Help needed with SLANT/FIN Liberty II boiler

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Old 09-30-08, 09:55 PM
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Help needed with SLANT/FIN Liberty II boiler

Hello,

I have very minimal knowledge about boilers so please bear with me. My father was always the one who dealt with these things, but he passed away not long ago and now I have to try to figure things out and take care of them.

My family owns a home (currently unoccupied) that has a SLANT/FIN Liberty II (water) boiler in the basement (that was installed new in 2004). The boiler wasn't working properly recently so on the advice of friends with some minor plumbing knowledge and a rep at the WATTS company (many parts on the boiler are WATTS) we bought a new expansion tank and pressure relief valve. My dad had plumbing tools around so I used them to replace those parts.

We've noticed all along that the pressure gauge (lower needle) is stuck around 30psi when the boiler is running AND when it is off. [We were told that the normal operating range was around 12-20psi]. I have tapped the gauge but the needle stays put. The temperature gauge (upper needle) is at zero when the boiler is off, but moves up gradually (apparently properly) when the boiler is running.

#1) Does it sound to you like this gauge is broken? (I have a feeling it is bad)
#2) Can it be replaced without draining all the water out of the boiler? And is it just a matter of putting a wrench to it or are there precautions to be taken to change this when the boiler is off?
#3) Does anyone know the part number for the gauge so I can buy it locally? [I will be calling Slant/Fin and Watts about this too]

*We scheduled an oil company technician to come out and tune up the boiler. We want to keep the repair costs to a minimum and figured if we replace (or have the parts available to him) that we can save some money.

Anyway, any help would be appreciated. THANKS!

-jb-
 
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Old 10-01-08, 04:44 PM
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Hi JB, my condolences to you and your family. We lost Mom about a year ago, so I know what you are feeling.

Yes, it does sound as though the gauge has broken.

You can check the pressure on the boiler with a gauge screwed onto one of the drain valves, any one will do.

Home Depot / Lowes sell gauges that you can screw onto a hose drain and check pressure. Problem is that they are designed for domestic water use and the gauges are much too high a range to read low pressures such as in a boiler with any accuracy at all. They cost about $10 or so.

If you go to HD / L and look at the brass plumbing fittings, you can find the individual parts that you would need to make your own, but they probably won't have the gauge you need, and the individual parts will be more than $10 probably.

So, here's what to do... buy the $10 water pressure gauge there, and look to see if they DO have gauges with the same thread ( 1/4" NPT I believe ) in a 30 PSI max range (even 50 PSI would work OK, but 30 is better). Buy one if they do. If not, find a plumbing supply store and pick up a 30 PSI gauge.

When ya get home, remove the gauge from the one you got at HD, and using Dad's tools, replace onto the hose fitting the new gauge.

Screw onto a boiler drain and open the valve. The gauge will read the boiler pressure.

TURN THE BOILER OFF AND LET IT COOL TO UNDER 100F before you attempt this maneuver. You can of course pick up a replacement gauge... but most likely you will have to drain the boiler to at least ZERO PSI, and if you QUICKLY remove the old one and screw the new one in, you won't lose much water.
Take a look at www.houseneeds.com and see if they don't have a gauge that will work for you.
 
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Old 10-01-08, 05:11 PM
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Thanks NJ Trooper!

Hi NJ Trooper,

Thank you for your kind words and helpful, detailed instructions about the gauge!

Very sorry to hear about the loss of your mother. I hope your family is coping well. My dad was a whiz at plumbing and mechanical things but unfortunately I wasn't around enough when he was working on things to pick up much.

I spoke today to the company that's going to do the tune up on the Slant/Fin boiler and they said that they will replace the gauge as part of the tune up (otherwise I would have attempted to follow your instructions). Hopefully they can get it working properly as cold weather is approaching an we don't want the pipes to freeze up. We've had the boiler off for the last few weeks and want to get it up an running at 100%. If we're lucky there will be no serious problems with the boiler when they check it out.

Thanks so much for your comments. I really appreciate you taking the time to help out!

best regards,
-jb-
 
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Old 10-01-08, 05:20 PM
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Thanks JB, let us know how you make out with the boiler...

JB in NJ !
 
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