure they send someone that does so your not wasting your time.
 
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Old 12-19-06, 06:49 PM
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Water Feeder

It would appear the device in your photo 002.jpg is the water feeder. It could be at fault or it could simply be responding to a call for water from the low water cut-off (black device with yellow handle in 001.jpg & 003.jpg). As much as I would like to help, I think it would be better to call a pro in order that he/she could properly diagnose the problem.
Some low water cut-offs are sensitive enough to create a call for water if the water level in the sight glass fluctuates (surges) during a call for heat.
 
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Old 12-19-06, 08:02 PM
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OK, this boiler does not have a tankless coil, so that is not the problem, it doesn't have the type of feeder that 'nomore9to5' described, so that is not it. The only feasable possibility is that it is being fed by the water feeder at the ball valves. There are several reasons this might be happening. The float on the low water cut off could possibly be getting stuck in the low position by sludge and rust build-up, causing the feeder to feed more water in. The float could be perforated (has a really small leak in it) and isn't as bouant as it normally would be. The water feeder could have a little something stuck in the seat, causing water to trickle by. The seats on the radiator valves could have fallen off the valve stem causing a restriction & steam would be able to go in, but the water wouldn't be able to come out till the pressure drops on the system. Now those are all possibilities, but I think the problem is in the boiler installation. Is this a fairly new boiler? Water feeder looks new too. Was the orifice installed in the water feeder to limit the flow to 1 GPM or less, or is it full port? Judging by the fact that you have 3 floors, a gas pipe that appears to be at least 4X bigger than that needed for that boiler (I'm guessing the old one it replaced was huge), and this problem, I would say the boiler is severely undersized for the system. Note: It might be the right size for the heatload, but when the origional boiler was installed, there was probbably no insulation in the house, single pane windows, AND before the discovery of germs, viruses, and sudden infant death syndrome, heating systems were sized assuming you were going to have a window open all the time because they thought stale air was the culprit. SO, to get to the point, what happens is that the newer boiler boils off all the steam to the radiators (heating only the first half of the radiators), causing a low water situation, so the boiler shut off till the condensate returned, refilling the boiler. Someone probbably noticed that the boiler was low on water a lot, so they suggested installing an automatic water feeder. Now, what happens is, the boiler fires and sends off all the water to the radiators, the automatic feeder feeds and this water too goes to the radiators. This might happen 1,2,3, maybe more times. The sun comes up and it starts to get warmer out, so the boiler stops running. All the condensate returns to the boiler, overfilling it into the pipes. When it starts to get colder that evening, the boiler fires, and since there is no surface area for the steam to boil off to except the pipes, it will make you think the boiler is going to run away like you moms old washer used to. There are only 3 solutions. Eliminate the water feeder (just shutting those ball valves will do), install the smallest orifice in the water feeder MIGHT work, although it might not, OR replace the boiler with one that is sized for the square feet of radiation (surface area of the pipes and radiators-there are charts that can help you do this). If you have any more questions, message me directly to be sure I get it. I usually log on atleast every other day.
Tom the heat tech
 
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Old 12-19-06, 08:11 PM
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One more thing. the radiator valves should alvays be either fully open or fully closed. If you eliminate some of the unnessesary radiators (close the valves fully-assuming they work), that will reduce the ammount of radiation surface area, causing less water to leave the boiler. Just be sure not to close the ones in the room where the thermostat is, which would cause it to not satisfy, or where you have plumbing (kitchen, bathrooms, etc..), to prevent freeze-ups. Also, make sure the person who is watching your house for you knows how the system works and knows when to call for help. I've seen an old victorian million dollar house freeze up because of the incompetence of the neighbor who was watching the house for them. The place had to be gutted after.
 
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Old 12-20-06, 05:32 AM
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Thank you for your help.
The furnace was actually installed about 10 years ago. We bought the house 2 1/2 years ago, and have only had a problem in the last heating months of last year and now.
We have Not added any radiators or additional rooms to be heated by the system.
I do have the valves shut at all times on the feed pipes, Im gonna check the ones on the radiator and close them all the way, They are open, But I don't think all the way.
 
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Old 12-20-06, 06:35 AM
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If the ball valves in the feed lines are turned off, that should rule out new water being fed. Your boiler doesn't hold much water and it would only take a gallon to overfill it. If you have a venting problem somewhere, water may be getting trapped in the system. It could be in a radiator which has been mentioned. My guess is that after all the water has returned to the boiler, it will stop flooding and will cycle on low water every time there is a call for heat. I see no insulation on the supply main and that is a no-no. When the water line is at the correct level in the glass, does it stay stable during a call for heat or does it bounce around? Does water come back down the glass from the inside during a run cycle? You may have to observe these things to unravel the mystery. Even though the water valve is turned off, the LED on the feeder will tell you when the boiler would be adding water. See what the pattern is during a call for heat. Set up a lawn chair and grab a notebook. Even if you have to call a steam system pro, he will love you for the information you will be able to offer.

Ken
 
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Old 12-20-06, 03:28 PM
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Hmmm... Well, itis possible that even though the valves are closed, water may be weeping past them. I've seen this happen when the valve was overheated when soldered in. When was this feeder installed? I prefer IPS (threaded) ball valves because that possibility is eliminated.
 
 

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