Bucket of Water Full under Boiler Drain Pipe

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Old 02-16-08, 06:59 AM
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Question Bucket of Water Full under Boiler Drain Pipe

Just wondering if it's normal that a bucket placed under the boiler drain pipe would fill more quickly during the winter than during the rest of the year. Tried to find information online, but not being too successful. It's a Peerless boiler tied to hot water tank with baseboard heat. Not much else I know. My uncle usually works on it but he's out of town.

Any help is appreciated.
 
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Old 02-16-08, 08:16 AM
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When you say "drain" do you mean the pipe that comes from the PRESSURE RELIEF VALVE ? (brass thing with a handle on top, pipe pointing down toward the floor)

If so, there should never be water coming from there unless the pressure in the boiler is too high, or the relief valve is defective.

There should be a gauge on the boiler. Two scales... one is temperature, and the other pressure.

What are the readings ?

It's likely that your EXPANSION TANK needs to be serviced.
 
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Old 02-16-08, 02:31 PM
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Water coming from pipe with pressure relief valve

Yes, it is the pipe coming from the PRESSURE RELIEF VALVE.

The readings are 190 and 15 when the boiler is on but not actually sending out heat.

So you're saying that the EXPANSION TANK needs to be serviced? Is that expensive?

Thanks for your help.
 
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Old 02-16-08, 03:33 PM
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Your readings are right on ... it's possible that the relief valve may need to be replaced. Does the pressure go up to around 30 when the boiler is heating ?

If you don't have plumbing experience, and the valve needs changing, you might want to call someone to do that. The valve itself runs from $20-$50 ... depending on brand ... then, maybe a guy might charge an hour labor to change it.

Servicing the expansion tank is easy, and cheap, provided it only needs to be drained, or the air pre-charge set (depending on the type of expansion tank you have). You might be able to accomplish this yourself even...

It's also possible that you have BOTH problems...

The 'traditional' old style tank is about 3-4 feet long, maybe 16" in diameter and is strapped into the floor joists above the boiler.

The newer 'bladder' type is about the size and shape of a gas grille propane tank and hangs from the piping near the boiler.
 
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Old 02-16-08, 03:58 PM
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Newer-type Expansion Tank

The readings are 180 and about 18 when the boiler is heating.

It took me a bit of courage to get close to the thing when it's on. I don't much like to be around things that might explode. Is there any chance of something like that happening?

Mine seems to be the newer type of expansion tank as it appears to be about the size of a propane tank and is fastened just above the boiler near the pressure relief valve.

A relative will be coming out tomorrow to have a look, so I guess I'll be alright until then.

Thank you very much for your help.
 
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Old 02-16-08, 04:08 PM
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No, don't worry about it exploding ... that won't happen.

Your pressure sounds fine, I'm going to say that the expansion tank is OK, don't worry about that.

It does sound as though the relief valve needs to be replaced though.

As long as it's only dripping a bit, and you aren't emptying the bucket every ten minutes, you will be OK to wait until tomorrow.

Good Luck!
 
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Old 02-17-08, 11:04 AM
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NJ Trooper:

Thanks for setting my mind at ease about the boiler. My uncle came over to look at it and after checking the pressure and temperature, he felt the expansion tank and thinks that's where the problem lies.

He doesn't think he'll have to replace the Pressure Relief valve, but he's bringing one of those too, just in case.

Thanks again.
 
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Old 02-17-08, 11:16 AM
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Well, you can't really tell anything about the expansion tank by "feeling it" but if it makes your uncle feel better to do so, then I guess it's OK ...

If the pressure on the gauge is NOT going to 30 PSI and the relief valve opening, then the tank is NOT your problem.

Here's the thing: The relief valve will ONLY open at 30 PSI. If it opens and drips before that, then the problem is with the VALVE, and not the tank.

If the pressure goes to 30 PSI and the valve opens, then it's the TANK and NOT the relief valve.

By the way, ask your uncle to CHECK THE AIR PRESSURE in the tank BEFORE! it is installed ! They SAY they are pre-charged at the factory, but this is often not the case. Use a regular old tire pressure gauge, and make sure there is 12-15 PSI in the tank before installing it.

Good Luck!
 
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Old 02-17-08, 11:37 AM
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Not so fast, my friend.

The safety valve COULD be defective and open at a lower pressure than 30 psi.

The pressure gauge COULD be defective and showing a much lower pressure than truly exists.

My personal preference is to change out the safety valve every five years regardless of whether or not it APPEARS okay.

While the boiler is open you can also try comparing the pressure gauge to a known pressure value to test if it is grossly wrong.

In general, if there is a discrepancy between what a gauge is reading and where a safety valve is opening, the safety valve is considered to be accurate and the gauge wrong.
 
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Old 02-17-08, 11:55 AM
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Yer right, I did neglect to add that the gauge could be wrong...

I'm also with ya 100% on changing the relief valve at 5 years.

Here's what I use to verify the pressure gauge on the boiler, made from an old washing machine hose and a junkbox gauge that I had laying around. (actually a pretty nice gauge, that's why I didn't toss it!, and it is accurate).



Screw this onto a boiler drain, and open the valve to read pressure and verify the boiler gauge.
 
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Old 02-18-08, 06:01 AM
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When I said my uncle felt the expansion tank, I should have said "tapped." He says it should sound hollow and when he tapped it, it didn't, meaning it was full of water, not air. Sure enough, it was! Guess the bladder or membrane had burst, allowing it to fill with water.

I appreciate the help given on this forum. Without it I probably would have called a Heating place or a plumber and been forced to pay much more than what my uncle charged me for the tank.
 
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