Boiler Blowout

Reply

  #1  
Old 11-05-07, 06:30 PM
J
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 23
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Boiler Blowout

Hi,

This post relates to a 31-year old Burnham gas-fired boiler in a steam heating system. Two days ago the boiler was working properly (giving heat). Yesterday, something happened which caused the system to shut down. Additionally, there are rusty-water marks on top of the boiler and on the floor of the boiler room. Whatever water there was had evaporated overnight. One side of the boiler, the side opposite the burner, is discolored on the lower half. The shape of the discoloration is irregular and is white, while the rest of the boiler is light blue. The plastic lens on what appears to be a pressure gauge has melted into half the size that it was originally. The burner fins are covered with soot. The person who discovered the problem reported that there was no water in the glass water level gauge attached to the boiler. The boiler has an automatic water feed which was installed two years ago.

The only maintenance done to the system recently, other than the monthly draining of rusty water, was the replacement of four air vents on the second story of the building. These vents are on steam pipes which are at the highest point of the building and are not attached to steam radiators.

Obviously, the system can no longer be turned on. I would appreciate any opinions about the cause of the problem and any opinions as to the damage that was done.

Thanks.
 
  #2  
Old 11-05-07, 06:56 PM
KField's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Easton, PA
Posts: 3,245
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
It sounds as though the boiler was dry fired. That would probably render it useless. If it is now cool, you could add some water and see where it runs out. If there was a leak in the return piping and no hartford loop, the water could have run out there. If the boiler leaked it couls have run out there. Either way, the low water cutoff may not have functioned. That could be why the burner didn't stop when the water level dropped. You can be glad that nothing worse happened if it was dry fired.

Ken
 
  #3  
Old 11-05-07, 07:39 PM
J
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 23
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Thanks, KField, I suspected as much. What would you recommend as a replacement, including any devices to ensure that such "dry firing" does not occur again?
 
  #4  
Old 11-05-07, 07:55 PM
KField's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Easton, PA
Posts: 3,245
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Burnham still is a good steam boiler. Independence is their model name. I would suggest matching the radiation with boiler size. Not matching old boiler to new boiler. Also I would install piping and valves to allow wasting condensate for a couple of days before allowing it to return to the boiler. Skim the new boiler and clean witrh TSP or Super washing soda before allowing it to make steam. This will reduce mud and dirt that would otherwise clog up the new low water cutoff and cause multiple system problems. If you post some pictures of the current system we could probably throw a few more ideas your way to make sure you get a good replacement job. More steam junkies over at heatinghelp.com are also ready and willing to throw ideas around so don't be shy.

Ken
 
  #5  
Old 11-05-07, 07:56 PM
Who's Avatar
Who
Who is offline
Member
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: San Jose
Posts: 2,175
Received 1 Vote on 1 Post
Woops... steam... err... never mind.
 
  #6  
Old 11-05-07, 08:05 PM
J
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 23
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Thanks. I'll post some pictures tomorrow.
 
  #7  
Old 11-07-07, 05:21 AM
J
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 23
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
As promised, although a day late, I've posted some photos of the boiler.

http://s227.photobucket.com/albums/d...berezo/Boiler/

Can anyone estimate what a complete replacement will cost. The boiler in question is in Queens County in New York City.

Thanks.
 
  #8  
Old 11-09-07, 12:13 PM
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: usa
Posts: 902
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by jbmgt View Post
Thanks, KField, I suspected as much. What would you recommend as a replacement, including any devices to ensure that such "dry firing" does not occur again?
A low water cutoff LWCO would protect the boiler. They
require yearly service and testing to do their job, however.
 
 

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: