New Boiler consuming ALOT of water


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Old 12-25-08, 07:36 PM
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Exclamation New Boiler consuming ALOT of water

Hey all,
I just had a new Burnham v8 boiler installed to replace an old weil mcclain that was in the house for almost 60 years. The new boiler has been installed and running for about 4 days now, and I have to constantly add water to it, typically 3-5 times daily. I am filling it to the reccommended point in the sight glass as stated in the directions, which is about 3/4 of the way full. The boiler is heating the house alot better than the old boiler, but the problem is that it is really going through alot of water to do so. I am also noticing that that the radiators and pipes are knocking very loudly when it gets going, to the point that they can wake me up at night, which is not an easy thing to do. Also, all of the radiators are whistling when it gets going, and making alot of noise. It almost seems like there is too much pressure in the system. It is a steam radiator system with a summer winter hookup.

Any help would be appreciated, as the guys who installed it keep telling me that it will need alot of water until it runs for awhile, but it seems that after 4 days it should be caught up, as it has been running alot since it was installed to heat the house because it has been so cold.

Any help would be greatly appreciated....

Thanks!
 
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Old 12-25-08, 08:07 PM
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Let me know if you need more information to help me diagnose the problem. I don't know much about the specifics of a steam boiler, but I can probably get the information that you need.


Thank you so much for the help!
 
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Old 12-25-08, 08:16 PM
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Question

Chances are your only adding a couple gallons, right?

Did he leave a valve cracked on a return to not introduce sludge back into new boiler after install? This is common install practice, yet you have no auto feeder?

A new steam boiler install without a probe low water cut-off/ level sensor tied to a delay auto feeder?

What was that installer thinking?????
 
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Old 12-25-08, 08:24 PM
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Yes, by my estimation it is only a couple of gallons that I add at a time.

As far as the cracked valve, I am not seeing any water draining out anywhere near the boiler, so I am going to say that there is not a valve cracked. However, that would seem like a good idea.....

The boiler does have a low water cut off, but does not have the autofeeder installed yet. The part was on order, but did not come in. They will be coming back to install that at some point this week. We had to get the new boiler installed ASAP, as my old boiler had a big crack in it and was leaking water and shooting steam.

But is this normal for a new boiler to be using this much water? my old boiler only needed water added once per week (most of the time it didnt need it, 'cept I had to purge it weekly)
 
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Old 12-25-08, 08:35 PM
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Good deal on the feeder, glad to hear your getting one

On new installs, it is usually worth the energy waste to let return water to go to waste for 12-24 hours, that way the oils, rust, sediment, sludge doesnt go into boiler. However a feeder is required and best done in milder temps.

Your old boiler was much larger, thus held more water?
 
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Old 12-25-08, 09:03 PM
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The old boiler was larger, but not really by that much. I had several contractors quote the install, and they all said that I should only have to add water once per week when I purge the boiler, as that was something I specifically asked. Also, the old boiler water level didnt even really change, it pretty much stayed put for the most part.

Shouldn't the water that I put into the system stay in the system and be returned when the steam cools? It seems like the water isn't coming back from the radiators. Is it possible that it is being blown out as steam from my 10 radiators?

BTW, thank you very much for talking with me about this. It has been eating at me for two days now, I am glad to be able to speak with someone knowledgeable on the subject.
 
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Old 12-25-08, 09:07 PM
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Incidentally, what should the operating pressure ideally be? I remember the installer saying that he had it set to 5 PSI, but that much pressure really seems to be making alot of noise between the pipes rattling and banging and the radiators whistling....
 
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Old 12-26-08, 04:25 AM
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Are there any return lines buried under the floor which could be leaking?
As was said, you should only have to add water perhaps once a week.
5 psi Set it to .5 psi (note the location of the decimal point). Crank it down!
Now that you have a new tight boiler, check the rest of the system. Are the packings on the radiator valves leaking when you're up to a full head of steam? Are the radiator vents or main line vent(s) blowing out steam?
You are checking water level when the boiler has been off for 15-20 minutes and most of the condensate has had a chance to return to the boiler?
 
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Old 12-26-08, 05:31 AM
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Thanks for the input everyone!

No all of the lines are exposed in the basement and are in good condition. I also checked the radiators, and there does not appear to be any leaking. I am not sure what the packings are though....

I did check the system after it had a chance to return the water, this morning I had to add water because it shut down because of low water sometime during the night, but it was down to the low water cutoff point.

Is it possible that I am losing all of the water in the form of steam through the radiators whistling?
 
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Old 12-26-08, 05:39 AM
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Wow, I think I have it figgured out..... It looks like there is a fitting leaking water. When I say leaking, it is literally shooting water about 6 feet, and considering the amount of rain we had (I have a dirt floor basement that water runs through when it rains alot) it explains why I didn't see any leaking on the boiler pad....

So at 5 psi, it seems that it was enough pressure (too much) to crack that fitting and make it leak.. does that sound like a correct assumption?
 
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Old 12-26-08, 06:32 AM
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5 PSI isn't enough to 'crack a fitting' ... those things are rated for WAY more pressure than that... you just got a bad fitting is all ...

but still crank that pressure down.
 
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Old 12-26-08, 06:35 AM
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The pressure probably didn't cause the crack but it made it show up. Lower the pressure! Then have the fitting replaced.
FYI on your radiator valves: there is the handle, which attaches to the stem. Where the stem goes down into the valve is a hexagonal nut. Under the nut is the packing. If there is water there you can most times tighten the nut (gently) which will put more pressure on the packing material.

edit: NJTrooper types faster than these old fingers can.
 
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Old 12-26-08, 07:31 AM
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Hey guys,
Thanks alot for the input, you have been most helpful. I have the guys who did the install coming out to replace the fitting right now.

As for turning down the pressure, there is a honeywell gauge that looks like the pressure regulator. The differential is set to 1.5, and the psi is set to 5. How do I turn the psi down, and do I have to do anything to the differential? How do I work this control?

You guys are awesome! Thank you so much!!

 
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Old 12-26-08, 07:11 PM
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Start by turning the left screw (diff) so pointer is at .5 and the right screw (main) to 1. (Mark below 2)

If the boiler was firing up to 5 PSI not only would the vents be whistling, but the back pressure backs up the return hampering condensate return and overall efficiency.
 
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Old 12-26-08, 07:44 PM
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I gotta ask.. Did your old boiler crack because it ran out of water?
 
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Old 12-26-08, 08:57 PM
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Also as a note:

Once the boiler is running normally and at the correct pressure, unless there is a leak or your steam vents are not working properly, you should almost never need to add water for a long time.
 
 

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