Automatic water feeder going bad?

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Old 06-15-11, 08:35 PM
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Automatic water feeder going bad?

Last winter I had my boiler system bled because of air in the system. The tech told me that there was the possibility of my automatic water feeder/water pressure regulator going bad because the water valve on top would not stay on unless he held it there while he manually fed the system. He adjusted the psi on the device to 22 psi and told me to watch the pressure for any changes because that could indicate a problem.

Well, that was in December. Over the course of time I have watched the pressure slowly climb on the boiler. The water feeder appears to kick in when the unit drops to 27 psi and then shuts off at 32. It sometimes comes back down to 30 after it sits for a while. If I run the heat it jumps up to 40 psi. I have attempted to the adjust the regulator by turning the adjusting screw counter clockwise with a flat head screw driver but nothing changes. Does this need to be replaced? If so, I would rather do it myself but am having difficulty finding instructions on how to do so. It seems like I would unthread it on both sides, remove and thread a new one in but with my luck it would be much more complicated then that.

My boiler is a gas boiler and it controls my heat and hot water. The faulty water regulater is a watts model #s1156f. I do have an expansion tank but I do not think it has anything to do with this because I have noticed the psi at which the regulator opens has gradually increased slowly over time. Any insight would be appreciated.
 
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Old 06-16-11, 06:09 AM
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Take pictures of your system. Not just close up ones, but also farther away so we can see the layout of your piping etc.

Sounds like you pressure gauge is bad. Your pressure relief valve should be letting water out of your system when it hits 30 psi. You need to verify that your gauge is working properly before we can go much further to diagnose your problem. You may even have more than one problem. Check out http://www.doityourself.com/forum/bo...ml#post1845014 for a way to do this.

That screw you adjusted will not let pressure out of the boiler. It merely sets the pressure to which the auto fill valve will let water in to maintain. Why did your tech fill the system to 22 psi? It should be about 12 psi when cold unless your home is more than 2 stories tall. The pressure in the boiler will also rise when the water gets hot and then go back down when it gets cold.

It is quite possible that your auto fill valve needs to be replaced, but the pressure gauge situation needs to be dealt with first.
 
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Old 06-19-11, 10:34 PM
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Thanks for the reply. I took some pics and uploaded them to a photo bucket account. I read the post you linked to and if I'm understanding it correctly I should shut off the flow of water to the boiler and let it sit to see what the pressure reads? I did this before briefly and was able to drain the boiler down to 15 psi. When I allowed the water to return to the regulator then it went back up to 32 psi. I only did this for about 15 minutes.

In the past when I adjusted the screw on the regulator I did this while the boiler was operational. In part of the post you linked to it was said that it should only be adjusted with a cold boiler. How exactly should I try to adjust the regulator screw?

Here is the link to my photo bucket page with the boiler pics:

Pictures by SoIGotAQuestion - Photobucket
 
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Old 06-20-11, 05:58 AM
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The link I provided was for a specific post that I wanted you to read in that thread. It was on how to make a device you can use to check the accuracy of your gauge. The rest of that post isn't relevant at this point. Right now, we need to know if your gauge is functioning properly before we can move on to the other stuff.
 
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Old 06-20-11, 06:02 AM
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I think the point Droop is making is that you FIRST need to verify your pressure gauge is accurate. You can't do anything more until you know that gauge is correct.

If your system pressure is actually above 30 at any time, that pressure relief valve in photo #4 (hiding behind the expansion tank) would be spewing hot water and steam all over the place. By the way, the relief valve should have a pipe on the outlet going to within 6" of the floor, and preferably to a floor drain...

So until you know the gauge is correct, there isn't much more you can do.
 
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Old 06-20-11, 06:43 AM
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Step by step:

1. Verify pressure gauge.

2. Verify expansion tank, condition of the bladder and the proper air charge.

3. Adjust, or replace as necessary, the pressure reducing valve (1156)

4. I would also recommend replacing the pressure RELIEF valve and pipe it properly to the floor.
 
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Old 06-22-11, 02:22 AM
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I'm pretty clueless (obviously) at this so I figured I would check back in before making another vain trip to the store.

I went to Lowe's and bought a pressure gauge. All they had was the 100 psi which after rereading the old post was an error. The other problem was finding an adapter that would fit my boiler drain. I thought I had the right one but it came up slightly short and I went back yesterday morning and had an associate help me and he couldn't find one either.

I looked in the lawn section for the 300 psi pressure gauge that I could swap out with the correct 30 to 50 psi gauge but came up empty handed. I will double check again tomorrow since there is a Lowe's near my work and if it isn't there I will have to try to hunt down a plumbing supply store in my area.

What is the name of the adapter that I can connect the pressure gauge to? Maybe if I ask for it by name the associate will know what I'm talking about.
 
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Old 06-22-11, 08:01 AM
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The fitting you need to attach to the boiler drain is the same as a garden hose.

I know its not good practice to throw parts at a problem, but it might just make sense at this point to replace the boiler gauge you have if you are confident you can handle working on your boiler. Which I assume you are because you came here for advice. I hate to have to keep running back and forth to Lowes or Home Depot. Those big box stores are hard to deal with when you are trying to find something like this. Or you can try the plumbing supply store. They may be more helpful. Print out the picture of that device and take it there.
 
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Old 06-22-11, 03:27 PM
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You need a female garden hose to 1/2 inch female pipe thread adapter, they are readily available in either the gardening section or the section that has brass fittings. You will also need a 1/2 inch male to 1/4 inch female bushing, either steel or brass. Also some Teflon tape and/or Teflon paste. Put the Teflon on the male threads of the bushing and screw into the female pipe thread of the garden hose thread adapter. Look in the "pumps" section of the store for a pressure gauge that reads as close to 30 psi as possible. You might find one that is 0-60 or 0-75, otherwise you need to go to an old-time REAL hardware store or a plumbing supply. Apply Teflon to the male thread of the gauge and screw into the female side of the bushing. Use the wrench flats to tighten everything together; do NOT tighten the gauge by grasping the case and turning it.

If you want to purchase the 300 psi gauge already connected to the garden hose adapter look in the area where they sell the safety valves and such for the water heaters, that's where they keep them in my neck of the woods.
 
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Old 06-22-11, 04:11 PM
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I've found that swimming pool supply houses often have a pretty good stock of low range pressure gauges.

Probably not much call for lawn sprinkler systems up on the wet side of WA state... but they usually put them pre-made gauges in the lawn sprinkler supply section here in the northeast. But you'll still have to change the gauge cuz that 300 PSI gauge won't be worth a plug nickel measuring 30 PSI.

I kinda like droop's idea of just changing the gauge out... we're all pretty sure it's bad... so why spend the bucks to build a test gauge that you will likely use only once, only to then find that you need to change the boiler gauge anyhow? It is true that if you have a good test gauge, you won't HAVE to change the boiler gauge... I'm just sayin'...
 
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Old 06-22-11, 05:01 PM
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Probably not much call for lawn sprinkler systems up on the wet side of WA state...
You might be surprised, I suspect that at least 20% of all residential lots have underground sprinkler systems. Probably 80% of the commercial lots and once you get above mid-middle class homes it is probably better than 50%. Heck, even my yard has a system although it hasn't been used since I moved here.

At any rate, all the branches of both big box megamart homecenters have the water pressure gauges in stock and they are always exactly where I stated.
 
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